I played the original Thief games when I was younger and since then they have been the standard that all other stealth games get measured by. When I heard that a new Thief game was being made I didn’t hold out a lot of hope that it would be as good as the originals, but it looked interesting enough to try anyway. I’m not very far in the game yet, only up to chapter 3, but I have several things that I wanted to talk about.
Originally, I decided to try playing the game as they had designed it. I picked the hardest difficulty and left every other setting at default. I got all the way up to chapter three before I could no longer take such a patronizing experience. For some reason it seems devs think modern gamers are incredibly inept at playing games and require giant waypoint arrows, visual meters that show the alert level of guards, and special vision modes that make everything intractable light up like a Christmas tree. Fortunately the game allows you to customize the difficulty options in an attempt to make the game feel like the originals. You can disable anywhere saving, the aiming reticle, the focus vision mode, etc. So after turning on essentially every limitation and disabling waypoint arrows, and pretty much everything else, I started over. Unfortunately, there’s a lot that is still same about the game. Even though the focus vision mode is turned off you will still see climbable spots glowing with an offensive blue tint and even though the reticle is turned off objects will still highlight when you aim at them, which essentially is the same thing.
Like I mentioned earlier, I have only experienced the game up until chapter three. There’s always a chance that things will get a lot better but from what I’ve seen so far the levels aren’t that exciting. I remember a lot of the levels from the classic games were very large and offered a lot of approaches to them, however in this game the levels feel rather linear and scripted. Alternative paths so far seem to be mainly about unscrewing grates. There’s also several instances were things just don’t make sense. In the prologue, for example, you climb out a window and onto some scaffolding and in order to climb up to the roof you need a rope arrow. As luck would have it there is a small box right next to you that has a rope arrow in it. Why? How did it get there? Why is there a random box with a rope arrow on some roof in the middle of nowhere but right where I need it at that time? Talk about serendipitous. Also, when I’m stealing stuff out of people’s houses why am I finding water arrows and gas arrows and other questionable paraphernalia? These tools being everywhere, especially in people’s homes, doesn’t make a lot of sense and just annoys me.
The City Between Levels
Between missions you get to run around a very small city area. It’s by no means an open-world experience, and could have been done better, but it is an interesting idea. My main complaint is that aside from a few guards and beggars on the street it feels dead. Obviously the game is perpetually night so it would make sense that there wouldn’t be people out on the street, especially when there’s also some kind of disease about, but that’s not the problem. Sometimes you come upon doors and windows that you can open and enter, letting you basically ransack people’s houses. For some reason there is never anybody home. Or if they are then you only hear voices and conversations through the walls as if they were in another room. The funny thing is that it’s always behind some door with no knob or behind a stack of boxes and other debris. That’s especially odd since I’m curious how people could stack all of this junk against the doors in their houses and yet till find a way out. Did they all jump out the windows? Out of curiosity I started whacking the walls with my blackjack and throwing glass around. Nobody seems to care but of course why would they? I’m just stealing all of their stuff and breaking the rest of it.
So is it bad?
Ehh… No, I don’t think it’s a bad game. Maybe a bad Thief game, but aside from that it’s just medicore to ‘okay’. I’m going to keep playing through despite my frustrations, and if anything changes I’ll let you know. There are a few other things I could go on about, but honestly I just don’t feel like thinking about this anymore.