Thief: The Kotaku Review

Thief: The Kotaku Review

A city full of closed doors and dead ends, boxed in and lined with nothing but rough edges: That’s Thief. It’s hard to know quite where to begin with a shambling mediocrity such as this.

It’s a game that could have been great and is instead a lumpy, frumpy disappointment, outclassed on all sides by its contemporaries and struggling mightily for a foothold in a world that’s moved on to better things.

Thief is the long-awaited fourth entry in the storied Thief series. Its predecessors, particularly 1998’s Thief: The Dark Project and 2000’s Thief II: The Metal Age, are often credited with revolutionising if not flat-out inventing a particular genre of immersive stealth game. Like those forebears, Thief is a first-person adventure game that casts you in the role of a larcenous leather-wearer named Garrett, a legendary thief who prefers to stick to the shadows, grab the loot, and avoid being seen whenever possible.

Thief: The Kotaku Review

There is perhaps no better encapsulation of Thief than its setting, a perpetually nocturnal steampunk mega-shantytown known as The City. This place appears fascinating at first glance. It’s a malignant growth of houses built up on other houses, a busted Rubik’s Cube of angled alleyways and dark, hidden corners.

An eager player might be champing at the bit to start exploring, but reality is far less exciting than it may have seemed at first blush. The City is obstinate and confusingly designed, and its sprawl is mostly an illusion. What initially looked free and open is revealed to be locked in irons, little more than a collection of cramped corridors stacked on top of one another and placed between you and your next objective.

Story missions and sidequests are all isolated, and each one is separated from The City’s streets by at least one loading screen. (Thief has so, so many loading screens.) It’s all fragmented and immensely difficult to navigate — Garrett can climb some walls but not others, scale some fences but not others, open some doors but not others. His bow and arrow theoretically offer some means of manipulating the environment, but even that has been hobbled when compared with past games. In particular, the rope-attached arrows that allowed for such creative exploration in past Thief games now can only be attached to a scant handful of designated rope-points.

The City has more dead-ends than it has escape routes. It’s constantly patrolled by dangerous guards, but if they spot you, whatever chase ensues will likely be brief, ending either with Garrett cornered or with the player taking advantage of one of several ridiculous ways to exploit enemies’ shonky artificial intelligence. For example, you can begin to jimmy open a window and guards will immediately stop chasing you, even if they were right on your heels. Curses, he got away!

Thief absolutely loves to shut doors. At almost every opportunity, the game closes itself behind you, sealing off Garrett’s path of escape and pushing him ever forward. When Garrett goes through a window, the window automatically closes behind him. When he finds a secret passageway or unscrews a gate leading to a ventilation duct, the openings swing shut as he passes through. Thief is a series of gates, each one spring-loaded to close as quickly as possible.

Thief: The Kotaku Review

It’s a subtle thing, but constant, and it has a distressing effect over time. While it’s usually possible to go back through the door or window that just closed, all that endless, unceremonious shutting leaves the game feeling unpleasantly fragmented. As the hours pass, Thief becomes a claustrophobic, constipated experience, a collection of coffins glued together into a superstructure that’s all the more difficult to navigate for its blown-out size.

A moment to recognise the awfulness of the in-game map. Look at this thing:

Thief: The Kotaku Review

Gah. Thief‘s map is a perverse achievement in counter-intuitive video-game cartography, a series of white lines and black squares so starkly unhelpful that it sometimes feels malevolent. Exploring The City often feels like attempting to navigate a wheelchair to the top of a great stack of differently-sized crates.

Immersive sims like the original Thief games have historically consisted of complex levels that, at their best, operate like great whirring mechanisms. The stealthy player exists at the periphery, and without his or her interference, the machine simply continues to spin and grind. It’s up to the player to decide how to poke and prod at the machine, or whether to slip through the gears so expertly that the mechanism never even registers an outside presence.

