on February 25, 2014
Thief is the fourth Thief game and a reboot of the original series. Thief has dedicated fans that have spanned a decade and a half because the original wasn't just a fantastic game, it defined a whole genre of games. This reboot attempts to take the heart of the game and then spawn a new and fantastic world from it.
Overall, it's been achieved. But here's my breakdown:
Garret (the protagonist) has very limited mobility. He operates like a normal human. He can't fall great distances, he has no spectacular strength. But he does land light on his feet. And it is with those skills that you must observe guards or anyone else who might sound an alarm and make your way past them -- often stealing their purse on your way.
Unlike previous Thief games, you're not very fast and you can't jump unless you're in a spot where you're allowed (which are not marked, but almost every place that makes sense to jump, you can). Instead of relying on speed to get away, the game strongly wants you, as the player, to sneak past your enemies (or knock them out or kill them). If an enemy sees you, you may have a few quick moments to attempt to hide (similar to the game Amnesia in many ways -- hide in a closet if you can or behind something where they won't find you).
You are also armed with gadgets to help you on your way. Using your arsenal, you can knock out or kill people and lights. You can even drop a rope, though the areas where rope drops are allowed are fairly rare.
Most of the game is played in a wide open area as a portal to levels. This small little open world also has areas you can't get into without certain tools (such as a wrench to open sewer grates or a wire cutter to get through a fence). You can rob the guards, find loot and access side-quests from this area. If you access a side-quest, a previously inert feature will allow interaction (for instance, you'll be able to open a window and sneak into a building that was previously inaccessible).
These optional missions provide you with more money and a better understanding of the factions in the world.
Speed control and rumble add a lot to the game, so I recommend playing it with an XBOX 360 Controller plugged into your USB port.
Thief was optimized for AMD cards. My nVidia 650Ti card handles the graphics nicely, and double buffering (capping frame rats at 30fps) keeps the game running very smoothly from easy-to-render to very-open-difficult-to render areas.
Nonetheless, what I see is gorgeous. As a thief, you'll want to look in every nook and cranny. And every nook and cranny looks great, even on the lowest graphical settings. Everything has a hand-crafted feel to it. You'll see many duplicated objects (especially paintings), but their placement in the world just works, making the overall feeling of the world a place that has actually been lived in.
Characters look like people, though somehow just a shade comic-book-like in proportions. But everything works together, so the characters are still very enjoyable to look at.
The sounds in the game are, for the most part, spectacular. I play with 5.1 surround and I can hear exactly where everyone is. Environmental effects on the sounds cue you as to what type of environment that they are in, so you can hear when they enter a marble room versus a small cozy bedroom versus a wide open dining hall.
During the more open-world parts of the game, you can stand outside of windows and listen to rumors which provide useful clues as to the on-goings and mysteries with the city.
Level Design and Loading:
Overall, I'm in love with the level design. It feels a lot like Batman: Arkham City/Asylum in its build. However, sometimes game play trumps what makes sense in the world. And I would prefer the two to blend together.
A few examples of this would be: Some doors to homes don't have locks on some of the doors that lead outside, while other doors do. And there are ventilation areas that just don't make sense (except to move Garret from one place to another).
Nonetheless, I'm in love with the level design because they've built a world where you feel like you're sneaking through real homes and businesses and snatching up what you need.
As you move from location to location, the game loads more content. This can cause hiccups if your video RAM or on-board RAM can't handle your settings. I had to turn down the texture detail on my machine to remove any traces of stutter during on-the-fly loading.
Although the levels are designed well, they are still a guided tour. You cannot stack crates and get on top of a bookshelf. You cannot get into a wagon and hide. You cannot jump over a small box and hide in the pile of debris on the side of the street, even though you'd badly like to. In fact, you can't get anywhere unless the designers specifically allowed you to get there. This makes a bit of a more linear game. That said, there are so many options that are available to you, that I was able to forgive the lack of total freedom.
