10 Great Things About the Thief Reboot

10 Great Things About the Thief Reboot

There were some things to like about the Thief Reboot, and not all of them were obvious.

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Sums up my feelings pretty well. The game wasn't a gem but it was definitely a gem in the rough and I hope that they decide to make another one with in the next few years. I feel that if they take the current engine and improve it, take the same mechanics and take the time to do a proper story and maybe some more interesting level design we could have a really great game.

Oh and get rid of the contextual jumping.

Jup, at least up to the point I'm at the game has some good aspects.

However, now I'd want to play the bank mission. Most side missions seem to be pretty good compared to the story missions and it sounds great. Maybe I'll watch a let's play of it to see for myself (if I can find a good one).
But it is limited to preorders and I really doubt it is worth 5€. I'd probably buy it if it were 2,50 € or had more than one unit. Some DLC prices are just stupid.

About the sneaking mechanics: There are also puddles of water and paper pages that make splashy noises and flappy noises when stepped on but I think they aren't used very often. They probably shouldn't overdo it but it is raining a lot in this game so having a few puddles in the street instead of huge piles of boxes everywhere would be interesting.
(It would also allow for some other loading sections: Instead of having a whole street blocked by boxes, make it an underpass or particularly deep puddle or something. Pushing aside wooden beams inside nonsensical stacks of boxes gets old after a while.)

Exactly my feelings towards this game, a diamond in the rough.

I enjoyed a lot more than I originally thought, but yeah, one can't deny it's many flaws.

I did really like some of the level designs - at least when they weren't too linear structured, anyway. Early on that is the case with the main missions, however by the time you get to the bigger mansions (the architect's and the baron's), the place opens out a lot more, without feeling implausible or pointlessly expansive. Even the smaller side mission places, like the tailors or the clock makers place, were cool to explore.

I'd have been quite happy if they did away with the open world map (which though was initially interesting, became ultimately tedious to keep traversing from one section to another - a worse version of what existed in Deadly Shadows) and just made wide open missions.

10 great things? Really? Let's see...

1) Bank Mission

No idea. Maybe. The side jobs, tiny as they were, actually felt more Thief-like than any of the main missions. They were like really small fan missions. There are still T2 fan missions that run circles around them, though (and some that even surpass the original missions from the original games).

2) Sneaking Mechanics

The big noisy floors in T1/T2 were what moss arrows were for. For me, the simplified light mechanics and almost non-existent sound environment (how many times did you have to listen to footsteps?) were a real let-down in the reboot.

3) Grabbing Animations

Sure, they look impressive, but they also serve to remind you that you are playing a character -- it's an additional layer between you and gameplay. In an immersive sim, you really want to feel that you are in control of your character. To me, it's unnecessary fluff more than anything, akin to scripted setpiece moments.

4) Romano Orzari

I wouldn't describe him as great, exactly. The way I see it, Stephen Russell was a great voice actor for Garrett while Romano Orzari was just good enough. Maybe even falling a bit flat at times.

5) Basso

Not that I prefer the boxman Basso to the fence Basso, but personally, I didn't think they did anything interesting with him. Was there anything more to him than being Garrett's friend/mildly amusing sidekick?

6) The Claw

The claw-assisted platforming seemed a poor substitution for the ability to mantle up just about everywhere. Not to mention the verticality lost with the way rope arrows were implemented.

7) The "Platforming"

The Unchartedesque climbing sections felt very out of place -- not the least because I think that third person view is an anathema to the immersive sim genre.

8) The Stairway Puzzle

The stairway puzzle is a bad example, IMO. The pipe sound puzzle in the Asylum would have been a much better example. Now that was a genuinely great puzzle.

9) Difficulty Options

Yup. The option to turn various things on and off was great. Although, I still missed the GoldenEye-like difficulty levels from the original games that added more objectives and messed around with guard/loot replacement.

10) Upgrades System

I guess they needed some outlet for all the money accumulating from the open world gameplay and the loot carrying over from mission to mission, but I much preferred the mission-based economy of T1/T2 where you spent all your gold buying equipment for the next level. Also, upgrading Garrett just seems unnecessary in a skill-based game. The biggest difference between Thief and, say, Deus Ex was that if you took the character from the end of the game and gave it to a new player, it would have made no difference in Thief and all the difference in Deus Ex.

Obviously, Shamus is a different person than me and I don't doubt that he thinks these things were truly great. Just wanted to provide another long time fan's take on this.

I was expecting clever writing to this difficult headline. And unsurprisingly, I feel you pulled it off. Yes, Eidos did pull some boneheaded decisions in the development of this game, but there was still plenty that was done properly.

Agreed, Starker. As a long-time fan of the franchise, with Thief 2 franchise, I can admit that this new Thief did some things well, but this article gives it more credit than it deserves.

1. Bank Mission: I'll agree, it was one of two or three missions that were Thief-like, with the rest being linear one-way tunnels from start to finish. There are 8 main missions and I liked the Bank and the Baron's estate and some parts of the Asylum were alright. 3 out of 8 is 37%. Not exactly a stellar record of okay to meh. Even at its best, Thief's missions are still tiny.

