In the post written Kirk Hamilton, he talks about stealth games. He states that stealth games are fun because they let you take on the role of the predator. That feeling of the hunt, when you are closing in for the kill, this is what gets your adrenaline pumping when playing these games. Kirk then goes on to explain some of the aspects that create that predatory feeling. One of those is the ability to go in for a kill and then reset to a stealth state. Basically meaning that you can alert the enemies to your presence and then sink back into the shadows. He calls this type of stealth gameplay dynamic stealth. He also talks about how essential the design of enemy AI is to proper stealth gameplay. An AI that properly reacts when you are discovered makes the experience much more enjoyable.
I think that he makes an interesting and valid point about how being a predator in games is really fun. However, I don’t think that this is inclusive. I feel that this is down to the efficient use of a theme rather than one of the fundamental pillars of stealth gameplay. The games he brought up were Batman: Arkham Asylum, Crysis 2, and Far Cry 2. These games put you in the role of a predator. It shows proper execution if you feel like predator while playing the games. This is not the only way to play stealth games though.
There are stealth games where it is thematically consistent to avoid your enemies or use deception to get past them. I would argue that these stealth games can be just as enjoyable. One such game that I have played is a game called Gunpoint. In this game you play a corporate spy who is trying to unravel the mystery of a murder that happens at the beginning of the game. In Gunpoint a lot of the gameplay involves indirectly dealing with the guards, and progressing through the level without being discovered. In this game you are easily killed, and because of this fighting is often a poor choice. Even though the mechanics were focused on evasion rather than hunting my enemies, I heavily enjoyed the experience. I don’t think it was invalidated by my character being weak. It made sense, he was fighting trained guards; of course he would be weak.
In his post Kirk states that properly implemented AI makes the experience of the game better. That works regardless of the play style or theme of the game. Good enemy AI is necessary for good stealth games. I do think that the dynamic stealth gameplay he was talking about is good, but as above it is not specific to predator stealth games.
Does feeling like an apex predator make a game enjoyable? Yes. Is it the only way stealth games can be played? I would argue no.