Ah, Thief. I haven’t played a game in this franchise in a LONG time. This game came out of nowhere and I’m glad it’s here. A lot has already been said about this game, so let me start off by saying that this game can be incredibly fun, but there are conditions that have to be met for it to be so. However, once you do, being a thief has never felt so good. I do enjoy this game, to the extreme, now let’s talk about why.
First things first – turn off waypoints. For real, they are so unbelievably restrictive when it comes to exploring the world. Especially when you are on the job. When you are in the middle of a heist, nothing takes you out of the experience more than a waypoint telling you where to go and what to do. This game has a lot of problems with hand-holding, but it gets easier when you are able to have free reign. Also, this game has something of an issue making killing WAY too easy. To me, that takes me out of the experience of being a thief. Garrett even rails on someone he is working with at one point about it, saying that he only kills when he has no choice. I am down with that, and it makes the tension SO much more intense when you are sneaking through some rich-prick’s house and don’t want to get caught.
Another thing – crank up the difficulty. On the highest setting, this game is REALLY hard, but it makes doing a theft perfectly that much better. Plus, it makes the guards a LOT smarter, since they have a bad habit of being about as smart and accurate as stormtroopers. Once you have that out of the way, get ready for some fun.
The plot of the game goes that after an incident with a protegee of his, Garrett is returning home, eager to get back to his trade and forget what happened. However, as with most things on his life, it is never that simple. I don’t want to say much more than that, because it would spoil a lot of the fun of this game.
The first thing to talk about is the overworld. There is a LOT to do in this game. There are a ton of heists one can do, some of which admittedly feel like busy-work, but it is all the sweeter for when you get that heist that makes you put your skills to work and feel like such a boss when you walk out of the place with your pockets full and the previous owners never knowing you were there. And there is a ton of stuff you can steal. Some reviewers have railed on that, and I kind of see their point. Garrett remarks that it isn’t how much you take, but what. You tend to be able to steal every little thing around, which gives you money that you need in order to buy new equipment and upgrades. If one could avoid it, that would be fine, but you can’t. You need to better your equipment, so you can disarm traps and other things.
But there are the rare pieces that are just so nice to have. You keep a log of the rarer items that you take, which is nice to look back on. They shimmer in all their respective glory. There is also a lot of choice in what pieces you can steal. There is something about cutting a priceless painting off the wall of some noble’s home and taking it that makes it feel so rewarding. You can also look at the rarer pieces in your home-base at the clocktower. It’s a nice touch that is a good mark of your skill as a thief. You can also steal diaries and the like, reading random important things or just stuff that the person you are robbing had. Some of it is very funny.
As far as the controls go, it has a lot in common with Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, in that light and sound play a BIG part of the game. You have a meter in the corner that shows you how much light you have around you, and there are certain areas where you have to take it really slow and time your movements carefully, like around birds and water. Little touches like that go a long way, for me.
As for the visuals, I got this game on the previous-gen console, because I am too poor for the latest ones, and I must say, it looks great. Nothing ground-breaking, and there are some issues with lip-movement synching with the words that can take you out of the experience, but overall, it looks great. It captures the vibe of the world the game exists in perfectly. The city you explore feels dank and filled with unpleasantness. There is chatter from NPCs that is very immersive, letting you know little bits and bobs about the current situation. It’s a nice touch.
There is hardly any music in the game, which is for the better. If one is sneaking through a home and there is music playing, I keep imagining the people who live there looking around like “what the fuck is that? Is that sneak music?”
The characters in the game are all very fun. Garrett has lots of funny little comments, while maintaining his stoic nature and cold demeanor. Reminds me a lot of Altair in Assassin’s Creed. There is great back-and-forth between characters that makes for some fun development. They aren’t super-interesting, but they make the world feel real.
All-in-all, this game has to be tinkered with, but once you do, trust me, you’ll feel just like a real thief. This isn’t a game that will leave you in awe, but it is very good for what it is. The stealth parts were perfect. So long as you don’t go the way of the assassin (which this game makes very easy to do, unfortunately), you will feel just like this character. I am still enjoying this game, because there is a ton of stuff to do, and I think you will too.
8 out of 10