#1 Edited by Abendlaender (2889 posts) -

Hey there GiantBomb Community, let me tell you a secret: I love stealth games. I love hiding in shadows, watching guards, studying their paths and then slipping past them without them even knowing that I was there. I love sitting in a dark corner, waiting for an opportunity to try picking a lock, hoping a guard won't come around the corner while I'm frantically trying to play a mini game. And the new Thief, despite some minor (and some major) flaws allows me to do all of this. Now, let me make it very clear: This is not meant to be a "Alex and Patrick and Jeff and Brad and everybody who dislikes this game are wrong and stupid console casuals and big poppyheads! " (hehe, get it? Because you collect poppies in Thief and it sounds a bit li....okay, okay I'll shut up) thread, not in the slightest. But I want to offer you, dear reader, a different viewpoint on this game. Because I really, really enjoy it. Also, I'm not going to write "in my opinion" anywhere, because everything here is just my opinion and nothing more, probably even less,

Stealth

And believe me, I'm as surprised as you can be because I was ready to hate this game. (Yeah, I still bought it, I know). Before the release it seemed like a watered down version of Thief 3, complete with a bunch of stupid action sequences, no freedom to explore and a terrible plot. And parts of that are true (the story, jesus christ, the story....). Now I also have to say that the conversation about Thief and stealth games in general on the recent bombcast literally broke my heart. Yes, literally literally. Cause, if I remember correctly, one of the complaints was, that you can't fight 3 guards at once or blink around like in Dishonored. But to me, this is the definition of a stealth game. The importance of stealth is kinda the essence of...well a stealth game, right? The moment you make combat an easier and quicker option the game stops being a stealth game and becomes an action game with optional stealth. That's what happened to Dishonored.

Not stealth

Don't get me wrong, I loooove Dishonored. I finished it three times and love all the DLC they put out. But Dishonored was not a great stealth game. The best part of stealth games is that tension, when you sit in a dark corner and pray a guard doesn't see you. If you can just kill said guard without any effort or consequences then, well, all the tension immediately evaporates. Same if you can just effortlessly warp to another dark place at any time. Imagine a quicksave in Spelunky. Or in Dark Souls. Sure, you don't have to use it right? I can just reload once I've been spotted right? But this is just not the same. Yeah I won't get the achievment (oh no!) but whatever. Be honest: If you care about the Souls games, would you honestly don't mind if they implemented a Quicksave button? For the sake of my argument, I'm just going to pretend that you won't like it and move on.

Now, Thief does one thing in particular very, very well and that is the difficulty menu. You can really make the game as hard as you want. I've always been a fan of customizable difficulty and Thief is basically a wet dream for me. (this time not literally). The way I play, I fail the mission if I knockout or kill anybody, get spotted or get hurt and I've disabled non-critical upgrades, the focus meter and the reticule. And I honestly love it. It's not as good as Thief 1 or 2 or even 3 but it is a very good (and I hate to use the term) "hardcore" stealth game. I don't mind patiently waiting on a rooftop, looking for an opening and then just swoop in. Cause let me tell you: The feeling of pick pocketing a guard, after meticulously studying your surroundings and the other guards is just....it's just great.

So, if you like the idea of sitting in dark corner and being hopelessly underpowered, if you enjoy learning the path of guards uttering the same 3 lines of dialoge over and over again, if you don't mind that the story is rather "bleh" then....maybe give Thief a chance?

Well I wrote far too much about this, so thanks if you actually read all of it. Also you might have already realized that english isn't my first language and I should be much more fluent in it, so feel free to point out any mistakes I made.

#2 Posted by Aetheldod (3737 posts) -

Im sorry but I diagree .... Dishonored IS a steath game , but what I would agree on is that not all stealth games must be like Dishonored and that they should be what they are instead. I mean in Dishonerd you are an assasin/bodyguard so it makes sense to be able to kill as easily , but in Thief you are a thief , make no sense for him to be able to fight.

#3 Edited by handlas (2762 posts) -

I'm enjoying Thief thus far (only 2 or so hours in)...

