I know I'm dating myself a bit with this, but I remember playing the original Thief once upon a time. It was a neat change of pace from what I'd played previously, and a game centered around sneaking (yes, yes, it's the grandfather of all roguelikes, I know, etc etc.). It was also amusing and a world that could drag you into it with the main character's snarky personality and his interesting and sometimes goofy adversaries.

Where did it go?

This new game is like a mirror-world version of the original. Garrett the New is a growly sadsack who takes himself way too damn seriously (to the point that his seriousness overshadows his actual words and turns whatever he's saying into an incomprehensible mumble/growl, to say nothing of the vocal cue glitches). All the enjoyable snarky humor must have been sucked out of him during his year long magically-induced slumber, I guess. While the levels seem huge, they're a lot more pseudo-linear than the old sprawling estates, with points of no return hidden without warning that say "nope, you can't go back THERE, now move on." These make the levels a little hard to explore to your heart's content, especially now that the guards don't actually patrol but instead wander to specific points, then back again. This is kind of compounded with the audio issues, with footsteps three or four corridors away sounding like they're about to goose-step over your spine.

The world is kind of weird now, too. Gone are the drunken guards and fussy nobles, and in their place the Video Game Assholes Guild has moved in and set up shop (seriously, how many games are going to have police/guards/soldiers be evil dickholes for the sake of being evil dickholes?) I know "the masses are oppressed" is kind of a popular plot point right now, but this is getting just a little silly (yes, I know that's more a criticism of game industry at large over this specific game, but it's still relevant). Probably another question that should be asked is "why do we care?" Garrett has always been a singular individual; he's there to steal stuff and make money (because that's what he's good at), so why in the world would he care about the "plight of the people" (or a certain tagalong sidekick who gets the Alphonse Elric treatment, ahem)? We're talking about Garrett here, not Robin Hood. 

To be fair, the game does have it's good points. The "effect arrows" (an old Thief staple) are back, happily. The guard takedowns (not kills, but knockouts) are neat (until you get bored of them, but that's more an issue with pre-rendered takedown cinematics than this game specifically). And it is nice that the game encourages you to be stealthy and use your brain instead of run'n'gun(er, bow) your way through every problem. I've heard complaints about the simplistic combat system, but that's...well, that's kind of the point. It's Thief, not an action title. Garrett knows how to use a sword, yes, but he'd much rather not have to. Getting caught is the game's "You *** up" mallet, and the point is to run the hell away, not make like it's suddenly Pirates of the Caribbean, Landlubber Edition (that's what the Assassin's Creed games are for).

All in all, Thief isn't the nostalgic return that it was advertised to be. This new entry in the series has taken the old humor and dry wit and washed it down to be drab and serious and...well, boring. Putting aside the audio glitches, the game seems to want to be another game with a coating of Thief-paint, and just sort of fails at it.