A Steampunk / Victorian age city in the grips of a tyrant, a plague of rats, a smug caste of elite aristocrats, and a Master Thief with very sticky fingers. No, there’s no punch line, this is Thief! After a long time waiting in the shadows this sneaky burglar has finally made its appearance and hopes to pocket your attention. A thoroughly stealth based game, put away the automatic weapons and pick up the trusty lock picks, there’s some shiny precious things that need ‘liberating’.
Release Date: February 25, 2014
Genre / Rating: Stealth / M
A long time coming, Thief has been a byword for ‘stealth action gameplay’ but with the last game in the franchise being the 2004 release ‘Thief: Deadly Shadows’, well, this little burglar has been as good as behind bars for some time. Long anticipated, and fraught with rumors through development, more than a few people (me included) have been waiting to catch this Thief.
I’m a big fan of games like Fallout and Skyrim, or any other sort of gaming experience that lets me pick locks, rummage through containers and generally skulk about looking for secrets and goodies that, in the strictest sense, might not belong to me. No surprise then that Thief has been of particular interesting to this little gamer; I have long detested locked doors and long prized the opportunity to pick them. Play as Garrett, master thief and thorough kleptomaniac, as he returns to his home town (‘The City’) to find it changed. A game of the Steampunk Victorian era aesthetic (if you like that sort of thing, and I do), expect plagues, rats, downtrodden poor, and entitled excessively wealthy rich. In other words, just the sort of place for a master thief to get up to some mischief.
A stealth action game, some would argue THE stealth action game, from what I’ve seen players can adopt a more lethal approach, but to get the most out of something like this, I would leave that sort of thing to the Assassins. Using tools of the trade, keen observation, and a bit of patience, Thief will reward players with a bonus system for stealth, as it should. If you want to kick in the door and lay waste to your enemies, there are plenty of other games out there for you. A good stealth game is essentially a series of environmental puzzles, but with guards who will beat you to death. Expect multiple paths and different means of navigating obstacles, often revealed by lurking in the shadows, eaves dropping, picking pockets, and various other means of skullduggery. A game of darkness and shadows, Garrett has a few tricks (and by that I mean game mechanics) up his sleeve, other than the rope arrows and lock picks I mean. Focus mode gives players the option to slow time, identify objects in the environment that can be manipulated, help you pick locks, debilitate guards… it’s basically an upgradeable win button. Where Swoop is basically a boss move, like some ninja dashing in and out of shadows, darting in for a quick nab, and back out before anyone knew you were there. On that note Thief will hold your hand if you let it, which if you are like me, takes some of the fun out of it. With a lot of customization options in the menus, you can change up difficulty level, when and what sort of tips the game throws at you, the use of Focus, generally tailoring the whole experience to your preference. There is a surprising depth to the mechanic that should be an example other studios, far and wide.
Run through the halls of excess and privilege, swoop from shadows to Victorian rooftops, find secret stashes of loot, hidden safes, pick the pockets of guards as they pass by; If you’ve ever wanted to be a steampunk Robin hood, here’s your chance with Thief.
By Kurt Diston, Gaming & Gadgets
A firm believer in “you have to get old, but you don’t have to grow up,” I’ve been an unabashed lover of nerdy things for a good long while and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. With experience on both sides of the video game, both as a consumer and a producer, and a love of the written word, I’ve managed to combine all three right here with the Plug-in blog