The stealth genre has been getting increasingly more popular as time goes by, and with titles such as Dishonored and The Last of Us hitting the jack pot in recent times, it was expected that one of the leading franchise in the genre would make a comeback. This installment in the Thief franchise is a reboot of the series, sporting a new voice and mo-cap actor for Garrett and a new development studio taking over the reins. I personally love the stealth genre, and Thief always had an edge on similar titles, so I was quiet excited to see the franchise revived.
Audio and Video
Being a multi-platform title I didn’t have high expectations for the visual aspects of the game, and in fact it’s nothing to write home about. Perhaps the worst aspect in the visual department is that sometimes textures load after the in-game cut scene does. There was also a very huge frame rate problem which seems to have been fixed following the latest patch. A huge problem in the game is the sound aspect. The surround effects are horrible and the channels feel unbalanced during gameplay. That being said, the soundtrack and voice overs were expertly made and even though Garret’s voice actor has been changed, the new voice bolds well with the character design.
Gameplay wise, Thief plays just the way you want it to. The controls are intuitive, and you get used to the control set up really quickly. I really enjoyed the way the environments are laid out, allowing multiple paths and ways to get to your target. The game feels really old school, making you only want to pursue a stealth strategy, rather than brawling your way through the levels. The inventory system is good, yet mid chapter upgrades and purchases are not possible, as you can only upgrade your items in one set location close to home base. I also didn’t like the implementation of the touch pad control for inventory items, as it is quite fastidious and not quickly accessible during tense situations. There is a vast array of collectibles and side missions which give the title a decent structure and length, and there is a bit of a diversification between chapters in terms of design, making this title less prone to become stagnant. A huge problem in the game is the loading; the maps are not that vast, yet traveling from one end to another will result in a lot of loading screens. It’s either because the game is a multi-platform title, or the game was rushed, but all those loading screens really break the pacing of the game.
Seeing all the negative reviews hit the inter-webs made me a bit weary of the game, thinking it was rushed. Truth be told, I enjoyed Thief a lot, and compared to Dishonored, I really felt like the gameplay and mechanics were true to the stealth genre’s roots. Yes the game does have a lot of problems, and yes the story line did feel dry and uninteresting, but in all honesty I enjoyed every second of the gameplay, and hopefully Eidos Montreal can learn from their mistakes and make amends in their next title.