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A new way of looking at Thief 4


Springheel
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http://www.pcgamer.c...arretts-return/

 

One of the problems I have with T4 is the same that I have with most AAA games these days: it's 2014 and most of the mojor points to note about it that I see are aesthetic. The hands are a luxury, it's one of those things that can't really add anything to an empty game. I remember one level in T2 where I evesdropped a conversation between two characters, and boy did that conversation had content. They went for maybe 20 minutes of conversation, and that certainly added to the atmosphere. There might not be a new objective coming out of it, but it surely was a lump of fresh air after lockpicking a dozen doors and creeping around half the map. A moment of soothing recess where you could momentarily meddle into people's affairs. This is one example of the many things which made Thief's such an enjoyable game. Thief revolved heavily around the lore that was extraneous to Garrett, but which was still often useful, or the least, entertaining and immersive. The world felt alive.

 

T3 had much of it too. People often point out its problems while neglecting to consider how the first two weren't perfect either. But the reasons why it was enjoyable weren't only because the gameplay was easily bearable despite its flaws (which I never noticed until I read opinions on the internet much later), but rather because, apart from the rope arrows and the lack of swimming, it still kept much of the original essence. T3's world still felt alive, and the gameplay still felt like Thief. T3 isn't really that far from what I would envision a proper modern sequel to be.

 

T4 seems to be very tunnel visioned and poorly thought out. Maybe even pretentious. It hopped on the bandwagon of games with generic content coupled with a set of marketing-oriented features and overdone aesthetics. T1 got me thinking about the future of games, and whenever I looked into that future I saw marvelous things, I saw NPCs being made more alive and interesting, the gameplay mechanics being improved, among many other things. But it's 2014 and very little of that really happened so far. Doom 3's dysfunctional marine couldn't hold a pistol and a flashlight in each hand and couldn't walk over a wall higher than knee height, Oblivion still had characters standing idle and apathetic behind counters doing nothing from dawn till dusk, and claiming to be busy. But that was nearly a decade ago, somehow I still hoped. Well, I stopped hoping a few years ago. I started looking at indies for innovations on what really matters besides physics and graphics and aesthetics.

 

The fact that T4 doesn't feature undead is seen by some as a good thing, but it's also one example of the series' iconic atmosphere being streamlined... stripped of what made it good in the first place. And at the same time, considering the history of the series, I won't get to suspend my disbelief because of that, since the world used to have lots of ancient places where the Hammerite ghosts were restless, and now suddenly it somehow doesn't.

 

I have other issues with it, such as that the HUD can't even begin to fit the theme, the introduction of in-mission cutscenes on a series that set the example of how to tell a story without them, the lame super-powers, among other things.

 

This is all why I defend that T4 might be a great spin off, but not a main series title. It may still be a good game, but it's probably not a thief game. I'm reserving my judgment until I can play it, but I'm hardly persuaded by it.

Edited by Skaruts
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it still kept much of the original essence. T3's world still felt alive, and the gameplay still felt like Thief. T3 isn't really that far from what I would envision a proper modern sequel to be.

 

T4 seems to be very tunnel visioned and poorly thought out. Maybe even pretentious.

 

I don't know, I can think of plenty of things I hated about T3. There was atrocious writing, terrible voice-acting (the "Mae West" fence made me cringe), horrible controls (falling off ledges while leaning, the terrible lurching movement), pretentious HUD elements (that inventory wheel cycling), crappy animations, terrible bug-eyed character models, and awful bugs like the yoga ragdolls and resetting difficulty level.

 

And yet given all the things I hated, I still enjoyed the game overall.

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Because none of those things really made the game detract from what made it a thief game. :)

 

What I found quite distracting from the thief concept was the way the plot got overly messy towards the ending.

Edited by Skaruts
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The fact that T4 doesn't feature undead

 

I think it does have undead.

 

Beggar Queen "There are worse things that lurk in the dark than even you Garrett".

 

And then we get a flash of what looks like a zombie. And in some recent screens there are zombie things in some corridor and all over the walls.

 

 

Thief 1 and 2, to me, are characterised a lot by the excellent movement. T3 lost that and so lost that Thief feel. Thief 4 won't have it either.

I want your brain... to make his heart... beat faster.

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I think it does have undead.

I remember seeing something about it not having, but I may be outdated and wrong, they may have changed their mind on that as well. I hope I'm wrong, actually.

 

What Oldjim posted is one the things keeping me hopeful about the game.

