Thief Review - The Meh Project

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Thief Review - The Meh Project

Thief is a mess. It's disappointing that there's a genuinely good game hidden under a lot of mediocrity.

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So, if I'm reading this right, gameplay is more linear than previous titles but still pretty open by modern standards, tools are handy but a pain in the ass to switch between, other than that gameplay is good, and the story is horrendous, yes?

Probably wait for it to get down to below half price before trying it out. About how long do you think it would take to get everything in the game done?

I'm going to wait for Yahtzee to play it. Coz I like seeing grown adults cry.

I'm playing the game myself and am a long-time Thief fan. I have to admit these criticisms are pretty dead-on, but I for one feel the game's good points carry a bit more weight. Overall I'd say the game is better than "meh". It's certainly not on the same level as the previous games for their time, but neither would I call it something to be just tossed aside with a dismissive "pff" if you're a fan of stealth. It's definitely a rocky new start (assuming this is the beginning of a new series of Thief games) but I'd say the possibility for later games to get even better isn't out of the question.

Oh, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution? I wouldn't call THAT game "excellent" by any stretch. Hell, I played both the previous Deus Ex games to completion, and I still didn't feel compelled to finish DE:HR. That's certainly something I can say this new Thief has over it.

So, bottom line, you're better off sticking to the old Thief games... including Deadly Shadows.

In other news, The Dark Mod is a free game (formerly Doom 3 mod) that perfectly recaptures the Thief games of yore. You should play that instead of this mess.

I am so happy to see this game getting slammed with mediocre scores. Maybe that will teach developers to stop bastardizing established franchises with "muh gritty grimdark reboot."

The key word there being "grimdark" - an environment trying to hard to be oppressive that it make you reel with how desperate it is to make you feel some disgust. It's fine when you play it for what it is: extremely excessive and tongue in cheek (a great example of this being the 40k universe,) but when the game expects you to take it as a straight laced setting, it falls flat on its face.

Hazy:
I am so happy to see this game getting slammed with mediocre scores. Maybe that will teach developers to stop bastardizing established franchises with "muh gritty grimdark reboot."

Uh... I'll be the first to admit I haven't played much of the original Thief games, but they don't strike me as being light and cheerful. Hell, this Garrett sounds like he's less of a bastard than the original.

Watching this horrendous rape of a great series get bad scores and underperform on steam really brings a smile on my face.

There is some justice in this world after all.

This review is meh. Doesn't tell me anything about the game.

Seriously, every other review on Thief is so ambigious as to why it's 'bad'. If it's such a mess explain why. That's the point of a review.

Tahaneira:

Hazy:
I am so happy to see this game getting slammed with mediocre scores. Maybe that will teach developers to stop bastardizing established franchises with "muh gritty grimdark reboot."

Uh... I'll be the first to admit I haven't played much of the original Thief games, but they don't strike me as being light and cheerful. Hell, this Garrett sounds like he's less of a bastard than the original.

Yeah, sitting in the same boat here - didn't play the originals but was always vaguely curious, and was interested in this new one - was the original series about sneaking around the shadows, shooting undead and stealing things, REALLY that tonally dissimilar?

Really surprised how many people would rather see the game be bad so they can gloat rather than hoping the game be good so they can enjoy it.

Tahaneira:

Hazy:
I am so happy to see this game getting slammed with mediocre scores. Maybe that will teach developers to stop bastardizing established franchises with "muh gritty grimdark reboot."

Uh... I'll be the first to admit I haven't played much of the original Thief games, but they don't strike me as being light and cheerful. Hell, this Garrett sounds like he's less of a bastard than the original.

They tried too hard in this case. Now there's a plague going around, the guards are no longer just guards... now they're these piece of shit scumbags who love mistreating the townspeople, and the new Garret is way too serious. That isn't to say that the old games were a happy go lucky romp, what with the different factions, undead, and monsters and all that, but they didn't have to try so deliberately to set up a moody and oppressive atmosphere - it just came naturally. You didn't need to see generic angry guard #45 beating people over the head to get the idea. A great example of this is the Cragscleft Prison or Shalebridge Cradle levels from the first and third game respectively. I don't want to spoil it, but it'll put you on edge better than this game ever could.

