Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Thief

8:00 AM on 02.24.2014 // Chris Carter
  @DtoidChris

Steal all the shinies

The original Thief was one of my favorite PC games of all time. It was unique in that it completely focused on stealth -- a mechanic that wasn't used often at the time outside of a few select games like the original Metal Gear.

It not only encouraged you to stay in the shadows, but stay silent as well, incorporating elements of sound into the core gameplay. It was stunning, to say the least. The new Thief manages to takes bits and pieces from the original franchise, but it isn't nearly as memorable.

Thief (PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed])
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: February 25, 2014
MSRP: $59.99

There are naturally going to be direct comparisons to Dishonored with Thief, but it has a decidedly different feel to it. For starters, the main character, Garrett, talks and has a personality. He's a thief but he has a code, and doesn't like to kill if possible -- in fact he means not to. Funnily enough there's an option to turn off Garrett's speech during gameplay which would make him a bit more Corvo-ish, but by default, he chats constantly nonetheless.

After a strange and jarring supernatural fueled intro, the narrative takes a bit to really get going, as the crux of the start of the game is "you're a master thief -- steal stuff." You'll be doing this in an old school medieval setting, where thieves are hanged without trial, and there's a disease lurking around similar to the Black Death, called "The Gloom." It's your typical bleak medieval framework, but it works well enough.

While the stage is set for an interesting tale, it never really takes off into anything memorable. There are no real twists or turns, and the vast majority of the story is predictable -- Garrett's actions included. Simply put, we see what Garrett is about at the beginning of Thief, and that's all you're really going to get throughout. He kind of reminds me of The Witcher's Geralt of Rivia, but with a less interesting backstory and no real interesting development throughout the game itself. It would have been fine if any sort of attempt at character development took a backseat in favor of gameplay, but Eidos Montreal tried to incorporate it in Thief, and somewhat failed.

But that stage is a beauty though, as Thief looks great on the Xbox One, PC, and PS4. It sports an insanely detailed lightning system that directly influences gameplay, and the fog effects are top notch, adding to the atmosphere in a big way. To drive that point home, at one point while a major event was happening on-screen I didn't realize I had direct control yet. The only thing that bothered me in particular with the presentation is that occasionally the audio levels for character vocals would often be so low that the music would boom over it. That's definitely an oversight, and a prime candidate for a patch.

So how does Thief play? Well, a lot like a first-person Assassin's Creed, actually. One button (LT/L2) controls running, climbing, jumping, and pretty much everything having to to with movement, just like any Creed game. Garrett will climb any pertinent fixtures, jump across an gaps he can reach, and so on. It's really weird to get used to at first since you don't have the direct ability to jump in place like most first-person affairs, but it works well enough once you realize levels are designed like jungle gyms, with room to move around.

Again, stealth is everything in Thief. You don't want to fight, and you'll use the shadow meter on the HUD (a light that reads white or black) to ensure that you're always lurking in the dark. Crouch-walking is also key, as is the full management of an analog stick to ensure you're not slinking too quickly over loud objects like broken glass. Forcing you to look at the ground and be aware of all of your surroundings is a rather unique feeling in gaming, and it represents what Thief does best: the little things.

Things like always making sure you close doors behind you, blow out errant candles, or hide bodies in the shadows -- actions like that really help make Thief shine. It's also a thrill to pick up the hundreds (if not thousands) of pieces of loot scattered across the game, hidden in drawers, safes, behind paintings, and pretty much everywhere someone would feasibly hide valuables. Stealing loot (and thus earning gold) is directly tied to upgrades so it makes sense on multiple levels -- it's not just a way to role-play as a thief, it's a character progression mechanic. Lest you groan at the idea of picking locks, the act is actually fun and easy, and all of the game's gadgets like water arrows and fire arrows, are just as easy to use.

But after experiencing all those fun little moments, you'll get back to the big picture of the game's missions, which aren't all that exciting. A great deal of stages involve a standard "get here" goal at the end of a maze, leaving you to stumble across tiny corridors from one challenge room to the next. While a few stages are open-ended in the sense that you can devise your own way to get from point A to B, a lot of them only have one solution -- and the only brainstorming you'll have to do is how to get past (or take out) the guards. It's disappointing, because the original Thief series had stages that felt like giant sandboxes, really putting you in control of your own destiny.

To get through said levels, you can upgrade pretty much every facet of Garrett, from his melee damage to his defense, including his magic-like "Focus" powers that he's bestowed with at the beginning of the game. While this initially just seems like it's a rip off of the Arkham series' "Detective Vision," there's actually a lot more to it. Focus upgrades allow you to pick locks better, gain more combat prowess, slink better in the shadows, and more. It adds a lot of variety to Thief, but if you really hate the idea, you can turn it off.



