Sunday, January 11, 2015

Screenshot of the Week #20: Obsession?!

                The last couple of weeks I haven’t been very productive in terms of gaming, barely played anything, but I did find the willpower to finish the latest Thief game. I will not write a review about it, it is already too late and the review won’t be very positive anyway, but I can express my opinion about the game in a few phrases in this article.
                Thief is one of the series I love with thrilling atmosphere, challenging difficulty and complex stealth play of the previous games were something hard to find in any newer games (Dishonored took a decent shot at it). The latest game did manage to recreate some of that atmosphere and for a while even the story was interesting enough to keep me going (actually the reason I came back to finish the game). But in the second half of the game the story was rushed and unpolished, at some point things didn’t tie up anymore and the presence of existence of some characters in relation with the story hardly made any sense.
                The gameplay gets repetitive and feels like a grind just after a few hours into the game. There are always the same safes to crack, the same locks to pick, the same type of traps or the same hidden areas. The game lacks uniqueness in its gameplay, I wanted to see puzzles, ingenious traps and protection systems like the old games had.
There is a lot to steal in the game but very little challenge in doing it, because it always relies on the same mechanics and after doing the same thing over and over again things become mechanically easy.
                The stealth play is fine, but with the addition of focus powers and a very helpful interface (but horrible to navigate) the game wasn’t a big challenge even on master difficulty.
                Besides the gameplay problems there are also some very questionable choices when it comes to the world design. The multitude of pointless loadings and the fragmentation of the world map are hardly bearable. Without an SSD I can’t imagine how frustrating it is to play this game and wait loading after loading (and these loadings are not short).
                Overall, Thief left me the impression of a game took from another era and forced into a new one. Developers tried hard to make it enjoyable for everybody and skipped on the details and complexity that made this series great. In the end, the game probably didn’t fully please anyone, as it doesn’t really excel at any of the elements used in it and is and I think it is overshadowed by Dishonored, something that should not happen.
It could have been something great and I wanted it to be so, I really did. Thief was one of the games I expected the most in 2014 and disappointed me deeply (not at the level of Watch Dogs disappointment). I’m not sure if the game will get a sequel and I don’t know if I would want one considering how things went with this game. I suppose I will have to wait for Dishonored 2 and see how that game turns out.

                I can’t believe I actually managed to keep up with my schedule this week and posted the two articles about some of the upcoming games in 2015. I hope I can do the same in the next week, as I want to post two more articles, one about upcoming FPS games and one about upcoming strategy games. At the moment seems to be quite a herculean task, I had no idea there are so many strategy games planned for 2015, but hopefully I will manage to get it done in time.
                I’m also slowly working on reviews for Elite: Dangerous and This War of Mine. I will probably post them at the end of this month or the beginning of February.

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