Grab The Games: Thief
Thief (2014) is the 4th game in the Thief franchise and from Eidos Montreal (among others) which were also involved in the much acclaimed Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Thief came out on 25th Feb 2014 on all the major platforms. It is a first person adventure game which emphasis's on stealth gameplay.
As some of you might have guessed, you play as Garrett, a Master thief . The game takes place in a city called, wait for it...The city.... yeah ...and Garrett is returning to The City after a while, which is now being ruled by a tyrant called The Baron. There is a plague in play as well and because of it, the rich continue to live in comfort whereas the poor die at the hands of starvation and disease, and Garrett is pulled in this struggle to overthrow the Baron.
The city itself looks something out of a Sherlock Holmes book because of the Victorian era look but with ample electric lights.
I quite liked the visual theme, and in my personal opinion the closely packed city would have been a great place for free runs over the roofs, but I was a bit disappointed when I found out that it was not an option most of the times. The devs should have used it to their advantage but I guess that would have made exploring a pain because let's be honest, if you could run over roofs of several rows of houses within a few seconds instead of waiting in the shadows for the guards to get bored and move on......wouldn't you? I know I would. The city looks dark, and I don't mean figuratively only, the actual color scheme of the game is very dark as well, but the lighting and the fog make it look absolutely stunning in certain cases, whereas other times its just really really dark and hard to see. But the atmosphere it creates is perfect for the game.
Now that you have the gist of the plot, let's get down to the gameplay. As I mentioned before, the emphasis of the game is on stealth, i.e avoiding combat and direct confrontation as much as possible, and on exploration, finding different routes to the objective and usually there are more then 2-3 different routes to any given objective, be it from the roof, the basement or simply barging in from the main door (although not very thief like). You also get points for exploration. If you are finding it difficult to get past some guards, look around, there is probably another way which bypasses most of the obstacles.
From a cut-scene and yes,it does look beautiful!
You have an array of different arrows ranging from fire and water, to rope and blunts at your disposal. In the beginning I was psyched about such a wide variety but as the game progressed I noticed that I barely got to use some of them other then in some very specific scenarios and that once again, was a real let down. Also stealing spoons and candlesticks didn't really give a Master Thief vibe as well, rather I felt like a petty thief stealing silverware from innocent people.
I really loved the swoop ability, it gave sort of like a ninja feeling, moving from shadow to shadow, honestly, that was the feature that set it apart from others like it. Even Garrett's somewhat supernatural agility couldn't help the fighting mechanics from becoming really awkward, and against more than one opponent, Garrett was all but doomed. Not to mention dodging and countering gets boring fast. And if you make the mistake of upgrading the combat abilities then even knocking enemies out becomes so easy that it seems stupid to go all the way around a building just to avoid a single guard, when you can knock him out with little to no trouble. And for someone like me who wanted to play the entire game without even touching a guard, it was not an easy temptation to resist, I cannot even remember how many times I had to reload a checkpoint after getting into a confrontation, and this was on Thief difficulty.Â
Loved the clever use of sounds, you have to be careful not to step on shattered glass which I found out the hard way, alerting over half a dozen enemies of my location. Same goes for running around carelessly (duh!) .
Now there are a few little things that bring an otherwise great game, down. The loading screens for example, even on PC, the random loading screens appear in some of the most unusual places, like when opening a window for example. Because of that, the feeling of continuity is lost and you feel like you wandered off a bit too far and into another area while exploring when in reality you are just a street away from your objective. That's how indistinguishable the surroundings are. And then there are the random character conversations which repeat in a loop and are sometimes overheard in cut scenes (and yes i know how ridicules that sounds) and are actually louder than the conversation Garret is having. Also it might just be me, but I did not like how some specific places were made reachable whereas others that are almost exactly the same, were not, which was frustrating to say the least. And then there is the map, I haven't been so confused since the last time i asked my girlfriend What's wrong? Honestly, ignoring the fact that you wouldn't be able to find a radioactive T-Rex in those streets if you knew where it was, the map only makes it more confusing. As for the story, it was not that compelling for me personally. It did not give an incentive to finish the mission how it was supposed to be done, didn't care for the re-precautions my actions might have on the ending.
So, summing everything up:
Great stealth mechanics.
Fluid gameplay,no significantly noticeable issues.
Stunning lightning with the help of fog makes for a great atmosphere.
A lot of replay value,You can replay each mission as many times as you want HOWEVER you want and each time you will discover something new and think how did i miss this the first couple of times?
Some little things like guards noticing open doors and safes was a nice touch
Good amount of content, with minimal side missions,the campaign lasts about 14 hours.
Cannot fully utilize the different ammunition available
Some of the interior levels are a bit bland.
Confusing city layout/level designs and the map doesn't help much so players have to rely on their own wits to move about
An abundance of loading screens make the city feel segmented,making exploration a chore.
Game gets a bit too easy on normal difficulty after some upgrades and unlocks
Some little bugs that can easily be addressed in a patch.
I have seen a lot of comparisons between Dishonored and Thief and it really makes me mad. Players have to realize that Thief is nothing like Dishonored, ignoring the First person Adventure aspect. Dishonored was about an Assassin whereas, Thief as the name suggests, is about thievery. Garrett is not a warrior, he doesn't kill, and I think that is why the devs have made the combat like it is, keeping true to the series roots, forcing the player to stick to the shadows and that is where it shines (lol). It truly is a great stealth game even with the occasional bugs and uninspired storytelling. So if you have the patience and willpower to challenge the shadowy world of Thief, take your time and stay in the dark and all will be fine!
May the darkness be with you!