When placed alongside the new ground broken by games like Far Cry 3, Mark of the Ninja, Gunpoint and Dishonored, Thief feels rigid, dull, and largely devoid of complexity or opportunities to improvise. The game’s eight main story missions play out with remarkable similarity: First Garrett infiltrates a building through one of a few possible entrances, always, of course, with the door closing behind him. He then makes his way through a couple floors’ worth of hallways and open rooms, bypassing or ambushing a few guards. Cue a cutscene, then some more closed-in areas, then another cutscene. Occasionally there will be a puzzle, which often as not the game will happily solve for you. (“To reset the lock, I have to press both buttons before the timer runs out,” Garrett once explained to me, unbidden. Thanks, Garrett.)

At times, I caught glimpses of the good game that might have been. Things start out promisingly, as Garrett follows his young protégé Erin on a breathless race across the rooftops of The City. You run by holding down the left trigger, which much like an Assassin’s Creed game prompts Garrett to automatically climb, mantle and leap from wall to window to rooftop. There at the beginning, I felt like I was catching sight of what Thief should have been — a first-person Assassin’s Creed-meets-Mirror’s Edge stealth game, all leaping and diving from rooftop to rooftop, flitting through the shadows like a panther set free.

I wish I’d gotten to play that game. Alas, it’s a proof-of-concept that’s never repeated, and The City’s rooftops never feel that open again.

Thief: The Kotaku Review

For all my gripes about the main story missions, there were several smaller instances — usually during one of the many small side-missions or medium-sized “client” missions — during which I found myself plenty engrossed. Creep through the house, locate the hidden safe, grab the loot and make it out undetected. Cool. I’ll allow that I simply like sneaking, and that no matter how messy or unpolished the full game may be, I’ll never fully tire of extinguishing torches and outwitting guards. If all you want is to sneak through a seemingly endless parade of small areas while outmaneuvering dimwitted guards, Thief has got you covered. Its side-missions may be middling, but there sure are a lot of them.

From a technical standpoint, Thief is remarkably rickety, at times downright shoddy. I haven’t played a big-budget game this unpolished in a while, and was eventually reduced to rueful laughs every time something appalling would happen. Guard AI would frequently bug out, strange music and ambient audio would cut in and out in unexpected places, alerted enemies would carry their alertness over after I reloaded a quicksave instead of resetting (!), ambient dialogue would get stuck in a loop during cutscenes, and end-level screens would jarringly interrupt characters mid-sentence.

At any given moment the game looks nice enough — at least on next-gen consoles and PC — though I’d go so far as to say that impressive lighting and mist-tech don’t make up for uninspired art direction. Regardless, all the volumetric fog in the world can’t make up for this kind of thing:

That is, guards that don’t hear you making a racket, don’t notice you kicking a rake directly in front of them, and then proceed to get trapped in a bugged, looping cigarette-lighting animation. Yeesh.

I played a mostly complete pre-release build of the PC version of Thief, and I have to assume — or at least hope — that some of the more obvious bugs will be ironed out by or shortly after launch. (For example, at every mission-completion screen, my display would recast itself in a 4:3 aspect ratio, often forcing a complete restart to return to 16:9.) Even assuming the most egregious bugs are fixed, Thief will still feel like a hurriedly finalised first draft.

Like most things about Thief, the controls are rigid and ill-conceived:

Thief: The Kotaku Review

The left-trigger free-running could’ve made up for the lack of a jump button, but because the environments are so inconsistent and often insurmountable, Garrett mostly winds up grounded, scooting around with his hands outstretched like a hunchbacked Bela Lugosi. PC purists can forget about the complex mouse and keyboard controls of past Thief games — for the most part, the PC controls mirror the controller. There isn’t even a free-standing lean option. Unthinkable!

Thief technically offers the option to engage enemies in one-on-one combat, but the first-person fighting is so awkward that it’s best avoided entirely. Put it this way: On a controller, the left shoulder button is used to dodge and the right shoulder button is used to attack. Yes, combat in this game is handled with the shoulder buttons.

While many games of this type will gradually introduce new enemies, slowly increasing the number of variables in order to keep players on their toes, Thief rejects variety completely. Aside from some CHUDs that make an inexplicable cameo appearance for part of a level, there are essentially two enemy types in the entire game. They’re a pair of gentlemen I have come to affectionately think of as Swordbro and Crossbro.

