Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Release Date: 2/25/2014
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Thief has been one of those franchises that have been on the back burner of gamers’ minds for over a decade. Like Deus Ex, Duke Nukem, and various other decade-long franchises, Thief went through its own development hell. The end product isn’t exactly something that’s worth waiting ten years for, but it’s a fun game with fantastic visuals and some great stealth gameplay.
I will come right out and say this, the story is almost complete garbage. It’s a discombobulated mess of disjointed segments strewn together in 8 chapters of gameplay. You play as a master thief, Garret, who is trying to get his friend Erin back whom he let down during a big heist. You need to get a hold of some powerful people to answer some questions and a mysterious stone. There are some anarchy and revolution thrown in and some sort of plague called The Gloom. I honestly don’t know why any of this is happening or why Erin has a power called The Primal. It’s a huge mess and nothing is ever explained. That’s too bad for a game, as cinematic as it is, that can’t tell a decent story. At least the gameplay is fun and that’s why most people are here.
The stealth gameplay consists of sneaking and hiding in the shadows like in previous Thief games. Garret isn’t really about killing enemies, so you just knock them out with your famous Blackjack. You can kill enemies by using arrows, but it takes away from your level score. Like past Thief games, arrows are your whole arsenal. Water arrows can put out fires giving off light, rope arrows can help you swing to a new area to get around guards, poppy arrows can stun enemies, and blast arrows can take out a group of people or cause a distraction. Your arrows are a playground of anything you want them to be to your heart’s content.
Like previous Thief games, you can take multiple paths to get around guards completely undetected or by taking them out one at a time. Some of the paths are hard to find and some just lead to the treasure. Picking locks and finding loot to gain gold are very important if you want to stay stocked up on arrows. Sometimes it’s not worth getting caught just for a piece that’s worth 10 gold. Sometimes animals are guarding a piece or there are too many guards or lights to get around. Thankfully vertical play is quick thanks to your Claw that lets you climb taller areas.
An odd addition to the series is weird creepy horror segments straight out of Amnesia. You can’t kill these things but can only sneak around them. Sure they were creepy but why? It felt out of place. Also out of place are the awkward boss “fights” that just feel loose and sloppy; maybe even shoehorned in. The flow of the game is also off quite a bit with side missions taking to weird areas of town and not really being worth anything. I honestly felt the whole world was limited to just side missions when it could have been a whole larger open world.
Outside of all that there’s not much else to the game. It doesn’t feel like the ultimate revolutionary stealth game like the first two games felt. The AI is dumb as most times and the game can be beaten in less than 8 hours, even if you try to gather all the loot. With side missions, you may extend to 20 hours but just barely. The graphics are just fantastic with advanced DirectX 11 effects and a great art style that feels like Thief; there aren’t even any memorable characters in the game — Garret included. What we have is a fun weekend rental and nothing more.