Tuesday, March 25, 2014

MeekinOnMovies On...."Thief" for XBox One.

Hunger Games: S&M Edition

"I like the game is chode-like in that it’s thicker than it is long.
 - Paul Meekin

While playing “Thief” on my Xbox One, I was baffled - I loved this thing - it was studious and deliberate, challenging but fair, and pretty as all get out. Yet, the word on the street pre-release was not good nor has it improved since. The development history was moderately infamous, especially when the working title of “Thi4f” was announced, but I didn’t get it.

Then it dawned on me. The virgin effect. From noted video game personalities like Yahtzee at “Zero Punctuation” to the Idle Thumbs podcast, to the folks on “Youtube” and “Penny Arcade” -  the people I looked toward for intelligent gaming discourse, played the “well it’s not as good as…” card. It’s not as good as “Dishonored”. It’s not as good as the first one. Its world is not as open, its characters have all changed, its different from what “Thief” should be.

These people, so passionate about games, so touched by the world of interactive media that they’ve been able to get full time jobs either talking or writing about them, let the idea of what something should be, affect their idea of what this “Thief” actually is, which is pretty damn great.

The setup finds you in the shoes of long-time protagonist Batman. I mean Garrett. Yes. Garrett. After a mission goes awry and your quasi-ward, Erin, falls into an otherworldly explosion, Garrett is knocked out cold and wakes up a year later with absolutely zero memory, save for who he is, who his friends are, and that some crazy ish went down the night of the explosion.

It’s decently acted and does a good job immersing you in this dystopian “Hey I should see Les Mis, again” world, with a secondary “I’m not a hero,” theme happily clicheing its way along, too. The supporting cast includes a jovial black-market merchant Basso, the altruistic-but-possibly nefarious Orion, and the aforementioned Erin, your now missing, possibly undead, cohort. The game’s antagonist “The Thief Taker General” is a real bastard you love to hate, with a delightfully outlandish and curlable mustache, and a bald patch on the top of his head signifying the insecurity he takes out on underlings, prostitutes, and ultimately anyone who crosses him.  

While there’s nothing unique or investable about it, Garrett’s story succeeds in the places a game like “Tomb Raider” failed, specifically in the characterization. “Thief” allows characters room to breath, injecting personality and levity into the proceedings. Basso is the closest thing Garrett has to a friend, and takes turns alternatively worrying about, and bemoaning, Garrett’s oft-nebulous where-a-bouts. Orion is as ‘Jesus’-y as it gets, but you can’t help but question his holier-than-thou motives - this kind in this world is suspicious, and Garrett suspects him. Unlike “Tomb Raider” where the characters mostly exist as macguffins - “Save her, find him, get the X for that guy,” here the characters feel like...somewhat real people who have something resembling personalities and lives outside of a given cut-scene. None of this is groundbreaking, but a little nuance and character differentiation go a long way.

“Thief” plays a little differently than what you’re used to, too. While stealth games currently come in 52 different flavors, the most popular are predatory ones like “Far Cry 3” The Batman “Arkham” series, “Crysis 3”, “Assassin’s Creed”, and the good parts of “Tomb Raider”- all making the player feel like John Rambo, the alien from “Predator”, and / or Batman with regularity. The predatory element common amongst them also allows gamers to play how they want. Yes, the idea is to sneak up on a base and silently take out the guards quietly as possible in “Far Cry 3”, but if you’re impatient or not into that kind of thing, a guns-blazing approach can work just as well. You get all kinds of offensive gadgets and tactical advantages in the “Arkham” games, and even the most recent “Splinter Cell” offered rewards and points for playing the game as a one-man CIA killing machine.

“Thief”, is not a predatory stealth game. You’re given the shadows, a limited amount of resources, non-regenerating health, an objective, guards, lights, glass, things to avoid, and that’s about it. Combat will likely get you killed. Taking down a guard in the presence of another guard will probably get you killed. Attacking people you shouldn’t...will get you killed. The game takes points away for takedowns, detections, and kills - you want to cause as little of a commotion as possible. Playing on the “master” difficulty, it becomes an almost masterclass in what true stealth games can accomplish - namely making the player feel like a genius through thought and action.