Here’s Swordbro:

Thief: The Kotaku Review

…and here’s Crossbro:

Thief: The Kotaku Review

Garrett’s enemies change as the story progresses, but whether the narrative claims the guards are men of the City Watch or deadly rebels set on killing anyone they see, it’s really always just Swordbro and Crossbro. Imagine: An entire city of Swordbros and Crossbros, all doing the best they can, trying on hats in their downtime.

As they go about their patrols, guards repeat the same few lines of dialogue to the point of inadvertent self-parody. Thief contains a very small amount of overheard guard dialogue, yet many of those lines have been recorded multiple times and attached to different guards in different areas.

You might be surprised at how many different ways there are to say “You can smell the river from here.” “You can SMELL the river from here,” says one guard, surprised that you can do more than taste and feel it. “You can smell the RIVER from here,” muses another, later, apparently impressed that of all the things you can smell from here, the river is one of them. “You can smell the river from HERE,” mutters a third, reflecting on the fact that the river can be smelled even from this great distance. I heard this line of dialogue in just about every area in the game; apparently you can smell the river from pretty much anywhere.

Version Check: Thief is coming out on five platforms: The PC, PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360. I played the game all the way through on PC and also tested the PS4 and Xbox One versions. The PC version is easily the superior option; it looks quite nice, and I was able to run at very high settings at 1080p and maintain a mostly solid 60fps frame rate. Both next-gen console versions run at around 30fps, though both feel a touch inconsistent. The PS4 version runs at a slightly higher resolution than the Xbox One version — 1080p to the Xbox One’s 900p — but neither looks or runs as well as the PC version. While I could spot the resolution difference when comparing the two next-gen versions, both are a bit crusty and don’t feel like they show off the full potential of their respective consoles. As for unique console features, the PS4 version needlessly ties the inventory to the DualShock 4’s touchpad, which is less intuitive than the radial menu in the other versions. The Xbox One has some typically useless voice functionality and uses trigger-rumble while lockpicking in a nifty way. I was unable to get either a PS3 or Xbox 360 version of the game to review ahead of the release date, so I can’t yet speak to their quality.

Thief‘s narrative revolves around the perplexing and underdeveloped relationship between Garrett and Erin, as well as a strange sickness called “The Gloom,” a bout of amnesia, a mysterious power called “The Primal,” and a handful of empty-shirt supporting characters who occasionally waltz onstage to say things like “We’re not so different, you and I.”

Like so many aspects of the game, the story barely holds together right up until it falls apart completely. This narrative glue is more like dried chewing gum, an attempt to spackle together disparate story missions with napkin-thin characters and cliché-ridden dialogue, all building up to a finale so unsatisfying and nonsensical that even now I remain unsure what the hell happened.

When the credits rolled and I saw well-regarded writer Rhianna Pratchett’s name atop the writing credits, I did a double-take. Pratchett, who wrote last year’s Tomb Raider, is by all accounts a skilled writer, as well as being a fierce advocate for more diverse, interesting video-game scripts and better roles for female characters. Yet here we have a game with one of the clumsiest, most poorly constructed stories I’ve encountered in recent memory, where the only notable female characters are A) a dull “bad girl” who quickly becomes a damsel in distress B) a mystical exposition-crone and C) a group of prostitutes.

The disconnect between Pratchett’s talent and the contents of the game’s script may be indicative of what went wrong with Thief more broadly. I’ve no doubt the majority of the people who worked on the rest of the game were similarly good at what they do — these are some of the same people who made the terrific Deus Ex: Human Revolution, after all — but their combined skills still don’t appear to have been enough.

Thief: The Kotaku Review

We’ve long been hearing rumours and reports of Thief‘s extended, torturous development, tales of scrapped ideas and a work environment derailed by office politics, where leadership was constantly in flux and creative direction was inconsistent at best. Over the course of the game’s story, it’s revealed that for generations The City has been ceaselessly built and rebuilt on the skeletons of past cities, with powerful men and women fighting for control as their workers suffered in the gloom. Critic Leigh Alexander once smartly observed that games often reflect the environments in which they were created, and that observation feels particularly relevant here.

We often use the word “release” to talk about new games. I’ve never been fond of the term, but in this case it feels fitting: Thief has been released. Thoroughly mediocre though the finished product may be, it is perhaps a relief that after years in creative purgatory, it has finally been set free. May its better ideas go on to fuel other, better games.