I am a Thief veteran, so I decided to start up on the most difficult setting. So far, I've been pleased with the difficulty. Early reviews indicated that enemies could not see Garret when they should, but that has not been my experience at all. If I'm out of the shadows, someone's going to see me if they look my direction.
If you have played some of the later Splinter Cell games (Conviction or Blacklist), then I can assure you that it works similar to those. When an enemy can see you, a small gauge shows up. If it fills up, then you are seen. So if someone sees you out of the corner of their eye, you can still dart into shadow and the enemy will just assume their eyes were playing tricks on them.
So far, I'm quite satisfied.
Is This Game For You?
If you enjoyed the first Thief game, then you may want to give this a shot just to experience it. But it is not the first Thief. Amazon sells Thief and it's a great game that still plays just fine today (after you reassign controls on your keyboard -- WASD was not very popular back then).
If you played and enjoyed Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Conviction or Blacklist or Tomb Raider, then you'll feel at home with this game. Also, if you want to have a great experience of sneaking around as a Thief in a low-magic fantasy steampunkish (more steam, less punk) setting, then do yourself a favor and pick it up.
The game is not perfect. You do not have free reign to do as you please as much as previous Thief games and without a very good computer system, you'll likely have some stutter periodically. But I'm have a great time playing it. I feel truly sneaky when I pull off a great heist. And given Garret's limitations, the feeling is even greater. I just have a sneaking suspicion that the developers knew the exact path I'd take for most of my sneaking, which mildly diminishes my sense of accomplishment.
on March 12, 2014
Have been playing this now on / off for over a week, it just seems all the fun has been taken out of it.
For a modern game produced by the same group as Deux Ex this is a huge let down.
This game was presented as an open game play environment, well its not, almost completely scripted
just totally boring game play, hey you can not even jump unless your at a scripted point.
If you have played any other Thief games this comes off as a poor effort and actually back peddles many
of the enjoyable things Thief games are about.
Truly wished I would have passed on this as it is not only a waste of time but money as well
Wait for a huge price cut and even then maybe pass.
on March 11, 2014
So for anyone that cares I took some time to write something of a (longish) preliminary review after day 1 of "Thief4". Overall I would say the game is better than I expected. We are not blown away but after a rough start we *are* enjoying it now. Any real thief fans should get it and check it out. Be prepared to be quite disappointed and hate it a lot during the tutorial. The game does get more enjoyable though, and more "Thief3-like" as time goes on. It helps once you figure the game out, configure the game to your tastes/skill level, and get used to certain changes.
Firstly I recommend setting Master difficulty and disabling the "focus" mode immediately which is essentially a lame immersion-breaking cheat/help mode you should only ever use if you are very stuck, imo. Master difficulty has not seemed too hard, we were happy that we got caught and failed/died sometimes. These are reasons why we hated it at first :
1 .There's too many help-features that make stuff too easy to find and break immersion, such as aggro-icons and health-bars.
2. Lockpicking feels lamer/is way too easy
3. The Shinies shine too fast and are too distracting/obvious
4. The new voice-actor isnt as good as Steven Russell sounds more generic like most video game tough-guys).
5. Garret looks a little too girly/wussy now (kindof elf-ish) and is too "fancied-up".
6. They trivialized some of the game-play that was better when it was more tactical/difficult (like blackjacking is now just a single-key takedown, and archery seems dumbed-down)
7. The keybinding interface and menu system in general is pretty basic and bad (e.g. you can't bind like shift-f or cntrl-anything).
8. You can't jump whenever you want (which nearly made my head explode at first), only where it makes sense
9. The game won't let you fall off of beams easily and kill yourself which feels lame.
10. During the tutorial you end up having to following this annoying emo thief-girl around who seems to be your student of sorts that just makes you want to slap her every time she says anything. First of all, Garrett works alone! Secondly, she's just annoying.
