Listening to the duders talk in this week's episode of the Giant Bombcast I came up to the section in which they (hilariously) attempt to talk about the Thief series. At a certain point in that "segment" they start discussing what Thief needs to be and how the combat needs to be better and something popped into my head: do we as gamers have a poor tendency to far too often think that all video games need to be our game?
A quick example that comes to my head would be the complaints about Little Big Planets platforming, specifically the jumping mechanic. One thing I heard far too often was "the jumping isn't like Mario". Well...does it need to be? Do all stealth games need fleshed out stealth mechanics for when you fail miserably? I would say no. I have frequently heard Patrick praise Dark Souls for its stand to be crushingly difficult against a tide of games that were too easy, but then he immediately turns around and thinks that stealth games need satisfying combat? Now, before I go any further please don't think that this is a rail against Patrick, or any other Bomber, so don't get stuck on that one person's name.
The Thief series is still a pretty amazing series that holds up pretty well (resolution aside, but that can be fixed with fan made patches) but it focused on one thing: stealth. Could you fight if you needed to? Yes, but they didn't want you to walk through the castle (or whatever level it was) and just murder everyone: you are a thief, not an assassin after all. That's why they provided a bow with a plethora of arrows (far before Crysis 3 :p): moss arrows for walking silently, water arrows to extinguish flame, rope arrows to assist in climbing, and even noise arrows to distract guards. They also provide a blackjack for stealth take downs and even tools like flash bangs to escape from dangerous situations. Then I think about why the person wanted Thief to be: Dishonored. What was Dishonored? A "choose your own direction" style game that had both stealth and action gameplay. Patrick seemingly enjoyed this because if the game got too hard he could just kill everyone (I am assuming as that's how it has always ever came off to me).
We've seen other games go the "easy route" and basically say "you know what, if you get caught...don't worry about it". This is more indicative of the "casual" audience being more of a draw for studios because of the increasing amount of gamers who only want to "experience the game" and have a barely interactive video game that is more akin to watching TV with quick time events. This is what it is as most of the time the easy way around this is to start the game on hard opposed to "normal".
Either way, does anyone else get this feeling that we far too often think games need to be all things to us? Stealth games can't be challenging, platform games have to fall in line with "expected" mechanics, or even third person games need cover based combat. Not only do gamers and reviews think this but seemingly developers do as well as we see more and more games feel as if they are chock full of different ideas and systems without the game ever really excelling at any of them. Maybe I'm ranting...if I am I'm not meaning to be. I'm also not "picking on" Patrick as there were probably others who made the same comments. If it matters I did enjoy Dishonored and thought the powers and stealth worked flawlessly but that the game, even on hard, was a very easy affair. I hope Thief doesn't lose its identity and become just another action adventure game with a classic title because they want to please as many people as possible without actually giving it any challenge or identity.