Review: Thief on PS4

Thief is an engaging but at times frustrating experience that left me wanting more.  As a newcomer I hoped this game would make me want to visit the rest of the series. While I can’t say the game is perfect it certainly did accomplish that.

Lucas Forbes

Thief is an engaging but at times frustrating experience that left me wanting more.  As a newcomer I hoped this game would make me want to visit the rest of the series. While I can’t say the game is perfect it certainly did accomplish that.

I was expecting this reboot to start with a reimagined origin story for Garrett to introduce newbies to our hero. This wasn’t the case and looking back that’s a good thing. Instead, the game starts with Garrett just being a master thief and everything I need to know about him came out through his actions and interactions with new character Erin. From there the player discovers the world of Thief organically through eavesdropping and some well-written cut scenes: The Watch is corrupted, the rich lord over the poor and The City is barely worth my effort to save; something Garrett even points out.

The stealth gameplay is well executed but is really what you would expect: being quiet and sticking to the shadows allows you wallop enemies and steal their stuff. Maps are non-linear with a number of ways to complete each mission and some very rewarding secrets along the way.

The City itself is beautifully designed to look like the renaissance-style Orwellian nightmare it is. Being able to explore The City gave a lot of depth to the game’s setting but it was tiring dealing with the same watchmen and thugs to get to missions almost every time. This could have been solved by a fast travel system or at least an easy way to get to areas I’ve already explored.

Thief didn’t pick up for me until chapter three when I infiltrated an underground brothel and opium den. After that the game speeds up until it slows down again for chapter five. A lot of games don’t have the courage to take a breath and build tension but Thief executes this brilliantly. Walking through a creepy asylum while checking over my shoulder to make sure nothing was there was oddly more fun than walloping guards and nicking their wallets. However it was not a good idea for me to play that chapter just before going to bed.

The game isn’t without glitches. More than once I tried to get Garrett to climb a rope only to have him remain helplessly stationary. Moving through windows sometimes caused the scenery to disappear in Garrett’s vision leaving only a bare grey landscape. These were minor problems fixed with reloading the game but I find mistakes like that take me out of a story.

Overall Thief is a game that may suffer by being compared with its pedigree. It has its share of problems: guards seem to have tunnel vision and many of the upgrades feel like they’re there just to justify side missions. But none of that ruins the game and it’s pacing and graphics does it a lot of favours. At the end of the day it made me want to keep playing and delve into the series in hopes of finding an even better stealth game.

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