Thief: Flirting With Average

  • Posted on: March 18, 2014
  • By: Keiya
  • Category:

I caved in and ended up purchasing the new Thief game at release. I am actually having quite a bit of fun with it (despite having put it down to fawn over Diablo 3 once again). So in other words, it’s not the gaming anti-christ as portrayed elsewhere. However, I can’t quite shake the feeling that Thief is merely a shittier version of Dishonored, which is kind of ironic given that Dishonored was influenced by the Thief series. I am pretty sure though that this feeling stems from the blink-like swoop mechanic (hit the space bar to move rapidly from shadow to shadow) and the fact the world that thief partakes in is quite different; It’s more Victorian than steampunk if that matters all that much to anyone. Graphically the game looks and performs nicely, but is aesthetically lacking and probably one of if not the most ‘brown’ game that I have played to date this year.

The levels are way less open to the point of being literally scripted in a few portions of the game. The parts of the game that are fairly open are based off of a path based design reminiscent of Deus Ex Human Revolution in that the multiple points of entry are presented in the form of conspicuous pathways (conveniently placed wooden overhangs shootable by rope arrows, vents that you can unscrew, ladders that can fall down, etc). The problem is that these points points of entry are WAY too conspicuous to the point of being blatantly highlighted and pointed out to you even when you are not using the focus skill. There’s not a whole lot of room for creative thinking there.

Between missions, different parts of the game are accessed through a hub world, which aside from a few guards who patrol the street level is more or less dead. I mean, I can see why there wouldn’t be many people out and about in the middle of the night in shit town amidst a plague ridden city, but the odd thing is that it is as if absolutely no one lives in the city. The hub world has lootable houses and areas strewn about the city but they are all for the most part, generically decorated rooms that are absolutely void of life and personality. I think the greatest challenge that I faced thus far in this area was one or two traps? There’s just not a whole lot of fun sneaking around if there’s no one to hear or no threat for that matter.

Thief however despite its flaws, is probably the crowning jewel of all PC ports in terms of what the game allows you to change. It’s seriously the one place in which this game shines above virtually all others is the sheer amount of customization that you can make to the game settings. If there is a UI element or a game mechanic that you dislike, odds are that you can just turn it off. This includes but is not limited to the focus system, navigation waypoints, the light meter, etcetera.

If you are expecting a modern rendition of Thief the Dark Project then you are most likely going to be sorely disappointed. Yes, it does fall way way short of its predecessors. So is it a bad Thief game? Undoubtedly so as it doesn't really add anything positive to the series and arguably detracts from it. Is it a bad game overall? Not really. Completely ignoring the Thief tag, I would probably rate it as a decent average game. Oh by the way: I would recommend playing on the highest difficulty with the waypoints and focus system turned off right off the bat. These are the settings that I feel are as close the spirit of the previous games as possible.

Odds and Ends: March 8th 2014

I have a few things to say about the new Thief game, in which I am still working my way through on-and-off when I find the time. But for now, as you can all see per the screenshot posted above, we have hopped on the Diablo III train once again now that patch 2.0 is in the wild. I have been hearing a lot of buzz about it lately amongst various groups, so we caved, patched the game, and gave it another whirl on Friday. Loot that I could use (decent loot at that) actually dropped more than 0 times when we were playing last night. That in itself is pretty amazing. I am still pretty iffy on the expansion pack which is set to release during the later parts of this month, but mostly because I am not certain that I really need to buy yet another new game. Other things:

  • Picked up Animal Crossing New Leaf yet again, finally unlocked T&T Emporium, finally created a pattern mule, unlocked the QR code reader on said pattern mule and laid down patterns (new project is to make my town look less ass).
  • Threes is my new favorite iOS game.
  • Finally purchased a new camera: A Sony NEX-6 with a 16-50mm lens. Greatly looking forward to taking photographs of absolutely everything.
  • Also: Camera things are frickin' expensive and for some reason, all of my newer hobbies seem to involve A. Shooting things with various precision instruments and B. Spending money.

ACNL: Out With the Old and in With the New

Only one villager (Tutu) had moved out as a result of mostly neglecting Animal Crossing for a few weeks for Bravely Default and other activities. I guess that isn't too bad, given that she mailed me her picture. Why can't I seem to get any villager pics unless they move out?

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Lucha had moved into town as he was on my dreamie list.

After speaking with Ankha last night for about 20 minutes straight, I finally got her to move into Chulak. She better be worth it since getting her to move in cost me about 20k and my Saturday night K.K. Slider boot (left it in my inventory, whoops). When campers agree to move in, is that guaranteed or is there a chance that they will bail out? About a month ago, Skye agreed to move in but never did.

Woot woot, an actual visitor.

Squall Isn't THAT Bad of a Character

Finally approaching the end of my Final Fantasy VIII playthough; I have been picking it up on-and-off this past month (mostly off lately, but I hope to at least ummm finish the game at some point in the near future). There are several things that I really like about FFVIII: The pseudo-futuristic/modern setting, the characters (most of them at least), and the fact that it is ultimately a character driven story (versus being politically driven for example). That said, I had forgotten how odd and polarizing this game was. I am trying to think of another JRPG as or close to as polarizing as FFVIII and I really can't think of any. I suspect the main reasons being: Bizarre gameplay mechanics/character progression, ludicrous plot, and Squall. Squall of course having been crowned as the gaming champion of emo.

When I had originally played this game as a teen I disliked Squall as a protagonist, but as an adult, I don’t really understand why Squall garners so much hate. He is sort of tactless if not a bit rude and definitely socially distant, but he's not really all that emo or angsty in my opinion. He is a good student and works hard to complete the missions as professionally as possible. Amongst his peers, he’s probably one of the least emo given that the task of baby sitting a group of bipolar teenagers is suddenly thrust upon him. Let’s review:

  • Quistis, his instructor (he was not aware that she had been relieved of that position at the time), takes him aside out of class for the sake of hitting on him and using him as a receptacle for all of her personal issues. So awkward and inappropriate.
  • Zell “I need Ritalin” Dincht is unable to appropriately channel his bountiful energy and enthusiasm in an appropriate manner or direction that does not involve annoying people in the middle of a life-and-death mission.
  • Irvine, a horndog cowboy who clearly cannot keep it in his pants. Freezes up at the most critical point in the mission.

It is also worth noting that at least half of Squall’s dialog is in head. It’s unfair to judge him by his internal monolog as he does manage to keep most of his shitty thoughts to himself, unlike the rest of the cast. It’s not that he is cold hearted, it’s that he is an introverted character among a group of distinctly extroverted characters that in contrast make him appear more apathetic than he really is. That said, "whatever" is probably the most irritating quotation in the game...