Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell series – 2002-2006
Think Metal Gear but way more realistic. As badass undercover agent Sam Fisher - voiced by the equally badass Michael Ironside - you lurk in the shadows, gather intelligence and eliminate terrorists. Enemy alerts or deaths even result in an incredible difficulty spike. The second game Pandora Tomorrow introduced the awesome multiplayer mode where two spies take on two soldiers.
The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind and Oblivion – 2002-2006
The giant open-ended adventure RPG pretty much lets you do whatever you want when completing your missions. Parts III and IV - Morrowind and Oblivion respectively - introduced playing as thieves and rogues.
Sly Cooper series – 2002-2005
Sly is a cel-shaded stealth platformer for the PS2. As a thief, you sneak around towns and taking part in heists. Because you’re a raccoon with little endurance, you try to avoid combat as much as possible.
Beyond Good & Evil – 2003
One of the most endearing aspects of this charming adventure is that while you do have natural ass-kicking skills, you must rely on your sneaking techniques and photojournalist skills in order to uncover a sinister plot.
Manhunt series – 2003, 2007
Think Running Man meets snuff films. Built on the GTA engine, you play as a deranged killer taking refuge in the shadows. Did we mention you’re encouraged to brutally murder your pursuers with deadly objects like plastic bags and scythes?
Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness – 2003
The sixth game in the TR series and first on the PS2 enabled you to do some sneaking about. Largely forgettable because of how crappy it was.
Hulk – 2003
In between the awesome smash-everything-that-moves levels, you’ll also play as alter-ego Bruce Banner in some slow-ass stealth levels.
Rogue Ops – 2003
Think Metal Gear and Splinter Cell, but with a female lead. Now think that this game isn’t all that good.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – 2004
This sequel utilized gameplay introduced in the original Manhunt - released a year prior. One mission had us swimming toward a tanker while avoiding spotlights. Another mission tasked you with utilizing shadows to your advantage to pull off a skilled assassination. Gangsta!
Far Cry series – 2004-2008
Two completely different games share many of the same elements. In part one, you need to navigate a wide-open island stronghold while engaging the almost superhuman AI enemies any way you want. Part two is similar, but switch island for African savanna.
Psi-Ops – 2004
Think straight-forward shooter but with Force powers. Okay, “psychic powers.” You can use these powers to progress through the game. For example, Remote Viewing enables you to have an out-of-body experience and see where enemies are. Our favorite is Mind Control where you can make bad guys kill themselves.
Siren series – 2004-2008
Siren mixes action, stealth and survival horror in order to survive attack from the aggressive Shibito (think zombies). Depending on the character you play as in any given segment, you’ll need to rely on hiding and sight jacking (seeing with the Shibito’s eyes) for safe passage.
Second Sight – 2004
Powers you earn in this thriller such as Psi Pulse (lightning melee attack) or Possession enable you to take out enemies without causing alarm.