11. Almost forgot - the first person cam is so wobbly when looting things, at first it was making me a little nauseous.
12. the guard dialogue lacks the amusing personality they had in t3
That's the worst of it and you get hit with every bit of it during the tutorial, so it leaves you reeling a bit. The Thief 3 tutorial definitely was a lot better/smoother more immersive and more fun. That said, things get a lot better in Chapter 1 after you've suffered through the tutorial. Here is how the above "gripe - list" gets addressed as the game goes on (these numbers correspond to the complaints above):
1. The game is very good about providing a lot of options for disabling HUD-hinty type of stuff to make the game harder and increase immersion. However I recommend leaving everything on at first (except focus mode) until you learn the game. We turned everything off at first and it was making the tutorial even more annoying as we couldn't figure out how to do certain things. As time went on we have disabled health-bars and aggro-idicators as well. I expect we'll turn more off as we get better with the game.
2. You run into locks that are much harder than the tutorial in Ch1.
3. You get over the quick shining rate (and you can disable it entirely if you really want to)
4. The new voice actor will never be as good, but you start to notice that he does put some style into it, and he is starting to grow on me more.
5. Garret's new look still bothers me, but it's a minor complaint.
6. I can accept some of the dumbed-down game-play one as part of main-streaming the game to more modern standards.
7. The keybinding interface's basicness still annoys me, but you learn to work with it.
8. The lack of jumping is somewhat countered by a new move: swooping, which is a short slide move, akin to Mega Man X
9. You find later there are places you can fall and get hurt/die accidentally, so it's not all on rails.
10. The annoying chick doesn't persist into Chapter 1 and is gone (thank god), at least for now.
11. You get used to the wobbly looting pretty quick.
12. Some of the guard dialogue is amusing but in a more boring/crass way. I still miss the t3 gaurds, i miss benny. I miss "taffer" (now they curse for real instead, it's kinda generic and lame).
There are other positive points:
- obviously the graphics etc are modern and much better, yet the retain the "feel" of The City from t3.
- they did a really good job, I think, on making the first person animations well done and immersive
- i'm somewhat impressed with just how much HUD/help-mode stuff they allow you to disable. In fact they let you take it too far, imo, if you want and you can choose to make the game too hard this way.
- the AI is improved, at least for visual discovery on Master mode. The guards were better at catching us in iffy visual situations from pretty far off. so far they are pretty dumb on sound but I expect they will become more keen.
- the movies are solidly well done and entertaining, and the storyline is good enough and interesting so far.
- I have been enjoying the new slide move
- I also enjoy the new ability to grab bottles etc and toss them as a distraction, I think this is a nice addition that is fun, somewhat realistic and actually adds to immersion.
- I enjoy the new first-person angle movies quite a bit.
- jury is still out on the new melee combat moves (dodging etc). Fighting in thief is not my play style.
and one more negative:
The game feels less sand-boxy and more mmo-like in terms of finding special items now seem to be mostly discovered via side-quests your dealer gives you, and not items you find by listening to towns-folk and guards.
on March 10, 2014
Please read this review if your a games developer, especially if you worked on this game. I am about to state the only review you need to read about this game and why it's fared so poorly. I am not about to flame you, I actually want you to succeed in future for your own and our benefit. (you want to make money, we want DECENT games!)
Reasons why this game has failed and completely sucks and is worse than it's predecessors:
1) Button bashing "E" to lift windows and planks etc (or button bashing period) is NOT an edgy, skillful or dramatic/suspenseful part of game design, it's actually quite irritating. You do not see people talk about how they wished there was more button bashing in games because it is just lazy and poor programming and is plain boring. How can you possibly make a game, with all this new technology and all your development resources, WORSE than a game that came out fifteen years ago on a modest budget? How is it even possible? Do you not feel ashamed? Because you really should.
2) You removed the ability for people to jump when they want to. Why? Does it make it easy for the 10 year olds - if so, why add all the porn to the game? If you're old enough to be watching boobies then you should be old enough to complete simple tasks... Or is it just too inconvenient for the linear plot? Wouldn't want anybody accidentally exploring, would we?
