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Decline The new Thiaf game is MASSIVE decline - Eidos Forum Refugee Camp

Discussion in 'General Gaming' started by 7h30n, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Codex 2014 Make the Codex Great Again! Grab the Codex by the pussy
    DON'T TEMPT ME, TAFFER!
     
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  2. Melan Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Melan
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    It is a wiseass comment, but I stand by it. :argh:

    I tried to watch the game multiple times as a let's play, but never got to the end. The first time, I got bored and disgusted around the Clocktower. Later, I tried FenPhoenix's playthrough, but the same guy who has finished Keeper of Infinity and countless other terrible FMs while staying funny got tired of the bullshit and stopped halfway through. After that, I checked out another LPer, but burned out shortly afterwards. The game looks terrible to play, and it is dead boring to watch. No story, no gameplay, no identity. It is not even entertaining shitty like Blood 2 and other trainwrecks, it is just shitty shitty. Some guy's terrible fan mission or Quake map has more entertainment value.
     
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  3. Dev_Anj Learned

    Dev_Anj
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    Thief 4 is a great sleeping drug, especially if you watch videos of it without any commentary. And I'm not kidding, I slept midway through a video walkthrough of Thiaf.
     
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  4. Max_b5 Learned

    Max_b5
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    The game would've attracted more players if it at least had Hammerites, Pagans and Keepers but taking them out of the story was the biggest f*** you to every old school fan in the world.
     
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  5. Riskbreaker Arcane Patron

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    It speaks of what must be almost childlike secular humanist naivete of Thiaf's writers. In their mind, religions that existed for millennia can be utterly erased from existence during one generation, with barely a trace of them remaining. Not only that, but they give so little value to the religious that in their version of Thief setting centuries may pass without those "erased" old faiths being replaced by anything substantial.
    World... doesn't work like that.
    Their lukewarm handling of anything supernatural, compared to awe and otherworldliness of actual Thief games, just adds up to that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
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  6. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    The good news is that I've found the problem to my crashes. The bad news is that it'll take a little time to fix it. So I'm postponing further playthrough of Thiaf until later.

    I could come up with a "review" right now, but I think it's only right to crucify Thiaf for what it truly is, not on some first impressions.
     
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  7. Icewater Artisanal Shitposting™ Patron

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    What's the point? Even professional reviewers mostly couldn't defend that piece of crap.
     
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  8. Darth Slaughter Arcane Patron

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    What was the problem?
     
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  9. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    The CPU doesn't meet the "recommended" requirements. (The minimum CPU requirements for Thiaf are vague as fuck.)

    I then checked with a few other games that I've been running recently, and my CPU is below the minimum requirements in every case.

    In short, it's time for an upgrade, which I'm aiming to do during the inevitable January sales.
     
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  10. Melan Prestigious Gentleman Arcane Patron

    Melan
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    Well, stranger things have happened in Thiefland, like that one year between TDP and TMA where the Hammerites were taken over by a splinter sect, the City went from techno-mediaeval to Victorian and developed a modern police force; structures like Angelwatch and the Mechanist cathedral were built from scratch; and the Mechanists went from crude and bulky Hammerite tech to submarines, phonographs, radio beacons and steam-powered robots. That doesn't happen over less than a hundred years (let's call it fifty when we factor in magic, Trickster-based disruption, and the genius inventions/leadership kills of High Priest Droopy).

    But the explanation is probably much more simple and sad. Somewhere at some design meeting, some fucktard "creative" must have questioned whether their target demographic would understand all those complicamated legacy ideas, and then they brainstormed a highly original idea - they are going to be Victorian Londoners, except irrationally evil and covered in grime and shit. And then they went to play in the Square Enix ball pit.
     
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  11. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

    JarlFrank
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    Yeah that's the one thing that showed me how truly bad the game is. I watch Fen regularly and know he tends to finish a thing when he touches it. He finished some really mediocre and boring FM sets, but also most of the greats, and he always stays entertaining throughout, even when it becomes obvious from his voice and jokes that he's getting tired of the mission.

    But with Thi4f? He just gave up. He couldn't take it anymore. The thing is so bad, it drained all the funny talkiness out of him because there is nothing to say about it, really. With good FMs, there are comments to be made about the cool little details, with bad FMs comments to be made about the questionable design decisions. Thi4f is just bland. If it gives you opportunities to joke about it, the jokes are way too obvious (hurr hurr cock rings hurr) to be funny. It's just entirely made of cringe. It doesn't have anything good about it, but neither does it have anything endearingly bad that makes it fun to watch. It's just a mediocre cocktail of blandness, a sterilized product made by people researching trends and focus groups and aiming to please an audience made up of statistics created by the marketing department, rather than a product of passion like the original Thief games were, and like even the worst FMs are. There is no passion, no authorship behind it. The game is a result of people just doing their job without putting anything more than the minimum required effort into it.

    It's not even a particularly bad game. It's just horribly, horribly bland and mediocre, which is worse than being genuinely bad.
     
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  12. tormund Arcane

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    But that grimdark overload really is special. Snow of ashes from factory where plague victims are burned, constant swearing from NPCs in combo with constant arguing and crying from various apartments in the hub, streets covered in grime with dying (possibly dead) lying every here and there, plus loads and loads of forced vulgarity and brutality and ugliness whenever possible and so on. It's so hilariously overdone that at times it looks like it was meant to be ironic... except it isn't.
     