They altered his character too, and not for the better. Old Garret makes these very snide remarks throughout the original games, which makes him an endearing character. He's confident in his abilities as a thief and does so to make ends meet. The first mission of The Dark Project has you breaking into a Lord's manor, upon discovering his throne room, Garret says "A throne room... how pretentious can you get?" The beauty is that he has no ulterior motives, he's just a guy doing what he does best in order to pay the rent.

But now, they turned him into this poetic reluctant hero archetype that we've seen so many times before. It's ham-fisted and cheesy, and doesn't do the original character any justice whatsoever.

Hazy:
I am so happy to see this game getting slammed with mediocre scores. Maybe that will teach developers to stop bastardizing established franchises with "muh gritty grimdark reboot."

yeah, because them original games weren't dark and gritty at all, the were full of wonderful colors and dancing butterflies. While I do agree that a reboot is not always the right path to take, remaking old game is not a bad thing. Turning into dark and moody when original weren't is annoying, see Tome Raider but there wasn't much to those game to begin with. Everything is subjective however, I liked DMC but apparently not a lot of other people did. Yeah, it may have some massive issues but it was fun. I kinda like the developer so I hope this games does well.

TorchofThanatos:

Hazy:
I am so happy to see this game getting slammed with mediocre scores. Maybe that will teach developers to stop bastardizing established franchises with "muh gritty grimdark reboot."

yeah, because them original games weren't dark and gritty at all, the were full of wonderful colors and dancing butterflies. While I do agree that a reboot is not always the right path to take, remaking old game is not a bad thing. Turning into dark and moody when original weren't is annoying, see Tome Raider but there wasn't much to those game to begin with. Everything is subjective however, I liked DMC but apparently not a lot of other people did. Yeah, it may have some massive issues but it was fun. I kinda like the developer so I hope this games does well.

I touched on this in the post right above yours. ^

The key word in my original post is "grimdark"

I've really been enjoying the game. It's stealth mechanics are really solid, the movement and such feels really good. My only complaint so far is context sensitive jumping.

The story is a mess and garret wears a corset, but it's good, a really solid game. Honestly all the reviews for this I've seen remind me of the reviews for Alpha Protocol, and how it was pretty much panned all around but ended up being a cult classic.

Kolyarut:
Really surprised how many people would rather see the game be bad so they can gloat rather than hoping the game be good so they can enjoy it.

Nobody wants to see the game be bad.

Everyone wanted the new Thief game to be as good or even better that the originals. Or at least close.....

But, if you've been following this game, it's pretty clear from everything we've seen and read the new Thief is a betrayal, a dumbed-down abomination for the masses.

THAT is why people want it to fail.

man, it's one sucky month for gaming. First Lightning Returns, now this, and LoS2 is turning out to be a flop as well. Criminy, March cannot come quick enough. It seems Dishonored beat Thief to being a Thief reboot.

Slycne:
Sadly, whatever stars aligned for Deus Ex didn't quite repeat.

I beg to differ, at least from what I've seen. When I was done playing Human Revolution, my general conclusion was that Eidos Montreal just doesn't understand what makes games work, at least not on a non-superficial level. While HR wasn't a bad game by a long shot, the writing was still on the wall here.

Personally, I think EM should pull an Irrational and stick with making games that are distinctly spiritual successors but nobody these days has the balls to come up with a new IP, so I suppose we're fucked on that front. At least we'll always have Supergiant...

Why the fuck are there leaderboards in anything? How can anyone find it rewarding to be #345 of ANYTHING? If I was the best at everything (or at least SOME things) there might be something to it, but honestly...who the fuck wants to know how they do compared to the rest of the world? I want to have FUN when I play. Not play to get statistics to throw in the face of...noone at all since I dont KNOW the rest of the world...