3) At the end of thief 3, Garrett became a keeper. In this game what happened to the keepers? He enters an old keeper compound and mentions nothing of it, same with the hammerite cathedral - almost nothing in there correlates to the rich history in the previous thief games. Does he now have amnesia? Is it all forgotten? If you wanted to make a new game in a new direction, then make a new damned game! Don't ride the name of a classic such as thief, make a new game with a new theme and call it something more appropriate - like "the man who opens dressers" or "The collector".
4) Why does a thief who's main way of living is to steal in order to fence stolen items to pay the bills, collect jewels and paintings? I really doubt Garrett appreciates fine art or cares about having a collection of useless trinkets lest he become as bad as those from which he stole. What is the point in having a collection if he can be caught at any moment? We don't need achievements to feel accomplished or to have our hands held all of the way with parts of the landscape that become "highlighted" when they are interact able. At least make that loot sellable; speaking of loot - since when has an ink bottle become loot? Why is all the loot the same everytime? Spent so much time on graphics, lighting and sound that you forgot about using a little imagination and creativity?
5) The old thief games lets you explore, you can plot your own way in, pick which rooms you do or do not wish to enter. This game is linear - you are forced to go the way which you are told to go, that is very boring and UN-immersive. Indeed you can't even fire a rope arrow at any piece of wood and climb to get to places. You have to climb at developer approved places, which is horrible because it removes using the terrain and building structures to your advantage.
6) You turned thief into an action/fps type game - all of a sudden Garrett is a super hero with focus (magic) abilities and he wants to save the world and the girl - all completely over-done, un-imaginative, copy and pasted crap from all the other action/fps games! He is a damned thief! A villain! He will help if it helps himself, but now he has a girlfriend he wants to rescue? Completely lame and shameful. You had something nice here and you turned it into something generic and crap.
7) BOOM HEADSHOTS! Yes! What this game really needed was headshots. Fine, headshots should be an instant kill. But I think the only reason you added this feature is to appease all those dude-bro FPS gamers that want yet another generic "woah lol" feel to a game they probably won't play and enjoy and isn't your target audience.
8) Sorry but Assasin's creed already exists. Thief existed before it, in fact. Personally I find the original thief games far more thrilling. So stop making this game into something it isn't and shouldn't be.
9) I can't believe you added a "boss". Yes, a boss...complete with almost invulnerability - the thief-taker general. Seriously. Think about it. Before you made this game, you should have all been instructed to at least play the previous games to have an idea of what you are going to do in this one. We don't need end-bosses, it's not that kind of game. He shouldn't be getting caught by him all the time because he's a master thief. If the trickster (you "developers" probably don't know about him) can not see Garrett and the trickster is a god, then why can the thief taker general? And why is his health points all buffed up? Is he super human? Is this world of warcraft and we need to tank him? Why the hell does he shoot fire arrows all the time? And yes, predictably you can finish him...yup, just like mortal combat. You guys really screwed up this game to the point of you hated what you had to work with so you decided to go your own way with it. You should do, but again - don't use the thief name. I doubt this game would have sold many copies if you didn't ride the bandwagon I guess.
10) Techno music. Just...no. This is a sneaky stealth game, generic, boring techno music when you've been caught doesn't add to the feeling of the game, it adds to your failure as a games developer. The music in theif should be sinister and creepy, like the original thief games you've tried to imitate so poorly.
11) Achievements. Enough said.
12) A talent tree? Really? Why not just add XP and level up system too? Oh, that's right - you were going to until the fans protested. The whole productions should have been protested had we known how much you'd mess things up.
13) The game is so linear you might as well have removed all of the movement keys (why did you stop at jumping? the rest is on rails so why not go all the way?) The only part of this game where you can actually do as you please is in the city...but we don't play thief games to peruse the streets.
14) Running away from a burning bridge and other things that stop you from back-tracking. Again, this is thief, you should have the option to go grab the things you missed before exiting the area.
15) The plot is ridiculous, incoherent and full of plot holes so large you can fit the entire population of burricks into it and still have room to spare. Save the girl...who's inside your head? and teleports you to random places that umm...we don't know where. Why steal those boring ideas from other boring games.
