I reviewed Thief for Techday.com; their current editorial policy is for articles to be no more than 500 words. From a writers point-of-view this short length means cutting out all the crap, all the clever but superfluous bollocks that may stroke the scribe’s ego, but adds nothing for the reader.
Thief was a hard game to review. For most of my journey through the city the game sat at the limits of my engagement. Ironically for a franchise that pretty much introduced stealth gaming, so many other games have since done it much better. In the end we have a game that, once it gets going, is a lot of fun; but at the same time made me want to go back and play the far more superior Dishonoured.
Here’s my review of Thief (pretty much as published on the Game Console pages of Techday.com), the latest in spate of rebooted classic games, retooled for a modern audience.
We seem to be inundated with publishers rejuvenating odd classics. For a crusty old gamer like me reviewing rebooted versions of games I hold dear can be a bit of a mixed bag. Fortunately, I’d never played a Thief game, until now.
Players take the role of Garrett, a master thief and denizen of The City- which is a bizarre mesh of the medieval and Victorian, with a bit of steampunk thrown in for good measure. After a heist goes wrong resulting in the loss of his former protege, Garrett comes to having lost a year of his life.
The City is now in the grip of a disease called The Gloom, on the verge of rebellion and suffering at the hands of the totalitarian Baron’s Watch. Whilst Garrett isn’t particularly set on saving his city, the game’s uneven plot demands that he do just that.
As a stealth game Thief means business. Dancing in front of the guards is not going to work for you. You can whack a few with your blackjack, but in the end your target and his mates are going to overpower you. You need to be smart about it and you need to stay in the shadows.
To begin with I found it difficult to sneak pass guards undetected, resulting in many a frantic chase and multiple deaths. After a while I started to get the hang of the games stealth mechanic and started to understand just how much I could get away with.
Just sneaking around is not always enough; this is where the special arrows come into play. Torches can be extinguished with a water arrow, whilst a fire arrow will cause havoc with flammable stuff. There’s also a few arrows for when things need to get a little more violent.
Both the main missions and side missions are dotted across The City which opens itself up to you are you progress. Whilst the main missions are fairly intricate, the side missions are a bit hit and miss.
Negotiating the city as Garrett should be fun, but for the most part it isn’t. Garrett’s talent for scaling walls and running across roofs works, but the fractured way the city is connected makes for a frustrating experience. Hunting for the precise location of mission waypoints can be a chore.
Also, some doors open some doors don’t. Same goes for the windows, except some windows also serve as portals to the adjacent district resulting in annoying wait as the next area loads.
On the whole Thief works as a decent stealth action game. Elements of it do seem rushed and the city layout doesn’t work very well. The plot is a bit all over the place, but the main quest missions are entertaining and the puzzles nicely done.
I can’t really recommend Thief as a must have game, but fans of the genre (not necessarily fans of the original Thief games) should enjoy it.