For now though: Thief is a woeful disappointment, a bowl of stealth gruel best pushed aside in favour of tastier fare. Let it sit, let it grow cold, and let it be rinsed away.


  • Dishonored still reigns supreme. Not surprised after hearing about the troubled development and delays last year

    • I’ll tell you what reigns supreme. Thief 2. I have decided not to bother with this new one, but every time I have reinstalled Thief 2 and started I have ended up completing it. It is quite simply the best stealth game ever made. The rooftop level, the bank… there are just so many huge places to explore filled with secrets. The structure of the game is still quite linear, but with sandbox levels full of secrets and choice. There are stories and events happening all around you at times and it was one of the first worlds that to me felt truly alive. The graphics actually hold up well, and you should be able to run at an ultra smooth framerate at highest settings on even a crappy PC these days. I would recommend anyone gets this instead of 3 (which was also crap) or this new one.

      • I remember playing it again when it came to Steam and still really enjoyed myself (knocking everyone out in a house then running around and jumping loudly on the tiled floors never gets old xD). Even managed to find new ways to navigate and infiltrate in certain maps.

  • Another beloved franchise falls prey.

    Damn, I wanted to like this, but everything I saw threw flags up in my face and this review does not change that. Another game I will be waiting to hit PS+ in a year.

    • Not sure what it fell prey to though.

      I mean it’s clearly had a terrible development but I don’t see it being a Dragon Age II style situation where it was released as it was because EA didn’t give a fuck and just wanted to release a rushed product to fit their “annual release” model.

      This game’s had plenty of time and money thrown at it, it’s just been a shambles. I’d wouldn’t write the series off though, it could still be saved with a new team and a completely fresh start.

      • It fell prey to a corporate whore of a company taking the name of a great game and squeezing out a turd of a sequel/”reboot” using that name but without having any respect for the original game and without understanding what made it great.

        • I don’t know why you’re so willing to give Bioware a pass on DA2. That game wasn’t unfinished, it was just riddled with dubious design choices and bad writing. I don’t think it was EA that forced them to implement the “smash A to win” game mechanics or linear on-rails decision making.

          That being said, Thief sounds like it suffers from not just poor gameplay, but technical glitches and bad AI. Although, to be fair, the poor gameplay is pretty emblematic of the AAA game industry these days. It seems that unless something is a CoD clone, very few game companies know how to create anything entertaining.

          People love to blame publishers for shitty games, but in my experience (over 20 years of software engineering and management), shitty projects are almost always the fault of project managers and technical teams. I’d say that’s likely the case here…

        • It’s been in development for a damn long time though and I’m sure it’s well over budget, so to me it doesn’t fit into the standard “corporate whores sold-out my favourite series” stereotype.

          Honestly, and I say this as a person who very much enjoyed the first three, I don’t think the Thief formula was going to hold up very well by 2014 standards even if it was done in a very polished manner. I know some people would have liked it, but I just couldn’t see it setting the world on fire without some changes to the play style.
          Please don’t take that to mean that I think it should be another COD or anything like that, just that the formula may have come across as a little stale without SOME tinkering.

          It seems to me like the development team never really settled on whether they wanted to reboot the Thief franchise or make a game which stuck closer to its roots. I think that’s probably why it’s ultimately had such a long development and resulted in what appears to be an unfocused, unpolished product.

          I don’t know, I guess the difference is that I’m not mad that this game sucks. It’s disappointing, but I think it’s sh*t for reasons beyond a lack of care. I suppose they could have just canned it or delayed it for another 5 years until it was good, but nobody’s making you buy this product.

        • Are you going to complain about brown grey shooters next?

          I’m not saying your wrong but can we at least apraoch this with some thought rather than spewing out the same frighten rhetoric over and over again? it’s getting annoying

          • What “rhetoric”?

            A question was asked, and answered.

            The issue is games companies deciding to harness the name of classic games for marketing purposes, then cranking out an unfaithful/mediocre/bad game which has little to nothing to do with what made the name marketable in the first place.