OT: Not a big surprise here.

Imbechile:

Kolyarut:
Really surprised how many people would rather see the game be bad so they can gloat rather than hoping the game be good so they can enjoy it.

Nobody wants to see the game be bad.

Everyone wanted the new Thief game to be as good or even better that the originals. Or at least close.....

But, if you've been following this game, it's pretty clear from everything we've seen and read the new Thief is a betrayal, a dumbed-down abomination for the masses.

THAT is why people want it to fail.

That really doesn't sound remotely like the game described in the review, which reads like a genuinely fun game with some tech issues and a somewhat dull story. I'd be really curious to hear how about how it's been "dumbed down" (a phrase that's misapplied in 90% of the cases it's used) or what exactly makes it an "abomination", because that really hasn't been made clear yet.

Mass appeal isn't a bad thing at all. You really expected them to exclusively go after people who'd played the originals, and shut out anyone who didn't pick it up / wasn't born first time round?

The question is... is it at least as good as Thief III?

Kolyarut:
[...]I'd be really curious to hear how about how it's been "dumbed down" (a phrase that's misapplied in 90% of the cases it's used)[...]

Not touching the "abomination thing with a 10-foot pole until I've played it myself, but you can see the dumbed down* just from reviews:
- Cutting levels in half with loading zones in between, because the hardware can't take it. That means that you WILL have choke points and mandatory level entrances. In the first 2 games, you could explore the levels seamlessly, and T:DS got a whole shitstorm about that. Back then, they did it to accomodate the original XBOX's hardware. I'm not sure if EM was just technically challenged (dumbed down in a technical sense because BLINGMAPPING) or they really thought people'd be overwhelmed yb multiple avenues of access. Going by my next point, if I had to really answer that, I'd say 2, because...
- Limiting vaulting/jumping to context sensitive hotspots. In the other games, you could mantle/climb any obstacle that had the right height. The first 2 gave you rope arrows, too, that you could shoot in a LOT of places. T:DS did away with the rope arrows completely, but still let you jump/climb. The new thief let's you mantle/jump over specific obstacles. Once again, EM opted to give you a few (maybe even only one or two, dunno yet, but still an artificially limited number) of avenues to approach your goals. And for this I can't think of a technical limitation, so I'll have to go with the "our customers might be overwhelmed by too many choices" answer.

I'm not talking about loot glow or anything, because you can thankfully customize that to a surprising degree from what I've heard. And I can't talk about the sound engine, because I haven't played it, although from reports that one isn't a s sophisticated as it used to be in the earlier games. But the two points above stand, and you can see those for yourself from any 5-minute-gameplay footage.

*and not "dumbed down because LOLCONSOLETARDS". The first one _might_ be, but I doubt it. The second one absolutely has nothing to do with the platform, but all to do with level/mission design...

Kolyarut:
That really doesn't sound remotely like the game described in the review, which reads like a genuinely fun game with some tech issues and a somewhat dull story.

And this review from a critic that specialises in stealth games says otherwise: http://pastebin.com/TD4waGdv

Kolyarut:
I'd be really curious to hear how about how it's been "dumbed down" (a phrase that's misapplied in 90% of the cases it's used) or what exactly makes it an "abomination", because that really hasn't been made clear yet.

Not trying to be a dick...... but, as you said it yourself, you haven't played the originals. So how am I going to explain how it's dumbed down?
First I would need to explain the whole gameplay of the originals(which would take a lot of time and a lot of paragraphs).

Kolyarut:

Mass appeal isn't a bad thing at all. You really expected them to exclusively go after people who'd played the originals, and shut out anyone who didn't pick it up / wasn't born first time round?

Mass appeal is a bad thing when you got a series that is pretty niche. To make it appeal to a wide audience you have to simplify the gameplay.

What happened to the industry that made a company developing a Thief game feel they had to rip off Dishonored?

