Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Also available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed by: Darryl Linington
Developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix, Thief has finally made its way out of the shadows and graced consoles and PC’s worldwide. However, is this revival of a cult classic one we have all been waiting for? Or should it be locked up by The Watch and tossed in the dungeons never to see the light of day ever again?
Thief begins with Garrett, the master thief, and Erin, Garrett’s protégée, being tasked to steal the Primal Stone from Northcrest Manor. Upon reaching the manor, Garrett and Erin witness Baron Northcrest, and some rather shady looking folks in robes, begin a supernatural ceremony that will supposedly usher The City into a new age. While Erin seems over confident that the two of them can pull off the heist, Garrett feels that something is not right and that the two of them should leave Northcrest Manor at once. Erin defies Garrett, which ultimately leads to both of them falling from the roof and into the very centre of where the ritual is being held.
With no recollection of what happened after the accident, Garrett returns to his hometown, now known as The City, one year later only to find that is riddled with a sickness called The Gloom. While the rich continue to thrive and live the high life, the poor have been condemned to live out their lives in misery, repression and sickness. As an uprising emerges, Garrett finds himself entangled in growing layers of conflict. Lead by Orion “the voice of the people”, the tyrannised citizens will do everything they can to reclaim their city from the Baron’s grasp. The revolution is inevitable. If Garrett doesn’t get involved, the streets will stream red with blood and The City will tear itself apart.
Thief’s storyline plays out smoothly at first; however, it tends to lose itself at times. This can be seen in the game’s inconsistent story missions and side quests. At one point you will be taking in the glorious sights and sounds of a rather interesting and colourful brothel, and then the next you will be stuck on a linear path trying to complete a mission that is bland, uninteresting and feels out of place. In addition to this, each time you visit a different part of the city you have to sit through a loading screen, which really breaks up the gameplay. This makes Thief feel like a mixed bag of tricks, rather than the masterpiece it should have been.
While the mundane missions and loading screens can be a pain… what really makes Thief worth playing is the way it allows to choose a variety of approaches when taking on different story missions and scenarios. You can either take the silent approach and tip-toe your way around guards, or take the direct approach and start swinging your primary weapon around like a bull in a china shop… you could even sit at a distance and pick off guards one by one with neatly placed arrows between their eyes. At the end of the day the choice is ultimately yours. Garrrett also comes with an arsenal of defensive weapons and tools including: Water Arrows, Choke Arrows, Flash Bombs, Fire Arrows and more to get the job done.
While Thief gives you multiple options to approach each mission or scenario, just bear in mind that Garrett is a thief and won’t be able to overpower multiple enemies at the same time. As much as I wanted lay into the guards, I felt the need to rather stick to shadows and avoid direct conflict. Apart from stealth and combat, Thief also features an array of puzzles that you will need to solve in order to progress. While these puzzles start off simple, they generally become more complex and downright challenging at times… which was absolutely fantastic to experience.
While Garrett is a master thief, he also has the ability to unlock doors with a lock pick as well as crack open a few safes here and there. While these gameplay mechanics were great to experience in the very beginning, they soon become tired and repetitive. This is due to the fact that Garrett’s lock pick, as well as the locks featured throughout the game, are essentially indestructible. What would have made Thief slightly more realistic would have been the option to purchase multiple lock picks as well as have locks that would actually break if the player did not successfully pick a lock. Along with an indestructible lock pick, Garrett also has a Focus ability which ultimately uncovers hidden treasures and just about anything else that may be hidden in the shadows. Additionally the Focus ability can be upgraded in order to improve your stealth, combat and your already superior lock picking skills.
With no fast travel system in place, getting from point A to point B can be downright confusing and frustrating at times. There were many times where I found myself walking around in circles, with absolutely no clue on where I was actually supposed to go… even with the help of the mini map. Granted, I am not one for games that hold your hand the whole way through, but having a reliable, detailed map is always a plus.
When it comes to graphics, I personally think that Eidos Montreal has done a fantastic job in creating a visually stunning fantasy/steampunk city that resembles a cross between the late middle ages and the Victorian era. It is just unfortunate that the same amount of work was not put into the character models that populate this beautiful setting. Furthermore, there were quite a few times where the I would come across NPCs that were identical in appearance, standing just metres away from each other, which made me feel like certain NPCs were rushed in order to populate the world with minimal effort.
One of Thief’s main issues can be found in the game’s audio. While some characters have been voiced to perfection, others seem lifeless and out of place. Furthermore, there were many occasions where I would come across two characters who would repeat the same dialogue over and over again without stopping.
Thief has quite a few issues that cannot be overlooked or ignored; however, it is a game that I actually really enjoyed playing at the end of the day. While the main storyline is inconsistent and tends to lose itself at times, it does feature some rather interesting and memorable locations.
Overall, Thief is worth checking out, but not for the storyline or the lacklustre voiceovers… It is worth checking out due to fact that it allows the player to choose a variety of approaches when taking on different missions and scenarios. You can literally stick to the shadows and take on a non-violent approach, or perch on top of a ledge and pick off your targets one by one with a bow and arrow. While you can go in swinging as well… it is not entirely the best way to approach a situation as Garrett is a thief and not a trained assassin. However, at the end of the day, the choice is ultimately yours on how you want to approach each situation.