            Some examples –

            XCOM – good game, loses much of what made the original compelling though
            XCOM: The Bureau (or whatever it was called) – awful game with nothing at all to do with the original
            Deus Ex: Human Revolution – good game, loses much of what made the original compelling
            Dungeon Keeper: hideous pay to win clickfest with nothing whatsoever to do with the original
            Syndicate: mediocre shooter instead of all time great isometric action/strategy game

            Some of these (XCOM and DX:HR in particular) are fine games, but should have been new games, not supposed remakes/prequels/’reboots’ (is there any more despicable marketing speak in the world of games?).

            IMHO if you want to use the name of a classic game, you need to treat it with respect (or accept that criticism of you as a pathetic, marketing driven sell out is valid).

          • To me, X-Com and DX had plenty in common with their predecessors and the changes were fairly insubstantial, even cosmetic. They weren’t carbon-copies but nor should they have been. The majority of the games’ designs were kept intact but they were updated in a way that skirted around that.

            If you feel that the games felt different, that’s just because the game developer’s couldn’t capture that feeling. Which is fair enough, that’s why those old games were classics. But your argument assumes that it was intentionally made that way, and I disagree.

      • You basically answered your own question. It fell prey to the habit of popular franchises getting rebooted and falling well short of the magic that made the earlier games.

        And a fresh start? This game is now part of the Thief Franchise and while they could take another stab at it, the damage is done

  • What a shame. I’m a huge fan of the originals, and I was willing to give this one a shot. This has changed my mind. There doesn’t seem to be many redeeming qualities, sadly. 🙁

      • I am in the process of doing that now, including watching gameplay videos. Can you please respect that several issues highlighted in this particular review matter to me? The lack of open structure and linear points of no return are important limitations, and would limit my enjoyment of the game. So far, every review I’ve seen has confirmed this.

  • Who said it was an entirely open free roam game? The maps looked closed in and shuffle on the streets seemed isolated, this from everything they have been showing us.

  • What initially looked free and open is revealed to be locked in irons, little more than a collection of cramped corridors stacked on top of one another and placed between you and your next objective.

    … This is exactly how all the games have been, and with good reasons. This is NOT a sandbox game, nor should every game be forced to be one.

    The City has more dead-ends than it has escape routes. It’s constantly patrolled by dangerous guards, but if they spot you, whatever chase ensues will likely be brief, ending either with Garrett cornered or with the player taking advantage of one of several ridiculous ways to exploit enemies’ shonky artificial intelligence.

    Once again, this has always been the case – the AI is intended as nothing more realistically than a vision sensor that moves. Though when they corner you it pretty well should be lights out. And it’s meant to feel closed in, like you’re trapped like a rat in a maze, and just like….

    When Garrett goes through a window, the window automatically closes behind him. When he finds a secret passageway or unscrews a gate leading to a ventilation duct, the openings swing shut as he passes through.

    … right, because a real thief would just leave them all open and hope nobody goes “heeeey, what’s with all these open vents and doors that were closed 2 seconds ago….”

    Thief becomes a claustrophobic, constipated experience, a collection of coffins glued together into a superstructure that’s all the more difficult to navigate for its blown-out size.

    … Once again, this is EXACTLY how a thief game is meant to feel…

    Gah. Thief‘s map is a perverse achievement in counter-intuitive video-game cartography, a series of white lines and black squares so starkly unhelpful that it sometimes feels malevolent.

    … Because the map is not a real thing.. It’s meant to be a rendition of what the thief might have as a mental map.. I suppose they could have used a real/paper map.. but this wouldn’t have indicated where the player is, which most people would probably find harder (anyone trying to navigate in DayZ can tell you about this)..

    uninspired art direction

    I find it quite fine.. It is unique and still very similar to the originals. Basic steampunk without taking it into some needlessly stylised direction with gears etc etc that serve no purpose, or ending up as Assassins Creed: Thief Edition

    Thief contains a very small amount of overheard guard dialogue, yet many of those lines have been recorded multiple times and attached to different guards in different areas.

    Wait.. You mean they did what every game ever has done?!? This is an outrage!!
    I dunno, it just seems like you were probably the worst person to review this game ever. “Here’s all the typical thief stuff – and I don’t like it.” – well that’s fine, but maybe leave the reviewing to someone else..