Never having playing a Thief game before in my life, this game had me interested. It looked like Dishonered with a much larger emphasis on stealth. But after seeing all of these reviews, I'm skipping out until it lowers in price.

I know the horrible truth about the Rope Arrows already, but can anyone tell me if the maps are like the ones in the first two games? Because I loved the hell out of those maps. Unlike in modern games, they didn't show exactly where you were and what direction you were facing with GPS precision, they were just hand-drawn maps or architectural plans that merely highlighted the general area you were in. I loved looking through them, picking out where I needed to go, and planning my route.


EDIT:

Sad but ultimately predictable. Having been following the games development from the start it just never seems like the developers had a clear goal or viosion in mind when it came to creating the new thief game. Whether they wanted it to be like the originals or its own unique beast and just how big of an influence stealth and combat should play on the game.

So yeah, unfortunate but predictable.

Elfgore:
Never having playing a Thief game before in my life, this game had me interested. It looked like Dishonered with a much larger emphasis on stealth. But after seeing all of these reviews, I'm skipping out until it lowers in price.

Why not try the originals? The updated versions GOG sells work fine on new computers and other than the graphics, the games have aged surprisingly gracefully. There's also the masterful Dark Mod which recreates Thief's gameplay but with modern visuals if graphics are really that big of an obstacle yet you still want to see how the series plays.

Lots of options out there for getting into the Thief franchise beyond this latest entry into the franchise, and all of which are considerably cheaper.

So the story sucks but the rest of the game is pretty good? Not really sure how that counts as a mess but whatever, I'm happy to know that at least the gameplay is fun

Storm Dragon:
I know the horrible truth about the Rope Arrows already, but can anyone tell me if the maps are like the ones in the first two games? Because I loved the hell out of those maps. Unlike in modern games, they didn't show exactly where you were and what direction you were facing with GPS precision, they were just hand-drawn maps or architectural plans that merely highlighted the general area you were in. I loved looking through them, picking out where I needed to go, and planning my route.

I would put it firmly better than most games, but not nearly up to snuff of the originals. As mentioned in the review, most of the missions will have several available routes. Your pretty firmly funneled into those being the only viable options, so it's less about exploring a big map, though some of them do approach this, and more just finding the hidden predesignated paths, like a hidden grate or easy rope arrow spot to bypass, or forcing your own with distractions. As for the maps themselves, they have more modern day mission prompts pointing you towards objectives, but these can be disabled and there are hidden objectives to discover for properly exploring. One lingering issues caused by not having larger maps though is it makes traversal pretty easy, even if you alert a bunch of guards if you can get to one of the loading screen hiding transitions you're scot free.

For me this game looks nice and I'm sure buy it and play.

What I find weird is that some people are doing the normal "ITS NOT EXACTLY LIKE THE ORIGINAL!!! HERESY!!!" thing but at the same time some of the review snippets on Metacritic complain that the game feels dated and stayed too close to its roots at the expense of innovation, and those two statements seem incompatible.
(Disclaimer: I don't like the old games and have little interest in the reboot so I have no horse in this race)

Meh, mediocre reviews never really bother me when it comes to games I enjoy.
These days, some people can't manage to look past the old "WAAAH IT'S NOT LIKE THE ORIGINALS" yet at the exact same time say things like "Why are developers scared to do things outside the norm?".

I enjoy this game. Very very much. Hell, I never played the originals so I'm in no position to give a shit about Garrett's character changes, but his voice sounds glorious and he's snarky as ever.
Basso, your friend in-game, threatens to turn his bird into a hat to which Garrett replies "It probably wouldn't be best to kill the brains of your operation."
He has a snarky response to just about everything and I absolutely love him as a character.

The gameplay is varied enough and doesn't hold your hand in the slightest, allowing you to look at the situation to best understand what your approach should be. There is a lot of improvising involved, and on-the-fly decision making that puts you on edge which really adds a lot to the experience.

TL;DR, judge this game as a stand-alone and you'll understand why I personally think it's awesome.
I love this game, having a lot of fun with it, regardless of any comments of "b-b-but here's why you shouldn't!"

