on Apr 3, 2014
So Garrett has miraculously stumbled into the catacombs below the House of Blossoms, even though he doesn’t know his goal is here and it required the use of a key he didn’t know he’d need.
This place is obviously a Keeper library, even though it’s never called that. Kind of like how Catwoman was never called such in the last Batman movie. It follows the keeper motif established by Thief: Deadly Shadows: You’ve got books everywhere and impractical staircases.
|Ooooh! Spoooky missing art assets!|
As Garrett enters the ruins and look down into the depths, Garrett says, “Whatever that is, it doesn’t look human.” I’ve played through this part three times now, and I’m sure there’s nothing down there. Garrett is seeing something that doesn’t exist in the game. Evidently in some earlier build they had monsters down here, and at some point they removed the monsters but forgot to take out Garrett’s comment. (The monsters do show up much later in the game, and in this version of the story it wouldn’t make any sense to have them appear here.) I’ve watched a couple of Let’s Plays of this section to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. It’s the same for everyone. Garrett makes his comments and the player stops and becomes befuddled. What? What did I miss? Am I supposed to be seeing something?
Garrett crawls around the library and finds the book in question. It looks exactly like the book from the beginning of the game. We even get a flashback to the cult doing the ceremony thing. Is this supposed to be the same book? If so, then how on earth did it get here? Did the baron decide to hide his extremely important book under a far away brothel? That doesn’t make any sense. So is this a copy? What IS this book, anyway? How did Orion know it was “in” the brothel, but not that it was in the catacombs under the brothel? While individual quests make some sense (go to X and retrieve Y) they don’t fit together to form a coherent whole.
|The book doesn’t even have a name, as far as I can tell. It’s just “the book”.|
On the way back up we discover that guards have followed us down. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for them to be searching here. It’s possible you ghosted the previous section, in which case nobody should be looking for you. It’s also possible you gassed the place and there’s nobody left to look for you. I don’t know. Maybe these guards sprang from one of the magical unreachable areas of the brothel. Whatever.
Once we escape the library we end up in a room where the Thief-Taker General is having some kinky time with a prostitute. And now let me say something about the kink in this game.
|You’re mad at her for mentioning your mother during sex? Dude, you brought her up! Also: Ew. Also, you called a prostitute a whore. Did you mean to do that? Isn’t that like calling police officer a cop?|
This is the only part of the game that deals with sex at all, and some parts of it are kind of graphic. That’s fine. I guess. I’m not saying there’s no place for sexual content in games. But it seems like a strange choice here. After making all these efforts to “modernize” Thief and bring it to a wider audience, they throw in this one section that basically guarantees a hard M rating?
When Garrett gets back home we find Jennivere, Basso’s carrier pigeon. Basso uses the bird to send messages to Garret. Now we find the bird is injured, and Garrett figures Basso must be in trouble.
|It’s just as well. If they didn’t hang you for conspiracy, they probably would have executed you for the crime of not having died of the plague yet.|
Outside, a guy is being hung for being part of the “Graven Movement”, which is what Orion’s followers are being called. The game has been hitting the player over the head with the “The City Watch is brutal, corrupt, and evil” message on a regular basis.
Of course, about ten meters from where this guy was hung there’s another guy making a loud angry speech to a crowd of two people. He’s using some really provocative language and all but declares a revolution right there, and the nearby guards never give him a second look.
At Basso’s place, Garrett runs into Orion. Orion is tearing the place apart, looking for the book. He’s afraid the City Watch took it when they arrested Basso. He also reveals that the book might have the key to saving the city from the gloom. (The plague.)
Garrett reveals Basso’s hidden safe, which holds this book. This seems like a pretty stupid move when it looks like Orion’s “time to obvious betrayal” progress bar is about 90% full.
But hang on a second, fancy-pants. How did the book get into Basso’s safe? I thought I had it. Didn’t we just now get back from the library to find the injured Jennivere? But then how did the book get into Basso’s safe? Was there a time cut? If so, then why doesn’t Orion have the book?
Again, it’s not a plot hole. You can contrive all sorts of explanations for how these story elements got to these locations. You can say that Garrett turned in the book, went home, and waited a few days, and that Basso sat on the book for a few days after that. It’s just another example of this strange disjoint where we can never get a handle on how time is passing and what’s going on. Plot elements aren’t where we expect them to be and we have to keep patching gaps in the story with head cannon.
|Help me, Garrett. The Watch took my magic book! Also, have you seen my t-shirt? It says, “I will turn evil and betray you in Act III.”|
There’s another drawing of Garrett, identical to the one we found in Erin’s hideout. It’s just sitting here in Basso’s room. Orion and Garrett both look at it during the cutscene, which gives us a “this object is important” type closeup. But it’s not. It doesn’t figure into the plot. It’s also unclear who drew it. The other one was drawn by Erin, but this one couldn’t have been. It serves no purpose in the scene, doesn’t make sense as an item of Basso’s, and it’s not at all clear who would be making all these portraits of a man who works very hard to remain anonymous.
Garrett turns over the book in exchange for information on where Basso was taken. He’s being held in the keep. But nobody knows how to break into the keep. Nobody except Jacob, one of Orion’s followers. Jacob knows a way into the keep. However, he’s being held in Greystone.
Now, I assume Greystone is a different place than the keep. Not that the game has explained either of these two places before now. So apparently Garret’s plan is to break into one prisonGreystone is actually a district, not a prison. The game will explain this in the same breath where it makes this irrelevant. More on this next time. so he can ask a total stranger (who might be dead or fail to have the required information) how to get into another prison. Fine, I guess. Although, that’s not the sort of roundabout solution I’d expect from a master Thief like Garret. Dude, at least scout the place before you commit to this extensive detour.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.