Thief, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square-Enix, plays on both sides of the fence, it raises its head above the water in some aspects but dunks in others.
Thief’s main objective is stealth and sticking to the shadows so fans of running around like a loon killing everything in their paths may not like what’s on offer here, this is for the sneaky ones among us.
You play as Garrett, master of his trade. A job goes horribly wrong as rival thief Erin is killed and you knocked unconscious only to wake hidden on a cart led by a couple of street beggars forced into working for the militia that pollute the cities corrupted and plague ridden streets. Once you awaken, you set on a journey to find out what happened to you and Erin on that fateful night, stealing everything you see along the way. The story isn’t a bad one considering Garrett and his associates are expressionless and bland. The mystery that surrounds the overall plot keeps things interesting though, I mean I was constantly guessing to what happened to Erin which also made me play on. This is a pure stealth game that encourages sticking to shadows and leaving enemies unharmed due to the fact that the combat is poor. The first person sneaking is thrilling however once you suss out enemy patrol patterns or figure out a method of distraction, things are really simple however it is the figuring out that makes the gameplay tense and exciting.
The combat is tragic, you can’t kill anyone with Garrett’s trusty Blackjack which is nothing more than a small club making fighting a frustrating game of dodge and hit and even if you manage to overcome one enemy, his pals will all come running to his aid to which you might as well just sit it out and wait for the inevitable “You’re Dead!” screen. The game shines on its sneaking though, Garrett has a sense ability which aids you by highlighting paths, hiding places, things that can be taken and other visual aids that can be unlocked by focus points which can be found or bought. Traversing The City which acts as a hub world to the games chapters that make up its campaign is partially hindered by the presence of invisible walls, whilst not really a huge problem, this does ruin the open world feel. Thief’s dark fantasy setting looks fantastic, especially so on PS4 and Xbox One. The streets are dark and grim littered with people suffering from the plague and guards that patrol sometimes in twos. Chapter locations are just as murky, whether it’s a mansion, jewellery store or a brothel, they all hold their own feeling of ownership which makes you feel more of a thief when trespassing on their grounds. My favourite though is the Asylum, I won’t say much about it though as it has to be seen for itself but definitely stands out from the rest of the missions. Garrett looks like a thief with his cool looking cowl and cape and antagonists look vindictive and expertly detailed. The poor lip syncing needs revising though.
Playing as a master thief is a rewarding experience, taking anything you can get your hands on whilst sticking to the shadows in a dark and grim aesthetic. It’s a shame though as its bogged down by a poor combat mechanic, stale searching and invisible walls. The world looks fab however, especially that creepy Asylum brrrr!
Developers: Eidos Montreal
Publishers: Square Enix
Release Date: 28th February 2014
Gameplay – 3/5
Overall – 3/5