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Thief Debuts To Mediocre Reviews 110

The latest title in the stealth game series Thief launched in North America yesterday for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Windows. Reviews of the game are mixed. Rock, Paper, Shotgun's John Walker says that the story is poor, but "it matters very little, since it's only there as an excuse to link epic, intricate and hugely enjoyable levels together." He also laments the loss of a dedicated "Jump" button, noting that veterans of the series will miss it. "There are far too often obstacles that a toddler could easily scale, but Garrett won't even try, and his refusing to jump certain gaps in order to force a challenge is maddening." Polygon's review says navigating the game's open environments was fun, but "In the latter half of the game, when a glimpse of that openness was dangled in front of me once again, Thief snatched it away with murderous AI and controls that didn't feel up to the challenge." They add, "a new obsession with scripted story sequences and stealth action often leaves Thief feeling like the worst of both worlds." Giant Bomb's review is brutal, saying Thief is "a game that spends an inordinate amount of time making the player do uninteresting things while shoving the more fun stuff so far in the corner you'd be forgiven for missing most of it."
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Thief Debuts To Mediocre Reviews

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hardcore fans of the originals don't like the game because there's not enough emphasis on stealth. Reviewers and the ADHD generation hate the game because the combat is poor and there's no "I win button". It's kinda ironic seeing the hardcore fans of the originals then praising those reviews for saying the new thief is bad.

    • It's even worse than that:

      Remember Dishonored? That not-exactly-unknown game involving a mix of stealth, exploration of a unique and vibrant gameworld, and occasionally just killing a dude up like a black-magic-powered ninja because you can?

      Despite having their own supply of backstory, game world, characters, and so on, they managed to make the new Thief owe a creative debt that amounts to a second mortgage...

      It's honestly a little baffling. Just smashing some updated art assets and an engine that
  • Let's Play (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kokuyo ( 549451 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @07:57AM (#46344245) Journal

    Thank god for Let's plays on Youtube. If I happen to find that the reviewers are right, I don't need to buy it and if I find that I disagree, I can order it after having watched a bit of gameplay. In that case, sure, I have to replay already viewed scenes, but it doesn't top the amount of frustration I get from having spent good money on yet another crappy game...

    • I recently watched a relaxing Let's Play of Thief Gold [] by a Finnish guy called Crowley9. So if someone wants to check out what the first game in the series looked like, there's my recommendation.
      • The problem is that the way many fans played it was to hide in a dark corner for long periods of time scoping out things. That would make a horrible video to watch. Thief was essentially the anti-FPS game.

        I preordered the last one, after spending hours on reviews and such (have not played yet). It was sort of an iffy choice, there was some controversy but the devs did seem like they were putting in a good faith effort to satisfy fans and maintain the bloodlines of the original. As in they allow turning

    • Hear, hear, video is a slower way of getting info, but let's you see/feel for yourself. TheDarkMod videos [] won't necessarily pop up searching for Thief, but I've been having a blast with it, a true remake of the original...and free!

    • by Dunge ( 922521 )
      I hate let's play guys, they are all hyperactive frustrated kids. I also hate spoilers so I don't want to see a game before playing it myself. Pirating is still a better options to see if the game is worth it.
      • I hate let's play guys, they are all hyperactive frustrated kids.

        Certainly not all. I could give you a big list of them that aren't. Sure Pewdie and Toby are hyperactive (though they're both old enough to not be called kids), but there are many others that are not.

    • by Destoo ( 530123 )

      Game Distributors are starting to hit live game footage with DMCA. Especially when the video has been made with leaked or pre-release copies.

      This won't last.

    • Thank god for Let's plays on Youtube. If I happen to find that the reviewers are right, I don't need to buy it and if I find that I disagree, I can order it after having watched a bit of gameplay. In that case, sure, I have to replay already viewed scenes, but it doesn't top the amount of frustration I get from having spent good money on yet another crappy game...

      No wonder game companies are trying to get let's play videos taken down with DMCA claims.

  • Let me copy over most of my post(updated with more gameplay) from blues, and yeah if you don't know what bluesnews [] is, it's one of the first gaming review sites that existed. And we do have a stick up our asses over the quality and content of games.

    So yeah guys, my first 3hrs of gameplay? Enjoying it quite a bit. It's more or less true to the game, and there's no shortage of lewts to grab but some of it's tricky. Only playing it on medium atm, do a true playthrough when I'm done the first run. Turning off contextual "help" and prompts makes it more challenging as well. Gameplay is fine, you don't have to use the new focus system if you don't want to. You can make the game even more challenging if you want.

