Mon May 22, 2017 9:22 am
If you enjoyed the latest game with the "Thief" name, cool. No objections here.
I stayed away from it because 1) I consider the best computer games ever made to be the first-person games by Looking Glass (primarily Ultima Underworld, System Shock, and Thief) because they nailed "support different playstyles by design" to an extent that few other game developers ever have; 2) I thought the first two Thief games (by Looking Glass) were fantastic in conception, atmosphere, openness, mechanics, world-reactivity, and Stephen Russell's voice acting, and in emphasizing sneakiness and player-directed exploration over moment-by-moment constraints imposed by the developers; 3) the previews and interviews I searched for about nu-Thief suggested that the developers wanted to make a more actiony game using the Thief name; and 4) virtually every comment I read by people who enjoyed the first two Thief games as I did, and who had played the new Thief, said that its developers failed to understand and deliver what made the originals uniquely fun.
Dishonored is a bit different from Thief in that, where trying to engage in combat in Thief would usually get you killed pretty quickly, you can be a lethal badass in Dishonored if you want. But you don't have to be.
Also, having many innate powers available in D2 is quite different from the limited (though varied) gear-based capabilities available in Thief. Even so, I spent about 98% of my playthrough of D2 using only three active powers. There is also less emphasis in Dishonored on changing the local environment to allow more sneakiness, but Dishonored isn't actually about being a thief.
These differences acknowledged, choosing the non-lethal/ghost options for solving the gameplay challenges is supported even more effectively in D2 than in D1, to the point that the combination in D2 of the world-geometry, NPC AI (including the "hey, I think I just saw something move over there" states), atmosphere, and movement capabilities make it the closest thing to the original Thief games I've played.
It's maybe also worth noting that Arkane, who developed Dishonored, was created specifically to make games like those of Looking Glass. Arkane exists because they loved the Looking Glass games and wanted more like them. I think they've done a good job of that, but I'm also very happy that a number of the Looking Glass team have reformed as OtherSide and are making a new Underworld game, as well as System Shock 3 led by Warren Spector in Austin (where Arkane made the new Prey).
So I can't say anything definitive about the 2014 Thief because I didn't play it. But I can say that Dishonored 2 does an outstanding job of delivering the kind of fun the two original Thief games pioneered.