    There does sound to be some bugs, which does kind of suck and I think this is the one regard in which you are right to expect better. It’s 2014. But then, you don’t show what any of them are.. Perhaps you were in a rage of keyboard warrior angst and pressing just enough buttons just fast enough to break everything forever.

    In a lot of ways, Thief is a VERY similar game to Hitman – they are games of complex sets of interlocking timers (NPC movement and activities/events) that determined where you could go, when and how. You listen to dialog for clues on where things might be in many cases or maybe not (not sure if guards would realistically stand around talking about the location of the safe for example) and if you did get into combat, you must do so carefully and with forethought. This is also why the combat is so simplistic… Because if you’re fighting anyone you’re doing it wrong. Nuff said.

    I think on a lot of this, if you think about it for a while, you will see that most of it had SOME design reasoning. Sure it doesn’t sound perfect, but I don’t think it’s how you make it sound…

    Though this is probably syndicated content anyway, and you will probably never see/care about this comment heh.

    • This is exactly why I never pay any attention to reviews. Everybody has different likes and dislikes, just because someone doesn’t like it, it doesn’t mean that I won’t

      • I pay attention to reviews and somehow manage to maintain my individuality at the same time by making choices.

      • I pay attention to reviews, but I read the reviews to see if what the reviewer likes or does not like about a game matches what I would like or not like about a game. The score is largely incidental. Plus I read multiple reviews where possible, so as not to be thrown off by one irrational hater (or lover) of a game. After a while you get a feeling for which reviewers share your tastes in games, and you can favour those.

        There have been times I’ve bought a game based on a negative review, because the game was marked down on something that I see as a positive thing.

        If you’re not going to base your buying decisions on reviews, what are you going to use? Player opinions? (AKA reviews.) Hype? Screenshots? The quality of the box? The history of the franchise?

        Some of these are worth including in an evaluation, but a good spread of informed opinion is hard to beat.

    • What’s with all the defending of a product you haven’t even played yet (unlike the reviewer)?

      I mean you might disagree with him ultimately but until you’ve played the game I don’t see why you wouldn’t give him the benefit of the doubt.

      I get the feeling that this game got caught somewhere between the traditional style of Thief gameplay and wanting to implement more mechanics that we’ve seen in other games (the free running, experimenting with 3rd person during development) and ultimately falling victim to a development team that didn’t know what it wanted to produce.

      It’s a bit like the issues people had with the Donkey Kong review, you can say it’s exactly what it’s supposed to be (It’s SUPPOSED to be boxed in, dingy and grey, the AI is supposed to be retarded, the map is supposed to be impossible to understand) but that doesn’t mean that it ultimately delivers a product that’s fun to play in comparison to the other games on the market.

      FYI the game currently has a metacritic ranking of below 70. That’s very low for a AAA title…. So yeah, I’m kinda convinced that it’s pretty shit.

      • We should all reserve judgement until we’ve had some hands-on time with it ourselves, rather than just write it off (or praise it for that matter) because of some reviewers opinions.

      • I would disagree – when the end result is very similar to previous games in the series, it seems that anything outside of that probably was just them playing around (dev’s play WITH games rather than playing games heh).

        To me the whole review smacked of “Needs to be more like every other game on the market”, which I don’t appreciate or see any value in as a sentiment.

        And yes, it IS supposed to be boxed in and dingy.. The AI isn’t supposed to be erratic or do anything incredible, they are complex timers. As I say above, Hitman works nearly identically – some people perhaps just appreciate its illusion more. I think my thoughts on the map were quite logical also.. Unless suddenly its a game about magic, and the map is magic or something.

        The metacritic score does not mean a game is worthless, nor does it even just simply not appealing to the masses. I don’t think that should, realistically, be any games goal, AAA or otherwise. To me, it stayed true to its roots if nothing else, and I find that acceptable enough that I will play it.

        • Sounds like you’ve already decided it is like the originals and not even a review that effectively says otherwise can convince you. The original games were far from boxed-in, though they could at points be described as claustrophobic – they lacked space but provided lots of diverse options and approaches. The review suggests that is gone – and that it has in fact gone the way of the mass produced mediocrity instead of staying true to it’s roots.