Klagermeister:
I enjoy this game. Very very much. Hell, I never played the originals

These statements are in the wrong order. It should be "Hell, I never played the originals, so I enjoy this game."

And that's fine. But once you have played the originals you'll see what the gnashing of teeth is about. It's not like these guys didn't have a great example of how a great Thief game could be made. That's what's pissing people off so much.

I mean, they've screwed up the sound? Some of the best moments in the original were being forced to hide in a blind corner so while the guards couldn't see you, neither could you see them. The only way you knew when it was safe to make a dash for it was by listening to their boots: marble..carpet..wood..marble..carpeNOW!

Of course, the sound not working well would explain what the article writer means about the "hiding" being dodgy. They probably had to fudge it so that you could always use your sight to determine where the guards are.

That bad, huh? Shame, I was almost interested in how this game could turn out.

I can't wait to see Yahtzee tear this game a new one in the next two weeks.

I understand why long time Thief fans are upset, I do. But seriously, the game is FAAAAR from being as bad as people are making it out to be. It's a very, very solid stealth game.

IF

Big IF, you prefer to ghost, use items as rarely as possible, and can forgive poor story telling and characters in favor of simply good stealth gameplay.

In short-

Cons
-More linear than previous Thief Games
-Story makes no sense
-UI is not the greatest
-No Action, all Stealth
-Often requires lots of trial and error
-AI is on par with other stealth games and may even be a bit more alert.

Pros
-More open levels than most modern stealth games
-No Action, all Stealth
-Lots of nice stealthy touches (breaking a glass leaves glass on the floor, making it harder to stay quiet)
-Very solid movement
-Very good interplay between light and shadow
-Very good atmosphere

I get why people are disappointed in the game, but making it out to be absolutely horrible or "An abomination" is just silly. It's solid stealth experience. 7-8/10 In my opinion.

Not "The best game evar" but not broken either.

Krantos:
I understand why long time Thief fans are upset, I do. But seriously, the game is FAAAAR from being as bad as people are making it out to be. It's a very, very solid stealth game.

IF

Big IF, you prefer to ghost, use items as rarely as possible, and can forgive poor story telling and characters in favor of simply good stealth gameplay.

In short-

Cons
-More linear than previous Thief Games
-Story makes no sense
-UI is not the greatest
-No Action, all Stealth
-Often requires lots of trial and error
-AI is on par with other stealth games and may even be a bit more alert.

Pros
-More open levels than most modern stealth games
-No Action, all Stealth
-Lots of nice stealthy touches (breaking a glass leaves glass on the floor, making it harder to stay quiet)
-Very solid movement
-Very good interplay between light and shadow
-Very good atmosphere

I get why people are disappointed in the game, but making it out to be absolutely horrible or "An abomination" is just silly. It's solid stealth experience. 7-8/10 In my opinion.

Not "The best game evar" but not broken either.

You put it far better than I did in my above post. Agree with everything here, except that I think alert guard AI isn't exactly a CON, as stealth games rely a lot on difficulty, which good AI definitely bumps up.

Judge this game as a standalone and you'll certainly see it in a far better light.

Kwil:

I mean, they've screwed up the sound? Some of the best moments in the original were being forced to hide in a blind corner so while the guards couldn't see you, neither could you see them. The only way you knew when it was safe to make a dash for it was by listening to their boots: marble..carpet..wood..marble..carpeNOW!

The only way the sound is "screwed up" is that sometimes the voice doesn't sync with the animation and the music makes it impossible to hear voices during cutscenes sometimes. SOMETIMES.
Other than that, those exact situations you described are very much still in the game. I remember going about the Jeweler's Shop in that exact way, recognizing where the carpets were compared to the wood and knowing that suddenly hearing muffled footsteps was a sign that I should get out of the way.

So if you think this issue with the game is present, it isn't. Sound is still a very important and very viable tool for progressing through the game unseen.

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