So last week Thief came out for all platforms, and the reviews were less than stellar to put it kindly. Now, I’ve been pretty excited for Thief pretty much since the first gameplay trailer was released, and had the game pre-ordered, so when I saw the reviews I was a little worried, but I knew I was still going to be playing the game. Now at this point, I’ve put in about 15 hours into the game – taking it slowly this first time around exploring as much as possible. While I haven’t quite beaten the game yet, I definitely feel like I’ve played enough to give my impressions on the overall feel of the game.
First off – the reviews all mentioned that the story is weak at best. Now, I won’t argue that the story is the best in the world, but it’s nowhere near the worst story I’ve ever played. I think what hurts Thief the most on this front is that the game is very similar to Dishonored, which borrowed heavily from the older Thief games, but had a really strong story and tied in the supernatural elements from the very beginning. But this new Thief game I think struggles to find the core of the story – I believe that there’s an enjoyable story somewhere in there, but it’s strung out a little too much. There’s a lot going on in the story, from Garret trying to recover his memories, to finding out the truth about his former partner Erin, to the conflict between the Baron and the people of the City – and there’s still a few little threads that I could mention. The real issue with the story, in my eyes, is the way that the story is presented – major advances only happen after “main-story” chapters, and only through short cutscenes. I think that having a slower development, that was presented during the actual gameplay would have helped the over-arching story.
Story aside, the most important part of any game is the actual gameplay. And Thief actually does a pretty good job of making the stealth feel really strong, most of the time. Every once in a while the A.I. gets a little dumb, but generally, it feels really satisfying to keep to the shadows and rooftops and get in and out silently. I saw in a couple reviews, people were upset with the map – I have to disagree right there. The map is fine – really all it’s missing that I would like is the ability to set a custom waypoint, but honestly, that’s a minor thing – makes you learn the city better. Plus putting the mini-map on the HUD makes navigation a breeze. And the HUD totally works well, without being super intrusive. Focus mode works pretty well too – especially at keeping you on track.
Ultimately, I would say that Thief is a game that definitely has a few flaws, but it’s nowhere near as bad as the reviews might have you believe. All in all, it’s an enjoyable game, and will definitely be a good second option to Titanfall for the spring for now.