          • … But every part of the reviews description indicates it IS the same… That’s what i’m basing this on.. Did you read my comments above?

          • I saw you quote some parts of the review and apparently read them out of context. It seemed to me as though you wanted to interpret it as misplaced criticism rather than legitimate.

            I read the review as a commentary from someone who had played the previous games, and lamented this game as lacking most of what made it special except for a bunch of small side missions.

            Otherwise it sounds like the game lacks options for your approach (and provides basically no creativity to allow the player to “find” a route), shoved you down a path rather than allowing you to explore the cramped spaces, and generally provides a disconnected experience lacking cohesion internally or with the previous games.

            For example – guards not hearing the player disturb an object (a metal rake, no less) right in front of them. Even in Thief 1 walking quickly on marble/steel ground would get a guard’s attention. Simple AI isn’t a problem – not reacting to an obvious noise is.

          • Out of context? I am literally agreeing with his every point, except that to him – these points did not embody a thief game – where as to me they do.. Not sure what context has to do with that..

            And yes, exactly like my example (Hitman) – your goals are linear. You may choose to go left, you may choose to go right, to kill the guard, to not, to get the painting first or the vase.. But in the end these are only illusions of choice (Farcry being the most well done example of this I have seen in a while) which do not realistically impact the end result at all.

          • I’m not sure you read the same article I did. From my reading, you don’t get the option of:
            A) go left
            B) kill guard
            C) go right.
            Instead you get:
            A) go through window and have it autoclose behind you
            B) go through window and have it autoclose behind you
            C) go through window and have it autoclose behind you

            I know which sounds more like a Thief game to me, and it’s not the one just released.

          • @amstradhero as I discuss in my post above, but which is not discussed in the article – you will still have choices of some variety such as which window you enter, which will affect what you are closer to first – the same as the original thief games.

            The autoclosing stuff was more of a ‘feels like’ than an actual limitation in the game as far as I have read – so yes, it probably does feel claustrophobic – but I believe this is their intent, as well as avoiding the random “wtf” factor of just large numbers of vents/windows/doors open that doesn’t alarm anyone heh. I don’t think it actually limits you from going backwards if that is your choice, but I could be wrong as it’s not really clear from what i’ve read around.

          • Fair enough. It still sounds like you have a vested interest in making the game sound it is like the originals, which is what this article suggests.

            To me this article is a big “buyer beware” notice to all fans of the originals, which is what most informed people already had based on previous news and promotional material. it has reaffirmed what i already thought would be the case for this game: I will be waiting for a general consensus from gamers before I buy.

        • It’s a game review, not a debate.
          If he thinks the game’s bad, then that’s it. It doesn’t need someone who hasn’t played it to add “neutrality” to the conversation.

          I didn’t feel the urge to jump into the Tomb Raider review the other week and add “I haven’t played this game before, but it’s probably crap in parts. Not putting shit on it, just adding neutrality to your positive review”.

  • No jump button is a deal breaker, i got the game free but if there is no jump button i wont even install it.

    • Hahah I had the exact same thing with DayZ. In the end it’s very much a design choice though it feels so natural to have a jump – in reality in a game like this it can only cause bugs, when there’s no gameplay requirement for a jump (like in this you simply interract with things, you dont physically jump through the window for example).

      Jumping along just for the hell of it may be fun, but it’s not very thief’y 😛

  • I’ll go on record as saying this. We’re seeing the same problem now as we had at the 360/PS3’s launch. Hybrid platform games. Games such as Farcry Instincts (or was it Predator?) that appeared on 360 AND Xbox for instance and Splintercell Double Agent, that were scaled back massively to cater for the less powerful machine (now I guess console players can know how PC players felt for years… also, Double Agent not the best example, it was far superior on Xbox for some reason). When games finally start only coming out on current gen machines, we’ll hopefully start seeing more impressive games. Games like Killzone Shadowfall look amazing because they’re designed *for* the current gen platform only, Dead Rising 3 looks pretty great too and inFamous Second Son is just looking balls out incredible. So yeah, when we get a Thief that’s ONLY made for one generation only instead of being cross generational, MAYBE that’ll be a bit more impressive?