But I loved Dishonored. And, ya, I played Dishonored as a stealth game. I beat it with no kills and no alerts and only using blink (there was a trophy to not use any other abilities). In fact, I never used any other abilities in my 2 playthroughs of Dishonored besides Blink so I couldn't even tell you what they were. There was plenty of tension and thinking about how to move around enemies to get to your exit. The best part being able to blink around rooftops and create your own path. It felt like you had a lot of freedom.

#4 Posted by crithon (3456 posts) -

This is why I find Thief's release so fascinating, everyone is now questioning EVERYTHING.

#5 Posted by JZ (2120 posts) -

I agree

#6 Posted by Vinny_Says (5721 posts) -

I do like stealth games and I'm actually enjoying Thief so far. Yeah the story may not be all that but that is not the reason I play these games, however that is still not an excuse for a shitty narrative. Also don't take what the GB crew says about stealth games as gospel because they've been very vocal about their dislike of the genre. I'm not saying they're wrong, it's just that I'd rather judge something myself rather than leave it up to someone who actively dislikes something I have an interest in.

So far I'm loving:

  • Having a stat screen at the end of a level, just like Chaos Theory did back in '05. Small thing but important to me.
  • The ability to evade everyone, as in no forced encounters (at least so far)
  • Being weak compared to the enemies, because fighting them would make the whole thing pointless to me.
  • The ability to make the game as hard or as easy as I want it. So many modifiers yo!
  • A great variety of approaches to each situation. That's why I loved Human Revolution so much.

What I don't like:

  • The lame story, because stealth games can have awesome stories too.
  • Auto-closing windows
  • Some performance issues
  • Only one throw-able object in my inventory. Does that require an upgrade? Dude has like 60 spoons and goblets on his person but can't hold two liquor bottles to throw?

It's not a perfect game but if you're into the genre I would give it a shot. It's true that your options are limited when compared to Dishonored, but that doesn't make Thief less of a game, as some wolves would have you believe.

#7 Posted by TheHumanDove (2523 posts) -

I found neither dishonored or thief to be real stealth games

#8 Edited by ArtisanBreads (3998 posts) -

The thing about Dishonred is that it is a stealth game but it gives you so many abilities it becomes so much more fast paced than basically every stealth game out there. If I can just fly over the streets with blink instead of having to really watch guards and find spots to dart to... well that game doesn't really scratch itches that say Splinter Cell or the old Thief games did. It's a different beast and for me, I didn't feel like I was playing stealth game really. Hiding was too trivial when I could just teleport around to have that tension.

So I see where you're coming from as a stealth fan. I may get to this one eventually when it's cheap if its a decent stealth game.

#9 Posted by noizy (726 posts) -

You might enjoy this analysis about stealth if you haven't seen it yet.

#10 Edited by Abendlaender (2889 posts) -

Why is the layout completly fucked up now :'(

It was fine when I posted it, and now I can't edit my post?

@aetheldod said:

Im sorry but I diagree .... Dishonored IS a steath game , but what I would agree on is that not all stealth games must be like Dishonored and that they should be what they are instead. I mean in Dishonerd you are an assasin/bodyguard so it makes sense to be able to kill as easily , but in Thief you are a thief , make no sense for him to be able to fight.

No need to be sorry. I wasn't trying to say that nobody should call Dishonored a stealth game and that my definition of the genre is the only one that matters. I was just trying to define what "Stealth game" means to me personally

@noizy

Cool, I will check that out when I get home, thanks

@vinny_says

Yeah, the story part is a real bummer. I haven't finished the game yet, but what I really liked about Thief 1-3 was that each "level" had it's own substory with a whole bunch of secrets you can discover (stuff like bringing the old lady something to drink in the pirate mansion in Thief 3, or the weddin earrings in Thief 2) and so far I haven't really seen much of that in Thief. Thief 4 that is (I hate this, just call the damn game Thief 4, or THI4F if you must, but don't just call if Thief)

#11 Posted by Aetheldod (3737 posts) -

@abendlaender: no ill will intended duder ^___^U tho I get what you are saying. I still do agree that people wnating to be like Dishonored are being foolish. If this game was exactly like Dishonored I bet the would say "OMG is a copy of ____, lacks originality.. blah blah".

