Review: Thief / Developer: Eidos Montreal, Nixxes Software BV / Publisher: Square Enix / Platform: PC, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One / Release Date: Out Now
The latest in a long line of classic series reboots from SquareEnix, Thief sees the return of Garrett to his home town after his departure years ago. Ravaged by a plague and on the verge of open class war, the situation is more volatile than ever. The perfect environment for any opportunist seeking to make his personal fortune.
While an interesting concept that steps away from the magic vs science conflict of previous games, the class war is little more than window dressing here. It might work in terms of flavour, but by the second half it is shoved squarely into the background. And notwithstanding decent visuals and background dialogue, there’s not enough focus or substance to the goings-on. That said, there is still a decent game to be had here.
Far from killing being rewarded, it’s a very good idea to avoid combat. Along with cutting into your hard-earned stolen goods, you’ll soon find that going toe-to-toe with most guards is not an easy thing. Instead the tried-and-true method of staying out of sight and using a wide assortment of gadgets is always the best option. Between discarded bottles to be hurled as distractions, Garret’s arsenal of superhero style utility arrows and disarming tools, there is plenty here to work with. Whether it’s extinguishing light sources to make life difficult for guards or shooting out the cables on hanging crates, a lot of thought has obviously been put into the opportunities the environments offer.
Despite the equipment on offer however, the environments themselves are a very mixed bunch. Unlike previous titles where you could quite happily wander about to your heart’s content, here the levels feel far too linear in nature. It’s not that the stealth involved isn’t challenging, but far too often the way in which the player can move about unseen is simply too obvious. This can be especially true when air vents are involved. It’s an experience similar to Crysis 2 in many respects; with half the environments being little more than glorified corridors and the others wide open areas brimming with choice.
Thief is by no means a truly bad game, it still has much to offer, but it does squander a lot of its potential. For all the fun to be had creeping about stealing every shiny thing in sight, it’s hard to ignore that nagging sense that this could have been so much better.