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  13. Riskbreaker Arcane Patron

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    Melan
    Social, technological, architectural changes to the City were indeed hard to take seriously, but the way in which Mechanists seized popular power was in itself believable. Short timeframe actually made it more believable, in that it explains why cracks weren't more visible.
    Consider. We had crisis from the first game that both increased populace's fear and disdain for Pagans and, it is safe to assume, lessened their trust in the ability of Hammerites to protect them.
    With Mechanists, we have this sect with strong sense of commitment, one that offers to "fix" teachings of existent faith that was so recently put to test and that obviously had less than strong popular support, and one whose teachings at the same time aren't (outwardly) so different from those of Hammerites as to demand huge expenditure of religious capital. Add to that their hand in improvement of general populace's quality of life, lessening of criminal activity, add to that their instant crusading against Pagans who so recently threatened the City. It is easy to swallow that they would hold such sway only one year after the events from original game. And consider, we still had signs of Hammerite worship in the City, as well as presence of their priesthood.
    While it would be easier to accept City's state in other fields if distance from original game was say two or three decades, in this particular field it would actually be harder to swallow this state without bigger cracks and obvious signs of discontent.
     
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  14. Arrowgrab Learned

    Arrowgrab
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    Highly appropriate typo.

    Also, my memory's failing me, where exactly is it stated that only one year passed between TDM and TMA?

    Anyway, I'm willing to explain away the incredibly speedy rise of Mechanists by pointing out that they're not just Fantasy Protestants in general; they're Fantasy Calvinists. On crack.
     
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  15. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    I was originally planning on making a "proper" review of Thiaf, something worthy of being published as a review somewhere. After finally completing the game, I decided against that. Instead you get a mix of a review and a "stream of consciousness" insight into my playthrough of the game.

    We all know Thiaf is a shit game. Many of us could see it coming a mile away, which prompted someone to post this image a few days before its release back in the day:

    [​IMG]

    It's rare when such a scribble conveys so much truth, and it was posted because some slammed and judged the game for what it is without having played it. Myself, for one. But even as I did so, there was always this tiny thought at the back of my head: "Just how bad is it really? Would anyone mind if I took a proper look and formed a better opinion of the game?" And like any good rubbernecker, I felt the growing urge to witness this accident first-hand. Almost 3 years later, after having pointed accusatory fingers at those that spent money on Thiaf, I bought a copy for a mere $1.25.

    And now, after having played through the game and done the best I could to explore every corner of it, I can safely say that many of the negative reviews and opinions on Thiaf are only loosely based on facts and research, to the point that they (and my old opinion) can be considered erroneous and should be dismissed.

    The truth is that Thiaf is so much worse than I could ever have imagined.

    Part 1 - Getting into the groove of things. (open)
    The game opens with a gloomy title screen and a musical piece that wouldn't seem out of place in Heroes of Might & Magic 3. As I continued playing the game the soundtrack would constantly pester me with its existence. Not that it's a bad soundtrack, but more because none of the prior Thief games had an in-game soundtrack. Their approach was to have sound cues: Small sound bytes that are played at proper times, of which some may have music. This is a much more organic method of adding aural atmosphere, and except for UI-related sounds none of it is permanently bound to any activity. While Thiaf also has sound cues, it doesn't use them properly, it constantly plays the same music in regards to certain activities. Knock someone out and a short ditty plays. A critter has raised its awareness level and you'll hear the music change to reflect this... even though you're two stories up, on the other side of the map. The worst offender though is that annoying sound that plays when a critter's awareness level is changing. Yes you read that right, you get a clear audio cue when a critter "sees" you. Thief did this so much better 15+ years ago, and they couldn't duplicate that?

    There are two parts of the Game Options that are worth mentioning: HUD options and the adjustable difficulty level. Many aspects of the HUD can be disabled/enabled at any time, but after fiddling with them to try to get a Thief-like experience, I quickly saw a need to go back and turn most of them back on... because without them I fell prey to the "one button does everything"-aspect of the controls, which would lead to me often performing the wrong action at the wrong time. The adjustable difficulty level is a checklist you can set at the start of a playthrough and can't be altered afterwards. After I had started playing with takedowns disabled, I soon found myself in a hopeless situation in-game which forced me to restart... this time with takedowns allowed. (More on that later.) I also disabled Focus and jacked up the price of equipment. I tried the best I could to find all the loot and avoid killing critters. This approach lasted for about 3 chapters until I just gave up and freely dealt with anyone in my way. Playing Thiaf in a proper Thief-like manner therefore takes herculean amounts of patience - which I simply don't have and the game doesn't deserve.

    The gameplay is divided into 9 story-driven Chapters (tutorial included) as well as freestyle-taffing in the large hub map of "The City". Alongside this are small optional areas that can be unlocked in The City map (disguised as jobs from Basso) and a series of mini-chapters called "Client Jobs", eight in total. Overall I got the most enjoyment out of these sidetracks as their size ranges from a single room up to a small T1/T2 Fan Mission at the most. You start by playing the mandatory tutorial which slowly unlocks each game element, while being forced to endure one of the most annoying characters in video gaming history - Erin, Garrett's "partner-in-crime", though their relationship is never explained beyond the obvious meaning.

    I'm just gonna take a brief pause here to point out Shamus Young's half-completed autopsy of Thiaf as it covers many things I'd otherwise be pointing out. Consider it side-reading to my rambling text.

    The game is on-rails until both the tutorial and Chapter 1 are completed, after which you end up in Garrett's hideout and have access to The City map... or at least one part of it. Another part unlocks once Chapter 2 is completed, and the final part after Chapter 6. As much as players would want to immediately get taffing in The City, I advise against that until after completing Chapter 2, as vital tools needed for exploring The City won't be available until then. It was at this point that noticed just how bad the UI is. It's all white outlines and white menu trees in a crisp, readable font. No attempt is made to add color (except for the Health and Focus bars), visual style or even to make it practical and easy-to-use. The game actually has two Options screens - one for game-related stuff like loading/saving, and another for handling in-game stuff like documents, game stats and objective markers. These two are mutually exclusive - no jumping in-between is allowed. This UI looks and feels like a placeholder, but somewhere along the way someone decided there was no reason to change it, so we're stuck with it.

