- NA February 25, 2014
- AU February 27, 2014
- EU February 28, 2014
- Square Enix
- Eidos Montreal
This review was played on PS4.
Thief is a stealth video game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. Released in late February around the world on PS4, XOne, PC, PS3 & Xbox 360. Thief  is sometimes noted as a reboot to the cult classic Thief series. You play as Garrett who is a master thief that steals from the rich. The story is also set several hundreds of years after the other Thief games, but still stays in the same universe.
Thief takes you through a weird, supernatural, very slow-paced, boring and forgettable story. While playing some of the chapters, the story barely moves at all and just puts you in cliche moments at times [one of the bosses always getting in your way at the end of the missions]. Some chapters doesn’t even move the story at all, the only interesting story chapter is chapter/mission 5 which takes on the horror genre, and fails miserably at it. With the cliched scares and a focus on a specifig type of enemy, the chapter felt like a very poor take on Outlast. The ending is also poor and isn’t emotional at all despite the developer’s intentions.
The graphics aren’t great either and really don’t do justice to the so-called “next gen”. Apart from the sub-par graphics, the cutscenes look strikingly different from the gameplay, which gets annoying at times, and the audio is usually out of place and doesn’t sync properly with the characters that are speaking. Apart from the audio problems and poor dialogue, the music is done well. It causes suspense when you are detected and running away, or during mini cutscenes and what not.
Apart from the boring and forgettable story, the stealth mechanics of the game works very well. When playing the game on the hardest difficulty, and trying not to be detected/kill anyone, the game is tough and will test your stealth skills. Using the shadows as an area to hide, various paths to completeing the levels, and hidden areas/shortcuts all over the levels, you will be doing more then just sitting in the corner and waiting for the guard to move over to the other side. Although the stealth mechanics work very well in the game, there is one stealth mechanic which will make you rip your hair out. There are crows and dogs in the game where if they suspect you they will usually detect you straight away, thus making you lose the no detection rankings. Now it’s easy to just get past them by walking slowly or trying to not make a lot of sound near them, but it isn’t that simple. For example; if you shoot a couple of arrows next to an animal you’re automatically detected even if you are on the roof or on other side of the room, which is really frustrating and an annoying mechanic that doesn’t work properly.
The stealth mechanics continue to work very well with arrows, which are the only type of weapon that you use in the game apart from your bat that you use to knock out enemies or fight them in combat. There are several different types of arrows which work to your advantage; water arrows to get rid of flames, giving you more room to hide. Blunt arrows which help you distract enemies so you can sneak past them or open secret paths. Rope arrows that help you climb down or up to different locations/paths, and the Sawtooth arrows that kill your enemies instantly, and give you an awesome mini cutscene if you a headshot an enemy from a distance. There are different arrows in the game, but you will rarely ever use them unlike the ones mentioned above. Custom difficulty is an awesome unique feature in this game where you can truly test your stealth skills. There are different options you can choose to turn on/off to test yourself. Stuff like no kills, no knockouts, no detection, no damage taken, chapter saves only, no focus amongst other features which gives a real sense of stealth in the game. The custom difficulty is probably the best feature in this game and works perfectly for a stealth game, and I hope to see it in future games.
The missions in the game are unfortunately very linear at times, but luckily the game tends to give you different paths/options to completeing the levels but the main missions aren’t fun enough to come back and test the other paths out. If you thought the missions are the worst, there is a boss at the end of mission 7 which will make you just shake your head and facepalm yourself twice. He shoots some fire bombs at you, while you have to hide from him and go to the door and pick-lock the door which takes forever, but if you stuff up one pick-locking then he will hear you and most certainly kill you. Or you can fight him in combat which takes forever, even if you attack him without detection. It’s one of the worst boss battles in the history of gaming and should have been left out. Surprisingly the main missions are the worst part of the game [excluding the map], the side missions though are the best. It’s much more fun to find the location of the loot you have to steal, by using your different arrows or finding the secret location to the room where loot is awaiting you. When you’re spotted, the game will either force you to re-load your save [if playing on Custom difficulty, depending on your settings], run for your life and hope to avoid the combat or face the enemies in what is at best, a broken combat system. You can only use the bat and dodge, which is incredibly boring, half the time your dodges won’t work properly and enemies sometimes have supersonic hits that drain your health within seconds, even on easy difficulty. On master, good luck surviving combat since enemies all attack you at once, making it impossible to dodge each enemy since the game only lets you dodge one enemy at a time.
You can also buy upgrades from merchants around the city, some are very useful and some aren’t. Most are just to increase your health, focus or your bows – most of the time you don’t notice the difference since you want to avoid the combat sections of the game as much as you can. There are also focus upgrades which can only be bought from the Queen of Beggars, you can sometimes find focus upgrades throughout the main missions but these are rare and won’t be enough to upgrade everything. The map/HUD is trrible. You can’t waypoint anything apart from missions, so it’s really annoying when you have to travel to other parts of the city since the game doesn’t tell you where to go if you are looking for a location to a different part of the city. If you want to replay any missions or side missions you have to find the location yourself, and some of them are hidden well. It becomes really frustrating going around the city trying to figure out where to go or how to reach the merchant that’s marked on your map. You’re going to be climbing every wall in the city before you find out where to go.
Thief also doesn’t offer much replayability apart from maybe 2 playthroughs. One being ‘evil’ and not caring about being spotted and what not, or play the game it’s meant to be played on custom difficulty and challenge your stealth skills and see if you can get through the boring main missions.
Thief is a game that I was very excited for, Dishonored was one of my favorite games of 2012 so I was very excited for this. But the story was poor, the map was completely useless, the combat was uninspired if you ever got caught. The only thing the game got right was MOST of the stealth mechanics, the soundtrack and the side missions. This is one title I’m very disappointed in that felt like the developers were trying to do too much at once.