    To anyone who doesn't like the game? That's okay, I'm enjoying it. I'll get my $34 out of it without a doubt.

    Oh and if you're looking for a x/10 rating? 3hrs in, I'd give it a solid 7.8-8.3/10 give or take. I don't mind the voice acting at all, and find the interaction so far decent.

    First major map, the one that people were posting images about earlier? Not really holding true. I've so far found 4 alternate paths compared to the one taken in the video.

    Oh and "non-exclusive fullscreen" listed as "exclusive fullscreen" works beautifully in win8.1x64 for alt-tabbing with zero issues, lag, slowdown/crashes or other issues. I'd be interested to hear if the same holds true in win7.

    And if anyone wants to see the main map area in chapter 1 here it is. []

    And from NKD

    I've been playing it a bit tonight and your experience mirrors my own. I just don't see what all the bitching was about. I truly don't. These horrible glaring flaws people talked about in the reviews are orders of magnitude less dire than they led us to believe. They are barely worthy of mention. Maybe if I put more hours in I'll understand, but so far so good. It doesn't even really feel like a franchise reboot, IMHO. It's just another Thief game. You'd have to set it on easiest difficulty and run around being a psycho to not get the Thief experience, and that'd be your own fault.

    Looking at some of the reviews again, I feel like most of the reviewers didn't understand the point of a Thief game and they were expecting something more flashy like a Deus Ex.

    On the other end of the spectrum you have the die-hard Thief "fans" who have been swearing up and down that the game was going to suck for YEARS. These guys are so invested in their own opinion that they are psychologically incapable of enjoying the game.

    If I put a few more hours into the game and everything goes to hell, I'll have to change my view on the game, but like I said, so far so good.

    • Yep.

      Dove in on Master - and I'm actually going to start over on Custom and turn a bunch of extra hard-stuff on. Feeling right at home.

  • by sproketboy ( 608031 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @08:16AM (#46344335)

    Some people (like toddler Alex Navarro) don't like the slow pace of these kinds of games. Web reviews are useless anyway. Youtube is a much better place to see if a game is good or not.

    TotalBiscuit's review is worth watching if you want to decide for yourself. []

  • I'm genuinely surprised by the lukewarm reception it's receiving, but moreso by the reports that it's rather linear and they've flubbed things like the background dialogue, given the developer. Eidos Montreal did the last Deus Ex game, and (farmed out bosses aside) it was genuinely excellent in exactly the sort of areas this game seems to have screwed up.

    • There are people who liked Deus Ex: HR but those are exactly the kind of dumbed down console players that would have hated the original Thief and for that matter the original Deus Ex. It is the same people who think Bioshock is a worthy sequel to System Shock.

      That doesn't mean the new games are bad, they are just the equivelant of the current Discovery Channel to the one from a decade ago. Dumbed down and simplistic.

      You can see this reflected in the universal action key, because you know how hard it is to r

      • PC Gamer are "dumbed down console players"? Really? And my point is that these outlets don't seem to think Thief and DXHR are very similar games at all; with that in mind your "they are console baby manz I am real manz" scenario doesn't make any sense..

        • by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @10:37AM (#46345313)

          That is correct. Multiplatform games released for PC are often dumbed down because they are:
          1. Not PC games - they are multiplatform releases
          2. Expected to sell more on consoles than PCs - as a result main aspects of game design are focused on console crowd.
          3. Both thief and DX:HR make very good example of this dumbing down. A lot of core mechanics of originals are simplified for reasons that they must run on a console and be aimed at console crowd. That means axing more complex features in favor of fast QTEs, simpler controls, linear or simplified tactical approach and so on.
          All of these are present in thief. All of these were present in DX:HR. Both are still fun games in their own right, in part because originals were so good that even stripping them down still leaves a very good game.

          • Sometimes it is hard to tell if something is "dumbed down" or if there was a legitimate reason for the decisions. Ie, Thief 1 had a very minimal look to it; not much UI except for the visibility gem but it wasn't dumbed down, it purposely wanted the minimal UI. Then there was Thief 3, not really a dumb game but every single mission was split into two parts, such as the front half of the house level plus a back half of the house level, with the loading time if you go back and forth. That was done because

            • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

              You're talking hypotheticals on most of your point. I'm talking about specific game (Thief) that has all the problems I listed.

              It could be because it is designed for previous gen and not next gen of consoles. It's still tiny in terms of world size, trying to hide the loading screens in the "spam E to pull up the window while we load that next level" (still doesn't work properly on PCs due to a shitty port quality, people are reporting to get loading screens in the "middle of level" all the time).