    Maybe? Hopefully…

    • I’m still waiting to see an actual ‘next-gen’ game to come out. Have there been any 8th-gen/PC multiplatform games come out yet? Then there can be some comparisons, The Witcher 3 may be one of the first ones out eventually.
      Like you said though, seems like were going to be stuck with multigen releases for a while longer, frustratingly.

      • Killzone Shadowfall is extremely impressive for a first release game. Visually it trumps anything else released on all the consoles at the moment, the wide open areas you can run around in are pretty damn good and it’s quite fun (Ive hated EVERY Killzone game before it btw, so I was extremely surprised). But we’re not going to see truly impressive games for at least a year or so I’d say. Although inFamous is looking extremely impressive…

      • Yep, im hating all these games made for both this and last gen consoles. I mean, i do like the games but they feel…..underdone maybe. Just stop with the cross gen games, make people pay for the new consoles. Its been bloody 8 years so i don’t want anyone crying over having to buy a new console.

        JUST DO IT

    • But the game is fundamentally broken on many many points. No amount of horsepower can save it.

      It’s as expected – a shitty console-y new edition of something great.

      I mean, no reviews, lack of trailers, cheap price on day 1?

      • Yeah but the point is, scaling a game down to fit the weakest version may have caused that. If you can create a game for far more powerful machines, not having cut corners etc, maybe it won’t happen in future. Who knows.

  • This review seems apologetic for Thief’s myriad shortfalls. Weak.

    Any content creator worth their mettle, be they designer, writer, artist or whatever, owns the shortfall in their work. They certainly don’t need apologists waving away their mistakes and blaming some other nebulous cause for their failings.

    Every game is subject to this kind of scrutiny, and Thief deserves no extra preferential treatment. This industry wants equality, so start practicing it.

  • Well… I’m extremely sceptical about reviews for reboots. First question I ask is “is the reviewer expecting the game to be the original with modern graphics and AI?”
    I’ll make up my own mind with this one, thanks, as I want to see how it compares to modern titles.

  • Damn, was keen to give this one a go.. so will wait til it hits the bargain bins now.. is South Park: Stick of Truth out next week? Hope that is good.

  • Sounds like what I feared all along would come to pass – it hasn’t been made as a proper Thief. The need to have one-way corridors to shove the player down lest they get lost and a shoddy construction due to dev churn has produced a mediocre product.

    I’m not surprised by this, though. We had floating xp for killing people CoD style, then “dev diary” videos saying “sometimes combat is unavoidable”. If combat is unavoidable, then you’re not making Thief! I was hoping I’d be proven wrong, but most of what I’ve read indicates this isn’t really a decent stealth experience, let alone a good Thief experience.

    I think that the worst thing that could happen is that once again publishers will think “stealth games don’t sell”, when the real problem is not that Thief is a stealth game, but just that it’s not a good game.

  • I recommend anyone concerned watch Totalbiscuit’s “WTF is Thief” video on youtube for a much more positive take on the game.

  • So I bought this despite all the negative reviews and I’m really, really enjoying it.

    I think the reviews have been overly critical with regards to things that wouldn’t be mentioned in reviews for other games. I’m not sure if this is due to high expectations of the franchise but I was a huge fan of Thief 2 and I’m still enjoying this.

    It’s certainly not as good as Thief 2 but it’s not as far from Thief 2 as reviews seem to suggest. I’m up to Chapter 4 but so far there are definitely multiple ways of entering levels and I’ve found between missions there is definitely some exploring to be done to steal loot.

    If you’re a fan of stealth, I’d certainly recommend giving it a go. Maybe get it from EB so you can return it if you don’t like it.

  • I like this game, I’ve put a fair few hours in so far, and while its not the best game I’ve ever played, it’s better than a lot of others.
    Stop whinging, whingers.

  • After playing this game over the weekend, it seems to me like the reviewer might not like stealth games,lack of escape routes well dam don’t get seen then. I’m slowly but surely making my way through each mission on mast er difficulty with with no focus, only special arrows, no alerts, its amazing so much fun.

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