Rest assured, there are a serviceable number of doodads to tinker with and ability upgrades, but none result in making combat the optimal play style. This forces you to think your way through a given objective. Unlike seemingly every other stealth game, distracting guards via thrown bottles, and freaking them out by hitting light switches or extinguishing flames are viable tactics and encouraged throughout the duration of the game, not just until you find a gun or ranged weapon, or run into a thrusted-upon-you action set piece.

“Thief” is so secure in its quasi-pacifist design that the the bow featured so predominantly in the promotional material is more of a utility than a weapon. You stock it with blunt arrows, water arrows, and fire arrows, and while you *can* attack guards with these, you’ll probably just annoy them or cause minor damage. They’re better served hitting light switches, extinguishing flames, and igniting flammable materials as a distraction. The whole idea is to use these tools on the environment to get around guards, cover your tracks, and progress to the objective as silently as possible, but a whisper in the shadows.
The limited resources thing also plays into the upgrade and shop systems - money is scarce in “Thief” and a lot of the upgrades cost quite a lot of dinero - you can either buy a pair of trap disabling wire cutters...or stock up on arrows and other tools to make taking advantage of the environment a little easier. It’s a tricky balance that encourages you to scour your surrounding area for all the loot you can find, and to then spend that loot wisely. You’ll occasionally come across a side mission that requires a rope arrow or a tool you don’t have, and while frustrating, it ultimately makes you eager to nick everything that isn’t locked down you can go back and buy what you need.

And getting “back” to where you buy stuff is hassle and bone of contention among many. There is no fast travel in “Thief”. The city you inhabit is a twisting labyrinth of interconnected roads, roofs, apartments, and sewers. It’s dizzying at first, and since the streets are always populated with guards on the look out for you, simple navigation becomes a harrowing experience - almost like the “Dark Souls” of pathfinding, especially since the locations and types of guards on the overworld change as the you progress through the game. The only shortcuts are the ones you create or discover.

The other complaint regarding the overall design has been it’s not as open as prior “Thief” games. I have not played the other “Thief” titles, but generally speaking, crafting a wide-open world on the level of which the original had would be prohibitively expensive development wise, and likely dilute the overall experience into a “Skyrim” kind of situation. The truly interesting parts would be few and far between, trapped in an interconnecting series of samey rooms, roads, and paths - like a PB&J sandwich your Grandma made that featured the “J” in name only. Then again, lots of people like Skyrim and its thin coating of J across a massive landscape.

What Eidos Montreal has done, and what I think is the optimal approach, is deliver a hearty but not massive PB&J snackable treat, meaning what it lacks in scope is delivers in density. From the start “Thief”’s world is teeming with mystery and out-of-reach shiny things you know you’ll be coming back for later. There are ledges you can’t yet reach, doors you can’t yet open, and ropes you can’t yet climb, all piled on top and beside each other throughout the city’s labyrinthian landscape. There’s a great ‘nooks-and-crannies’ vibe, with a good sense of verticality, alleys to poke around in, and distinct landmarks like a very pesky, well lit, guard tower that always seems to be on the way to the next major objective. There’s a good chunk of side missions of varying quality, some simply requiring a tool, and others requiring your brain to figure out a code or decipher the location of a particular piece of loot.


It’s all about the loot actually, and there hasn’t been a mission or moment that’s felt out of place or annoying outside of a puzzle involving rotating staircases. I haven’t been forced into combat sections, nor has remaining undetected been a cakewalk. I feel my options are many and creative, including a mid-game mission where I overloaded an opium dispenser and knocked out the entirety of a brothel. As a bonus, difficulty is nicely augmented by just how badly you want every piece of loot, which is often stashed in hard to reach areas, locked safes, or on guards and enemies themselves.


This all controls pretty well after a bit of a learning curve. Navigating the menus can be kind of irksome, there’s iffy takedown mechanics, and the parkour elements feel a little tacky considering it borrows the “Tomb Raider” thing of coloring stuff you can jump on or use white, and there are a couple of areas where you think you can make a jump and can’t. While we're at it -  selecting an item requires a couple of extra button presses than it should.