    During my exploration of The City I came across one of the biggest crimes of Thiaf - The City map resets itself if exited. All snuffed light sources are re-lit, all unlocked doors are relocked, all unscrewed grates are screwed shut again, anyone downed is resurrected and returned to their posts, along with any loot stolen from them. Everything else remains as it was, though. This goes a long way towards killing any possible enjoyment that can be gained from The City, knowing that much of your efforts will be undone if you as much as play a (mini-)chapter or pop into a Safe Space. Oh yeah, Thiaf has safe spaces. The clocktower, the two pubs and the graveyard are such areas, and you can't use weapons in there - meaning you can't injure or rob anyone inside - like Basso or the equipment seller or that guy pissing while holding nothing in his hands.

    In his Thiaf review, Yahtzee pointed out that the sound in the game is bad, and one such reason is that it's hard to hear clearly some of the chatter going on. I figured I'd fix this by turning on the subtitles... big mistake. During the Chapter 1 cutscene the subtitles are WAY out of alignment with the text, and during normal gameplay I was picking up subtitles for short conversations taking place *somewhere* - and most of it repeated ad nauseum. Subtitles from two different conversations even blend over one another, leading to extra laughs and confusion. And at no point was there any effort made to make the sound come from a credible source - you could be skulking along a rooftop and two disembodied voices in your head suddenly started blabbering about heading to the pub.

    Finally I think it's best to mention that a sizable chunk of the game (and how it's balanced) is tied into the Focus system, which is Bat-Vision for Garrett. Since I played the game without it, I'm not gonna comment further on it save to say that having it enabled really speeds things up - be it takedowns, stealing, picking locks, discovering secrets, whatever.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  16. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Part 2 - The dumb denizens of The City. (open)
    Now that I had a feel for the game, it was time to get taffing. I hadn't been playing for long when I realized another horrible aspect of Thiaf - the level design is grid-based. At least 75% of the game is 90°/45° angles and blocks of scenery tied together. Maps feel fake as hell as a result, something more belonging in Tomb Raider rather than a Thief game. As for what those blocks are used to build... ugh. They're not railroads, but they're not sprawling levels either. They're a couple of steps above Thief 3 levels, but that's it. Having as much as two different entrypoints into an area is a luxury, and I never saw more than four. This mostly applies to the story Chapters though, both The City and the mini-chapters are much more forgiving in level design. The City maps ususally consist of wide circles with rooftop access in the middle, but also obvious chokepoints - and here is where the respawning aspect of The City map becomes unbearable. One such chokepoint is South Baron's Way, a street corner with a small watchtower. In the tower is a crossbowman who has a good line of sight over a large area. Off to one side is a stationary guard watching straight across the street, on the street corner is another stationary guard facing towards the tower guard, and finally a second crossbowman patrols up and down the street. Behind the guard on the corner is a dead end alley with two chests. Getting past that guard isn't much of a problem, except the second crossbowman ends his patrol standing in front of the corner guard - and here's where one of the game's biggest bugs enters the picture.

    One thing I hadn't mentioned is the critter AI of Thiaf. Considering how much time has passed since the original Thief games were released, I was expecting some kind of improvement in that department. In truth there's only one new addition, and it's bugged. Critters can now change their patrol routes dependant upon circumstances. On paper this sounds really cool - a guard that's been alerted a couple of times may stop lounging about in the corner and move to another location, while a patrolling guard may stop his patrol to focus his attention at a known troublespot... or at least that's how I interpret their activities.

    The problem with this is twofold:

    1: Many times a critter simply freezes in place instead of executing its altered patrol path. It doesn't even play idle animations/voice lines, but it's still very much alive and watching its surroundings. This is where the aforementioned second crossbowman comes into play. Every time I ducked into that alley with the two chests, he would walk up to the corner guard and freeze, making it impossible to sneak back out of the alley without being spotted, or someone taking an arrow to the face. This means anyone playing with either no takedowns allowed or trying to ghost the game has entered a Fail State situation and needs to reload - to them that alley is a death trap.

    2: Changeable patrol routes are most often used in Thiaf to act out scripted events, seemingly for the sole purpose of inconveniencing the player. One of the Mini-Chapters has Garrett breaking into a fence's house and raiding his safe. The fence himself is asleep upstairs, but if you enter the room with the safe he not only wakes up, but comes downstairs and starts patrolling inside the house. Try to open the safe itself and his patrol path changes again so that he heads directly for the safe, meaning he will find you if you don't know that he's coming. Another example is the jailbreak Mini-Chapter. The local watch station has been overrun by bandits and you must spring out a prisoner before the bandits get to her. She's locked up in the basement and two bandits are standing guard there. They mention that they don't have the key and that it must be somewhere else in the building. But the moment you pick up the key (on the top floor) these two guards disappear without a trace, only to magically reappear in the basement the moment you unlock the prisoner's cell door. I raged hard at this bit.

    There are more examples of this behavior in-game, and it strikes another nail in the coffin of anyone wanting to ghost this game - the only way to avoid these "surprises" is to knock out/kill everyone you ever meet. Fortunately ghosting is only forced twice in the entire game - once in the tutorial, and again for the first half of one Mini-Chapter.

    Much to my disappointment there's a very limited amount of critters in Thiaf, even though a faction shift takes place half-way through the game. They are:

    # Non-hostiles that don't care that you're there.
    # Non-hostiles that run to summon the guards if they see you/register you as a threat.
    # Guards, of which some carry a light source. Guards also seem to carry throwing knifes which they'll happily throw at you if you get out of their reach. Guards make up at least 50% of all critters you'll face in Thiaf.
    # Crossbowmen. Crossbows do a lot of damage compared to throwing knifes.
    # Dogs in cages. Think of them as stationary proximity sensors.
    # Birds in cages. Noise-based alarms. Make any loud noises or sudden movements (like swooping) near them and they'll start squawking. They're mostly trivial until Chapter 7 - more on that later.
    # Cameras - Only found in The Bank Mini-Chapter, these candle-powered cameras are surprisingly easy to deal with.
    # Abominations - the only non-human critter in all of Thiaf, and also the only enemy that presents any challenge.

