Thief was developed by Eidos-Montreal and published by the ever popular Square Enix and is of the Action-Stealth oriented genre. Similar to many popular game franchises of today such as Splinter Cell, Assassins Creed and Dishonored. Thief allows you to play the game how you want to play it, be it run in and murder and take all the loot, sneak in and out without alerting anyone or a combination of the two. When I started up Thief for a new game I noticed aside from the normal difficulty selections that there was a custom difficulty to choose from, where you can actually edit how you want to play the game with options such as removing interface icons, getting seen is a game over or even having to reset the game if you die. These options add an extra layer to the game and is an awesome feature for hardcore players or someone looking for an extra challenge.
My natural instinct when starting this type of game is to try and murder and steal as loudly and as abrasively as possible. With Thief, I found it difficult, although very much possible. You can actually play Thief with that intention in mind and will not tarnish from your gaming experience although you are rewarded much more for being stealthy. There is plenty of loot to be found even though it is not an open world game, and I personally had flashbacks of the Elder Scrolls series where I try and loot as much stuff as possible. Loot is treasure littered around the city and for the most part is very easy to find as it glitters brightly. Sometimes you may have to lock pick a chest or drawers to obtain loot that is more valuable.
It had taken some time playing before I could fully grasp the story and what my real reason for stealing was, for the first part of the game I honestly thought I would just steal my way to the end of the game. There is an uprising from the citizens of this city, against the Baron who is trying to repress them. Thief puts you in the shoes of Garret, a master thief. Garett unwillingly helps the rebellion as Orion, the leader of the rebellion, hires you to bring balance back to the city. Another surprising thing about Thief is that there is no mention of the name of the city or the era.
The controls for this game are intuitive and instantly immerse you into role of a thief, you really feel like you are playing the game and have total control over your movements. The left trigger acts as the action button in terms of moving around the map and makes the game feel very fluid and fast, similar to Mirrors Edge or Brink. When performing an action like lock-picking, the right trigger vibrates and acts as an indicator that you are doing the task correctly and is immensely helpful. Another cool little feature is the Swoop which allows you to travel a short distance very quickly, to escape guards or get out of the light, I feel this addition alone adds a new dynamic to the stealthiness. During combat sequences you feel in complete control of Garrett, you can avoid attacks in any direction and attack accordingly. Unfortunately due to the style of game their aren’t many effective weapons to fight and if there are three or more guards you are likely to die.
The weapons include bow and arrow with different types of arrows that you can purchase with your loot like water arrows, which allow you to take out fire from a distance making it easier to sneak past guards, and rope arrows that you can attach to certain objects and climb up, you also have a cudgel at your disposal for knocking out guards, along with that you gain a device that is like a hook allowing you to climb to higher places using grates on the wall plus a few handy tools that can be bought as well.
This being a next generation game, the height of gaming power, I would expect decent graphics. Thief does not disappoint. The way they have created the city is extraordinary and you can see the wear and tear from weather on the wood and stonework, even the way the light flickers across the wall is mesmerising to look at. The cut-scenes are cinematic and beautiful to watch and really keep you interested in playing the game. Only one criticism is that the character models look a little odd and not quite as realistic as I would have hoped for.
The music in Thief is very haunting and eerie which definitely adds to the solemn and dark atmosphere of the game, it all blends together neatly with the rain and really gives the game a cinematic feel. When you are spotted the music gets fast and dramatic and really livens up the combat sections and reminds me heavily of Harry Gregson-Williams who did the music for Metal Gear Solid. The voice acting in Thief I think is superb, the voices suit the way characters look and act, which is a definite bonus.
Aside from a classic story mode there is a challenge mode where you unlock different levels throughout your progression in story mode. Within this there are three different types of challenges – Special Loot, Chain and Gain, and Chain and Gain Limited. All three are based around trying to gather as much loot as possible it different scenarios. I found this mode to be exciting but rather repetitive and got boring quickly. Thief also lets you track how well you are doing compared to the rest of the world.
Thief also offers a companion app for iOS and Android devices, whilst the basic version is free to unlock all the features will cost $2.99 unless you pre-ordered Thief. The app lets you track your in game stats, learn about Thief lore, the soundtrack and many more.
If you want a game where you feel completely in control, Thief really makes you feel like you are Garrett, sneaking around the city, with great controls, fantastic music and definitely a few surprises, it really makes for a unique gaming experience. Thief gives you the tools to becoming a master thief, maybe even in real life. I would definitely recommend a purchase of this game, and is a superb remake of an old cult classic.