Zero Punctuation: Thief - Stealing a Classic

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Thief - Stealing a Classic

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Thief.

Watch Video

You can practically taste the sadness.

What is it about overworlds that they are so hard to do right? The second Assassin's Creed did it perfectly fine: Have random sidequests, knickknacks and slittable throats if you want to piss around, but let the player be able to cross it in about 5 minutes if they just want to move on.

Well that was entirely expected. Not that I disagree at all mind you, I had such high hopes after Deus Ex: HR actually being an alright game (well apart from the Bullshit boss battles and the crap ending) and then... this. I have a recommendation for anyone thinking of buying this game: Play Dishonored again, you will have much more fun.

Is it my imagination or is the AAA industry getting exponentially worse?

I think he liked it...

Well, it sounds like everything that could have gone wrong ended up going wrooooooooong.

At least we have Dishonored.

I was really hoping Thief would be better than good. I'd never played a game that was all about the stealing before Deadly Shadows, and after finishing the Sly trilogy I found I had a serious klepto streak. Stealing from the houses of strangers will have to suffice, now.

Ah, Thief... you promised to steal my heart, but you made off with my childhood instead.

The Random Critic:
I think he liked it...

Definitely a contender for his Top 5 this year.

Sounds about right; thing is there's probably going to be someone saying we can't judge it by the previous games' merits because it's a reboot, but we all know that's a load of crap. If they didn't want to invite comparisons then they shouldn't have used the Thief name but instead made a new title. It's why I had to laugh whenever someone says "a reboot SHOULD be different" in order to justify clear bastardization of source material or "fuck yous" to the fans (such as the attempted DMC reboot or Lords of Shadow).

Well, that's that then. I'll remove Thief from my Steam wishlist and go buy Thief from GOG instead.

Thanks, Yahtzee! :)

Man, that game didn't stand a chance!

Most entertaining ZP in a while - Yahtzee's at his best when he's genuinely riled, as opposed to just bored.

Scars Unseen:
Ah, Thief... you promised to steal my heart, but you made off with my childhood instead.

You should file a complaint for false advertisement.

Besides i think he actually liked it but is misinterpreting his own opinion.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Thief

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Thief.

Watch Video

As I wrote last week:

The Youth Counselor:
Ever since Yahtzee's retro review of the Thief series on Zero Punctuation and his poem regarding his feelings on the reboot on Jim and Yahtzee's Rhymedown Spectacular, I have been eagerly awaiting Thief 2014's release just to see him tear the game a new asshole (or arsehole as he would say.)

Judging by the mixed to negative reviews, and what I've seen of the terrible story that threw out the world built by Ben's beloved Ken Levine, I'd wager it may be a Duke Nukem Forever sized hole.

Next week can not come soon enough.

Since I was eagerly awaiting this for so long I guess Yahtzee's own Gamer Matrix applies here.

I was hoping for more frothing hatred and expletives, and yet because I actually played some of the game (It was a friend's copy. I swear), I have to admit there are good points that I hoped he would uncharacteristically point out. The game has possibly the best hand animations I've ever seen in a game, and the decision to stick to the first person perspective and all the optional modifiers to gameplay down to removing the HUD is commendable in this day and age. I also liked how after the debacle of the first footage shown that featured XP points for headshots, that they refocused the (optional) combat on less lethal takedowns, escapes, and made it deliberately clunky to discourage fighting.

But yes, the game is a mess, and the story is absolutely disgraceful not just considering the franchise's excellent writing but the pedigree behind the writing. Ken Levine and Austin Grossman started their careers writing Thief and building the world that the reboot threw out completely to fill with generic characters, factions, and conflicts.

Anyhow, I hear the Legacy of Kain series may be rebooted with Nosgoth. Can't wait for the bile from Yahtzee there.

Only "critic" I've seen who actually enjoys this game is TotalBiscuit and his merits for liking a game, which effectively excludes story, characters, setting, sound-engineer and pretty much anything else that doesn't fit his narrow definition of gameplay, makes his opinion pretty much irrelevant.

That said, this video kind of made me want to try Dishonored again.

Is it just me, or was this episode much less 'witty' than they usually are...?

