I would like to dispatch enemies stealthily whenever possible, and I have these questions to further that goal:

  • Any tips and tricks on staying hidden? What are efficient ways of killing enemies stealthily?

How do enemies detect the player character?

  • Do the sounds you make matter? Does walking slower or crouch-walking help?
  • How do sight and light levels work? Can you sneak behind enemies? Hide behind objects? Hide in dark places? Being on a different level (a floor up or down)? (Do enemies look up or down?)

Once you're spotted, is trying to stay hidden (by turning the lights off, crouch walking, etc.) effective, or will the enemies instantly and constantly know where you are?

  • Do enemies get alerted if you kill one of them, or come across upon a dead body of a person you killed?
  • Do enemies have different "levels" of alertness?

  • How do humans or mutants differ when it comes to player detection? Any enemies with unique behavior when it comes to player detection?

  • How does difficulty change the stealth or detection mechanics?
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    "How do the game's stealth and detection mechanics work?" - They don't, really... stealth in this game is basically broken. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 17 '13 at 1:13
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    @BlueRaja-DannyPflughoeft "...stealth in this game is basically broken." Can you expound on that? – galacticninja May 17 '13 at 1:38
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    @Blue what difficulty were you playing on? I thought Ranger Hardcore was a delightful romp of stealth and strategy. – MikeTheLiar May 17 '13 at 12:40
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    My experience with this game was that enemies often randomly see you through walls when you're not moving, but sometimes don't see your when you walk right in front of them. Sometimes they'll hear you from far away when you're being completely silent, yet sometimes they won't hear you when you run right next to them. When you are finally spotted, suddenly EVERY enemy in the area knows where you are at all times (and will shoot you across the map with their insanely accurate shotguns) - contrary to @mike's answer, I couldn't become hidden again no matter how long I waited. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 17 '13 at 17:04
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    Unrelated, I also ran into a bug where I couldn't uncrouch, ever (even after reopening the game). Then later the game literally autosaved with bullets in the air, so when I reloaded I died instantly and had to start the game completely over. I did not have any good experiences with this game; it looks beautiful, but overall it's just really poorly done. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft May 17 '13 at 18:44

It's been a little while since I played, but here's what I remember:

  • Use pneumatic weapons until you can get ahold of silenced revolvers/rifles. IIRC there's a Tihar (uses ball bearings) that can find relatively early on, and a Helsing (uses arrows) not too much later. Throwing knives are also very useful, because you can recover and reuse them, along with arrows, which is invaluable on harder difficulties (ball bearings, on the other hand, cannot be recovered. However, they are one of the cheapest types of ammo available). Throwing knives can also be used to stab using secondary fire, although if you're being stealthy enough to get close enough to stab enemies, you can just use the hunting knife.
  • The sounds you make definitely matter. Crouching and moving slowly are a must, and pay attention to what you're walking on - certain materials (e.g., broken glass) are noisier than others, and tin cans can be hanging from the ceiling, specifically as a noise trap. Glass and cans will give away your exact location in a heartbeat.
  • Light sources can be extinguished (candles and lamps can be blown out, lights can be shot or broken with your knife), but if you don't have NV goggles it can be more trouble than it's worth, because using a flashlight is a fantastic way to get yourself noticed. In addition, it can call attention to your location. If you're blowing out candles/lanterns, it's a good idea to vacate the area, because if an enemy notices they'll come check it out.
  • Lines of sight and distance make a difference. Even in the pitch dark if an enemy is facing you and you're less ~8 feet away, you're going to get noticed. Try to stay behind enemies whenever possible.
  • Height/altitude do help you hide, but you can still be seen. Hide in out of the way places, don't rely on a simple difference of elevation to keep you hidden.

Once you're spotted, you can definitely disappear again, but it's not necessarily easy (NB: once your presence is known, enemies won't 'forget' that someone else is around. You can hide, but they know you're out there somewhere). It's much easier to stay hidden than to hide again. Get in a dark, out of the way place, and don't move. The temptation to try to take out that single enemy who's searching in your area is very strong, but it will almost always result in you being found again. Stay hidden. Besides, the tension of waiting to see if your discovered or not is a great aspect of the game/immersion factor (one of the best features of the game, IMO).

Dead bodies will alert still living enemies. It's best to try to dispatch them in places that aren't patrolled frequently or at all. Approaching any new area, it's a good idea to wait and watch for a while. Figure out who goes where, and when, and plan your attack.

Re: levels of alertness, there are absolutely different levels of enemy awareness. Some are asleep. Some have searchlights. Some are engrossed in conversation, or interrogations. Some are non-aggressive until provoked. Generally speaking, it isn't too hard to figure out what's going to be more likely to discover you. A silently patrolling guard is looking for something suspicious (i.e., you). Others are busy doing other things.

Difficulty is of course a factor, particularly on the ranger/ranger hardcore (for the record, my favorite way to play the game) modes.

  • You're more likely to be seen
  • Once you're discovered, good luck surviving long enough to hide again
  • If you can hide, enemies will keep looking for you for longer

All that being said, there's usually a non-aggressive route that you can take, frequently you can get through an area without firing a single shot. Stick to the shadows, move slowly and cautiously, and plan your actions. Locate good hiding spots. Be patient. And if all else fails, you can always start chucking grenades.

Fear the future, Metro dweller. Good luck.

(I'll fire up Metro 2033 again when I get the chance and see if there's anything that I missed, and it'll be good practice for Last Light.)
(Note: there's an option at some point to buy advanced armor, one style of which is stealth armor. However, I don't remember enough right now to definitively speak on that point, so I'm going to hold off on elaborating until I play through again)

| improve this answer | |
  • started playing it, I can confirm that you can pick up arrows. – Hugo Trudel May 19 '13 at 18:28
  • I put in some time over the weekend, there are some inaccuracies in the above. Going to be updating as soon as I get a free second. – MikeTheLiar May 20 '13 at 13:14

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