    That's it, except for a couple of boss encounters. There are no free-roaming animals, no children, no Undead and no spellcasters. And yes, once you figure them out they're easy to deal with. This doesn't mean that critters are less dangerous - while Garrett can run at a pretty good pace, every critter can keep up with him. They'll quickly call upon their friends and try to swarm you, and getting out of their reach is rarely enough - you also need to get out of their line of sight. But once you do, critters usually forget you ever existed in a ludicriously short period. As to what critters react to... besides the usual things like loud noises and bodies, they also react to open doors that used to be closed, light sources going out, and a few (scripted?) instances where water fountains are turned on/off. An open door will only raise their suspicions, but an extinguished light source will also have them re-light it, BUT they will only do so if that was the source of their raised suspicions. Distract a guard by throwing a bottle somewhere and you can then put out all the light sources in the room without him noticing or re-lighting them. Better yet, sometimes guards don't follow the basic AI routine at all. I came across a torch-bearing guard that didn't care that every door mysteriously opened in the room he was patrolling, but I also came across a guard that lost his shit because I turned off a light two rooms away.

    The biggest problem for me was actually spotting the critters. You see, barring everything in Chapter 5 I counted only 3 individuals that don't wear an almost all-black outfit: The equipment seller, the Baron and Erin once you meet her at the end of the game. EVERYONE else wears black. Even the whores wear black corsets! Garrett is no trend-setter, he's just another hipster copycat.

    One hilarious thing I noted while dragging away bodies: Male bodies have considerable weight to them so they drop down with a satisfying thud, but female bodies seem to weigh considerably less - to the point that Garrett tends to fling them away with limbs flailing wildly!

    The stationary animals are locked in cages that just so happen to be the same color as the scenery that surrounds them - meaning an extra minute or two will be needed to search for them in any given area, and not all birdcages house birds. Fortunately both birds and dogs can be put to sleep with Choke Arrows. What are those, you ask? Check the next section for a quick look at Garrett's gear.


    Part 3 - Garrett's bondage gear and how he uses it. (open)
    As usual Garrett has an array of arrows and other equipment to help him out. Unfortunately some sense was introduced into Garrett's attire in Thiaf, as he now has limited inventory space for everything, though it can be upgraded in-game. The gear Garrett has at his disposal is:

    # Blunt Arrows: These are primarily intended to push buttons and smash pulleys, but they can also do damage to critters, though they never deal a killing blow.

    # Broadhead Arrows: These work exactly as before, even to the point that they can push buttons... so why have Blunt Arrows to begin with?

    # Sawtooth Arrows: A more damaging version of the Broadhead. They may also have armor penetration (arrows can bounce off helmets now) but I never got a chance to test that.

    # Water Arrows: These also work exactly as before, except they can also snuff out torches held by guards, and critters hit by one will stop and cough, setting them up for takedowns.

    # Fire Arrows: Work exactly like broadheads, except they also give a small burst of fire. Can be used to ignite torches and such.

    # Blast Arrows: These work like the old Fire Arrows. They cause a loud explosion and shouldn't be used in close quarters.

    # Choke Arrows: These put down dogs and crows for good, but other critters caught in the gas cloud will only stop and cough.

    # Rope Arrows: Essential equipment that can only be fired at very specific spots. Not only will you need dozens of them to get around The City but they're also needed in the Chapters, except they don't bother telling you that, and they rarely supply you with them themselves. (Thief made a note of being self-sustained - if you needed specific gear, it could be found in-game.) Always have about 5 Rope Arrows at the ready whereever you go.

    # Flash Bombs: These also work exactly as before, though Garrett always seems to throw them at his feet.

    # Throwables: These replace the Noisemaker Arrows. Various bottles found lying about can be picked up and thrown to cause distractions (or some damage if you hit someone on the head with them). Sadly Garrett can only carry one at a time, and the game tends to bug out and delete them from your inventory when you load saves.

    # Food: These replace Healing Potions, and instantly heal you for a good chunk of your health.

    # Poppies: These replenish your Mana Focus energy.

    In addition there are three tools that must be bought early on from the equipment seller: A wrench, a wirecutter and a razor. These are only used when circumstances call for them. The same can be said for the compass, lockpicks and the blackjack. Any other equipment you may recall from earlier Thief games is not present in Thiaf. :( I would have loved to have Mines in this game.

    Garrett can now also cause some environmental damage. Conspiciously-placed heavy boxes and timber loads can be found hanging from flimsy ropes, and flammable oil is often strewn about the ground in the later levels. But by far the most powerful weapon in Garrett's arsenal is his own weight. Stand on a ledge above a guard and a special takedown option presents itself that guarantees one dead guard, but it's somewhat loud. Successfully sneaking up close enough behind a guard also allows for a quieter takedown. The blackjack is now Garrett's only melee weapon, but it sucks at the start and needs to be upgraded to be as powerful as it was in the older games, though bopping someone on the head from behind doesn't have that same feel to it anymore. Oddly enough shooting someone in the head with an arrow is the most silent takedown of them all, to the point that more care needs to be made that no one sees the body drop rather than hearing it. (Rambo must be very proud.) Better yet, shoot someone in the face with an arrow and you get an ArrowCam© view as it flies towards its target! (ArrowCam© brought to you by Doritos™.)
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  17. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Part 4 - Garrett's journey (abridged version) (open)
    Now we get to the "story" of Thiaf, if one can call it that, seeing as it lacks cohesion, motivation, structure, an endearing protagonist or any sensible antagonist. Thiaf's story is told through the Chapters - standalone missions that feature a main objective (that often changes depending on circumstances), and up to 4 optional objectives related to how you play the game. Grabbing all the loot is always an optional objective, but the others can range from being undetected to pickpocketing X amount of guards or scoring X amount of takedowns. Completing an objective successfully yields a gold reward, meaning that getting all the loot can result in a bonus that almost equals the loot amount in the mission! Unfortunately I came across a bug where the game failed to register me picking up loot in some Chapters, making it impossible to complete this objective sometimes... so only bother with that if you want more gold than you know what to do with.