#12 Posted by Humanity (10137 posts) -

@abendlaender: Right after I finished Lords of Shadow 2 I definitely AM going to give it a chance, because I love sitting in a dark corner and learning guards patterns before I pile all their unconscious bodies in a single room.

#13 Edited by Abendlaender (2889 posts) -

@abendlaender: no ill will intended duder ^___^U tho I get what you are saying. I still do agree that people wnating to be like Dishonored are being foolish. If this game was exactly like Dishonored I bet the would say "OMG is a copy of ____, lacks originality.. blah blah".

Actually, the funny part about that is, that there is a level in Thief which is strikingly similar to the Golden Cat level in Dishonored. It felt really, really strange. It felt like I was playing Dishonored again. Which made me install Dishonored again.

#14 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3509 posts) -

I still have a lot to play but in general I agree with the TC very much about stealth in general. Well written and communicated piece duder!

#15 Posted by Mustainium (154 posts) -

Oh boy now you've done it, I may have to get this now.

I have a bit more than half of South Park paid off, but I'm most likely cancelling that since it's supposedly not much longer than a dozen hours long (and Ubisoft games drop quickly in price anyway), and I'm thinking of getting this just so I have something new to play on my PS4.

As far as the narrative goes, how does it compare to Dishonored? Because even though I thought the gameplay in Dishonored was top-notch, the writing and voice-acting was absolutely TERRIBLE. Surely having a voiced protagonist is a step in the right direction.

#16 Edited by falserelic (5407 posts) -

I have Thief on ps4 and overall its alright. Most of the fun is mainly not being caught and being sneaky, but when it comes to combat not so much, and like people mention the game needed more polish. I ran into afew bugs playing it.

#17 Posted by TobbRobb (4851 posts) -

Do you have any opinion on the level design? I come from a very similar place compared to you, and the only real thing that I think could end up ruining the game for me. Is if the levels are poorly designed or unimaginative. From what I saw and from what I've read, the maps are very straightforward, you basically just take one room at a time as a guard puzzle and move on.

#18 Edited by hidden81 (72 posts) -

I too was left feeling disappointed about the discussion on the recent bombcast. They were supposing alot of things about the original thief games whilst admitting to never having played them. The original Garret character from the first three games has to be one of the coolest characters I have ever known in video games. The voice over work done by Stephen Russel is second to none. He has this dark, apathetic thing going on and everything he says is dripping with snide sarcasm. Those original games, including deadly shadows were oozing a medieval atmosphere that you just can't find anywhere else.

The instant I heard that they hadn't got the original voice actors I knew something was off.

#19 Posted by Fredchuckdave (6165 posts) -

Would you say it is exceptional in its not badness?

#20 Posted by Tennmuerti (8174 posts) -

I am enjoying the new Thief quite a bit as well.

Contrary to Alex's review belittling the game for having burglary relegated to side missions, even main missions are full of loot. Just like previous games how much of it you want to steal is up to you, and if you choose to steal everything that isn't nailed down (and sometimes is) it will take quite a bit of time, a bit of tougher situations and a lot of exploring. All that loot is useful too, money wise to buy gear and upgrades or donate for skills. The collectible loot that you don't sell and keep for yourself is also often hidden better and has been fun to try and find by myself.

The new Thief is also one of the very few stealth games in recent years that makes me naturally try not to take out guards. In fact the more guards I leave just standing around undisturbed the more badass of a thief it makes me feel. Sure I still knock out an occasional overly pesky guard, but I am not just clearing entire levels of conscious bodies like I did in say Deus Ex: HR or Dishonored, and it feels right.

While I don't find the smaller level design problematic. I do agree with the criticisms that the traversal is too limited and hand holdy with a lot of pre defined paths and only specific points you can grapple/rope/climb.