Edited by Skaruts
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I'll admit I had quite a bit of fun in parts of TDS. I don't stand in line for games anymore, meaning I never rush out and get anything new. There's no point in doing so. *maybe* I'll play T4 used on a console some day but I'm not even looking forward to it. For example I was at least looking forward to finally getting to play DNF.

 

If you can't tell, I did look forward to both DXIW and TDS back in the day. I read all the previews, I followed all the discussions, etc.

 

And yeah you're right about the complaints. People bashed the game because of small levels, poison water, lack of ropes, third-person (even being an option!), requiring shaders, not running on Windows 98, and on and on.

 

Personally, I kind of felt like I was shafted because I shelled out full price for TDS and we got only one patch before support for the game ceased. There were many bugs that did not get fixed, and when you spend full price on a game and you are left in that situation, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth and you are less willing to do it again.

 

I must say one thing about you TDM developers, you really care about your product. Bugs get fixed, requested features get implemented, aspects get improved, etc. With mainstream games, its like "here's our hot new game, buy it, its done. We aren't going to invest the effort to fix aspects of the game because we have to move on to cranking out the next big game". Mainstream games weren't always that way though. Back in the 90s, developers spent loads of time fixing things and adding features to their games even after you purchased them. Look at all the patches that came out for Half-life, fixing netcode, things like GLQuake/Quakeworld, etc.

 

TDS marked the moment when stuff like that came to an end.

Edited by lost_soul

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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Well, back then a lot of people were still on Win98. They also fell for the load of crap which was the Geforce 4 MX series of cards. I was fortunate to be on XP with a shader-capable card, so I ran the game fine.

 

There was a Geforce 4 MX and a Geforce 4 TI. The MX did not have shader support but the TI did. Of course a lot of clueless users had the former.

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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third-person (even being an option!),

 

Wow, I'd even forgotten about that!

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I'm not really blaming the users right there, so much as NVIDIA. Naming two cards that have vastly different capabilities something so similar is a sleezy thing to do IMO, just like renaming older cards to sell them again.

 

Yes, Springheel, people felt that the existance of third person was a cheat. For example, you can be in third-person mode and see around a corner, but the guards cannot see you.

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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ITT: Making fun of poor, and/or computer illiterate, and/or disabled persons, in First World countries, who just want to play games, too, which is getting increasingly difficult.

 

(Not you lost_soul)

 

6VdYS.png

 

There's a 65 page thread full of your hyperbole. Maybe leave it out of this one?

 

Well, back then a lot of people were still on Win98. They also fell for the load of crap which was the Geforce 4 MX series of cards.

 

I was in that same boat. I didn't hold it against the game, though =P

Edited by Airship Ballet
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Yes, Springheel, people felt that the existance of third person was a cheat. For example, you can be in third-person mode and see around a corner, but the guards cannot see you.

It's kind of like playing blackjack with your opponent's cards facing up.

 

I always found myself in a dilemma in that case though. On one hand it's a cheaty feature, considering the nature of the game that we're talking about. On the other hand I'm all for having a camera option in games, to satisfy each one's preference (even though I loathe 3rd person view in most cases- except to look at my character if it's ever pertinent).

 

The reason why it annoyes me is just because I feel like it does a bit of a disservice to the game by allowing some players to "cheat" their way around potentially dangerous features such as leaning. Of course that it doesn't affect me personally if I trust myself to never cheat with it.

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Oh yes, I hated the 3rd person option too, I had just forgotten about it. I'm not sure there's anything that could be considered "less Thief" than 3rd person. And again, that's my point. Despite all the things I hated, I could still enjoy the game.

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Well, what makes a game "thief" is pretty open to interpretation. :)

Let me put it this way. I noticed a difference when playing T3. But that was the same feeling of difference that I felt when playing Half Life 2, or Starcraft 2, Warcraft 3, and any other reasonably decent sequels. In other words, the game felt different while still not feeling alien to the series.

 

I didn't feel this when playing Carmageddon 3 (though I kind of enjoyed it) or Jagged Alliance 3 or DNF.

 

That's not to say T3 is a great sequel. It's not quite there, but I don't believe it's a bad one either. Every series has ups and downs, and I view it as if T2 was an up and T3 was a downward slope without being a total down.

Edited by Skaruts
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Hahaha, what? Really? Oh my... some people. "Damn that technology and its tendency to advance."