    But unlike the norm in prior Thief games, Thiaf comes loaded with Points of No Return - once you cross these points you can't go back. While this never interferes with the main objective of the Chapter, it can and will interfere with the optional objectives, as well as finding all the readables and Collectible loot. No that's not a typo. Collectible loot is stuff like all the matching rings of a set, all the paintings of a famous artist or all the memorial plaques from The City, and Garrett will proudly put them on display in his clocktower - and completing a set *sometimes* nets a monetary bonus as well. Collect all the Collectibles, however, and you're awarded with a 30000 gold reward!

    I was gonna write a long rant here that would point out just stupid the plot is, except I'm gonna just refer to Shamus Young's article again, as well as post this video:



    (Sin #62 is my favorite.)

    With that behind you, I'll continue where they left off:

    # Garrett's adventures are regularly interrupted by pointless 3rd-person parkouring. I have no idea why these sections are included in the game. Not only do they break the immersion, they also tend to crash the game.

    # Garrett seems to be immune to opium, even when it's mixed into the ventilation system and used to gas everyone in the brothel. And no, that cloth covering his face doesn't count because all the guards in the brothel sport that same fashion...

    # Chapter 4 starts as a mansion heist-mission, but once you nab the blueprints the mission devolves into a high-paced obstacle course where Garrett is pursued by angry guards and barking dogs. Failing to run away fast enough ends in Garrett dying - even when he's in a location where neither guards nor dogs can catch him! The rest of this chapter is ripped out of Tomb Raider and involves one action sequence after another as Garrett ascends an exploding tower under siege to save his "pal" Basso, before suddenly leaving Basso to his own devices (while still in the tower) to pursue and break into the Baron's "Great Safe". One of the worst lines of the game can be heard here, as Basso asks Garrett why he's doing this. "It's not about stealing - it's who I am." [​IMG]

    # The Great Safe is a giant vault held aloft by chains at the very top of the tower, and here's where we discover that Garrett is outmatched as the stealthiest character in Thiaf. No, Garrett has no chance against the Baron's top stooge, the Thief-Taker General, a villain so thin and pointless that he's always at the worst place at the worst time, and he always gets the drop on Garrett. And consider the fact that the Thief-Taker General is overweight, limping with a footbrace and uses a cane, and one's mind begins to unravel at the amount of stupidity needed for that to work out - but it has, and it will do so again.

    # At the end of Chapter 4 Garrett is in possession of a piece of the Primal Stone, and told to go to a mental asylum to find more answers. As Chapter 5 is the "Spooky Level" of Thiaf it deserves closer examination, and I'll go into that in Part 5.

    # The plot at this point: The Primal Stone is the MacGuffin of Thiaf, a blue-glowing gem that radiates immense power and can be used for various things - though it seems the Baron only wants to use it to somehow advance industry in The City. Where the Primal Stone comes from is never explained, what it truly does is also never explained. As far as MacGuffins go, this is easily one of the weakest ones around.

    # Chapter 6 has Garrett going straight to the Baron for some answers about Erin, the Primal Stone and its energies. While this Chapter starts out as another mansion heist-mission, that all is thrown out the window once you reach the Baron's tower where the "big reveals" of the game are doled out. Not only is the rebel leader Orion actually the Baron's brother, but the final piece of the Primal Stone is in Garrett's eye. So much for the Mechanical Eye. Once that's over the Baron dismisses you with a prod from his cane, then the rest of the chapter plays out with Garrett dodging rebels out for blood, breaking into a secret lab to destroy some fancy machine to get another piece of the Primal Stone... only to be ambushed once again by the Thief-Taker General, who somehow has eluded all the blood-thirsty rebels, found the secret lab and yet managed to remain out of sight of The City's greatest Thief. But wait! The Chapter ain't over! It climaxes in a lenghty escape sequence from a raging fire, with timed objectives and death-defying leaps of faith. This is also the point in Thiaf where ghosting players realize that they're playing the wrong game.

    # Chapter 6 would easily be the worst part of the game, were it not for Chapter 7. Chapter 7 takes players to... the ruins of a grand Cathedral, one of only two places in all of Thiaf that refers to the older Thief games in any way. Sadly the Cathedral is not only a wreck, but also little more than a giant hole in the ground, in which the Baron's brother is hiding. What happened to the Cathedral to turn it into a crater is never explained, and why there are signs of older civilizations beneath the Cathedral is also never explained.

    # What is made perfectly clear very early on is that Chapter 7 is purposefully designed to force the player to abandon all attempts at stealth, and sends a big "Fuck you"-message to anyone still trying to ghost the game. The first area alone has the guards stationed so that they have a near complete coverage of the whole area, and crows stationed at convenient locations to prevent any swooping taffers from exploiting gaps in the patrol routes. To add insult to injury there is broken glass everywhere and every climbable surface not related to progressing onwards is made unclimbable. No thinking outside of the box in this one! It isn't until after the elevator sequence that this needlessly tight level of security laxens, but it picks up once again just as you reach the end of the chapter.