16) A big annoying sound effect when you die and he looks at his hands for 3 seconds and it doesn't give you a chance to quick load once the pointless sequence has started. In fact the person that did all the music in this game probably thought he was creating the soundtrack for a generic FPS game. Fire him/her and get someone with talent who understands the game.
17) The light gem. It actually looks worse than the 15 year old original did. It's just a white/black ying/yang ball.
18) You removed an immerse system that let you plan your thieving activities and replaced it with a mini-map...awwww! Just like in counterstrike! Yey! It was much more immersive when he had a map that was basically a poor, hand-made one and you had to kind of make a best guess at things. You used to have a compass to navigate with - that was enough. But then, console gamers might get all confused, right? Same with the documents you collect. The system for looting scrolls and being able to re-read them was nice the way it was, now it's just like checking e-mails in game. Are you monumentally stupid? Or do you just not understand the whole conceptual idea behind the game? This game is an insult to the original developers and ideas. You know they actually spent time, going around Europe, taking pictures and creating the buildings from them. It's called research. You did none. The graphics is about all that makes me awe at this game, oh and looking through keyholes was an excellent idea too, so it's not all bad.
19) Navigational arrows, highlights above guards heads to show they are "alert". If you made the AI better, you wouldn't need to have alert signals above their heads. Do you think the Nazi's in world war 2 had little eye symbols above them to show the great escapees how "alert" they were? No. Point is - you took away the realism from the game. It feels lifeless and...uh...checkpoints? Sigh. Being sneaky and paying attention to your surroundings is yet another aspect of the thief series that you screwed up. Why not just add a GPS system to track guards too? Opps, giving you ideas for a sequel - my bad.
20) Blackjacking is now a fully automated "action" sequence. Taking the gaming out of the game. Why don't you just create a movie if you don't want people to actually interact with the game in any way?
21) You pandered to the lowest common denominator and dumbed down the game so much that all the jar-heads with simple minds could play it. You didn't need to. You could have just made it like the previous 3 games and been a huge success, but no, you just pander to the majority instead of continuing a unique game. A sad and lost opportunity if you ask me.
22) Garrett how the fans know him is a stealthy thief and doesn't get caught up in high speed chases and climb clumsily up drainpipes making a hell of a noise.
23) Picking locks is terrible and designed for control pads. The thief 3 lock picking system was far superior and controller friendly.
24) Blackjacking guards is now all a scripted event - simply stand close (not even behind) the guard and yes, you guessed it, press "E". Ya know? Because it's waaaay to difficult to time it perfectly and sneak up to them stealthy like a thief.
25) Guards have boring and predictable conversations with each other. Voice acting is good but what they had to say was awfully written and boring, it's like Chinese that has been translated sometimes too. We miss guard "Benny" and all the dumb stuff they used to say.
26) Story - I wrote a story much better when I was 12 years old writing a short for my school teacher. The storyline in this game was probably written by one of the game designers little (8-10 year old) girl/boy so they can make a claim to fame and to make daddy proud or whatever. Cute, but costly and an embarrassment. Probably one of the worst stories ever written for any game/movie ever.
on February 9, 2015
The folks who developed this game obviously had absolutely no connection/clue as to what was going on in the previous thief games. All the intelligence, humor, superb story-telling, stylish music and interesting characters have given way to looking goth/emo/cool. I'm guessing this game was developed with the pre-teen crowd in mind. It's that brainless. I'd rather play "The Metal Age" 20 times over than this. Very, very disappointed.
on January 25, 2015
Well, finally we get the return of a protagonist that we've been waiting for...what, 10 years now? So...how does this game 5 years in development hold up? Uhhh...lets talk about that.
The game begins with Garrett talking about what the city has taught him. After stealing a necklace, you run into your old protege, Erin. Basso had sent both garrett and erin to northcrest manor for a job, but due to these characters past, garrett doesn't want to work with Erin, for the fact that Erin has a problem with killing, and garrett doesn't like to kill. After an accident, garrett wakes up a year later and has to find out what's going on. There's a disease going around called the gloom, garrett has these weird powers that's called focus mode, which I disabled, which highlights interactable objects and things to do.
