Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thieves do it from behind

Thief is a game about sneaking around, stealing stuff, and if you are as bad at the first part as I am am, knocking out guards from behind so I could do the stealing at my leisure. I am sure it is possible to do a clean run in which every bit of liftable loot is bagged without touching another human being but I do not have the skill or patience for it. I did try to avoid killing people and not once did I pile all the unconscious guards up in the yard and light them on fire. That only happened once in Deadly Shadows and I am still not sure if I am proud or ashamed.

My point is that Thief is about Garrett, a person, against guards, who are also people. When I grew frustrated with sneaking I could always force the issue with sharp arrows through eye holes. Then the freaks showed up, monsters who could not be back attacked and would shrug off anything short of Rambo style explosive munitions. There is precedent for non-human enemies in Thief games but that doesn't mean I have to like it. The freaks only show up twice but they suck what little fun is present out of their levels both times.

It was clear that I had given up on the game when the penultimate boss fight gave me the option of killing him or stealing all his stuff and then sneaking past him. Ordinarily I would opt to embarrass him, thus dragging out his suffering and increasing my schadenfreude. I tried once then resigned myself to the kill (which was still difficult thanks to his ability to shoot crossbow bolts around corners). The desire to play Garrett according to his code was gone; I was willing to hack and slash my way to the end.

And then the end came and it didn't make any sense. Spoiling it is pointless, it's that dumb. Not dumb like the ending of Outlast was dumb, dumb because there was no thought put into it whatsoever. I am very much looking forward to the South Park game in which the dumbness is intentional and amusing instead of depressing.


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