    # And the end of Chapter 7 has a Boss Fight. Yes, really. The City's greatest sneak, The Thief-Taker General, shows up as if on cue, having somehow managed to evade all the rebels, interrupt the Baron's brother (and Garrett) at an important moment, and yet no one gives a shit that he's there. And now he wants to finish off Garrett, so that crossbow strapped to his hand now suddenly fires Blast Arrows, and he spams those fucking things. You can choose to either spare him or kill him, but the game doesn't care either way.

    # Chapter 8 is the climax of the game, and fortunately the shortest chapter. It still involves far too much sneaking just to reach a massive boat that the rebels are building... for some unexplained reason.

    After plowing through 2 dozen guards, Garrett finally corners the Baron's brother, who's holding Erin hostage. Unfortunately this is also the moment where Erin decides that she wants to be a Stronk Independent Womyn, so she goes on a killing spree that spares only Garrett. Cue second Boss Fight where Garrett must dodge multiple Erins and their Glowing Feminist Auras so that he can grab the fragments of the Primal Stone, fuse them together and use the combined Primal Stone to exorcise Erin. Cue ambigious cutscene showing the sun come up, but no further resolution of... well, anything.

    Is the plague cured?

    Is the Baron alive or not?

    Did Erin survive?

    Who cares, really?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  18. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Disclaimer: Chapter 5 is actually a somewhat enjoyable part of Thiaf, so some taffers might be persuaded to play through this travesty of a game just for this level. For those same taffers, I suggest skipping out on the spoilered text below, as I'll be ruining most of the fun of it. The only forewarning I'll give is that Chapter 5 likes to spawn in certain items only once the proper actions have been taken. Keep this in mind, as it means some backtracking will be involved to get the 'full' experience.

    Part 5 - A trip to the funny farm (open)
    In true Thief tradition, Thiaf has one level which focuses solely on being scary and spooky. Thief 1 had the Cathedral, Thief 2 crapped out and Thief 3 has the infamous Shalebridge Cradle. Thiaf has Moira's Asylum. While it makes a good attempt at creating a memorable experience, it's marred by a few basic mistakes and the fact that it's all been done before. My biggest feeling while playing this chapter was that of deja vu... a feeling so strong that nothing here truly spooked me.

    But let's start at the beginning. Moira's Asylum is located on an island off the coast of The City, so Garrett has to make the trip by rowboat. Once there we find that the place is seemingly deserted - the front door is boarded up and all the windows are dark. Trying to search around the side of the main entrance suddenly creates a sound and the front doors are flung open as if those big hefty boards never existed. (A loot item also mysteriously appears in the statue's hands.) Once inside, only one action is available, after which the front doors have boarded themselves up from the inside. Now Garrett is trapped in the asylum. Great.

    The asylum is pretty open-ended and has no actual Points of No Return, making it one of the most Thief-like levels in Thiaf. Unfortunately it borrows a page from modern level design. The asylum is divided into two wards - Male and Female. The reception area is on the south end of these wards, while the High Security Ward is on the north end. The Female ward (where Erin should be located) is locked and the key is located in the Male Ward because Every Inch Of The Level Must Be Used. This is also reflected by the fact that you can never take the straight route between two locations. The Male ward can only be entered from the second floor of the south end, and the High Security Ward can only be entered from the second floor of the Female Ward...which is locked. Strangely enough there's no need to go for the key - the Female Ward can be entered from the lower floor of the reception, and from there the upper floor of the Female Ward can be reached. So a sizeable chunk of the level can be skipped...but it's precisely the best part of the level that players would be skipping, so I do recommend visiting the Male Ward.

    Once in the Male Ward, players may hear certain... sounds. Familiar sounds, like those of a certain monster from Thief. Sounds that make most players crap their pants a little. Say hello to the Night Warden, the only unique non-boss critter in the entire game. Follow his rules and stay out of his way and he'll leave Garrett alone. Fail and he one-shots Garrett so that he falls to the ground as if killed... only for Garrett to get right back up after a fade-out sequence with only a tiny bit of health lost. So much for being scary and dangerous.

    Almost all Thief missions have a few readables around that yield thinly-veiled hints or snippets of backstory, usually about four to ten per mission. Thiaf does this also, except Chapter 5 has 42 readables. That's a record even by Thief Fan Mission standards, and an absurd amount of exposition text to cover what are mostly empty hallways full of empty rooms. It does add some atmosphere though, especially since the patients are all referred to by numbers instead of names, and some may find it fun trying to discover who they are. (Hint: At least two of the inmates are characters you've met in Thiaf.)

    In terms of other spooky parts, Thiaf tries to go for too many jumpscares. Look into a peephole and someone will watch back. A locked door, once unlocked, may explode outwards and seemingly cover everything in flames, only for everything to return to normal in a moment. Pass a bookcase and it crashes to the ground behind you, creating lots of unwanted noise. But the more subtle attempts work so much better. There's a stage full of wooden mannequins (and anyone worth their salt knows what that means) and going down a hallway may reveal light coming from a side corridor, only for it to be gone once the corner is rounded. The winners are the inmates that can be seen peeking at you from distant corners of the hallways.

    Eventually Garrett makes his way to the High Security Ward, and this is where Thiaf returns somewhat to its true form. Down here are the only real critters of the chapter, some violent asylum inmates and the abominations. The build-up to the introduction of the inmates is predictable to the point of being yawn-inducing, but the complete opposite applies to the abominations - you enter a seemingly lifeless part of the asylum, only to realize that there are things that go bump in the night down here. And then the ending goes Full Derp, all but ruining the fun of the chapter.

    If any of this sounds familiar to someone, it's because it all reeks of Shalebridge Cradle from Thief 3. The Cradle started with no enemies present and many of its scares were subtle and sound-based. It was also an insane asylum with cells, inmates, inhuman critters and a supernatural element hanging in the air, blurring the line between sane reality and insane fantasies. This was the biggest letdown for me about Chapter 5 - it was a lukewarm remix of the Cradle that barely holds a candle to it.