On the flip side, holding “X” to steal coins from enemies as you sneak behind them just to release in the nick of time, or quickly picking a lock while someone’s back is turned all control well, and you’ll rarely curse the controls as the reason you died or failed an objective. Beyond that you’re always aware of if you’re visible or about to be spotted, a handy focus vision highlights interactive objects, and you never feel confused, unfairly challenged, or cheated.

It’s tense. It’s a special kind of tense, too. If the internet personality “Super Bunnyhop” is to be believed, when Hideo Kojima pitched his vision for “Metal Gear” to Konami over two decades ago, the powers that be initially balked - refusing to believe that a videogame where you avoided combat could be popular - and it wasn’t at first, hence “Metal Gear”’s ‘cult classic’ moniker. Kojima’s “Metal Gear” threequel  “Metal Gear Solid”  made that idea viable. Sneaking past guards, disabling cameras, spotlights, and creating noise to distract potential threats delivered a whole new type of tension to the masses. When you’re hidden and an enemy walks past, It’s almost a second cousin to the “Don’t go in there...don’t go in there!” goosebumps you get watching a good horror movie. 

While the settings, locations, characters, and monsters “in there” change, that tension remains the same exhilarating sensation. A good stealth game gets this tension right. When a game gets it wrong, it’s often because developers are worried the players will get frustrated, feel pigeon-holed, or not have enough tools to do what they want to do or grow impatient. You’ll notice “Metal Gear Solid” evolved into more of an action game as time went on, with stealth elements saddling up awkwardly to the shooting, and it seems in general developers have made stealth either a forced-upon mission type (Looking at you, “Assassin’s Creed”), or an element of a power fantasy like in “Far Cry 3”.  Not that “Thief” isn’t a power fantasy, but here the power comes from a much different place. It taps into the part of our soul that loves the last three moves of Jenga, pulling off an insane trade in Monopoly, or getting “Final Jeopardy” right a week in a row. It empowers your super-genius fantasies, not your superhero ones.


Thus, when it comes to why I love this game and seemingly no one else does, I’m reminded of “The Karate Kid” reboot. It took the basic ideas - namely a kid learns karate from an old, wise, eccentric guru to change his life for the better - and jumbled everything else. The setting was changed, character traits were changed, the scope was changed, “Wax on, Wax off” became “Jacket on, jacket off”, and The guru’s demons were a little more personal. I *loved* it. It was fun, silly, sweet, conveyed a positive theme, and was pure entertainment. So of course three or four people forced me into seeing the old one because ‘it was the best’, and I thought it was a little slow - more an iconic film than an enduringly watchable classic.

My experience with “Thief” is much the same. I like that the map is hard to traverse, I like that guards have a half dozen alert statuses, I like that fighting is an absolute last resort, I like that money is hard to come by and equipment is rare - and hell, I like the game is chode-like in that it’s thicker than it is long. It isn’t so massive that if I put it down or a day or two I come back completely lost, but there’s enough girth there to warrant grabbing ahold of the game with both hands.

So, yes, “Thief” is a game I know manufactured on the shoulders of creative giants, but if you never met, or spoke with, or even put eyes upon those giants, “Thief” stands mighty tall all on its own.

4.5 Stars.

 If you're super bored, vote for "The Ottie Awards" here. 

109 comments:

  1. Could you do a review of Infamous Second Son?

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  2. Unfortunately I do not have a PS4 or PS3. If someone were to donate one I would happily review it! :-P

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  3. That match between Kronik and Taker & Kane is one of my favorite matches because it's so hilariously godawful.

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  4. Robert Bradley CurranMarch 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    That match was so shitty they were being punished for it all the way back in the 90s.

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  5. Some guys are just WAY better heels. Luger had a natural heel persona, and looked like an adonis which helped him get heat. His USA gimmick was awful for him and almost anybody. He was just not a guy u could get behind.
    To me, his best act was late WCW as "The Total Package" and a part of the "Magnificent Seven".
    I will admit, he should have gone over Yoko at SummerFest.