Enemies on rouge, or easy, are rather stupid, but on master, or hard, they are a challenge. On rouge you can practically wave to them in the light. On master, they'll see you 6-8 feet away in the dark! Best avoided on master.
Lets just get this out of the way, no, its obviously not the same voice actor, which does suck. I've nothing against the new guy, he's just not the same. The voice acting in this game is well done but everyone repeats everything and sometimes they start their conversation over before its finished! What the fu...subtitles recommended.
Another major sound problem is you cannot hear enemy footsteps. Really? That was a major feature of the past games! "Are you saying a game from late 1998 has better sound than this game from 2014" yes. I am! one thing this game has going for it, it has an epic soundtrack! To be honest, I think they put more resources and time into the soundtrack than the actual game!
Lets focus on focus mode. When upgraded you can pickpocket faster, pick locks faster, be better at combat, stealth, see where people are walking...in fact, that's the answer. You no longer listen to the footsteps, you upgrade your focus abilities and watch where they are going! yeah, I'm gonna say FUUUUUUUU to that!
From a story perspective its not very memorable. Which is sad cause that's one thing the thief trilogy was known for! Damn good storytelling.
From a gameplay perspective, its mixed. For example, rope arrows. In the first two games, you shot the arrow into wood or metal, depending on the type of arrow you use, rope or vine, and a specified length of rope would decend. It was the same length, regardless, and you could retrieve your arrow. This one, you can only shoot rope arrows into very specific spots, they always come out at specific lengths, not all the same, and they are unretrievable. there are some areas you have to use two rope arrows to get to a spot whereas in the original game, one would have sufficed! its ridiculous. Swimming, nope! Just like Deadly Shadows, no swimming allowed. I do like you can carry throwables to distract guards, but only one, and you can't upgrade to carry more. In fact, you can't carry an unlimted different types of arrows, you have to purchase upgrades to carry more!
Speakng of upgrades, you can purchase upgrades to help you do more damage or take less damage, or increase helth and focus, decrease prices, those kinds of things.
You get side jobs from your pal Basso to rob the city, and sometimes jobs from other clients.
When it comes to content, this game is packed, there is a lot to do. In fact, there's an acievement/trophy for playing for more than 15 hours, so take your time!
In the bottom left you have your focus meter, health meter, and light gem which should be familiar to old fans.
Lets discuss options now. You can enable or disable quite a few things, sich as waypoint marker, which honestly annoy me, threat indicators, focus mode, and other things. You can also statt a new game with different mods, such as iron man mode, which means if you fail, game over!
Now as you find out, this is not the same Garrett from the original trilogy which explains the different voice over. In fact the oroginal games takes place is 434-435, dark project and metal age. Deadly shadows timeline is unknown. This game takes place 400 years later. You learn in moira asylum, yes, the same moria you robbed in deadly shadows, that old garret, or the master sneak thief, was thrown in there to prevent any more trouble, and lost his mechanical eye escaping, which is unique loot you can pick up. Actually its unknown if he eacaped or not, which is a s***ty ending to an iconic video game character.
Also, hammerites and pagans are mentioned as the "old gods". You rob an old keeper library, with no mention of the keepers. When the northcrests came into power, they banned religions. Yeah, tru doong that in the real world. "I hearby ban religion" slap. I'm ok...ughhhh. there's one place you rob where the person was practicing pagan rituals, and the cathedral in chapter 7 is the cathedral from the haunted cathedral in the dark project. Also a unique loot on that level is a an item with the hammer logo on it.
One fence you rob is oxford perry which is the descendent of heartless perry, your fence in deadly shadows, and little things like that referencing the previous games.
One last spoiler is the combination to the barons great safe, 30, 11, 98. November 30th 1998 was the launch date of the dark project!
