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Thread: Post mortems.

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: On my bicycle \o/

    Post mortems.

    Okay, so it's not like the corpse is properly cold yet. Or even dead for that matter. but there have been some live streams of gameplay footage from folk who maybe have a review copy, or got it off the back of a lorry or whatnot. I've watched a couple, and I gotta say - based on what I've seen, it's really not looking good for NuThief

    But once or twice a player has, instead of dashing to the next waypoint, tried to explore, to collect loot and to be stealthy - to play the game like, ya know, Thief... and then it looks okay. Maybe not great. But definitely okay. And when it happens there's definitely something of a Thief vibe about it.

    Which gets me thinking... What's gone wrong?

    There are a bunch of problems to be sure. But a big one, I think, is that the mission objectives are all story based. From your first proper outing you're secret agent Garrett employed on special missions of derring-do to save the world. At no point are there objectives instructing you to steal 80% of the loot or 2000 Gold because you're a Thief and the rent is due. So why would you bother?

    Objective: Don't worry about collecting 2000 Gold.

    If you've played Dishonored you'll know the score. The game technically does support looting. You can play as a sort of Thief/Assassin if you really want. You can even put your ill gotten gains toward some new ammo - but it's not a major or even necessary part of the game. And it's exactly the same with EM's Thief. There's no real motivation to explore and find loot. There's no motivation to, ya know, play as a Thief.
    Last edited by jay pettitt; 21st Feb 2014 at 14:59.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    “We want you to play as a thief, but we don't want to force you to play as a thief."

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Feb 2008
    Location: See, I told ya!
    Quote Originally Posted by jay pettitt View Post
    Okay, so it's not like the corpse is properly cold yet. Or even dead for that matter. but...
    ...it's already starting to smell.

    Personally, I found the assessment that bukary posted in another thread pretty accurate.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by jay pettitt View Post
    If you've played Dishonored you'll know the score. The game technically does support looting. You can play as a sort of Thief/Assassin if you really want. You can even put your ill gotten gains toward some new ammo - but it's not a major or even necessary part of the game. And it's exactly the same with EM's Thief. There's no real motivation to explore and find loot. There's no motivation to, ya know, play as a Thief.
    Er, in Dishonored you're more likely to use the coins you find to buy equipment upgrades (which are expensive) than ammo or elixirs.

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Location: The City
    I think the community is in agreement that the originals were far more than the sum of their parts. A compelling setting, storytelling style, ambience, and immersiveness all contributed to an "experience" much more than merely a "game."

    A lesser developer approaching Thief as simply a "game" or a "release" is doomed to failure from the beginning. There's no context making the stealth tense or the exploration interesting.

    It's like walking through a haunted house in daylight. Sure, you get the same basic formula, but without the requisite atmosphere and everything that contributes to that you're left with walking through a bunch of rooms waiting for the next scripted event.

  6. #6
    I have watched the game played from beginning to end, and I am thus qualified to speak on its failings and no amount of "we don't know for sure yet, just buy it and give it a chance!" will sway me.

    The game comes from the linear school of FPS design, like Call of Duty or any number of such titles, where your only goal is to run from Checkpoint A to Checkpoint B in order to trigger the next cutscene. As a result the core concept of the series, stealing things, is completely secondary. You can, and players have, completed every mission in this game without stealing a single loot item. Loot does not factor in as an objective, your only goal is triggering the events that cause the next cutscene and level transition. Even if you do not steal anything, the game gives you "money" at the end of each level just for completing it so that you can buy items and "upgrades" for the character.

    This design is the core of the game, it is fundamentally flawed, and as it IS the game it cannot be fixed.

    The game has nothing in common with it's predecessors, barring a handful of place and character names which in several cases are not even applied to the same character (such as Jeneviere being a magpie, wtf). I restate: There is nothing mechanically, thematically, narratively, audibly, or visually in common with the earlier games in the series. It looks and feels like a generic corridor shooter which had the Thief IP crudely taped onto it at the very last moment. I will now expand upon where they have failed in all of those departments.

    The narrative, which the developers have consistently admitted that the gameplay was hamstrung in order to support, is beyond hamfisted. It is a tired bag of cliches so worn and reused in the industry that it boggles the mind. The rich atmosphere and canon of the series has been entirely disposed of and what replaces it is a generic story of "Ally betrays you, girl is still alive, save her to save the world!". Unfortunately the writing is below that of a fanfiction level, and it behooves me to think of an FM which even approaches how horrible it is. There are no Keepers, no Hammerites, No Pagans, not a single shred of anything featured in the original games remains, nothing, not even a hint of it. It has all been replaced by the most generic slop, and if you don't believe me you can watch it on YouTube for yourself.