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  6. Man I forget how many big WCW players that Vince signed away, too bad not all at relatively the same time.
    Flair, Sid, Luger, Arn & Tully, Steiners, Road Warriors, Barry Windham, Dusty Rhodes, Dustin Rhodes, El Gigante, Mean Mark, Big Bubba, Terry Taylor, Ron Garvin......
    And eventually Vinnie Vegas, Diamond Studd, Cactus Jack, Austin, Terra Rizin'.....
    Who's left? Oh yah. Sting. Man, too bad it never came together in the WWF for the Four Horsemen. They were all basically there, juuuuust missing each other. Flair, Windham, Sid, Luger, Arn & Tully.

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  7. "People who quote themselves are fucking obnoxious"


    - Aric Johnson

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  8. I didn't lie him as a face - his outfit screamed "American Gladiator Wannabe".

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  9. I got one quibble with this review: the idea that money is scarce. I'm playing on master, I'm just starting chapter 3 and I've had no money problems. I'm thinking you blew through levels instead of doing what a good thief does: taking anything that isn't nailed down, then prying up everything that is nailed down and taking that too.


    Having said that: FINALLY A REVIEW THAT RECOMMENDS THIS DAMN GAME. I keep seeing "it's too hard" this and "it could've been better" that and I want to take Garrett's blackjack and crack some skulls.

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  10. Unfortunately, I find a lot of what passes for journalism in the gaming world to be very sophomoric. It tends to be true of the tech world as a whole.

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  11. Honestly, I'd take gaming reporting every day and twice on Sundays over mainstream sports reporting. You could hire Lester the Fuel Tank Molester from your friendly local trailer park and he'd be responsible for 30 better minutes of TV than those PTI/Around The Horn TV hams.

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  12. Is Luger going to get into the WWE Hall of Fame? He accomplished enough and was famous enough to deserve induction, but there are some PR drawbacks. There may still be a negative stench on him from the Elizabeth affair, and if he's still physically not quite right from the stroke he had a few years ago, it could make for an uncomfortable visual to have "The Total Package" walking on stage all broken down. I guess at the end of the day it just depends on whether he and Vince are on good terms.

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  13. If the Blog Of Doom was a real workplace and Meekin took the day off, you could fill it with a Down's syndrome person.

    However, Cucchiara could be replaced with a pile of shit.

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  14. Apparently Luger's in much better physical shape now than he was a few years back. And it's been awhile since Liz passed away so I wouldn't be surprised if he got into the HoF next year.

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  15. Mr. Perfect's "The Nexissist... The Lexissist... I can't say his name!" promo at WM9 was a foreshadowing of The Genesis of McGillicutty.

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  16. Lex should have turned heel after 10. Keep the All American look and gimmick but he starts railing against no good foreigners like Bret Hart. Kinda like a toned down Zeb.

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  17. Crush has one of the most underrated heel turns ever and his run before he got arrested was pretty good.

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  18. Bomb and Crush would have made a great rebooted Demolition.

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  19. I'm a big fan of Adam Bomb but apparently he didn't give a lot of fucks about wrestling.

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  20. According to Kevin Nash, Vince is about on the same terms with Luger that he was with Savage. The difference is that Savage was a guy who really accomplished a shitton in the industry (mainly in the WWF) and Luger is better known for all the opportunities he fucked up.

    Luger was a guy Vince jumped through hoops to sign (and ventured into some legally murky water by signing him to the WBF contract before a WWF contract to avoid any breach issues with WCW) and Luger responded by leaving the WWF with no notice given and appearing on the first Nitro.

    I would be stunned if Luger goes into the Hall.

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  21. He has done some work for WWE in the past couple of years. Obviously that bridge has been rebuilt.

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  22. I think that's the reason. but if so they shouldn't have let SummerSlam end like it did. even going the "oh no, he just won by countout. Yokozuna is still the champion!" would have made more sense.


    because that way you could have Cornette using every possible technicality to avoid a rematch until Luger finally wins the Rumble to get another shot.


    btw: that's another reason why fans were cheering for Bret Hart: (afaik) he only got one televised rematch after being screwed out of the championship - and that particual match (three days before the Survivor Series) ended with Hart being disqualified because Owen got involved after Fuji whacked Bret with the salt bucket. so Bret seemed like the "rightful champion" who has been cheated.

