Note to self: don’t buy a game just because the studio and publisher who makes it also made a really awesome game a couple of years ago. You just never know what the result will actually be. Case in point, there was X-Rebirth and now, there’s Thief. I mean, really, what went wrong? Eidos Montreal did an absolutely stellar job with Deus Ex Human Revolution and is one of the best sneakathon/shoot’em up games. Such a disappointment.
I’ve actually had the game since launch and after playing it for a while, I started to wonder a few things. First, why was I playing this boring game and secondly, where the hell was I in The City. In terms of the second issue, it’s quite a problem, because every single building, alley and street in The City looks the same: that is, wooden, dark and depressing and the city map is not particularly helpful. The rest of the gameplay is wooden, repetitive and uninspiring.
Thief should have been a triumphant return for Garrett to The City, and another narrative masterpiece for Eidos Montreal, but instead, we get a very, very boring game. Running around on rooftops, parkouring through the streets or even sneaking through people’s homes is an extremely lonely experience. Sure, you’re a master thief who succeeds on being a lone wolf, but The City feels like there’s absolutely no life in it apart from guards. Comparing it to a fantastic dark, sneaky adventure like Dishonored, where the city of Dunwall is full of inhabitants, ranging from the sick, the poor and the wealthy, Thief feels amateurish and lazy.
I guess it wouldn’t be so bad if the game delivered what it promised – multiple paths to complete an objective. If by multiple paths to you means the choices and combinations of sneaking, shooting, playing nice or creating distractions like Dishonored or Deus Ex, then you’ll be sorely disappointed. Multiple paths in this case means sneaking in a different window. Or door. Case in point: by prepurchasing (like a nong), you’re rewarded with an extra bank heist mission to steal some unique piece of jewellery locked in the vault. It’s available to you pretty early in the game, but you can’t really complete it when it becomes available because the tools you need to disable the security devices and traps in the bank are unavailable for purchase and there’s really only one way to get at the loot.
Then, there’s a the combat and fighting. Naturally, I can understand that Garrett is not the world’s best hand-to-hand combatant. However, it would be useful if the game allowed combat to be a viable way of getting around slips in sneaking. The interface is absolutely terrible and there’s no tutorial where you can get used to it before it dumps you into the middle of a fight. Even more stupidly, it doesn’t appear that your bow is very good at killing people, even if you make a headshot. I mean, seriously, I shot a guy IN THE HEAD and all that happened was he lost half his health. That’s just fricking stupid!
In the end, it’s all just a frustrating miasma of bad controls, bad design choices and dark, depressing environments where the vast majority of the population of an immense city is magically spirited away into the night, never to be seen again. Everything looks and feels exactly the same and unfortunately, you’re never quite sure just where you are, where you’re going or how to get somewhere. I think I might just pick up Dishonored and play that again.
Amount of time played: Nine hours.
Number of levels cleared: One. And maybe a half. I’m not sure because there’s no way of telling.
Fate of game installation: Languishing on hard drive awaiting a really boring day.
Alternatives: Deus Ex trilogy. Dishonored. If you don’t feel like interacting, Home and Away, Neighbours and day time soaps are more entertaining…