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        I disagree. I like Human Revolution very much and I liked Deus Ex 1 very much, as well as Thief 1 and 2. Human Revolution is only simplistic if you play it as a shooter. If you play it as a sneaker, it is great and does capture the spirit of the original exceedingly well.

        • Hmm, in DX1 I hated the sneaking. It just didn't work very well. As soon as one enemy saw you, then every enemy on the map saw you as well, it was very disconcerting having played Thief 1 first. You could partially sneak, but there were no mechanics about being in dark versus light, it meant basically to stay behind objects.

      • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @11:25AM (#46345891) Homepage
        Oh my goodness, an honest to god PC Master Race person. How does it feel?
      • Did you take a wrong turn at Reddit?
      • There are people who liked Deus Ex: HR but those are exactly the kind of dumbed down console players that would have hated the original Thief and for that matter the original Deus Ex. It is the same people who think Bioshock is a worthy sequel to System Shock.

        Stop generalizing. As a long-time "PC" gamer (I own a Mac), I've played a ton of FPS games dating all the way back to Wolfenstein 3D & Marathon. I loved the original DX, and enjoyed DX: HR quite a bit, though parts of it were disappointing. DX had a lot of replay value that HR didn't, and I hated the fact that you needed to use energy to use your melee attacks.

        I never played System Shock, so I can't say if BioShock series was a worthy sequel, but I thought those were great too. They offered a lot of RPG

        • System Shock and BioShock are so utterly different in every possible way, that I was surprised when I first heard people calling BioShock a spiritual successor. Maybe a few of the same devs but that's not a spiritual successor. BioShock is a good game on its own, but it would be awful if treated as System Shock 3.

        • by grub ( 11606 )

          System Shock 2 is available on [] for both PC and Mac. It is one of the finest FPS/sneak/RP games you will ever play. It is still is my #1 spot.

          Because I am such a wonderful person, email me (address is visible above) with a random bunch of junk text then reply to this post with the same junk and I'll gift you the game. You can be playing it in an hour...
    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      I agree. Maybe the best people there did Deus Ex (the bosses are fixed in the director's cut BTW and fixed well) and whoever was left got to work on Thief? From the reviews, I will rather play the original s again, then this half-backed thing.

      • That certainly does seem to be the case. I assumed they would've moved the DX team over to Thief after their work was finished, but apparently not.

    • by Nemyst ( 1383049 )
      From what I've read Thief was developed in parallel by a different team (and also entered development hell with numerous rewrites and changes). I think this has definitely impacted the quality of the final product, but the marketing for the game was also absurdly bad. People had already the opinion that the game sucked before they played it.
      • I think they spent many months anxiously worried about being laid off at any moment by the mother ship.

  • Should review the meaning of the word. A re-release is hardly a "debut".
  • The Dark Mod (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thanosius ( 3519547 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @08:58AM (#46344567)

    Go play The Dark Mod instead: []

    Free, now standalone so despite the name you don't need Doom 3 to play it, plus it's cross-platform. You basically download missions through the in-game downloader, most of them really, really good, and get your proper Thief experience instead of the watered-down bullshit that this new Thief game provides.

    • We can't do both? This is still fun, though it may not be what your nostalgia demands.

      • I have no nostalgia. The most I ever played of the actual Thief games was a demo of Thief 2 back in the day and a little bit of Thief 3. But I've been playing The Dark Mod to death because of the incredible detail and the fan missions made by people who clearly love the old-school style of the games. New games are more obsessed with catering to all audiences, which makes them dilute the more interesting aspects of suck genres.

        From most accounts (reviewers as well as users) this new Thief game is incompetent

        • Whatever you say. I played the hell out of (and mapped for) Thief 1 and 2, T2X, Thief 3, and the Dark Mod... and I'm enjoying this latest game just fine.

          • And that's great! I'm not a hater or want to prevent people have fun just because I'm not a fan of something.

    • I use to play the Dark Mods back around the time Thief 2 was out. I'll have to give it a go again. Do you have to jump through a bunch of hoops with limited options like you have to do with Thief 1 on WinXP/Win7? That's what kills going back to most of the 90s games for me.
  • Right now I'm finding it unplayable, it needs a patch.

    • Game crashed to desktop within five minutes of its first launch, while trying to sign on to their online thing.
    • The online sign in system just doesn't work. If you go to their website it works just fine, but the game client can't log in. No error message or anything, it just sits there.

