Guns blazing vs Sneak attack: the payoffs of playstyles 

People all play games a little differently; how a person plays a game is known as their playstyle. Their preference for how they approach encounters can speak volumes about their personality.

There is something to be said about the thrill of going into a fight, guns blazing. The adrenaline rush of running into a dangerous situation and feeling like you can fight your way out. Players who enjoy this type of playstyle often have to prepare before a fight by either getting incredibly strong weapons to take down enemies quickly or increasing their defenses to enable them to take a lot of damage.

(Rushing into a fight with a group of alerted ghouls can quickly prove overwhelming in Fallout 4)

In direct contrast to this playstyle though, we find the stealth player. A patient player who enjoys the aspect of sneaking up on unsuspecting enemies, listening to their dialogue for clues on how to best them, or observing their patterns of behavior for weaknesses. Within this playstyle the preparation occur more so in observing the layout of an engagement before entering as opposed to building up a character. Engagements are planned to include an order for their takedowns and several escape routes and hiding places.

(In Skyrim, using a stealth weapon such as a bow, a player can pick off enemies undetected)

Just as we can see the payoffs for why each of these playstyles are fun they can also teach us a lot about the players that use them. When a player chooses to rush into an engagement they are testing their survivability, their ability to adapt dynamically to a challenge that overwhelms them. When a player chooses to approach from the shadows, they are testing their cunningness, their ability to dismantle an enemy force with the least amount of personal risk.

A person’s playstyle is not only an indication of how they like to play, but also the challenge that they like to face and overcome as a player. It not only illustrates what skills they seek to hone but also the unique way in which they will win or lose a game; be it getting overwhelmed by too many enemies or being the last one standing, sneaking past the enemies and pickpoketing the necessary key or being caught red handed. No one style is superior, it is all a matter of the player’s commitment to managing their unique challenges and mastering their style.


Andrew Mantilla is a ludologist and video game journalist for Play Professor.  You can check out more of his content on Facebook, and Instagram.

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