    It takes 8 hours to beat the game, several hours of which were streamers failing to defeat the atrocious AI in places where sneaking was simply not an option at all and combat could not be avoided. Roughly 45% of the total playtime was taken up by the cutscenes, which are poorly animated, suffer texture and LOD popping, and have some of the worst voice acting I have heard in many years. I cannot really express how poor the animation is in this game. I am amazed that they claim to have mocap'd it, because the guards especially were evidently animated by hand and not by someone especially skilled. Their excuse for not using SR was a clear and obvious lie to anyone watching these cinematics

    The audio design is shallow and repetitive, with enemies repeating the exact same line over and over every few seconds if you are detected. There is no differentiation of sound in materials when walked on. The music is heavy and in many cases too loud to listen to your surroundings. Scripted conversations will often be audible through solid walls after you walk away from the trigger, as if you are in the same room as the speakers. At one point, the game features modern dubstep.

    Even in level design the game is found lacking. Levels are largely linear with one or two paths leading the same cinematic checkpoint, usually a frontal assault option or a "Sneak in through the air vent" option. If there is a secret passage, not only will an NPC be having a conversation about it, but the player character will remark that there is a secret passage once the conversation is over. This is a game, in 2014, which suffers from levels split into portions as small as those seen in Deadly Shadows or Invisible War. Think about that: those games were crippled by the memory limitations of the original Xbox, a system with less powerful hardware than my phone, yet somehow this game with the power of modern consoles at its disposal requires loading screens just as frequent and level fragmentation just as severe. I do not even understand how this is possible.

    The AI is atrocious, and will ignore you if you are standing 5 feet in front of them or outside of a 45* cone of vision. You can open doors directly onto the AI and it will not react. That this game features worse AI worse than one which released 16 years ago is a sad sorry state of affairs and frankly the developers should be ashamed. It feels like they sloppily reskinned whatever stock code ships with Unreal.

    Back to the level design: The level designers have plagiarized not one, but two games in a very obvious way. Most obvious is Deadly Shadows, as they have straight up ripped Shalebridge Cradle and placed it in here as the "Moira Asylum", building a shallow and shockingly boring level completely lacking in any subtly or underlying narrative beyond the reasons you are sent there. A few jump scares, a lot of corridor trudging, and then an enforced stealth area with instant death on detection. The final level of the game is a direct ripoff of Human Revolution's final level, featuring zombies transformed by a madman bent on world domination and taking place in his fortress of solitude.

    The contextual jumping and climbing is an extremely frustrating affair, with jump triggers often placed on ledges which lead to nowhere resulting in the player jumping down into an area full of enemies or having to re-do a climbing segment. At no point can you fall or jump off a ledge which would result in a deadly fall. There are many 3rd person Assassins Creed style wall-climbing segments where you navigate from glowing blue spot to glowing blue spot, and hope the game doesn't glitch and drop you off.

    In summary, it is not fair to call this a bad "Thief" game, because in truth it is so lacking in any elements of the series that it should not even be considered as part of the same IP. Beyond that complaint, however, the game at its core is a fundamentally flawed, poorly designed, and atrociously written experience which belongs firmly in the bottom of the bargain bin. Had this been a new IP called "DarkBlade" or something of the sort, it would have released entirely unnoticed by most and chalked up as a console-launch shovelware title.

    Do not spend money on this title, do not even waste the bandwidth to pirate this title, I sincerely regret having wasted a day of my life watching it be played by someone else.

    Yes, I posted this to Reddit as CynicalGamer.
    Last edited by thiefinthedark; 21st Feb 2014 at 16:22.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Tatry Mountains, Poland
    Quote Originally Posted by thiefinthedark View Post
    [Very accurate report]
    It would be interesting to see this posted at Eidos' forums.

  8. #8
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by bukary View Post
    It would be interesting to see this posted at Eidos' forums.
    They'd bring in the ban-hammerites. :P

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Location: The City
    Very well written thiefinthedark. I'll keep this in mind as we see the onslaught of 90/100 reviews by the majors.

  10. #10
    A somewhat revised version has been posted to /r/games, since I am not a member of the gaming press and am not subject to review embargoes, and the thought of some poor kid wasting his gaming budget on this utter failure of a product makes me really really sad.

    Edit: It's already been censored off Reddit by Eidos's request.

  11. #11
    Member
    Registered: Jul 2004
    Location: The City
    Quote Originally Posted by thiefinthedark View Post
    A somewhat revised version has been posted to /r/games, since I am not a member of the gaming press and am not subject to review embargoes, and the thought of some poor kid wasting his gaming budget on this utter failure of a product makes me really really sad.