So my final verdict is: from a story perspective, forgettable. bugs, plenty. Content, tons. Gameplay, meh. Faithful to the originals, no. Easter eggs here and there. No where near as much as eidos was bragging about! So, do I recommend this game. No. Not as a thief game, not as a stealth game, not as a game! I don't consider this game canon, or even it's existance! My advice, don't spend your money on this 2014 reboot. Instead, go to gog.com, and get the original trilogy (They're usually $10/piece). More content, better gameplay, a story you'll actually care about, less bugs, more fun, less money! It's a win for everyone.
on June 24, 2014
Thief is a reboot and revival of the classic Thief Trilogy of video games: The Dark Project (1998), The Metal Age (2002) and Deadly Shadows (2004). These games were hugely influential in their introduction of stealth elements to video games, with importance placed not on combat and killing enemies but on the player sneaking past foes and 'ghosting' through levels to complete objectives with the enemy not even being away of their presence. The SF roleplaying game Deus Ex (2000) also followed a similar strategy, though gave players more tools to choose stealth, combat or other options as they wished.
When Eidos Montreal released Deus Ex: Human Revolution in 2011, they received praise for managing the difficult feat of making a game that honoured its predecessor's freeform choices and design whilst also making the title more accessible and approachable to modern gamers. Hopes were high that they could manage a similar balancing act with Thief. It is questionable if they have succeeded.
The newest incarnation of Thief is superficially similar to its forebears. You have a large hub area in the City where you can buy supplies, carry out opportunistic robberies or undertake minor side-quests for different employers. There is also a storyline that you can dip into and out of at will. Garrett is not very good at combat (although he does receive upgrades as the game progresses and can hold his own more effectively later on), so stealth is the order of the day. Hiding in shadows, moving quietly and making use of both the environment and tools such as rope arrows are all essential to avoid tedious fights which will usually end with Garrett's death. The game puts a large amount of importance on light, with enemies only being able to spot you motionless in well-lit areas. Water arrows can be used to extinguish torches and Garrett has a special 'swooping' move which can be used to move rapidly through lit areas whilst only briefly confusing guards, rather than fully alerting them to your presence.
All of this is theoretically good stuff, and the game is at its best in tense moments where you have infiltrated the heart of a dangerous location and one wrong move can spell disaster. However, it also feels stage-managed. Unlike the previous titles, you can only use rope arrows on specific beams of wood, which makes no sense. The game also discourages you from using certain lit routes by making the light sources indestructible gas lamps (which inexplicably can't be smashed by any of the tools at your disposal, including explosives) or oil lamps instead of torches. Exactly how oil lamps in the City work when they have no external controls of any kind is something the game leaves a mystery. The game then goes a step further into hand-holding by allowing you to jump and climb walls in certain contextual circumstances, usually by sign-painting climbable walls in white paint or sticking very large and obvious grills on them. Thief seems to delight in giving you an array of options and toys to play with and then arbitrarily places restrictions on how and when you can use them.
There's still usually a variety of different ways of accomplishing each task, but these boil down into two or three approaches per mission that everyone will experience. The original Thief trilogy was more of a simulation, which let you run riot with the tools and abilities in the game in large, sandbox-like levels, with dozens of viable approaches for each situation at hand. The new Thief never comes close to replicating that experience. Sequels should expand and improve upon their forebears, so for this game to be more limited than what came before is disappointing.
Even worse for Thief was the release of Dishonored in late 2012. A homage and love letter to the Thief series (amongst others), Dishonored featured a mix of stealth, combat and magic in a weirdpunk world that felt more like the original Thief games than the official reboot does. Dishonored did place more emphasis on magic and combat, but it was also extremely atmospheric with a well-designed world, a reasonably well-written (if not particularly original) storyline and a well-defined supporting cast of characters. Thief, on the other hand, features a wafer-thin backdrop, a badly-written and corny storyline and a largely forgettable cast of cliches. If you haven't played or are not interested in playing Dishonored, such a comparison may be meaningless, but between the two games Thief stands as the weaker.