Still playing it with the attitude of: steal everything! and disturb as little as possible has proved fun. And considering that I am enjoying both the sneaking aspects and the stealing part, I call that a win.

#21 Edited by Klei (1768 posts) -

@noizy Oddly enough, after watching the video, I think the new Thief does justice to the original in a lot more ways than people think. I really, really like the City's layout, even though I'm not a fan of the last-gen broken sections with loadings. I like the idea of being super weak, instead of a powerhouse who toys with his enemies. As for the storyline? It's not much to speak of, but these days, I don't hold lame storylines against games, otherwise I wouldn't play shit on the market. Mostly everything, but a couple of exceptions, have horrible storylines.

#22 Posted by Humanity (10137 posts) -

@noizy said:

You might enjoy this analysis about stealth if you haven't seen it yet.

I actually sat down and watched the whole thing and this was like an expertly done Bombastica video. Great find.

#23 Posted by Abendlaender (2889 posts) -

@tobbrobb said:

Do you have any opinion on the level design? I come from a very similar place compared to you, and the only real thing that I think could end up ruining the game for me. Is if the levels are poorly designed or unimaginative. From what I saw and from what I've read, the maps are very straightforward, you basically just take one room at a time as a guard puzzle and move on.

The level design if alright, but waaaay to linear. Most of the time there is one way to get to your objective and like 2 or 3 additional rooms. The bold part is definitly true.
The "hub" city is just plain terrible because it is really confusing and boring to navigate. Getting from one place to another takes far too long and really isn't fun. It's just silly that guards patrolling in the city get alerted by footsteps. The guards are another reason why the city is so annoying. They are not really that hard to avoid, it just takes time when you really just want to start a new mission. They should have just gotten rid of the city, I don't enjoy it a bit. Worst part is that your map is mostly useless, cause there are parts of the city hidden behind loadingscreens (the docks for example) but you can't just get there by following the map since the gates are closed. You need to find the right glowing window which will take you to a loading screen. Those windows are not marked on the your map, so have fun memorizing where they are. Also they are indistinguishable from "normal" windows, so you can never be sure if you are just entering a house to loot or if you are booted to a loading screen. As I said, the whole city part is just very poorly done. The levels themselves are ALRIGHT but nothing more.

#24 Posted by Sammo21 (3572 posts) -

I am liking it. The level design is about on part with other Thief games and is about the same as Dishonored, though the vertical options were more in that game for obvious reasons. I think the game lacks a little polish. I agree the hub city is difficult to navigate, but I'm about 7 hours in and I'm starting to get it OK. I think the new Thief is a good Thief game. Should the franchise go away from that? I don't think so, but it can do many things better and many of those have already been mentioned. I am about 7 hours in and haven't knocked out one person nor have I set an alarm off so I am happy (have yet to use focus either). As a Thief fan I am happy. This will do me fine, at least until Dark Souls 2 is out.

#25 Posted by project343 (2838 posts) -

Dishonored is a stealth game. It may not be the most 'hardcore stealth sim,' but it had some of the best (3D) stealth mechanics and level design of recent memory. The newest Splinter Cell game supported a third-person shooter playstyle; it was also a stealth game (and a good one at that).

If one of the core flows to the game involves paying close mind to AI movement patterns, intricate aspects of the level design, and methodically weaving your way around those two things... I'd say that it's a stealth game.

#26 Posted by Jackentrote (43 posts) -

@abendlaender said:

one of the complaints was, that you can't fight 3 guards at once or blink around like in Dishonored. But to me, this is the definition of a stealth game.

That was one of the complaints? About a Thief game?

I'm gonna buy a microphone and make a podcast about how I can't shoot machine guns and throw frag grenades at beasts in The Witcher 2 when I totally should be able to and it makes perfect sense. What kind of bullshit is that?!! Bunch of morons :)

But Dishonored was not a great stealth game. The best part of stealth games is that tension, when you sit in a dark corner and pray a guard doesn't see you. If you can just kill said guard without any effort or consequences then, well, all the tension immediately evaporates. Same if you can just effortlessly warp to another dark place at any time.

