Last week the new Thief was released, and since then I’ve been playing it when ever I’ve had the chance. Overall the game is pretty fantastic, and I would say that anyone who has been craving a proper stealth game should definitely pick this game up.
The graphics aren’t too impressive, but the game definitely doesn’t look old. I never noticed any pop-in, and the darkness of the game definitely helps hide any eyesores that might be present. The one issue that I did have was with a couple of lighting effects, in particular a glowing line that was supposed to appear on a medallion in the game did not light up correctly to line up a series of symbols. This might have been because I’ve been playing on a laptop that can definitely play the game, but not at its higher detail levels. I still managed to get through by looking at the medallion’s symbols by my eye, but they were pretty hard to make out and I definitely strained my eyes. Other people didn’t seem to run into this problem though and thankfully you only have to use the medallion once (twice if you want a collectable).
What makes this game so amazing is the gameplay. Some people have commented that there is no gameplay besides QTEs, which are a little nuisance during the game, but I think that the game is not to be found in the QTEs or creeping around the city. It is found in planning your moves to remain unseen, and executing your plan perfectly or imperfectly. The act of avoiding guards, and sneaking around to remain hidden is what this game is about, and it feels amazing. From the way Garret’s breath is audible while crouched to the swoop sound effect the whole game feels amazing when you’re creeping through the shadows. In fact I spent most of the game crouched, and peaking around every corner, simply because I just didn’t want to be discovered. When I was discovered I tried to eliminate my attackers as quickly as possible, least they attract the attention of more guards. It was an exhilarating experience.
If you think that the game isn’t hard enough for you on one of the default difficulty levels you can also create and play a customized difficulty level. The game definitely allows you to tailor the difficulty level to your experience with stealth games. Game length is also fairly decent as it took me about 12 hours on normal, with a couple retries for certain levels, to beat the main story. I skipped over most of the side quests for the sake of finishing the game, but I’ll definitely be going back to complete them as they were very interesting.
Now no game is perfect, although I do think that Thief is probably the best stealth game that has been released in a while. Thief is designed and built up around the idea that it is best if you stay hidden, and do not engage enemies. However, many areas are fairly small and closed in. There are definitely a lot of alternate paths to complete your objective, but there is usually one really good approach which makes it feel like there aren’t very many options for you to explore. Even when there are multiple paths to your objective they will often converge before your reach your destination. It would have been nice for each path to have a unique experience, where each was a viable route to your target.
Audio also has its issues in Thief. While the musical score is amazing, some of the in-game NPC conversations seem to ignore walls at times. This can be pretty immersion breaking, but something that should be easily fixed and a lot less game breaking than other games I’ve seen lately at launch (I’m looking at you Warner!).
Overall I definitely recommend that you pick up this great game. I know that even after beating the game I’ll be spending more time with it simply because I enjoyed it so much.
GamesBeat 2014 — VentureBeat’s sixth annual event on disruption in the video game market — is coming up on Sept 15-16 in San Francisco. Purchase one of the first 50 tickets and save $400!