Thief – How Silent Can You Be?


Salutations fellow gamers.  I figured I’d take some time to review one of the most current releases of this quarter — Thief.  Some of you wouldn’t be familiar with the franchise if you haven’t necessarily been a PC gamer and started out with consoles.  That’s just fine as this “reboot” of sorts is the 4th installation in the series and doesn’t require gamers to immerse themselves into the previous releases to be able to pick the game up and delve into the madness.  Check out the trailer below:

I picked it up for Xbox One, but it is indeed available for PC, Playstation 3/4 and Xbox 360.

You play as Garrett, master thief and dweller of the shadows.  Set in a gothic Victorian type dark fantasy world, you wake up after being in a coma for a year to find a once bountiful and pleasant city turned cold, dark and in ruins, being run by a corrupt Baron.  You have obtained the ability to “focus” on the environment around you from the previous incident that caused your unconsciousness and take it upon yourself to search for answers.  Without giving the story away too much, I will say that things aren’t always what they seem, and the environment is solid proof of such.


As you can see, I’ve completely finished everything the game has to offer, so I’ll run through some of the things I liked and hated.  For some reason Xbox One SmartGlass is reporting 19 hours of play time, but my in-game play time is actually 39 hours after playing through three times.


Immersive gameplay.
As the main character, you tend to find yourself getting a “feel” for your environment, such as attempting to be as silent as possible.  The main thing I liked about Thief is that it’s on par with other stealth games, such as Splinter Cell, Metal Gear Solid, Dishonored and so forth.  The game is in first person view so you have an immediate eye to your surroundings.  You choose how to play.  If you want to move around in ghost-like fashion, prefer to kill everyone and hide the bodies, or confuse your enemies while moving around them like a silent game of chess, you have the option to do so without immediately affecting gameplay.  However, to get the most out of the game, I’d suggest taking the stealth route.  Not only does it make the game more exciting, but it’s easier to sneak past a guard than to take him on and waste valuable resources.

Smooth Controls.
While I do admit the controls take a few minutes to get used to, once you’ve gotten the hang of what button does what is when the fun begins.  Hopping from ledge to ledge or swooping from shadow to shadow is rather smooth.  I was quite surprised at how well sneaking around works.  You can practically tip-toe around enemies and they won’t even hear you, however if your footsteps are heavy, they become aware.

Length of gameplay.
This always tends to be an issue for me as I prefer long story lines or a shit load of optional missions that I can partake in to fully enjoy the title.  The main story is roughly about 15 hours long and there are three merchants that give you additional side quests if you’re up for it, totalling about another 2-3 hours depending on your style of play.  On my third playthrough, I basically rushed through the game as I had one specific goal so I didn’t really care about being stealthy and had memorized everything in every area that I needed.  My speed run took approximately 7 hours.  I can live with that.

Weapon assortment.
In a lot of games like this, you’re stuck with a weak load out.  You actually receive quite a bit to work with — flash bombs, mace arrows and bottles to disorient or distract enemies; a set of different arrows for combat and environment interaction; also a wrench, knife and wire cutters for finding various secrets or ways to keep a low profile.

Side quests.
After you’ve finished the game (or during), you have the option of picking up additional quests, making an otherwise short game pretty lengthy.  This is always a good thing as once you get used to something you can’t immediately put down, you have a reason to keep playing.


The map.
It’s an absolute piece of shit.  Navigating from one section of the city to the next was painful.  There’s no marked entry points for any part of the city, so you could be sneaking into a house hoping for some precious jewels to steal and wind up on the other side of the city.  There’s also no way-points other than the mission related ones.  If you see something you want to come back to later because there’s too many guards around, or if you’re using a guide to pick up collectibles, you’re pretty much screwed.

Confusing story.
The story has great potential, however, it’s not something you really find yourself caring about.  You really could navigate through the entire game without paying any attention to why you’re looking for specific items.  It makes the game less challenging because you don’t really have a reason to follow along.  It even seems as if the main character gives no fucks about the story and just wants to find out what happened to his partner.  You don’t really find out what happened until later in the game and by then you’re probably more focused on sneaking past people and stealing shit than paying attention.

Secret areas and collectibles.
I’m a completionist. I like playing games to their full potential to feel like my $60 purchase was warranted.  I’ve played games with nerve wrecking collectibles that made me want to seek out and choke the life from developers (looking at YOU Assassin’s Creed — with your fucking flag collectibles!), but they’re pretty subtly annoying here.  There’s two types of collectibles essentially:  the physical and the “secret areas”.  I’ll be the first to tell you…the secret areas are a bitch.  There’s 73 of them and I found a few of them to be very glitchy.  I didn’t get the achievement for finding them all until about 6 hours after the fact.  At that point I was set to start a new game and do them all over again.  I just so happened to leave my console running while I was working and it popped.

Overall I’d give the game a solid 7.5 out of 10.  Good game, but could have been better.  Eidos Montreal has developed some great games (Deus Ex: Human Revolution & more recently, Tomb Raider) and this could easily be one of their shelf classics, depending on what the DLC will be like.  It’s still worth picking up if you’re looking for something to tide you over until a particular game is released and you don’t want to bother with the piece of garbaggio feces that is Call of Duty: Ghosts.

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