    • No way to redeem the Steam keys I got, eg the soundtrack and comic book. Probably part of the online system.
    • Voices do not play or play low enough that I can't hear them
    • Apparently they did not do enough quality assurance.
    • Quad 2.6ghz Phenom II with an nvidia 460gtx, and I get 30-40fps consistently on High settings (though with SSA off, which was eating FPS like candy and providing little discernible difference in quality when FXAA was also on).

      I've no idea where your Radeon stands compared to my nvidia, but I do know mine isn't new, it's been around for a while now. Same story with my CPU.

    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      I have the same problem on nvidia rig with 560Ti, 4 gigs of RAM and 4.2 GHz i5. Performs fine even on high settings as long as I turn SSAA off, but then it hits the HDD hard and FPS collapses. Same problem on medium. Haven't tried on low yet, but I suspect it will be the same problem again.

      I suspect it's either shitty optimization or the game actually does need more than 4GB of RAM and I should just upgrade the machine.

  • by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @10:26AM (#46345219) Homepage Journal

    I love all things Thief and have since the first release of Thief: The Dark Project.

    What the new Thief gets right:
    - Stealth. Just as good as previous iterations.
    - Lock picking. Similar to what we had with Thief: Deadly Shadows.
    - Rope Arrows. Only because they are back after disappearing in Deadly Shadows- Lighting & atmosphere. I think they nailed it.
    - Difficulty: Oh yes... they nailed this. The Iron Man setting looks great (you die, game over. You have to restart from scratch) as well as may other great tweaks. Like turning off that stupid Focus (see below)

    What the new Thief gets wrong:
    - Rope Arrows. Yay, they are back, but they can only be shot into special wood beams with rope wrapped around them. The original rope arrows could be shot into almost any type of wood, even walls and many trees, allowing for great exploration.
    - Focus. This is Thief, not Dishonored. Fuck off, Focus.
    - Swearing and sex. I'm not a prude, but I would have liked hearing more "Taffer" and "Benny's drunk"-type talk over "fuck fuck fuck fuck" and the hot sexness in the brothel. Some of us play these games with our kids.
    - Scripted actions. Escape-type scenes. Very new Tomb Raider. Maybe it's part of 'reimagining' games that these scenes seem necessary.
    I'm in to the third part of the story (the brothel) and while I am loving the new Thief as a die-hard fan, there are some serious shortcomings.
    • by grub ( 11606 )
      Oh yes, another failure is the lack of a jump button. What?! It has been replaced by a contextual 'action' button.
    • by Luckyo ( 1726890 )

      You play thief games with kids? What the f...?

      Thief has always been about dark, decrepit, effectively collapsing society and attempts of higher strata of society to improve it that go very very badly wrong and you as the thief basically observing the results from level of average person, whom you rob. It's been that way in thief, in metal age and in deadly shadows. You do not play games like these with kids - these themes are exceptionally dark, adult and have a negative hit on young child's psyche.

      That sai

      • Were you talking about the daily news and world events? The political history of most existent countries and almost assuredly the history of those that no longer exist?

        Sure, there's less metal golems and tricksie lords, but what you're describing is how the world actually seems to work. You can't shelter kids from that, and if you do, the result will be an individual incapable of dealing with reality. It'd be like living on the "Small World" ride until the age of 12 and only then being released into the

      • by grub ( 11606 )

        Save your preaching, they are only games.

        We play the Thief series as pure stealth games, we don't kill (except perhaps monsters). It's like grown up Hide & Seek.

        The stuff in the new Thief you see in the brothel is pretty nice (for a grownup :)) but I don't want my almost-8 year old seeing S&M or some whore riding a guy. Maybe you do, but I'd rather not.

        Tell me, Freud, what is my main problem?
        • There's a segment of developers, movie makers, authors, and whatnot, who feel that if they don't have some sort of "adult" content in the games (swearing, nudity, etc) then they aren't being real and authentic or something. Maybe they think it takes them out of the realm of wannabes and into the serious artist sphere?

      • Objective analysis of the world around them is very much an appropriate thing to teach your children. Not everything is pink ponies and Power Rangers. People with power and authority need to be viewed critically not abjectly. Neither does everyone live their lives with the values you hold. That said, the depth into which your children are introduced should be proportionate to their maturity. Dark may not be so bad, but deep depravity not so appropriate.
  • It's like a cross between Dishonored and Bioshock Infinite. It does have some scripted sequences that remind me of Call of Duty 2, but you're not completely locked in. It's still mostly free roam.
  • and I hope they can at least get some of roads rights at least they seemed (at least in the prom videos) have a the weather channels local on the 8's looking like it's in the right area.

