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'Thief' Reboot Is A Calamitous Disaster Of Epic Proportions

Feb 26 2014, 1:46pm CST | by

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'Thief' Reboot Is A Calamitous Disaster Of Epic Proportions
 
 

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'Thief' Reboot Is A Calamitous Disaster Of Epic Proportions

There were warning signs early on with Thief, the modern reboot of the classic stealth series.

But nothing prepared me for the disappointment that this game truly is—which is a shame, since I was really looking forward to it. Even the flood of poor reviews and lowish review scores didn’t prepare me.

IGN’s 6.8/10 is far too kind, as is the 70/100 the game is averaging on Metacritic. The Telegraph’s Tim Martin gave it two stars out of five (4/10) which seems more on the mark.

“I had more fun making my way up to bed in the dark after playing Thief than I did at any point during its benighted trudge across The City,” writes Martin.

And that’s about the truth of the matter.

It’s puzzling, really.

The game feels so half-finished. How could Square Enix allow it to go live in the first place?

Perhaps they figured that after this many years in development, further delaying the game wouldn’t fix its myriad problems. Maybe that’s true.

There are some games that you play all the way through despite the fact that you’re not having much fun. They’re just good enough, or interesting enough, or addictive enough to shoulder through. To persevere in spite of it all.

Others are so bad that after an hour or so, you realize that there are just too many other things you’d rather be doing with your life. Like the dishes, or laundry.

Thief is this type of game.

It’s not just the bad characters and terrible writing, though it is that, too. When you have to resist the urge to skip cut-scenes within the first twenty minutes of a game, you know you’re off to a rough start.

Thief has numerous scenes where the voice-acting doesn’t even match up with the character’s lip-syncing. This is the sort of bizarre transgression that defines the game.

There shouldn’t be such discrepancies with the voices in cut-scenes. It’s embarrassing.

If the gameplay were good, you could just skip the cut-scenes and enjoy yourself, but the game is just such a mess it’s hard to forgive.

What could have been a terrific stealth game with a massive city to explore and fantastic heists to pull off is instead a dreary, irritating experience with nice graphics and animations.

There are too many trinkets to pick up. Load times are abysmal.

It’s not the worst stealth in the world, but between the really uneven AI and the super-confined level design, there’s just not much, if anything, to recommend Thief. 

It doesn’t so much live in the shadow of the far superior Dishonored, it dies in that shadow.

The characters themselves are unbearable—as bad or worse than the characters in the Devil May Cry reboot. The difference is that DmC was actually fun to play, with decent combat and some very creative boss-fights and beautiful backdrops.

Thief isn’t fun at all. It’s the death of fun. It has some terrific urban environments and detailed interiors, but these are empty calories without content to match.

Eidos Montreal goes for big cinematic moments in ThiefCall of Duty style.

That might explain why the whole thing feels like one long corridor also, rather than a sort-of open-ish world with lots of different avenues and approaches to take.

You have very little agency, very little choice about how to tackle each section of the game. Even where you climb or shoot your various arrows is predetermined.

Meanwhile, challenge is wildly skewed from one moment to the next, with guards at once far too sensitive to your presence and far too easy to shake.

Ultimately, it just doesn’t feel like Thief.

I can forgive reboots departing from their series’ roots. Sometimes this is done well, or largely well, as was the case with Tomb Raider. Sometimes the results are more mixed—Hitman: Absolution, for instance. (Both Square Enix titles.)

But Thief fails on too many levels. It’s a game that takes place in the shadows that never should have seen the light of day.

The only redeeming factor here, other than some pretty graphics and animations, is the swooping move Garrett can perform to duck and glide from shadow to shadow. That’s a very cool mechanic and I hope we see it used in other stealth games in the future. If the rest of the game were this slick it would have been a blast.

Unfortunately, this may be the last Thief game we see in a long time. Unless it sells much better than I anticipate it will, the brand may be damaged goods.

Follow me on Twitter or FacebookRead my Forbes blog here.

Source: Forbes

 

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/31" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

 

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