So what was the best way to cleanse my gaming pallet of the franchise that is self-described as "Tactical Stealth Espionage"? To play a game that embraces the stealth mantra of gaming so much, it went ahead and used it in the name of the game itself. That's right, in a shocking turn of events, I continued my romp through stealth gaming and played a charming little ditty called Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark.
This game isn't your typical stealth game, however, which might be the biggest reason why I enjoyed playing it so much. It is a PSN title, that is the first of four titles in Sony's Summer Play 2013 promotion on the PSN store. By buying two of the four games, you get $3 PSN credit back. Buying three entitles you to $5 back, and buying all four games rewards you with $10 back. Also, take in to consideration each game is a few bucks cheaper if you are a PS+ subscriber and you "pre-order" them. (Personally, I think the term "pre-order" is hilarious, because you are essentially just paying for them upfront, before they are released - it's not like they have a limited number of digital copies of each game available or anything.)
Truth be told, this game is far from a "stealth" game. Sure, you try to stay in the shadows and out of site of the enemies in the level, but ultimately, it is a puzzle-platformer, as you have to solve puzzles throughout each stage to advance to the next, albeit while trying to remain unseen. The game itself is gorgeous looking, and the character you control is charming - in a weird way, he reminds me of the minions from the Despicable Me movies, if they were all trying to imitate Sam Fisher.
The puzzles themselves get progressively harder as you go, just as they should, and while none of them are extremely challenging, the difficulty resides in trying to complete each stage as quickly and effectively as possible. If you are perfectly content with lower grades from being killed and/or spotted many times in a level while you crept along at a snail's pace, then you could complete this game without breaking a sweat. But if you even dare to think about trying to complete a level as it was intended to be beaten, then buckle your seat belt, because it's going to be a bumpy ride of trial and error.
Of all the awesome elements in this game, the one I found most endearing was the mysterious messages you come across throughout the whole game, written on the walls, only to be seen when light shines on them. And they aren't just any messages, but rather notes of sarcasm and taunts encouraging you in a way that reminds me of GLaDOS from the Portal series. I could tell you what some of them say, but without playing the game and coming across them in their natural state, they lose some context that emphasize how creative and fun this game really is.
So while Metal Gear Solid 4 was a disappointment, I feel like I finished my week of stealth games perfectly. It just took me an extra day.