The “This just isn’t fun” Award
Video games are fun. Controversial idea I know but it’s one I subscribe to (I get the newsletter and everything) Now i’m not saying all games have to be fun to keep me interested, but fun is a very good hook to keep me playing. This War of Mine isn’t fun but it’s engaging, Gone Home isn’t fun but it tells a unique story. There are some games however which fail to engage or tell an interesting story so they’ve got to be bloody fun to play in order to keep my attention. For all it’s flaws I at least raised a smile during my play through of Watch Dogs, jumping bridges and raising bollards at the right time was for the most part enjoyable (Of course the story ruins everything) but there was one game this year which for me was a chore to play, and that game was Thief (The reboot)
There is plenty of talk weather or not Thief is a good game or not, for me personally I don’t enjoy playing it. For me Stealth FPS is a very hard genre to get right, it relies on having options, a good movement system and a well implemented system for stealth itself. Now there are those who could argue that Thief has these elements, but they were there in such a way as to make the game a chore to play. With a weird over world that had to be traversed between missions, filled with guards who could easily kill you, and only a limited number of ways to navigate it. Between every mission I had to endure a slog to get from A to B, avoiding the same clusters of guards, forcing me to waste resources as I was found. It wasn’t good.
Now I do like stealth games, but they’ve got to have options. In Dishonored the teleport ability opened up so many tactical options, and while the game did punish you for using your knife, you could at least kill guards when you needed to. In Thief however, your only option is to sneak like Muppet, and knowing that if you use your bow and miss then you may as well reload your last save. Also instant fail states in Stealth games need to die.