Thief – PlayStation 4
Platform: Sony PlayStation 4
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Nerd Rating: 7/10
Just over ten years ago Thief: Deadly Shadows was released for original Xbox and PC. Thief: Deadly Shadows was the third game in a fairly successful series for the time. This game was also a success with the critics but like its protagonist, the Thief series disappeared back into the shadows not to be seen again. That is, until now.
Thief is a reboot of the original series and is its own separate entity from the original series. This game takes place in The City in a Victorian/Middle Ages/Steampunk setting. The main protagonist is a master thief that has a serious case of kleptomania as he goes around the city stealing anything that glitters.
The main story is a bit of a complicated matter though. It is propelled by a supernatural accident that took the life of Garrett’s (the main character) apprentice and knocked him unconscious for a year. When he wakes up, the City is overtaken with “gloom” and he is haunted by his supposedly deceased apprentice’s “spirit” who pushes him to find out what happened to her.
Coming into the game (and not playing any of the other Thief games), I thought it would be a nice game about a nice Robin Hood like character. Thief started out as I had expected it to, with lots of stealing and general criminal activity. I certainly didn’t expect the heavy supernatural elements that it contained and just how quickly it would become downright weird.
Thief is a stealth game right to its very core. The game sets up many paths for you to choose but it greatly discourages direct combat with guards and other creatures. Garrett is just about useless if he is spotted, only being able to use a club and maybe his bow. Any more than two guards fighting Garrett directly becomes difficult. This greatly encourages being stealthy which requires a tremendous amount of patience (an area that I personally struggle with).
Despite direct combat being weak at best, the stealth abilities are strong. Shadows are distinct and well defined within the game without being unrealistic. Instead of struggling with trying to decide if guards can see you or not (and inevitably triggering the dreaded open conflict), there is a beautifully simple indicator on the display that glows white when you are exposed.
The majority of the game is comprised of different variations of shade and darkness but is quite surprisingly still visually appealing. Cutscenes for this game were probably some of the most realistic that I’ve seen from next-gen consoles, but there were times in actual gameplay where I thought “this would be better if it wasn’t being held back by last gen consoles.” Thief is adapted and dumbed down for last-gen consoles, and you can definitely see it in typical gameplay. But hey, at least the cutscenes are stunning.
The biggest beef that I have is its use of the Dual Shock 4’s touchpad. In Thief, the touchpad is used for switching between inventory items such as the different type of arrows and distraction items. The touchpad functionality in the game is awkward and dysfunction. Switching between inventory items is something that I always dreaded because I knew that it would take a minute to get to scroll to the item that I want, only to realize that I forgot to click the freaking touchpad to equip the item. The use of the controller’s touchpad for this game probably could have used a bit more thought and design.
Thief is an okay game. I don’t think I would ever replay it (as many parts of the game are only best when you don’t know what the hell is going on), but I would play a sequel of this game if Eidos and Square Enix were to provide one. Thief is definitely a game to play if you have a lot of patience.
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