You have a fine brain, Jack.

You can really make the game as hard as you want. I've always been a fan of customizable difficulty and Thief is basically a wet dream for me. (this time not literally). The way I play, I fail the mission if I knockout or kill anybody, get spotted or get hurt and I've disabled non-critical upgrades, the focus meter and the reticule. And I honestly love it. It's not as good as Thief 1 or 2 or even 3 but it is a very good (and I hate to use the term) "hardcore" stealth game. I don't mind patiently waiting on a rooftop, looking for an opening and then just swoop in. Cause let me tell you: The feeling of pick pocketing a guard, after meticulously studying your surroundings and the other guards is just....it's just great.

Your words please me, brother. You are someone who appreciates gameplay and what conditions he's put in from a gampelay aspect, as in, "what to do in this situation." And the customizable difficulty sounds like heaven.

So, if you like the idea of sitting in dark corner and being hopelessly underpowered, if you enjoy learning the path of guards uttering the same 3 lines of dialoge over and over again, if you don't mind that the story is rather "bleh" then....maybe give Thief a chance?

I WILL! You've given me hope, thanks bud.

#27 Posted by Maluvin (269 posts) -

I've put in about 5 hours so far and I'm having a great time. As a veteran of the old Thief games there's definitely a difference but overall I like what I'm seeing so far. I think others who have enjoyed the game have said most of the points I'd bring up about what I like about it. I think it could have used more technical polish and there are some mobility constraints that could use refining but I think this game does the right things as far as presenting a thieving experience (as opposed to an assassin experience).

On a personal note I've been pretty bummed by the Giant Bomb staff reaction to this particular game. I get not liking this game or stealth games in general because it's definitely not for everyone (much like games like Dark Souls certainly aren't for everyone) but I just feel the tenor of the criticism has been particularly dismissive and that a certain negative attitude kind of set in early on for this title. It's no secret that this title had a troubled development history and there's a part of me that wonders if that's colored things a bit too much. There are certainly some technical things that could be smoother and if the story has weaknesses I absolutely feel comfortable with people voicing their opinion but, man, some of the criticisms of the mechanics (particularly criticism of them being outdated) just seemed to be presented like there was some universally acknowledged truth without nearly enough questioning of whether that was actually the case. I find it a bizarre criticism at a time when lots of older ideas in games are being given a new appreciation.

I don't know - maybe there's been a more involved behind the scenes discussion that didn't make it into the presented Giant Bomb content. There's a part of me that wonders if Vinny or Patrick might not like it better compared to some of the other guys but I have a sense that it won't be given a fair shake under the pressures of time for other titles and that's a shame IMO especially with so many gamers (at their admittedly own expense) taking the staff's opinions as facts.

If the overall experience holds up for me my hope is that the performance issues will see some improvement with patching and that it will do enough with Steam sales to warrant a more refined and accepted sequel.

#28 Posted by Mnemoidian (962 posts) -

5 hours in, Thief is really frustrating to me. I keep seeing the potential of the game - the stealth loop feels good. Levels may be very linear... but they are decent enough, and there are enough hidden paths to keep things interesting. I really like sneaking around, peeking around corners, pickpocketing guards and trying to get through the area without being spotted at all.

Then there are the things they use to break up the sneaking - like how they appear to only have 3 transitions between areas - 2 of which always play out the same way (and require a bloody QTE!?)... and the third one being fading to black (commonly being a QTE-less version of the other 2 transitions). Feels like a petty complaint, but it's really breaking immersion for me.

Then there's the third person sections. I assume these are here because they are using the same tech they built Deus Ex on - but they feel... off? The Third-person Garret feels like he moves differently than the First-person Garret. Much faster, smoother... wrong? While the First-person Garret has a nice natural-feeling gait. (Swooping, while not really all that natural, is also something I appreciate). I kind of wish they'd just left out the third-person sequences or made them first-person canned sequences. Not sure.