None of this is to say that Thief is a terrible game. As the first title in a new franchise it would have gotten a much more favourable reception, and there is much to enjoy about it. The game is decently long: doing all the side-quests will take it well over 20 hours, and successfully 'ghosting' some of the trickier missions gives a real sense of achievement. There are a couple of missions, most notably the excursion to the lunatic asylum, which are chillingly atmospheric and well-designed. And, as superficial as they are, the game systems are intermittently effective at creating the illusion of being a master thief. It never really lasts very long, however, and in the endgame Thief loses whatever grasp it had on being a stealth title and turns into a linear action adventure with you dodging explosions, defeating your enemies in a series of boss fights and completing the game in the exact one way the designers want you to, to get a tediously predictable cliffhanger ending. I should probably also mention the mutant enemies who have super senses and can't be disabled with a takedown, which are a woeful game design decision.
Thief (***) is an enjoyable stealth game that fails to live up to the titles that came before it and is distinctly less accomplished than the similar Dishonored but, when taken on its own merits, is entertaining enough to merit a play-through. But the title falls way short of its potential.
on June 11, 2014
I have been wanting this game for a long time but when I finally got my hands on it I had mixed feelings.
-Easy to use controls
-Relatively open world
-Love the fact that Garrett is wearing what looks like a corset!
-I’m a thief who can only jump if I’m by a ledge
-Erin is a really annoying and unlikable character
-Floating desk items in The Bank Heist
-Smuggler’s Maps unfinished?
-Often have to go through special windows or cramped/boxed corridors to get to other parts of city. Gets repetitive.
-Spinning watchman in clock tower square
-I wish there was a way to knock out opponents from a distance, like in the game ‘Dishonored’.
-Can’t tell if I killed someone or just knocked them out. Want to go without kills…but no way to be sure. Will feel bad if I killed the maid.
-In-game map closes when entering a new area
-Speeches repeat themselves mid-speech
-At one point, a speech was repeating over and over and over again while I was in the area. If I hear about the ‘sweetest dock frock ever’ one more time…
-Expensive-looking collectibles…and I can’t make any money off of them!!
-Cut scenes get heavy lag, too
-Bodies stuck in the air…and they can be walked through!
-Would be nice if I could access the map without having to scroll down to it in the F1 menu. If I could just click on it directly, that’d be good. Or maybe if it were the first option instead?
-Would be nice if I could exit out of all actions the same way…like with the right mouse button. But focus can only be existed by hitting the F button again.
-Inexplicably go from Erin kneeling in front of Garrett inside a ship to suddenly hanging off the edge outside. HUH??
-Even after game was completed, some gated locations remained closed. Is this a tease or did I miss a way to open them?
In summary, the game suffers from lagging and game errors. A little tweaking here and there in the game with controls and such would also make it more enjoyable. A good game, but it’s frustrating that it requires such a good gaming computer and still has these issues. And its price is too high for a game with these problems.
on May 14, 2014
I'm an old time Thief player. Love the series, especially 1 and 2. I enjoyed this game, it was good. There was just too much I didn't like in it though. It was short and has little replay value as far as I'm concerned. I considered going back and replaying some missions to try out a different style but I just couldn't get myself to bother after I completed the game. Hopefully some downloadable content comes out down the road.
on September 8, 2014
This is an incredibly boring game and just poorly designed in every way imaginable. You aren't allowed to jump except where it is scripted for you to do so. The much loved rope arrows from Thief 1&2 are only allowed to be fired in very specific places, making them useless. None of the continuity has been retained. Judging this as a separate game altogether, it still comes up very short. The controls are clunky, the maps funnel you into one direction with occasional reroutes. The game is VERY glitchy, to the point of not being able to complete the missions at times under certain circumstances. Even the scripted jumps don't work very well at all, so half the time you end up falling to your death even though the jumps are scripted and should prevent this. The conversations you overhear are insanely repetitive, and again glitchy. So a dozen characters will tell you the same thing again and again at the same time. Eidos didn't even try with this game, at all. I don't know how you back peddle over a 15 year old game but this is honestly worse than the first as far as gameplay mechanics go. It's such a shame to see such a beautiful series die such a horrible death.