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  23. Celebrating a count out made him look a lot worse than losing straight up.

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  24. 100% agreed. They had been building to it for quite a while, including the Co-winners thing at the Rumble, and they even had a Hogan/Andre esque trophy thing a few months before that, where Bret won Wrestler of the year, but they decided to introduce the runner up Lex Luger for a speech first. OUCH!



    I know Bret was busy with Owen afterwards, but a Bret/Luger title program after WM X would have worked too.

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  25. I would have given Lex the belt at SummerSlam and then turned him heel around SurSer, to set up the Luger-Hart match at Mania.


    Can you imagine the disgusted McMahon commentary? "Luger wrapped himself in the American flag and now he does this?!? He's turned his back on the fans, I can't believe it! He's despicable!"


    We may have even managed a Savage-Luger match in the lead-up, maybe the Rumble.

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  26. He is serious, and don't call him Shirley.

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  27. And all of a sudden, Triple H's psychotic wife is OK with him respecting Bryan? I think the inclusion of Stephanie makes the whole thing impossible from a story perspective. She's the devil on his shoulder, and she killed whatever angel he may have had.

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  28. Did Hogan really damage WWE's ratings in 2002? Or was it just the end of the boom period? I think ratings were going to go down no matter what. They gave the belt to Hogan to try and halt that plummet and maybe it didn't work as well.

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  29. For the record, I don't want WWE to give the belt to Hogan either. I was just asking.

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  30. So I guess Scotts not doing Raw rants anymore?

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  31. That made me laugh.

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  32. How about:

    1. After he wins the title, HHH shakes bryan's hand and admits he's wrong.
    2. RAW the next day is Bryan's celebration. Stephanie comes out and says he disagrees with HHH, and give Brock his title shot for Extreme Rules. Brock then comes out to beat the crap out of Bryan.
    3. Bryan vs Brock at Extreme Rules.

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  33. He was clearly miserable doing them, so it's probably for the best. He can get just as many hits with 8 Daniel Bryan/CM Punk/Montreal e-mails per day anyway. Plus that Andy PG dude isn't too bad, anti-HHH bias aside.

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  34. The ratings rose back up when Triple H won the belt, and the original brand split popped a huge rating as well. As soon as Hogan won the belt, the ratings almost instantly fell from the mid-to-high 4's to the mid-3's and have been the same since.

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  35. I mentioned this before a few weeks back, but if they can somehow get Punk back in the fold, I think they gotta do a finish where HHH taps out, then during the main event he comes out and teams up with Orton and Batista to beat down Bryan. Just as they are about to finish him off, Cult of Personality hits. You can't tell me that wouldn't be in the top 5 or 10 crowd pops of all time.

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  36. He is. It's the only thing he comes here to discuss.

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  37. So the slightly lower ratings in May 2002 are all Hogan's fault? It had nothing to do with the usual post-WrestleMania drop or the other mostly boring stuff going on at the time?

    Besides, the ratings didn't sink into the 3s permanently until well after Hogan's reign: http://www.twnpnews.com/information/wweraw2002.shtml Not to mention SummerSlam 2005 popped the 2nd biggest buyrate in SummerSlam history and SummerSlam 2006 wasn't so bad either.

    Besides, I'm not advocating Hogan gets a run with the belt or made the focus of the promotion in 2014. He can drop the belt ASAP to Triple H. I think it's pretty obvious that having the biggest star in wrestling history give Bryan a rub would help Bryan become a household name instead of someone that only wrestling fans know.

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  38. If I were trolling I would say something ridiculous. Hogan winning the belt at Mania 30 isn't going to happen, but it isn't ridiculous from a business standpoint.

    You shouldn't leave money on the table by not using your most popular draw of all time to his full potential in order to push guys who have already proven to not move the needle.

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  39. "If I were trolling I would say something ridiculous."


    Um...yeah, that's kinda the crux of this whole thing. What you've been saying from the jump is patently ridiculous and has no basis in reality.

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  40. I think we all will probably keep thinking of great ways to slot Punk back into the storylines from now until July. "He'll come back for us! I just know it!"

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  41. I assumed maybe he just went to church, had some kind of intervention, and voila, reemerged as a good guy. The similar face turn he's had over the past few years supports this. Continuity!