2. Like Starker, I was not pleased with the simplified mechanics. There was a point to tile floors: forcing you to plan your route with more than just light and darkness alone. And even when in total darkness, I rarely felt hidden in this new Thief game. Instead, I was hiding based on line of sight, like Dishonored, because otherwise guards would spot me from 8 to 10 feet away in pitch black, making hiding by shadow alone mostly useless.

So they took the two biggest stealth mechanics of the originals: sound and light, and gutted one and nearly did away with the other.

3. Personally, I found stealing to be a chore. I did every client and side mission and I often found myself hammering the E key, impatiently wanting Garrett to hurry it up (often resulting in me crouching alongside a desk to peek, getting myself seen in the process). I never felt that a lack of hand animations lead to lessened immersion. To the contrary, impatiently waiting for the animation to complete breaks my immersion far more than having objects vanish from my cursor ever did.

It doesn't help that, as Starker pointed out, you're collecting a lot of near-worthless junk. Aside from the big, special loot, there is little satisfaction from nabbing cutlery or purses in this game. I remember Thief 1 and 2 feeling like Garrett was stealing from haughty nobles who deserved it. Now it feels like he's robbing poor people who have literally nothing of value in their house except for that knife that I just took. I'd rather be stealing fewer, but fancier, worthwhile trinkets from people who kind of deserve to get taken down a notch by a robbery, not every gloom-infested pauper.

4. The voice actor was fine, I thought. It's the writing that made Garrett not as good.

I'll say though that their reasoning for why they didn't use Garrett--so that the new guy could voice act while he did his fancy motion capture--was ridiculous. We almost never see Garrett moving, except in cutscenes, and we never see him doing anything fancy WHILE talking. They could have easily hired a mo-cap stunt man and synced up the lips in post. And it's not like cutting out Stephen Russel only meant a lack of Garrett--it also meant no Benny and none of the other iconic voices that lent charm and personality to the original games.

To me, the far bigger issue than a change of voice actor was the removal of the game's charm. That's more an issue of direction and writing than voice acting, though.

5. Sure, this Basso was more interesting than the non-entity Basso the Boxman. But how would you say his interactions with Garrett hold up to the witty one-ups Garrett and Victoria shared, or the begrudging friendship of Garrett and Artemus? Basso was about the only character in new Thief with any personality, but unfortunately, Garrett didn't have a personality for his rugged charm to bounce off of, so the dynamic wasn't particularly interesting. If Garrett could take the shots and throw them back, like he did with Victoria in Thief 2, it maybe could have been interesting, but he didn't and it wasn't.

6. Saying the Claw was great because it gave the game verticality is like saying Super Mario World 3D is great because there's a jump button. The verticality was always there to begin with and, if anything, it's been significantly simplified.

Unlike in previous games, one cannot mantle or climb at will--only in pre-defined locations. To me, this took away a significant portion of my player agency and, as a result, my immersion. I no longer felt like a true master thief, finding opportunities in every wooden post and oversized crate. Instead I felt like a puppet, moving to the whims of the level designer, performing the precise, predetermined movements necessary to complete the level like a good little taffer fucker.

If anything, it made me appreciate the freedom of the climbing gloves of Deadly Shadows and the blink ability of Dishonored all the more. They at least allowed you to choose when and how to make use of those abilities, rather than the game literally having an arrow pointing you to what you're supposed to do.

7. This isn't even something that was "good" about Thief. You're saying that the climbing mechanics were limited and mandatory and that they could have been something neat, but they weren't. That's not "something Thief did right," that's "yet another thing Thief fucked up."

Frankly, the three third-person, Uncharted-style climbing segments were so bafflingly out of place and unnecessary, I cannot fathom why they bothered. All that stuff could have been done another way without breaking the much-touted "immersion" of always seeing Garrett's grubby hands on either side of the camera. What was the point of it? I wish they'd have cut it out entirely.

8. I will grant you this: I think the puzzle design was pretty good in this game. Better than in any other Thief game, even.

9. The difficulty selection was a wise choice. It's a clever way to throw the long-time fans a bone while simultaneously screwing up everything else that actually mattered in delivering a Thief-like experience.

10. Personally, I never purchased or needed any upgrade except for the mandatory three tools. I didn't see the point of them and gameplay wasn't particularly changed that I could tell for me not having them. The upgrades were a pointless money-sink to add the illusion of a bit more depth where there really wasn't any. Or, as most of the upgrades were combat-related, maybe it was an attempt to pose as a shooter? Whatever the case, it didn't need to be there at all. The original games had a sense of progression by giving the player access to Garrett's arsenal a little bit at a time. That did the job fine of feeling like the player was gaining more options while also not being pointless and stupid.

Honestly? Garrett is going to pay 500 coins for an x-acto knife? Why didn't he just use one of the myriad of knives he stole from all the lower class residents he robbed blind? Why would he pay another 500 for a wire cutter when tons of working-class peasants would have one?

The only one that makes a tad bit of sense is the wrench, since it could be a specialized tool that he couldn't have found anywhere else. The rest of the tools are just ridiculous and the upgrades are pointless.