Then there's the enemy variety. I think it's fine that they only have a few enemy types (Mr. Swordsman and Mr. Archer)... but I wish there was more variety in their appearance. I keep feeling like I'm running into the same guard in every room I enter - to the point where I'm sometimes not sure if it's the same guard (thus meaning that he's left his old position, possibly opening up a new potential path there) or if it's a different guard who is just apparently nearly identical.

Also having some trouble getting into the story. And not sure why - since the game makes it utterly clear from the start what the story is about, but the whole supernatural angle just feels unneccessary to me.

But that's just me. Still liking the stealth, so I'm going to try to power through.

#29 Edited by NicksCorner (433 posts) -

This weekend is Square Enix sale on STEAM. Today's deal is 33% off of Thief.

#30 Posted by notnert427 (382 posts) -

(Disclaimer: I didn't play the original Thief, nor have I played this reboot. What I know of it is limited to the QL. If that disqualifies me in your book from commenting here, I get that, and feel free to ignore me and stop reading here.)

I'm a huge fan of the stealth genre. It's definitely not for everyone, but I feel like it's a largely underutilized and unappreciated form of gaming. Those moments when you've patiently waited for just the right window of opportunity and snuck past a ton of guys or silently took down out a whole area/level is about as satisfying as gaming gets. I even like the trial-and-error and frustrations of it, because it makes it that much better when you do it correctly. For a bunch of people, though, that doesn't qualify as "fun", though, because sadly, many folks get bored very easily.

Which is the problem. The studios have to make their money, and even some of the best stealth games haven't typically enjoyed blockbuster sales. Yeah, the Splinter Cell and Metal Gear AAA-type titles have been successful (and deservedly so), but I think it's a genre that fewer and fewer are willing to take the risk on. And even among the existing franchises like Hitman, it seems like the management/beancounter types are looking to move in a different direction. IIRC, they expected Hitman: Absolution to sell Call of Duty numbers, which is ridiculously unfair and perhaps intentionally so. And that's just one example of what I think is a common attitude from studio heads.

So when I heard that Thief got the green light, I was excited, and I was really, really hoping Thief would be great. Not just to have another quality stealth game, but for the genre on the whole. In fairness, sales-wise, the game delivered well beyond my expectations, so apparently I'm not as alone as I thought in hoping for a quality stealth game. However, where sales impressed, the actual game appears to have underwhelmed many. Even this thread searches a bit for reasons to like the game. And I'd contend that the sales numbers were probably a bit inflated by the relative dearth of next-gen games and hope that Thief would be better than it actually ended up being.

I'm not basing this on the GB crew mostly hating on the game, or other game critics doing the same. I can appreciate varying opinions, and I've liked plenty of games critics didn't or vice versa. I'm not here to simply regurgitate crap. However, Thief appears to be as mediocre as it gets. I understand that a QL doesn't always tell the whole story, but if I can watch a full hour of a game and not find anything particularly appealing in it, it's probably not a very good game. Visually, I'm extremely unimpressed. For starters, it looks like a PS3/360 game with the occasional quality texture that looks out of place. Additionally, I'm not feeling the repetitive and blase art style at all. The gothic/foggy environment seems ridiculously played out at this point, but I'm sure Tim Burton approves. Gameplay-wise, it seems that even the game's proponents admit that it's not very polished and that the story is hot garbage.

Essentially what I'm getting at in extremely verbose fashion is that I fear that Thief (despite somewhat strong sales) will end up hurting the future of stealth gaming. The genre kind of needed this game to be great, and it very much seems to not be great at all. I fear that it may raise the ambivalence of stealth gaming fans and be even more of a turn-off for those that aren't (like the GB crew). Again, I'm not normally big on trying to speak about games I haven't played, but if I'm wrong, please let me know. I honestly want to like this game and/or find some redemptive quality in it, and I haven't ruled out picking it up on sale someday. It's just that everything about Thief screams that it's adequate at best, and that's disappointing.