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  42. That's not the worst idea I've heard. In kayfabe (and real life of course) terms, getting HHH's approval would be a big thing.

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  43. The only people who give a shit about Hogan are wrestling fans and 80s and 90s kids, and that's nothing more than typical nostalgia anyway. At the end of the day, he's a washed up guy from the 80s. Him being so heavily involved in storylines and winning the title would reflect poorly on everyone, and he doesn't move ratings and buyrates anymore.

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  44. Of course it would lead to the HHH/Stephanie feud all summer. Feuding McMahons=ratings!

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  45. Agree to disagree then. I think Hogan's involvement might not push ratings or buyrates, but it would help where it counts the most right now: getting word about the Network out to old fans.

    WWE's #1 priority right now isn't RAW ratings or PPV buyrates, it's the Network. Hogan isn't back to host WrestleMania, he's mainly here to do promo for the Network. I'm just pointing out a really effective way he could be used to push the Network to old fans with the most recognizable face in wrestling history.

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  46. AverageJoeEverymanMarch 26, 2014 at 6:47 AM

    He turned hes hes AMERICAN dammit!! He wasnt going to let some fat fake Jap come over here and be our champion!! USA USA USA

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  47. AverageJoeEverymanMarch 26, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    and if he actually won the belt at SS there would have been a big pop. He even got one for the stupid countout win.

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  48. A storyline like that would drive away fans, period. Nobody wants to see the orange old guy with his 80s catchphrases as anything more than a special attraction anymore.

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  49. AverageJoeEverymanMarch 26, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    Right, Im quite sure mythological names like Zeus, Hercules, Nike, and Jesus are public domain.

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  50. Maybe he got "high" in the helicopter!

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  51. Unfortunately, by this point in time, they were only 2 years removed from Iraqi sympathizer Sgt. Slaughter.

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  52. you realize Hogan cannot get medical clearance to wrestle right? Or are you just that committed to your gimmick that you don't care?

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  53. Brock vs Bryan would be pretty fucking awesome

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  54. And then he left out the word "that", which would have made it an actual sentence.

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  55. That sounds fine, but I'd go personally:

    1. HHH and Stephanie disappear completely.
    2. ???
    3. Bryan vs Brock at Extreme Rules.

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  56. And even if it wouldn't have worked, he could have lost the title at the Survivor Series to Yokozuna.

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  57. Yeah it was a great time. It was like most of the fantasy matchups from the wrestling mags were coming to life right in front of our eyes. I think my biggest disappointment was when Tully & Arn didn't get to be with Flair when he showed up. I always wanted the Four Horsemen to invade the WWF.

    If you think Vince raided WCW, then check out what he did to the AWA in the 80's. Hogan, Jesse Ventura, Sherri Martel, Curt Hennig, David Schultz, Rick Martel, Shawn Michaels, Marty Janetty, Jim Brunzell.. hell he even took away Mean Gene Okerlund. He pretty much took away the AWA's future prospects in just a few years.

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  58. I'd like to see Vince becoming obsessed with Bryans beard, growing a beard of his own and asking Bryan for tips, spying on Bryan in the locker room etc


    theres no real pay off but it would be a good laugh.

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  59. Have we ever had a creepy Vince?

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  60. This was never the plan.

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  61. "Nobody wants to see the orange old guy with his 80s catchphrases as anything more than a special attraction anymore."

    I guess that's why he's become one of the top merch sellers in the last month and that WWE has been heavily using him in public appearances and commercials to promote the Network. Or that his appearance at the biggest show of the year is being highly promoted by the company.

    WWE obviously believes in his ability to draw attention or they wouldn't be paying him. They may not be BoDers, but plenty of people out there want to see Hogan.

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  62. I'm sure they'll find a way to shoehorn Vince in there, too.

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  63. And throw in Linda, Shane and Jimmy Jack McMahon for good measure.

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  64. Roger: laughs: "How great was the movie Airplane?"

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  65. Something flame war this way comes.....

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  66. He would be better than Punk at that point.

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  67. Your whole statement is pretty true at this point.

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  68. Like father like son.