  • It's another one new high-tech game with amazing graphics (especially lighting effects) that require an high-end machine to play, with nice animations and level geometry details. Unfortunately, it bring nothing new worth mentioning that is surprising to see. The gameplay play just like Dishonored and DeusEx (nothing wrong with it). Most reviewers are just stupid though and it's "in" to bash new games for no reason these days saying that their nostalgic titles were better, when it's clearly not the case.
    • I never tried Dishonored. I just don't want to play a bad guy, or a guy out for revenge, or whatnot. It seemed like it wanted to be too much like Thief, except with killing and more magic.

      • by grub ( 11606 )

        I played through Dishonored several times because I was needing a stealth fix. The method of gameplay does affect the outcome but the number of those outcomes isn't huge (think Mass Effect 3's Pick-A-Colour ending). Dishonored was far too easy, I play on the hardest difficulty and ghosted it ending with a happy cutscene ending, hardest and killed everyone where plague rats ran amok and the end cutscene was rather grim and everything in between.

        The Blink spell and Dark Vision spells made the game a walk i
  • by BrendaEM ( 871664 ) on Wednesday February 26, 2014 @12:23PM (#46346657) Homepage

    I have played Thief 1/2/3 and over a hundred Thief 1/2 add on missions. Thief's 1/2 Magic Ingredients were....

    There was sophisticated programing for Thief 1/2. Light and sound mattered to the AI. There were locks, puzzles, contraptions, levers. Garret could use the rope arrow on any wood. Garrett could swim.

    Thief 1/2 were made in New England, where Thief 1/2 was made, has a marked Autumn season. Notice how many leaves are strewn about in Thief 1. As someone from New England who now lives in Northern California, I will state that it's hard to imagine how creepy it is to be in a graveyard at night around Halloween, when you are a child. In Thief 1, that graveyard, is in the middle of a haunted town that you will have to make it back through, and yes, but you still have to go under it.

    There were quite a few women working at Looking Glass Studio on Thief 1/2. It wasn't made in an all-male cloistered monoculture. Women make add-on missions. Women even cos-play Garret. If you want women to buy video games, hire women.

    The biggest problem with the Thief reboot is the console game culture, where games cannot require skill to play. Ref: [] You cannot move like a "Master Thief" unless you can control a character.

    Sadly, Looking Glass Studio failed. Thief 1/2's (as well as SS2) biggest problem was it's graphics were very polygonal even for their time. Thief was never a breathtaking game visually, but once you got over that it didn't need to be, and that is why there will be many more missions for Thief than there will be for most newer games.

    I might check out the new Thief, but for missions, I'm not expecting a mission as excellent as Ominous Bequest, or The Seven Sisters, or a story as good as Saturio Returns Home or The Bathory Campaign. I'm not expecting the care and devotion shown in Thief 2x or The Dark Mod.

    Still, I hope there is enough in the reboot Thief, to go admit their faults and go on to get everything right.

    • Thief 1/2 had a tongue-in-cheek campiness about them that made them fun to play in spite of the technical limitations. It was like being a kid again and being able to suspend disbelief. Looking down from the heights into the crudely polygonal catacombs was actually scary. Turning around to find a medium-res monster coming at you really made you jump. The same dumb guard saying for the fiftieth time: "Nobody shows me my own sword and yells run," still made you smile. You watched for situations in which
    • Yea, the arrow on any piece of wood was key in a lot of places. That meant you could use the rope arrow to get to completely pointless locations, or even just go up to the ceiling with nothing to do but go back down. Sometimes this was a good hiding place to just wait. The wood was a natural part of the locale. So if you looked around you saw lots of wood, most of it pointless. But in the new game I hear that if you look around and see some wood sticking out the side of a building, then that's a bug hi

    • Oh ya, the other things I thought was GREAT in Thief were the maps. No auto-map of the locations you've been that eventually turns into a relatively detailed map of the locale as if you had a blueprint. Instead you get some scribbles on a piece of paper. Exactly what you expect to get if a fence hands you a tip. You couldn't just look at the automap to see what you haven't explored yet or the corridor you overlooked.

      Ie, []

      I find it funny and a bit sad when other players co

  • This is a pretty fun game, actually, but it does have a scripted element that can be jarring when it draws so many comparisons to Assassin's Creed and Dishonored. I've never been one for the older Thief games (found out about them too late to care) so I can see how this edition might irritate those who have played what came before, but the game's not half as bad as I expected from the internet fervor.

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