One of the best parts of the game is the ability to completely customize the difficulty. You can do things like disable manual saves, turn off Focus powers entirely, allow stealth takedowns only, or eliminate the ability to takeout enemies at all. There's also extended options like an Iron Man mode, where you're required to beat the game in one life without saves. It's insane how many options there are, and gamers who are looking for a challenge will find it with Thief.

Content-wise there's a lot here to augment the roughly 10-hour campaign, as the optional underground network offers up a multitude of sidequests to take up your time. The other big addition is a fully-fledged Challenge Mode, which operates very similarly to Resident Evil's "Mercenaries" gametype -- but with a focus on stealth instead of combat. Across two maps you'll be able to play the "Chain" mode (grab as much loot as you can with a multiplier for quick steals), and a mode similar to "hot and cold" where you have to scavenge for singular pieces of loot.

These modes are surprisingly fun since they're different every time -- the game randomly scatters loot around and scores you accordingly with full leaderboard support. I would have loved to have seen this arcade-like feature expanded up further beyond a mere two locations at launch though, since it adds a lot of character to the underperforming campaign. It looks like more maps are coming by way of DLC though, if you're into that.

Thief is a great escape for those of you who yearn for more stealth experiences, but it doesn't really offer up anything exciting. The story and characters are somewhat forgettable, most of the missions are straightforward, and the locales tend to blend together after a while. Having said that, there's a lot of potential here if you dig deep down into the game's ingenious difficulty sliders and challenge modes. In that sense, Thief succeeds as a bold stealth game, despite its bruises.



THE VERDICT

7.5

Thief - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director, Co-EIC
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory





 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Thief


  Mar 04

PC Port Report: Thief

PC version didn't steal my heart like a thief in the night


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Summer Wars: The Video Gameā€¦.I mean Digimon: Cyber Sleuth

Gaming's Beautiful People #4: Valentine's Day Special OR Love Multi-Kills

Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky Import Review

Stupid Teens Do Stupid Things: An Oxenfree Critique

A blog test. Brought to you by Buckner & Garcia

Cblogs of 2/11/16, 2/12/16 + Firethoughts

XCOM 2 And The Glory of Mods

PS+ Games of the Month January 2016 - Feat. GajKnight and SolarPonyDjango

Your Opinions On Racing Games Are Stupid

The Nerds Have Won

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
The first person I block is the person who talks shit about Platinum
Torchman avatarTorchman
Even though your waifus are shit
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
Finally, a blog that I can call my own, I feel accomplished somehow.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Gonna be honest; this really made my day.
Rico the Penguin avatarRico the Penguin
I doubt I'll use it much but I'm totally fine with a block/ignore feature. Everyone has a right to speak, but I don't think anyone has a right to be heard. If this place played country music I'd want a mute button, basically :p.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Mall haul today (plus I split a BEAUTIFUL Star Wars Slave I with my brother). Any thoughts on Haze? Wanted to play it back when it came out and I had no PS3. For a dollar you can't go wrong!
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I'm not gonna lie, I don't feel "good" about the upcoming "ignore" feature. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea that people can mute other people because they don't agree with them. Spammers and trolls, sure, but not regular community members.
Gundy avatarGundy
Oh man. Those Next Gen transformations in Megadimension Neptunia are legit as fuck!
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
The first thing I do when I see clickbait is click on it and complain about clickbait.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Wow, uh, after having a lovely time with Kirby Air Ride, I decided to try playing some melee, for old times sake... I pretty much disliked my whole time with it. More details in a comment if I get around to it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Help me gather games for a new blog series - "Worst Sequels Ever"
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
The backend code on the site so fun to read. Going through some of Julio's old stuff: if($vars["fappers"]){ $fappoids = 0; $_xt_loop_name = "fappers"; $vars["fappers_cnt"] = count($vars["fappers"]); reset($vars["fappers"]);
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Watching the second Guyver Movie: Dark Hero, starring David -Solid Snake- Hayter. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Roie47-Cuk
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
You didn't think I forgot what day it is did you?
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Gonna retire the MOARgasmic avatar for awhile.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Will you be mine?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Got out of Deadpool. It definitely was a movie with Deadpool in it. Some parents were shocked to learn it was also rated R for a reason.
Sarah Jane farron avatarSarah Jane farron
So... gender and biology. All I'll say here is please respect people and their identities and don't try to push assumptions as fact. It doesn't need to be said to most here but denying people their identities is pretty harmful and very unpleasant.
Niwannabe avatarNiwannabe
Any PS4 recommendations for a guy who can't afford PS+, since all I've got is Battlefront and there's next to nothing to do in that game?
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
if you were experiencing lag with the dev site today, can you please try again? I moved some js around and am loading smaller avatars for people. some quickpost photos are scaled from gigantic raw uploads so we are optimizing those next to zip things up
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -