Thief – Review
Follow Genre: Stealth, First-Person
Developer: EIDOS Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: 360, One, PC, PS3, PS4

Thief – Review

Site Score
7.0
Good: Stealth, Atmosphere
Bad: Lacks a lot of details, Story
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0
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It has been roughly ten years since the last Thief title had seen the light. By now we thought we would never see ‘The City’ or the master thief, Garrett again. Luckily the tale of Garrett has not ended and we can once again take up our lock picking skills in the city that is haunted by shadows.

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Story

As in the previous games you take up your role as Garrett, the master thief. The game will throw you right in to the action with a job you’re performing together with your childhood friend Erin. A girl which you’d rather not do a job with, not only because she is reckless but you’d rather keep her from harm’s way.
Her recklessness will be clear from the very start seeing you are a man who’d rather not kill but this is not a feature you share with Erin. She designed her own climbing tool as well as weapon, namely ‘the claw’ with which she decides to take the life of several guards. When reaching your destination you witness a strange ritual and this is again where Erin’s recklessness comes in to play. She topples through the glass window in the midst of the ritual. After that everything goes black…

The story continues with you being dragged around in a cart, half awake, through the entrance of the familiar city that has no name. The iron rule of the baron seems to have taken its toll on the people of this now darkened city. People are suffering from a strange disease called the gloom and the ruling hand does not give a damn about them. Progress is more important than the well being of everyone. As you come to your senses you notice the city isn’t what it’s supposed to be and it seems you have been unconscious for more than days, weeks or even months.

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Thief’s first half of the game will hardly present you with a storyline other than the fact the city has been doing poorly. You will just pick up missions as you go in order to please one of your only friends, Basso and the clients he brings in. When the first half of the game is over, things start taking a turn to the more obscure side with a touch of darkness tossed on the side but in the long run it will become a story that could have been so much more. The buildup gets a fairly disappointing finale and leaves you with a ‘what the fuck’ expression until you realize you’ve actually gone through the ending credits.

Graphics

Having played the 360 version the game presented me with graphics that were more common for titles that were released halfway during its lifespan. The characters look fairly ugly and poorly detailed but the environments do their best to make up for the lack of details on the characters. The environments do recycle a lot of items but this will never become a bother to the eye.

The 360 version also suffers from heavy frame drops during the cinematics. At certain points they even become so bad the sync with the voices gets off by a few seconds.

It is worth mentioning that the game has a few ‘crawl through rubble’ sequences which will always (and I mean ALWAYS) present you with the same log that blocks you way. Even in areas where there are no logs to be found it will block your way. It makes you wonder if you’re actually fighting the baron or the evil log of doom, that foils your stealthy plans over and over again.

(Graphics on the PS4, Xbox One and PC are decent nonetheless.)

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Sound

Thief excels in both voice acting and music. The music sets the mood just right for your travels in the darkness of the city as well as battle themes surely get the adrenaline pumping. Garrett’s voice suits his character and makes up for the lack of likeability the graphics leave you with. (On the 360 and ps3 that is.) The voices of the other characters are also well done, except for the looping of the basic phrases the guards say.

Gameplay

Thief does its best to go back to its roots by offering you an authentic first-person stealth game that will offer you a few puzzles instead of just barging in and do an effort of killing everyone in sight. Of course you can just run in and do your best in killing everyone, but the combat system will not really aid you on your quest for blood. In essence the game succeeds in presenting you with a fun stealth game, but many details have been forgotten in the process.

You will spend most of your time lurking in the shadows, taking side-routes in trying to reach your destination. You will have an ability called ‘focus’ to aid you on your way. By activating focus you will see objects with which you can interact, loot or the guards in that specific area. You’ll be able to upgrade this ability with focus points and then you can decide on if you’d rather be more stealthy, better in combat and so on.

During your playthrough you’re not only able to upgrade your focus ability but your overall stats as well. You’ll be able to purchase upgrades for more health, focus, damage reduction and so on. These are all passive abilities and when these don’t cut it for you, you’re also able to buy new tools and weaponry. (Arrows, flash bangs, …)

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The city has a decent amount of locked doors, chests and traps in story for you and thus it is a wise choice to buy the necessary tools for the job. Lockpicking works with the lockpicks you already get at the beginning of the game and it’s pretty much a mini game in which you have to use your stick to poke in the keyhole until your controller starts vibrating. Cutting wires and so on is a simple matter of clicking your action button. Cracking safes is another matter, most of the time these require a specific code, which can be found on documents your victims leave lying around.

As mentioned earlier, the combat system in Thief is not its strongest point. You are armed with your bow, certain throwable objects and a small club that hardly does any damage. It’s better to sneak up on your opponent to knock them out, instead of going toe to toe. When you engage in direct combat you’ll soon notice that the dodging system works horribly or that the guards their swords are six meters in length, it could be one of the other. When dodging, and when clearly out of range, the game often still detects a hit. Also your opponents block your (pussy) club a lot as well, but often don’t show the animation they’re blocking. In short, it’s best to use your ranged weapons or sneak around if you wish to avoid the frustration of direct combat.

One of the most important things in Thief is of course the movement. You’ll be able to do a lot of free running in the game, which comes fairly natural. You’ll be able to grab on the ledges, ropes and use Erin’s claw to reach slightly higher climbs. All of these are done with the use of a single trigger and it will never feel as if you need more than just one button.

Loading times in Thief are again a turn for the worse. Whilst they are subtle they often come across as annoying. Elevators will probably be the most annoying usage of the loading times, your elevator stops but it sometimes takes over a minute for the door to actually open. You’re always under the impression you have to look for a way out, until the door magically opens by itself. The times that you have to search for a way out, you are waiting like the good boy/girl that you are until the door opens. Newsflash: It won’t.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdsTkegTbA4

Conclusion

Thief is a solid stealth game but with a lot of unfinished touches. The game will be a trip down memory lane for most but sadly the plot leaves you fairly unsatisfied. That being said, the game will still offer an enjoyable playthrough and sneaking around in the gloomy city makes up for a lot.

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