Could have been worse

They could have included online multiplayer

Honestly? It feels like making like this, that seems to go out of their way to ruin the previous games takes more time and money then, I don't know... Use only the most necessary stuff and take a left turn towards unexplored territory, rather then the right turn towards the scrapyard? Or even better, entirely new stuff?

. . . And while I daydream, I could dream about living in a world where idiots who refuse to think isn't the ones at the top.

Somebody needs a hug.
But yeah, it's pretty much what I expected of the game.

TomWiley:
Only "critic" I've seen who actually enjoys this game is TotalBiscuit and his merits for liking a game, which effectively excludes story, characters, setting, sound-engineer and pretty much anything else that doesn't fit his narrow definition of gameplay, makes his opinion pretty much irrelevant.

I think you're one of the people this video was aimed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpmeOB0Zyu0

Oh i knew you would hate the new thief and that is why i was looking forward to this so much. And i was not disappointed good job.

And I thought it'd be hard to fuck up a game about a bloke stealing stuff because he can...

josh4president:
Could have been worse

They could have included online multiplayer

Honestly, I think that would have been a better decision. Thief: Deadly Shadows might have been more restrictive than its predecessors, but it had a beautifully written tale that perfectly wrapped up Garrett's character arc while setting up a potential predecessor for a sequel with the little girl he takes in. The bold move and smarter business decision judging by today's changing tastes and demographics would have been to continue the franchise, but take it in a different direction and put focus on other characters and mechanics.

Eidos Montreal decided to reboot the series and throw out the world, events, factions, and conflicts of the the true series. Yet they decided to keep on to the idea of Garrett taking in and training a young girl as an apprentice that was originally placed there to continue that continuity. Her inclusion sums up the whole game: a wasted opportunity.

A co-opt multiplayer game called Thieves or Keepers or something that is a spin-off of Thief or a standalone series set in the same universe (like Portal and Half-Life) would have sated the diehard Taffers still making maps for The Dark Mod and posting on ttlg.com forums, yet allowed them to take liberties to appeal to modern tastes, as well as grant the developers creative freedom to experiment with and introduce new and different mechanics and the artists different aesthetics.

Wow, can't remember Yahtzee talking that fast in the last two years or so. Or maybe it's just the tremendous desperation affecting my reaction time... yuo brought? yu broguht?!

I feel like we'll be hearing about this for weeks to come. This will be for Yahtzee what Man of Steel is for Bob Chipman.

Aiddon:
Sounds about right; thing is there's probably going to be someone saying we can't judge it by the previous games' merits because it's a reboot, but we all know that's a load of crap. If they didn't want to invite comparisons then they shouldn't have used the Thief name but instead made a new title. It's why I had to laugh whenever someone says "a reboot SHOULD be different" in order to justify clear bastardization of source material or "fuck yous" to the fans (such as the attempted DMC reboot or Lords of Shadow).

To be fair, a reboot should indeed be different, because putting a new perspective on things is the ONLY reason to pour millions into telling the same story twice. Did you know Scarface was a remake of a 1930s gangster film about Prohibition? If you're like everyone else I've ever asked this question, the answer is probably no. The remake made the wise decision to update the setting to 1980s Miami, both making the story more relevant to present audiences and drawing a parallel between the Drug War and Prohibition that adds a lot of political subtext. That being said, there is a difference between expanding a story through reinterpretation and just making a boiled-down caricature or a continuation in name only, which is what I think you're talking about.

What a surprise. He hated it. Now I wonder if the old Thief games are on Steam to buy instead.

I kinda do want to play or at least watch videos of this new Thief just to see if the sound is as bad as he claims it is.

Is it my imagination or is the AAA industry getting exponentially worse?

Maybe now we'll finally wake up and realize that AAA is just some stupid marketing term for games that have huge budgets but waste them on hype rather than making the game good.

I didn't think it was that bad, but I haven't gotten very far into it. It's not surprising that he hated it, though.

I do agree that it heavily attempts to just copy Dishonored which is not a good thing. It's basically copying a copy of yourself.