 

The interesting thing is that there was nothing in TDS that prevented it from actually running on Windows 98, except for a weird icon folder stuffed into the .exe and changing a setting in the default.ini. Load up the .exe in PE Explorer to delete the icon folder and change one setting in the .ini file and it ran fine. I had several OS's on my system for testing purposes at the time and TDS ran like a top on 98. There were no 'advanced features' from XP that it specifically required.

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@New Horizon: Didn't you have a part in the development of TDS? Or am I just remembering wrong?

 

Also, yeah, it was weird because even Windows 98 got Directx 9.0c. However, Running Win98 with over a gig of memory presented problems and games were starting to require more memory, creeping up to a gig. I remember when I built a computer in high school with a gig of RAM, I installed Win98 and it kept BSODing at boot. I figured I did something wrong, but it was the crappy OS not supporting my thirst for memory. (it ran XP fine)

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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Huh, it was quite a jump compared to the slow, arbitrary upgrades we're getting fed now. I upgraded fairly quickly so I can understand the plight of those who couldn't. Still, there was plenty around to keep them entertained on 98 until they could manage it, same as there always is when you get left in the dust. I guess they never mentioned the possibility to play it on 98 if there was the slightest chance a bunch of people couldn't play it. Besides, having the shiny new technology credits on your advertisements will have the PC master race types scrambling for it.

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I remember one level in T2 where I evesdropped a conversation between two characters, and boy did that conversation had content. They went for maybe 20 minutes of conversation, and that certainly added to the atmosphere. There might not be a new objective coming out of it, but it surely was a lump of fresh air after lockpicking a dozen doors and creeping around half the map. A moment of soothing recess where you could momentarily meddle into people's affairs. This is one example of the many things which made Thief's such an enjoyable game. Thief revolved heavily around the lore that was extraneous to Garrett, but which was still often useful, or the least, entertaining and immersive. The world felt alive.

 

This is exactly what I was referring to in my previous post about Garrett, not so much that his honor or virtue, but that the objectives were much more creative than "stealing a fat nobleman's trinket" for more than a couple missions before the plot kicked in.

 

Breaking fence out of Cragscleft, tailing Assassins, being hired to steal a sword by the owner, stealing talisman & the eye (instead of sceptors), escaping, going undercover, sabotage, freeing indentured servant, eavesdropping (as you noted), breaking into bank, framing the city watch. etc.

 

This style of playing is way more exciting to me than "steal fat noblemen's trinket" because I never knew how the stealth skills would be have to be utilized or what I was going to steal, even if it was just information.

 

I hope the new game has some variation in mission play style, and allows the player to have more interesting goals than just stealing "fat noblemen's trinket". Just for the record, I don't mind stealing the fat noblemen's trinket, I just don't want to do it 10 times in a row.

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I'm just surprised how unexcited I am that a new Thief game's coming out. It's my favorite series, but they've kinda lost me with this reboot. So many baffling decisions. Even though Deadly Shadows had some issues, you could tell the developers absolutely loved the series. Thief (2014) just seems like a publisher trying to shoehorn a different kind of game into the Thief name.

 

I'm going to wait for impressions and reviewers before making up my mind, but the game just doesn't look very interesting. Aside from the inconsistent first-person animations, I don't understand what's unique about the game. It looks like it's borrowed from Hitman: Absolution, Assassin's Creed and Splinter Cell, wrapped up with an awkward Thief veneer which doesn't seem to sit well with newcomers or long-time fans.

 

It's so strange since Eidos Montreal did a great job with HR. I wonder how this went so off the rails? If it's great, I'll definitely pick it up. I would probably be really annoyed if there weren't a giant community of awesome FM's and there wasn't a super ambitious project like the Dark Mod. Playing through Home Again feels like next-gen Thief to me!

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I pretty much agree with TC. I feel like many people complaining about this reboot tend to ignore or forget about how simplified certain aspects of Deadly Shadows was compared to the first two games although it was still a great game in it's own right. Yes this reboot is even more simplified in some areas and borrows some elements from other games (which is to be expected since there hasn't been a Thief game in ten years) but the basic concept is still the same. It's still a game about stealing, being stealthy, using arrows and avoiding combat with two or more guards. And there are tons of customization options like disabling loot glint that even Deadly Shadows didn't have. I'm not expecting T1/T2 quality. But if the game can do well on it's own right, while still using the basic formula, then I'll enjoy it for what it is. The best thing that can come out of this game is giving the franchise more exposure.

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