Keep in mind: the above was my rebuttal to your "10 Things Thief Did Right." That's saying nothing of the many, many other things it did horribly wrong.

Here are five things I think it should have done to be GOOD:

No Hubs
Thief: Deadly Shadows and Thief 2014 both created large hubs that you return to often, for no reason except to extend the length of a fairly short game. All those extra pointless areas could have been used to expand upon the actual thieving locations. When we applauded the earlier games for their open layouts, we weren't silently crying out for some kind of faux sandbox.

Allow, and Reward, Exploration
The biggest draw of the Thief franchise was getting to know the places you're robbing. Finding a hidden switch in a fireplace that opens up a secret room made Garrett happy and it made us happy. As he might say, secret rooms mean secret treasure. Linear maps only work for FPS's where the point is to shoot everything between point A and point B. Thief has and will forever be about scouting your terrain, accessing areas to find keys to access more areas where more treasure is.

Steven Russell is Garrett, Deal With It
No, the new guy did not make a good Garrett. He made a fine Batman, as Yahtzee pointed out in his recent review. Making Garrett "young" for some inane reason (see below) is ridiculous. The Thief fans would rather have an older Garrett than a "20-something" reboot who thieves for the thrill of the game or some stupid Hollywood reason. And while we're on the subject...

Don't Water Things Down for Non-fans
The developers made a nostalgia-driven title and then dumped everything interesting about the first games--the characters, the background, the gameplay, the fun--in favor of appealing to modern gamers, who apparently wouldn't know real stealth and thieving if it walked right by them and took their wallet. That's the stupidest thing they could possibly do to make this a successful title. Honestly, fuck the non-fans. If they want to get into the series, the originals are cheap and easy to come by online.

Bring Back Garrett's City
Besides taking a few briefly hinted aspects from the first games, this new setting has next to nothing to do with the original. The incredibly rich backdrop of the first trilogy dealt with Hammers and Pagans, mages, gods, lost cities, steampunk robots and cursed artifacts. There was enough written down and talked about in those games to write novels with. But now it all gets dumped and all we get is some vague new power called "the Primal" which has nothing to do with anything, yet has always existed and is somehow tied to the lifeblood of the city because reasons. It's like the development team didn't even read up on the setting, and/or has no idea how to write a plot.

I strongly disagree. Thief 4 was flawed from the very moment of it's inception. It's not a case of a bad game that could have turned out good (like Tomb Raider or Lost Planet 3). From the gameplay to the awful writing and delivery of the story. Its one of the few cases where both the concept and execution are awful.
Shamus usually brings up good points but this article is way off, especially the sneaking mechanics paragraph. A good stealth game would encourage players to master the gameplay mechanics and environment, you can't make a heavily scripted linear game out of that. That's why Thief 4 feels like the Call Of Duty: Ghosts of the stealth genre.

Yeah, unfortunately no matter how much diamond searching someone is going to try pulling off in the Thief reboot, it just missed the mark so badly that it's hard to even call it a Thief game. If the company wanted to make a linear story book game they should have created a new title and worked from there with their thoughts on building up a new game series.

All I can conclude after trying to find good games for the last six years is that there aren't enough people who get what games are about in the gaming software industry. Instead the AAA industry is chalk full of fan fiction writers and graphics aficionados.

Colt47:
All I can conclude after trying to find good games for the last six years is that there aren't enough people who get what games are about in the gaming software industry. Instead the AAA industry is chalk full of fan fiction writers and graphics aficionados.

Dark Souls is still good and Arkane seems still interested in making systemic games. There are still a few middle sized companies that "get it". But yeah, the golden age of gaming seems to have been somewhere between 1998 and 2004 when we got many great titles in rapid succession.

There's a great video about Bioware that highlights some of the problem -- the big game companies are owned by people who are not really interested in games beyond making money: Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage: A Tale of Two Companies.

If Dark Souls had been made by people worrying about latest graphics and focus groups, it would have just been a generic dime a dozen action-RPG.

Oh, and to stay on topic, here's a nice comparison between original Garrett and rebooted Garrett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asM9guG7KlE&feature=youtu.be

Starker:

Colt47:
All I can conclude after trying to find good games for the last six years is that there aren't enough people who get what games are about in the gaming software industry. Instead the AAA industry is chalk full of fan fiction writers and graphics aficionados.

Dark Souls is still good and Arkane seems still interested in making systemic games. There are still a few middle sized companies that "get it". But yeah, the golden age of gaming seems to have been somewhere between 1998 and 2004 when we got many great titles in rapid succession.

There's a great video about Bioware that highlights some of the problem -- the big game companies are owned by people who are not really interested in games beyond making money: Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage: A Tale of Two Companies.

If Dark Souls had been made by people worrying about latest graphics and focus groups, it would have just been a generic dime a dozen action-RPG.

Oh, and to stay on topic, here's a nice comparison between original Garrett and rebooted Garrett: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asM9guG7KlE&feature=youtu.be

That's the core reason I've been avoiding EA like the plague post Origin. Beyond making their lives more difficult by having an unnecessary DRM system, they don't understand their customers very well and their recovery strategy from having controversial advertising has been to play it even more safe than before.

 

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