Aside from the things already listed, what bothered me personally the most was all the interruptive micro-cutscenes that turned an organic chase scene into "rub [spacebar] against this bunch of crates and pray that it's actually a climbable object". At least FarCry3 had the decency of putting white ropes everywhere you were supposed to climb, but in Thief some parts have white bird poo signals on them and some don't, some lifts/beams can be shot at with rope arrows and some already have a rope hanging down by nature but that doesn't mean your rope will work.
There were tons of these inconsistencies that showed what a production clusterfuck Thief apparently was, like how you stay in first person for most of the time and climb in first person most of the time, but sometimes there's a wall you've got to climb in third person because they couldn't redo the cinematic tomb collapse with a level climbable without third person.

I don't know why they had to add to much contextual BS everywhere and frame it in a micro cutscene, it just makes everything feel stiff and sluggish and unresponsive and I think is part of the reason why people aren't allowed to stack crates anymore to reach ledges.

I did like that you could see your feet tho.

P.S.
I think the "it's what I do" line really showed the writers had no idea what Garrett's was, so they put in something neutral and ambiguous hoping it wouldn't upset any of the two audiences.

This is like beating a dead horse. And it feels good.

I've yet to see the ZP video, but I enjoyed Thief. It was limiting in it's level design, but it had decent atmosphere and if you play it without trying to knock anyone out, it can be tense. I'm currently on my second playthrough with various modes on/off. :)

I felt like Yahtzee did this episode and just went, "Yup, still got it."

Probably one of the better episodes I've seen from him, especially since he literally didn't exaggerate at all or even have to exaggerate. This game is a waddling train wreck that missed the point of the original thief series worse than the third installment. Heck, I've been running into similar issues trying to play Metro Last Light after running through Quake.

If I want to go somewhere in a quake level, Quake is like "Oh yeah, just use the rocket launcher and rocket jump over there!"

If I want to go somewhere in Metro: Last Light, the game is like "Yeah, let me check the radioactive meter... nope you can't that way. Oh yeah and that ledge that's a meter high is equivalent to the grand canyon so no going that way either."

The publishers AND the developers working with them need to stop trying to make pseudo movie experiences disguised as games and get back to making real games!

LordTerminal:

Is it my imagination or is the AAA industry getting exponentially worse?

Maybe now we'll finally wake up and realize that AAA is just some stupid marketing term for games that have huge budgets but waste them on hype rather than making the game good.

That's pretty much what it's devolved into, hasn't it?

Adept Mechanicus:
I feel like we'll be hearing about this for weeks to come. This will be for Yahtzee what Man of Steel is for Bob Chipman.

Aiddon:
Sounds about right; thing is there's probably going to be someone saying we can't judge it by the previous games' merits because it's a reboot, but we all know that's a load of crap. If they didn't want to invite comparisons then they shouldn't have used the Thief name but instead made a new title. It's why I had to laugh whenever someone says "a reboot SHOULD be different" in order to justify clear bastardization of source material or "fuck yous" to the fans (such as the attempted DMC reboot or Lords of Shadow).

To be fair, a reboot should indeed be different, because putting a new perspective on things is the ONLY reason to pour millions into telling the same story twice. Did you know Scarface was a remake of a 1930s gangster film about Prohibition? If you're like everyone else I've ever asked this question, the answer is probably no. The remake made the wise decision to update the setting to 1980s Miami, both making the story more relevant to present audiences and drawing a parallel between the Drug War and Prohibition that adds a lot of political subtext. That being said, there is a difference between expanding a story through reinterpretation and just making a boiled-down caricature or a continuation in name only, which is what I think you're talking about.

A more valid comparison would be if they had decided to 'remake' Scarface as a Romantic Comedy.

So, in short: "WHIIINE, IT'S NOT A COPY-PASTE OF THIEF 2, WHIIIINE". But then again, you don't go watching Yahtzee to see an unbiased review.

As for the game itself: It's good. Not great, has issues, could be done better. But it's still fun as hell, has the "Thief" thing right if you want it to get it right (that is - disable all the new helpers, quest trackers, focus and other stuff). It can be even like Dishonored if you want (by leaving all the helpers on). It actually has one of the better difficulty systems aroudn and tons of options to customize your experience.

It also has broken sound and some real annoyances and isn't really as good as Thief II and Deadly Shadows. It's certanly better than Thief though at least due to lack of zombies and cave mazes.

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