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  69. Jimmy Jack McMahon would be an awesome gimmick. Much like Fritz introduced fake Von Erich "cousins", Vince could introduce his long-lost masked cousin as yet another McMahon.

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  70. Trish Stratus acting like a dog?

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  71. Except for the clear difference that Perfect was intentionally screwing it up. Can't say the same about Jr !

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  72. Krusty is coming... Krusty is coming... Krispy is coming...

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  73. At least according to Meltzer, this was never the plan. The Michigan State stuff, Royal Rumble reaction and Punk leaving all led to this.

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  74. Yeah he's said all the right things and it's really hard to hold a grudge against a guy that went through what he did. At least Lex seems happy now.

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  75. Nope, I don't expect him back any time soon if ever, and I don't sit alone in a dark room at night pining for his return. I just think it would be a great piece of booking.

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  76. I've been watching that era WCW lately and I'm shocked how entertaining he and Bagwell are.

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  77. But according to Pat Patterson the AWA raid was fair because Vince looked Verne in the eyes. Apparently it's not stealing if you look them in the eyes.

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  78. They didn't need to make him a foreign sympathizer. Just have him knock Bret Hart the fuck out after a tag team match against the Quebecers or something, instant heel heat.

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  79. Except for Mister Wonderful I would argue.

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  80. The title win wouldn't have helped. WWE had no idea how to give luger some real depth and he fizzled the entire run. Wcw actually booked luger much better--same with Paul white.

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  81. Owen is the black Hart!

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  82. I hate their bullshit revisionist history

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  83. Best thing about luger's WWF run was it allowed a 1996 Steve Austin, finally on color commentary, to yell at Vince and ask when he's getting a bus around the country too so he can go around whipping everyone's ass. Awesome

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  84. The absolute worst! Patterson claimed on one of those legend round tables that WWF won because of better matches in the mid card. Absolute shit. Attitude era had better main events but no way was a Steve Blackman vs Val Venis competing with Rey vs Eddie or Malenko vs Jericho. WCW did a ton wrong (like not moving guys up) but that mid card was the most stacked in history.

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  85. "According to Kevin Nash..."


    Nash also likes to claim that everyone hated Bret Hart, and that Bret would take pay cuts to be the champion. I take most of the shit Nash says with a grain of salt.

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  86. They would probably be more meticulous about grammar and formatting than I am at 3am, that's for sure.

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  87. "I like ruining lives... it turns me on..."

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  88. Ah, didn't know that.

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  89. It still didn't make any sense. It would be like Farooq joining DX. They both had a common enemy but nothing else. It's not just the racial component but the completely different personalities

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  90. Sitting in a rocking chair for an entire episode of ECW?

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  91. I really hate this idea, personally. Primarily because Triple H is a godawful babyface and a great heel.

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  92. DX invading WCW (the arena in Norfolk AND Turner corporate headquarters) was huge at the time. HUGE. After decades of adamantly refusing to acknowledge even the existence of a rival promotion, for the WWF to do something like this was insane (I know it wasn't the first acknowledgement, but this was a big step above just making a snarky comment on TV)
    And it was all timing. This was at a time where the momentum was shifting. WWF went from "ok, we're going to compete with WCW" to becoming preceived as the cooler promotion. The nWo was stale at this point. And the implication of the whole "free Hall and Nash"/"Let my people go" thing was that THEY acknowledged it too.
    Looking back this might not seem like anything, especially with the endemic HHH hate that poisons everyone's opinion about anything having to do with him, but this was enormous, and its revisionist history to suggest otherwise.

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  93. '89 and '95 Luger is where it's at. '89 was his best ring work. '95 was just gold seeing him with Jimmy Hart. I loved it when they'd have him teaming with Sting, only too see Hart interfere to give them the win, then jump into Luger's arms. The reaction was always priceless when Sting would see this and Lex would have to dump Hart and act like nothing happened.

    I never really got where they were going with it in '95, but I liked the angle after Halloween Havoc where all these faces are trying to get Sting to break the scorpion he had Flair in and it took Luger to bring him to his senses. Just never really got was a turn planned down the line or was Luger this guy putting his friendship with Sting above all else?