    One final note - one of the Collectible loot items found in Chapter 5 is a Mechanical Eye - and one of the inmates seemed to be quite the escape artist and pilferer of silverwear. Could it be...?
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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  19. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Part 6 - Final thoughts (open)
    # Completing Chapter 8 does not end the game - instead you're allowed to taff about in The City in case you're missing a few things. In my case I was only missing a few newspapers, but strangely enough online guides seem to be somewhat vague on where these newspapers may be found. In fact, most guides about Thiaf seem to stop being updated and maintained about a month after the release of Thiaf. Coincidence?

    # The only Chapter mission I enjoyed was Chapter 5, though the former parts of Chapter 4 and 6 are also alright. As for the Mini-Chapters, they're a hit and miss affair. "A Happy Medium" is probably the best one, despite the ghosting requirement at the start. This mission has Garrett shadowing The City's most famous drunkard, Benny Lenny. Lenny will lead Garrett to his objective if all obstacles from his path are removed... and how one of them is removed (the whore) is the only laugh-out-loud moment I had in the entire game.

    # Another mini-chapter well worth mentioning is "Heartbroken". This is the only mission that tries to do something clever with architecture and level design, but it does so at the cost of gameplay as the whole thing boils down to looking for (not-so) hidden buttons around the house.

    # Then there's the DLC mission, The Bank. This is another well-done mission that is probably the one part of Thiaf that is closest to the original Thief in level design and free-form movement. Shame that it only nets you some loot, but considering how the equipment seller is constantly attempting to fleece Garrett this is a nice side mission to undertake. I'd recommend doing it after Chapter 2.

    # Speaking of the equipment seller, there are 2 of them. One looks like a pedophile and sells/buys gear and upgrades, the other one looks like the Stranger from Gothic and only sells gear... but he can sometimes be encountered in a few Chapters as well, which is quite handy towards the end.

    # The upgrades available are pretty straightforward, but group a couple of them together and Garrett will soon be tanking damage instead of being a frail little taffer like he should. Towards the end of the game some really stupid upgrades become available, for stupid prices. One of them is a statue that grants Garrett near legendary stealth abilities. How stealthy does Garrett get once he's armed with this? He can stand right in front of guards in maximum light without them noticing.

    At this point I think it's time to wrap this up before the derp overwhelms us all. But there's one more thing...

    # One highlight of the Thief games was its use of language. Characters in Thief used accents and grammar befitting of The City, and coined the incredibly versatile word "taff" which simply doubles as a replacement for everyone's favorite F-word. But Thiaf ignores all of this. Instead of "taff" we get people obsessing about "sloop", to the point that it's easily the second-most common word you'll hear in Thiaf. If that isn't bad enough, they decided that instead of trying to be clever it's just better to be straightforward, which is why "fuck" is the most common word you'll hear in Thiaf.

    To hammer that point home, I heard two blokes in Thiaf have a conversation that went something like this:

    Bloke 1: Someone just called me a taffer the other day. Do you have any fucking idea what that means?
    Bloke 2: Fuck if I know, it sounds fucking ridiculous.

    [Insert appropriate rage image here, if it even exists.]

    So, my final thoughts: As a stealth game not associated with any other games bearing the same name, Thiaf ends up being an below-average stealth game with a high production value but low effort, barely worth a dollar or two and quickly forgotten in a sea of crap shovelware games.

    But as a part of the Thief franchise, which includes not just two of the greatest stealth games ever made, but also two of the greatest PC games ever made - it's an absolute and total disaster. It bases its entire design on the third Thief game, the one that everyone agreed was the worst in the series up 'till this point - the one with less of everything because consoles (and their users) are too stupid to handle complex games. It completely ignores everything that the other two games in the series accomplished, to the point that Thiaf is an insult to the fanbase it's supposed to cater to, and an irrelevant mess to new players that makes them wonder what was so hot about the Thief games to begin with.

    This is easily the worst reboot of a game I've ever seen, and has sealed the fate of the series for all time. It takes effort to kill a franchise in the process of rebooting it, but that's the gaming industry to ya.

    Thiaf (2014) - this game wouldn't be worth your money even if it shipped with a brewery and a brothel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
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  20. Darth Slaughter Arcane Patron

    Darth Slaughter
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    I'm playing thiaf on homeopathic doses right now... playing this game is a chore... it's a insane task if you're a completionist. My first impression is that it would actually be an ok game if not set in the thief franchise and therefore, be free to be it's own thing. The way it is, and due to it's linearity, it feels like you're watchging a movie adaptation of thief, where they put the characters just to be there, put some references and released it to be forgotten as early as possible.
     
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  21. Darth Slaughter Arcane Patron

    Darth Slaughter
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    On the thiaf subject, I've just finished chapter 2, after having to replay it about 3 times to get all the loot/documents. What pisses me off is the fact tha none of the "points of no return" has any reason to exist other than piss payers off. These level subsections have no load times beteween them, and a route to go back to previous area would be as easy as put a box or a vent or a claw shortcut. So you could actually go back for missing loot. Oh, the motives for replaying the level is that i had no idea i had to buy the tools from a generic NPC. You know, from the city hub, that there is some tools you'll eventually need to complete side objectives in missions. But one guess you will unlock these tools by playing through the main story levels, like those batman arkham games, but no, it is available from a vendor you may miss since there are so many generic npcs around which you can't interact with. This is a popamole game, why don't you give an objective line like "talk to the vendor" like everything else? Also, you already have enough money to buy these fucking tools right from the start, it's odd you don't start with it already.

