This is the first game in the Thief series I’ve ever played, I was interested in Thief last year when I watched a gameplay video, and felt some resemblance to Dishonored which was one of my favorite games of the last generation. Upon seeing the similarities between the two games my interest in Thief increased, and was added to the list of games to review in 2014.
Sadly Thief couldn’t live up to these expectations, the game did have its moments of brilliance that will be overlooked due to the game having a majority of problems rather than a majority of quality. The question is what does the game do right and wrong? I’ll start of with what Thief did right.
I thought the stealth in Thief was done almost perfectly, one of the smaller stealth features that impressed me was water arrows. Now you may think “What’s so impressive about water arrows?” Well you can use water arrows to put out fires that are giving light in to a certain area where guards are patrolling, this makes the area darker allowing our Thief (Garrett is his name if you were wondering, more on him later) to slip past the guards while they are distracted by the lack of fire. It’s a small but cool feature.
Thief likes to throw some little obstacles to throw the player off from their sneaky routine by having broken glass around certain parts of the locations that if ran through will cause the sound of crunching glass to echo across the room causing guards to become vigilant for your characters whereabouts. There are also traps that if stood on cause arrows to fly out and cause some damage with some causing an instant kill to add to the obstacle. There was also a moment were I was walking around a ledge and a pot dropped from the ledge alerting the guards, it’s detail like this that impressed me at times.
The actual guards A.I is hit and miss, at times they can function flawlessly while at times they can be extremely dumb. When the guards function at their best they do pretty neat things like notice doors have been opened, find knocked out or dead bodies and when the player puts out fires with two guards near it one will relight the fire, while the other guard will go searching for you. Guards have a notoriety meter that has about 3 levels, the first level make the guards aware that someone is here, the second makes the guards look for you while the third and final level makes the guards attack you.
These features are all well and good until clumsy A.I takes over, and a guard has got stuck or they flat out give up searching if you run to a certain distance. If you get caught just run away to the point where they stop looking, and they give up not long after, rinse and repeat.
Thief offers the player a choice of how you plan to get through each chapter, if you want to be the ultimate Thief then you can play through the game, and try not to get caught once. You can even go through the whole game without the need to attack an enemy at all. If you aren’t the calm type then you can run through the game either knocking out unsuspecting enemies or even kill them with a well placed arrow to the head. Stay clear of the melee combat as it is truly awful, you continuously press RB which turns in to some kind of rock em sock em robots action.
Thief’s main story is divided in to 8 pretty short chapters that adds up to around 5 hours of overall game time. In the story you play as Garrett the expert thief. At the start of the game Garrett is with fellow thief Erin, and not long after Erin falls to her apparent death, Garrett then spends the entire game finding out what truly happened. The story doesn’t end up holding up well, and not too long after the game turns in to an over the top supernatural game. I thought the earlier chapters were done well but when all the supernatural stuff came in, the story took a turn for the worse.
You can purchase more items for Garrett that will help him get through certain areas were the specific tool is needed to get through. There is also a tool that you can purchase to disarm traps, all these items and much more have to be bought with the in game currency that can be earned by completing side missions and main missions. Most of the money you will earn will be from swiping random objects during chapters that are laying around, these objectives can range from jewels all the way to forks.
I thought the side missions were not too bad, they are kind of short and easy to do but I liked them because it gave me what I was originally expecting, and that was to be a thief. The side missions doesn’t feature any overlapping supernatural gimmicks to the missions, and is all just about being a thief.
The Final Verdict
Thief is an okay game that has been dragged down by its major problems. I thought stealth was done very well in the game, and that the choice of how you want to play allows players to come back and try again which adds replay value, and replay value is a very important part of a game that I look for when I review a game. I just couldn’t get in to this story at all, and I really did try too. I also felt Garrett was an extremely forgettable and dull main character. Thief is a game that had potential, and had moments that really impressed me but due to its negatives it will never reach its true potential.
+Solid use of stealth elements
+The choice of how you want to play
+/- Guards A.I is both a hit and a miss
-Too much loading
-Forgettable main character