Developers: Eidos Montreal
Publishers: Square Enix
Thief takes place in “The City” where life always seems dark and miserable. We take control of “Garrett” AKA The Master Thief, as he is in the amidst of job for his contact Basso. Garret traverses the rooftops of the moonlit city. Taking a scenic route to steal some loot, Garrett emerges from a window to see another shadow dodging through the chimney smoke. It seems his young apprentice Erin has also accepted the job from Basso and now the two of them are on the hunt for this rare piece of bounty. As they reach their destination, Baron Northcrest’s manor, they stumble upon a ritual in progress. Garrett calls of the job due to a bad feeling but Erin decides to pursue the job still. As an argument ensues Erin unfortunately falls through a Skylight. Before she gets a chance to fall to her death, she interrupts the ritual and a menacing blast of energy causes the manor to shake and crumble. Garrett ultimately falls as well but saves himself with a grapple. As Garrett swings over Erin’s levitating body something embeds itself into his eye and the next thing he knows the building collapses on top of him.
Garrett awakes full year later to The City in lock down by the Baron’s decree due to an unknown epidemic that has taken over the people known as “The Gloom”. With the people of the city in panic mode Garrett uses this distraction as an advantage to seek out what has happened to him and what has become of Erin. With the help of Basso and Orion, leader of the resistance, Garrett will venture through caves hidden beneath a twisted brothel, through the demented hallways of an asylum for the mentally insane and all the way to the forgotten cities buried below the city streets.
Thief is solely a single player experience, consisting of a very well done campaign. As you start the game you have the option to select what difficulty you want to have from Rouge, Thief, Master and an option to customize your very own difficulty. Another added bonus is the ability to adjust difficulty as you play through the game itself. Thief is a first person stealth adventure consisting of safe cracking, lock picking, looting and yes skulking around in the shadows. The game has been rated M(17+) due to foul language, violence, and partial nudity. I played the game at my leisure so I wasn’t rushing by any means but the game took about 12 hours to complete. In those 12 hours I was able to complete the main story line, complete some of the side missions from bass and basically piss around on the rooftops. If you are looking to just run through the games main story you are looking at about 9 hours’ worth of gameplay but if you happen to be a “completionest” Thief could run you up to 25 hours. Being able to retry past missions made up some of the lacking replay value but ultimately there isn’t much do to once you complete the game. You can hunt through the city for missed loot but after a while that just gets tedious.
Looking at “The City” I see so much detail. Every house, every watch tower and every street looks beautiful. Its exactly how I would invison a city that has been infected with sorrow and despair. Most of the game is played at night where the only light sources are the moon, torches and a few bonfires with the homeless surrounding them. With lots of shadows I expected certain areas of the game to be far to dark to even see but Thief has done an amazing job in making every area visible but still makes you feel like your skulking around in the dark. Garrett’s wardrobe stood out more than anything, the detail that went into his bow and leather padded outfit is amazing. I think the only down side I saw in the graphic department was the characters themselves. I noticed a lot of the guards looked identical and that the Queen of the Beggars had little detail in both her face and her outfit. I feel that a little more work could have been prioritized to the aesthetics of the human characters to separate Thief graphically from other games.
Sound quality had its ups and downs throughout the game. Unfortunately I found most of the voice actors to be shallow and ultimately unengaging. With Garrett being the lead protagonist I thought he should at least stand out a bit but by the end of the game I had not seen anything noteworthy from him. Some other issues I had were 3 seconds lag between speech and lip movement and the repetition of guard chatter got extremely annoying. They made up some points in sound quality with being able to hear interactions between spouses, family spats or pub chatter when you walked past certain homes and businesses. I think what stood out most to me was the atmosphere when inside the Asylum. Skulking through the long dreary hallways of the Asylum, you could hear whispering moans, creaking floor boards and rattling doors. One moment that creeped me out the most was going to pick the lock on an armoire, and as I locked the first pin I heard this loud whining moan come from beside me, as I quit the picking of the lock to see if anything was coming at me, I saw nothing. It was the first real moment that had captured my interest to the point where I felt as if I was actually inside the Asylum playing as Garrett.
Thief’s gameplay was impressive at times but sadly fell below par most of the time. With an arsenal of arrows, gadgets such as lock picks and a handy screwdriver, Garrett was what I imagined a darker Robin Hood would play like. I really enjoyed the ability to quickly dart from shadowed cover to shadowed cover with a simple press of a button. Another feature I liked was the abilty to use focus to find hidden loot, safes and collectibles that may not have been seen by the naked eye. Something that made the game stand out was the use of birds and watch dogs to alert guards of my presence. Definitely made the levels a little more difficult to complete without alerting enemies. When times called for it, it was easy to dispense of enemies by taking them out quietly with an arrow to the head, or bludgeoning them to an unconscious state with his BlackJack. However, times where Garrett was confronted by a guard he loses all sense of finesse. With simple dogdes and a couple blows to the head a guard could be brought down quite easily but once there were more than just one you would have no choice to run and hide until the guards give up on trying to find you. It takes away from being a quick and stealthy rouge to a childish brute trying to just smash the enemy.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time playing Thief. I found the story to different from what I have played in the past and that really kept me interested. The characters themselves were not the most engaging nor the most impressive graphically, I still thought Thief looked fantastic. Garrett being the main character of the game may not have looked as good as I would have hoped, however his suit had to be the most impressive example of attire in the city. The City itself was impressive with the amount of detail into it even If the sounds and atmosphere seemed a little repetitive. All in all Thief is a fantastic stealth game, with a beautifully dark atmosphere but sadly poor action sequences take away from that beauty.
Rating – 7.5/10