    Ghosting is possible in parts, but a cinematic showing daniel day lewis (thief taker general) seeing garrett after he triggers a cutscene by stealing the ring... makes ghosting pointless already... cinematics really spoils gameplay. Also, since i like to black jack the hell out of AI in thief, I normally tend to do so in all stealth games. Knock the hell out of people. The problem here is that guards normally walk in pairs. To split them, you have to divert their route path by making noise or let them catch a glimpse of you. Then you pray they get far apart, because when you knock one guard, chances are the other guard will see it even if they're a fair distance apart. Also, there was one instance in chapter 2 where 2 guards get together and have a conversation. after that, the go back to their normal route. which is two rooms and two opposite LONG corridors apart, and they very far from each other. No matter what, every time I knocked down one of them, the other guard in the other side of the level would become suspicious. In a another playthrough, I knocked the same guard before he ever gets the chance of talking to the other one. In this case, there's no suspicion raised from the other guard.

    Also, on the last section of the second chapter, you have to ghost your way out with guards alerted by your presence. which makes ghosting, I say it again, pointless.

    On the AI department, they notice bodies lying around, but there's no statistic that takes it into account. Also, the game doesn't care if you knock down an AI or kill it, as long as you do it undetected, you get no punishement for that, even on master difficult levels. The game has no indication of a eleiminated guard is dead or uncounscious. And sometimes, bodies do disappear.

    About sound... did you know you can disable lockpick and "picture frames search" UI assistance? But guess what? You don't have any other sound feedback. I guess it's meant for force feedback vibration controllers... Even thief 3 had mods that took away UI hints and you could lock pick by using the sound.

    Now, sometimes I feel like i'm playing uncharted, which is a game i like and has a lot of cinematics, and also some hidden loot and is linear as hell. And has stealth sections that you can blow and still play the game without feeling guilty you did something wrong. If this game wasn't trying to be thief and just be a console popamole linear assassin's creed/uncharted/batman arkham variation, It could pass for an entertainment.

    After playing the on-rails prologue and the first chapter, reaching the city hub was somewhat a glimpse of incline. You see, the city hub is a big level with lots of nooks and crannies to explore, and no points of no return present in the many linear chapter levels. Which actually makes you wonder about the stupid decision of leaving those points of no return. Yes, i know you can save before, but guess what, you only have three slots of manual saving, and a level contains many subsections. Even thief 3 allowed you to go back and forth and there was only 2 subsection per level. The hub gave me a glimpse of incline, but after enetering, I see new a batch of guards taking over the ones I KO. I stopped playing at this point, I intend to continue playing, but it was also after this point that I read Unkillable Cat's review and I actually lost interest in this game for now.
     
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  22. Riskbreaker Arcane Patron

    Riskbreaker
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    Funny thing, I actually remember almost nothing from THIAF other than some of its particularly egregious moments. I thought that I completed its sixth chapter but, lookin at me steam achievements, I dropped it after the fifth one.
    Chapter five is what I wanted to comment on, in that I didn't really think it was all that. Worst thing about it is that it felt like this artificial, cynical attempt to force a much references and connections to proper Thief games, what with it being directly based on one TDS mission and directly referencing another one trough asylum's name and location, and then with direct connection to original history and original Garrett. And all of it came off as real silly, and real disrespectful to originals. It was like a token fan service chapter. "Cram as many references to original as is humanly possible, after we completely ignored them before" chapter.
    I really cannot comment on it further as I remember next to nothing distinctly, other than
    Show Spoiler

    mutant thingies and the reversal of light-darkness mechanic.
     
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  23. JarlFrank I like Thief THIS much Patron

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    :retarded:
     
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  24. Darth Slaughter Arcane Patron

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    For a modern game, that's actually a lot...

    Oh, and I remembered something: I compared the game with arkham batman games... you know when in those games you can go back to previous levels to finish some things you weren't able to do before because you lacked the gadget to get that out of reach collectible? Well, you can go back to the missions maps, but you have to actually replay them from scratch. It would be way cooler if you could revisit them to at least get the missing loot...
     
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  25. Unkillable Cat Prestigious Gentleman LEST WE FORGET Patron

    Unkillable Cat
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    Get used to this feeling, you'll get A LOT of it.

    Here's the funny part: The razor is only used to collect that set of paintings, and unless you want the 30 THOUSAND bonus for grabbing all the collectibles there's no need for it. The wire cutters are only used for disabling traps - don't quote me on this, but I don't think you need to disable a single trap in the game...you can bypass all of them. (I do recall some doors being locked unless the wire cutters being used on a box, but those cases are in Basso Jobs.) That leaves the wrench, which actually serves two purposes: Collecting the memorial plaques and for getting through the grates. The wrench makes it so much easier to get everywhere, but I'm not sure you need it at any point. The memorial plaques are the first collectible set you can complete (during Chapter 6) and you get a 1900 gold bonus for doing so.

    I distinctly remember cases where I took down a pair of guards by sneaking up behind one and doing <Takedown> and the other didn't notice, which set him up for the second one.

    Is it the ones that walk down two corridor and through a room to look at a peephole in the wall? Those two are bugged as fuck.

    This is precisely why I gave up on trying to be a Thief in Thiaf - the game doesn't care, so why should I?

    The game has 3 "types" of saves: Chapter saves, Checkpoint saves and Manual saves. Unless you're playing some filthy console peasant release of Thiaf, you have 99 Manual Saves at your disposal that you can use at anytime...

    ...as long as you aren't spotted...

    ...or haven't saved in the past 60 seconds or so.

    Yeah, the game is picky like that.

    The most hilarious part about the guards is not that they respawn in exactly the same places with the exact same patrol paths if you exit The City map.

    No.

    After Chapter 4 (5?) there's a faction shift in The City - the Baron's men (a bunch of thugs clad in black leather) are replaced by The Graven - Orion's people rebelling against the Baron, whom incidentally are a bunch of thugs clad in black leather. But here's the thing: They team up in the same way and keep the exact same patrol paths as the Baron's men. In other words the models are just switched out!

    Hit me up if you want more reasons to not play Thiaf.
     
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