Review: Thief

Your bow really is like a Swiss Army knife…

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Many of you will remember the very first Thief from back in 1998. After this came two more Thief games including Thief: The Metal Age in 2000.  Then a few years later came Thief: Deadly Shadows, back in 2004. Now in present day we have a reboot to the Thief franchise and it’s simply called Thief.  I have to say that from the start I was looking forward to playing it, it looked great and the trailer I watched made it look amazing.  However, there are a few things that really struck out for me, and made it a bit hard to swallow.

Eidos Montreal has done a great job reviving this old franchise, but there can always be problems when you bring an old game back to life on the modern platforms of today.  Graphically the game looks amazing, it has a very Victorian look and feel to it, the streets are cobbled and the colours and textures used really do bring the game to life. The models are not bad at all, the animation looks fluid, and the sepia colours of the time work really well and give extra atmosphere. But we all know this is a stealth game, so it’s all about the shadows, and the graphics engine copes with it very well indeed.  There are some great uses of shadow in the game to help you hide, as well as many different environments in the city, such as city gardens, back streets, people, bedrooms to name but a few which all comes across well with the design of each area.

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For those of you who are new to the Thief franchise, you will be playing as Garrett, a master thief who was orphaned as a child and soon learns how to survive in the City. You are then thrust into a heist with an old friend from his past, Erin, who Garrett was teaching many years ago. One of the things Erin is good at is killing, which Garret dislikes a lot, and as this heist “goes south” Erin and Garrett end up falling through a glass window while a crazy ceremony is taking place – Garrett blacks out and finally comes to one year later where his beloved City has changed.

Gameplay is what you would expect from a game such as Thief.  It’s all about stealth, such as get from point A to point B without being seen. So there is lots of ‘watch the guards’ and working out their paths so you can plan yours. You do have a few things to help you along the way, the first item you will use a lot is your trusty bow, which comes with an amazing amount of arrows.  Your bow really is like a Swiss Army knife. You have a water arrow for putting out fires to help you while you’re trying to get past guards, a rope arrow which helps you explore places you can’t easily get to, and many, many more. You can also upgrade many of your weapons along the way.  Alongside all of this you also have a kind of magical ability which is called Focus.  This power basically enhances Garrett’s already amazing thief ability.  One of the first powers you can get is intuition; when active all the things that are interactive get highlighted, which is a great help sometimes especially when you are standing in a backstreet trying to find a way into the room on the second floor.

I did however find a few things that I did not like. One thing that got me was the lag between doing actions.  I played this on the Xbox 360 so I can’t tell you what it’s like one the Xbox One or PS4, that lag may have gone with the more powerful machines.  Don’t get me wrong it’s not bad lag, it just didn’t feel like the results of my inputs happened right away. Another thing I found myself not liking was the button bashing in some places.  You may have to open a window, so as you get closer to it the X button will be displaying and you will have to keep pressing it to try and jimmy the window open. I understand why they have done that, but it just broke immersion for me on occasion. I also got the impression that it was trying to be a Modern Warfare clone with the way it did its cinematics and how some of the animations were done.

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Once you have done the main missions you then have the other modes you can play.  The first one is Chain & Gain.  You then have Chain & Gain Limited, which is the same as the previous one with a time limit and the third and final one is Special Loot Hunt. All of these modes revolve around loot and all your stats will be kept on a leaderboard so you can compete with all the other master thieves.

Music in the game really added to the feel of the city, it just added that extra little bit of atmosphere, along with the sound effects that I felt I relied on a lot in the game.  There was nothing like sitting there in the dark waiting for a guard to walk past, when all you can go on is his foot steps.   This really did cause some great times of tension and I even found myself holding my breath from time to time.

Overall for me the game was pretty good. I could see what they were trying to do, it just lacked in a few places. Overlooking this however, it is a good game and it’s one for all you Thief fans out there, and even if you are not a fan and just love stealth games then you won’t go wrong with this game.

Reviewed on XBox 360

 
 

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