    Edit: It's already been censored off Reddit by Eidos's request.
    I was wondering if that was the case. I read your comments on reddit this morning. But few hours ago it was missing when I attempted to send it to a friend.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by thiefinthedark View Post
    I have watched the game played from beginning to end, and I am thus qualified
    I watched someone listening to an album and therefore I'm going to write 25 paragraphs about how bad it is.

  13. #13
    New Member
    Registered: Jul 2010
    I can attest to everything thiefinthedark has described here after watching the entire game played through in one playthrough, as well as chunks of about 1/4 of the game in different areas by around 2-3 other streamers. This game is absolute trash, save yourself some time and money and don't even go near it.

    I had faith after Human Revolution was pretty good but watching Thi4f makes me feel seriously ill and makes me lose hope in the video game industry advancing anywhere past the CoD-clone fast food "epic" narrative style gameplay for the near future.

    I absolutely hated Thief 3, and seeing Thi4f makes me want to put Thief 3 on a golden pedestal, that's how bad Thi4f is to me.

  14. #14
    New Member
    Registered: Dec 2011
    Location: Hawaii
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Moyer View Post
    I watched someone listening to an album and therefore I'm going to write 25 paragraphs about how bad it is.
    Because actually playing it would have made the storyline, AI, level design, sound design, and dialogue seem much better.

  15. #15
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Quote Originally Posted by Nark View Post
    after watching the entire game played through
    as well as chunks of about 1/4 of the game
    watching Thi4f makes me feel seriously ill
    I think you may have some kind of a problem, but hey, who am I to judge?
    I assume that you're definitely going to buy the new Thief?

  16. #16
    New Member
    Registered: Jul 2010
    I would also like to make it clear that you can not possibly "ghost" this game. There are a lot of segments with seemingly unavoidable combat, too-well lit areas with enemies in them and even scripted chase sequences that you can't avoid getting caught before.

    Tomi: What can I say, I'm a masochist who loves to see one of his favourite franchises get absolutely shit on. I will absolutely not be paying money for this trash though.

  17. #17
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2011
    This might be the worst reboot ever. Certainly the worst Square-Enix release of the past 5 years. Eidos Montreal's game is such a giant misread on what made Thief special.

    I can't wait to read Sneaky Bastards review. https://twitter.com/sneaky_bastards/...41954756681728

  18. #18
    Well, I got the posts on Reddit restored. Moderators claimed they were taken down for "being misleading".

  19. #19
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2001
    Location: Tatry Mountains, Poland
    Quote Originally Posted by thiefinthedark View Post
    Well, I got the posts on Reddit restored.
    I still can't find them.

  20. #20
    Member
    Registered: Oct 2013
    Quote Originally Posted by thiefinthedark View Post
    Well, I got the posts on Reddit restored. Moderators claimed they were taken down for "being misleading".
    If it really was Eidos that told them to take it down, shame on them. Everything you wrote was the absolute, unabashed truth. The only reason Eidos would have to try taking it down was because they're afraid of losing sales before release (when it wouldn't be a secret that this game is a bomb). If their game was any good, they wouldn't have to hide anything. If a negative review was posted of a genuinely good game, it could easily be brushed off as untrue whining.

    Given that they felt the need to hide it, that tells me that even they have no confidence in their product. Thiaf is a textbook-definition ripoff, plain and simple.

  21. #21
    It was definitely Eidos, it's been removed again and this time my account has been shadowbanned as well.

  22. #22
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by bukary View Post
    It would be interesting to see this posted at Eidos' forums.
    Quote Originally Posted by Blastfrog View Post
    They'd bring in the ban-hammerites. :P
    I posted it. Blastfrog was dead right.

  23. #23
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    The ban (of Tibbs) was because the "review" that was linked to, the one above by thiefinthedark, supposedly gave away the end of the game. When I pointed out that that part (the ending) was spoiler tagged, my post was just deleted. Typical Eidos boards.
    Last edited by Brethren; 21st Feb 2014 at 18:19.

  24. #24
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Brethren View Post
    The ban (of Tibbs) was because the "review" that was linked to, the one above by thiefinthedark, supposedly gave away the end of the game. When I pointed out that that part (the ending) was spoiled tagged, my post was just deleted. Typical Eidos boards.
    Thanks anyway, Brethren. I would've loved to read user impressions when the reviews go live. It has clearly been rushed out the door.

    I hope Square-Enix doesn't interfere with the next Deus Ex.

  25. #25
    Southquarter.com/fms
    Registered: Apr 2000
    Location: The Akkala Highlands
    Did you get permanently banned for that, Tibbs?

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