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  94. Yeah.,. for me the ONLY reason to check out Nitro was for the mid-card. The main events usually were underwhelming (at best) You always expected an NWO run-in or heel turn... or maybe Sting would come out the rafters.. literally the same shit every week. The final nail in the coffin was when WWF took away the 4-5 guys most responsible for that exciting mid card (Jericho, Malenko, Guerrero, Saturn, and some other guy).

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  95. Amsterdam_Adam_CurryMarch 26, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    "And honestly, if they hadn't fucked it up with the Summerslam delay of the payoff, it would have worked fine."


    See also: Fuck, where do I even get started on this one?

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  96. And it would be Hornswoggle sitting on another little person's shoulders in a suit with comically-long arms.

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  97. Quick review for you: really good. I think some of the negatives on it (and everything I've seen has been of the B+/A- variety) are similar to Meekin's Thief review. It's being compared to what someone wants rather than what it is. A lot of the reviews keep saying they hate Delsin (the main character). I personally like him. I suppose the moral system isn't that important, but I didn't see that advertised as a big deal. It's not Mass Effect, but who thought it would be? If you like the Infamous series, it's the best one to date IMO. The leveling of the powers is handled well, I really enjoy the story and it has the best use of the PS4 controller to date. That speaker on the controller is really pretty damn amazing sounding because it's pretty loud. There's a graffiti mini-game that I'm still loving just because when you shake the controller it sounds just like a spray can. Little and meaningless, but it's still cool. Ditto the smoke sounds that come out of the controller rather than the TV. Just a nice way to immerse the player into the game. Besides that the track pad is used well to steal smoke and powers and open doors, etc. Small stuff, but it's much better integrated than the Wii U pad.

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  98. Thanks, I've been watching people play the game on YouTube and have been enjoying it.

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  99. Too many reviews base games on what they're not. Case in point: Remember Me, a really interesting game that came and went with zero notice because reviewers thought it was going to be something else. Hell I even ignored the game until I got it as part of PS+ and enjoyed it for it what it is. It's a game with a unique story, one incredibly cool power that is painfully underutilized (the ability to alter memories that's used about 4 times total -- I really hope someone else steals this idea for another game since a sequel is highly unlikely), and a fun game. The combat and puzzles aren't great, but it's a game worth getting if you can get it cheap.

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  100. I wonder how things would have played out if they had gone all-in with Lex. So he wins the title clean at SummerSlam '93, then they probably feed him some "evil foreigners" and fat heels for a while. I'm thinking they are forced to run a face vs. face Luger-Bret match at Wrestlemania X?

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  101. I think you're right. They could give Luger a face run as champ and, when the fans inevitably got tired of the Hogan Redux thing, they could embrace it and turn him full heel for a feud with Bret. He can go off about how he only pretended to care about the patriotism thing so he could get a title shot. Bret wins the Rumble and takes the belt off heel Lex at WM10

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  102. That would have been awesome. Flair, Arn, Tully, and Windham in WWF at the same time. Even if they couldn't use the "Four Horsemen" name, it would have been great

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  103. Yes. The Attitude Era was fucking terrible in the undercard until 2000

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  104. Perfect catalyst for a heel turn, if only Luger was WWF Champ at the time. Lex vs. Bret for WM10 made sense

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  105. Yeah, I wish they had put Luger over at SummerSlam 1993, but there were slim pickings on the heel side. I imagine they run he and Borga at the 1994 Rumble (you can keep the whole USA vs. Foreign Fanatics stuff @ Survivor Series), but after that you are left on the heel side with Yoko or Crush and that doesn't scream main event. It's too early to pull the trigger on Michaels too. Maybe give a strong push to Bam Bam Bigelow?


    Post-SummerSlam 1993 is where the roster really starts to get imbalanced between faces/heels and over the next 18 or so months most of the company's biggest acts like Bret, Diesel, Michaels, Bulldog, Luger, 1-2-3 Kid, Razor Ramon, and Bam Bam Bigelow were on the face side of the card. This is what really ruined Diesel's title run (during which I argue Luger or Bigelow should've turned heel and gone after the belt).

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  106. That wasn't creepy at all ;)

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