Thief Review: Sticking to the Shadows
At times, it feels like Eidos wanted to make Garrett into less of a thief, and more of a “good guy.” But the essence of Thief has always been that Garrett robs from the rich, the poor, or whoever, to give to himself, and anything that detracts from that lessens his character considerably. Thief also does a poor job of disguising plot twists, and as a result, you’ll most likely know what’s coming before the game lets you in on the secret.
While you can certainly replay the story as many times as you want, Eidos also included three challenge modes, which are surprisingly fun. There’s a Chain & Gain mode, in which you have to steal as much loot as you can, with each piece adding time to the clock and points to your total, and nabbing items in quick succession builds up a multiplier for even more points. There’s a variation on that mode with a fixed timer, and then there’s Special Loot Hunt, which tasks you with interpreting hot and cold indicators to find a single piece of loot. Once you grab it, a new piece appears. All of these challenges include online leaderboards, so you can brag to your friends about how much loot you lifted the last time through.
Overall, Thief is a modernized take on the classic formula, and that’s honestly its biggest problem. The series has never been about boss fights, or saving the city. It’s been about Garrett enriching himself as much as possible. In the original Thief, Garrett repays a crime lord for trying to assassinate him by burgling his mansion, not through violence. However, in the quest to make a game that appeals to as many modern gamers as possible, Eidos has monkeyed with the formula, and it hasn’t done the game any favors. While the replayable challenge modes are fun, I can’t help but think that the time spent on these would have been better invested in opening up the world a bit more.
Still, Thief has moments where it adheres to that classic feel, and that’s where it really shines. You’re a master thief, after all. Operating from the shadows should feel great, and it does. It’s just a shame that the great sneaking gameplay has been wedded to a story that doesn’t quite feel like it fits the classic character you’re cast as. It doesn’t ruin the game, but it definitely keeps it from living up to its potential.
- Tight stealth gameplay
- The City is a well-realized setting, with a great feel
- Massive customization options
- Open-play areas between missions offer lots of exploration
- Enemy AI that leaves much to be desired
- A story that gets more confusing and disjointed as it goes along
- Lack of multiple pathways in missions can feel limiting
Final Score: 75/100
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