While there are many games within the multiverse that is the gaming world, I’ve always felt drawn to first-person shooters for their intense action and entertaining gameplay. But, there’s nothing more compelling to me than a good story and a solid single-player campaign to give me a decent break from the action.
I’m bo stranger to stealthy gameplay and often look forward to those brief moments when I’m playing my favorite titles but it’s been a very long time since I played a game that was entirely dedicated to sneaking around and remaining undetected instead of just whipping out your best weapon and blasting everybody to Kingdom Come.
Thief (2014) is a game that fills that role quite well. Developed by Eidos-Montréal and then published by Square Enix, Thief was a remake of a franchise that many players were already familiar with and sought to re-introduce the game and all it’s unique characters to the brand new 8th-generation consoles.
I recently got my hands on this game and have played far enough into the first half to tell you what I’m thinking about it so far. As always, I’ll go a lot more in-depth once I’ve completed the game but there are already a lot of things worth mentioning right from the get-go. So hears what I think so far about Thief (2014).
In The Beginning…
I’m not gonna lie, I had never heard of Thief or the entire franchise it had behind it before I started playing this game. While it looked to me as if it was the first in an entirely new series, it’s actually a soft reboot for the series that helped welcome it onto the next generation serves as a fourth installment in the story as well.
Back in 1998, before games like Splinter Cell and Assassins Creed dominated the stealth genre, Thief: The Dark Project broke the mold and tried to challenge the conventions of what a first-person game could be. Instead of the usual run-and-gun action that the genre was known for, the original Thief relied more on concealment and deceptive gameplay.
This made the game an inevitable success and spawned 2 more sequels in the year 2000 and 2004. These all may be common mechanics we see in stealth games today but back then, the Thief franchise was ahead of its time and inspired all of the titles I’ve mentioned before, even more, heavy hitters like the Hitman series.
That’s what made me excited to get my hands on a game like this. I’m very familiar with the Assassins Creed franchise and have fond memories of playing Hitman 2 when I was a teenager. So could this remake/reboot still stand out the way it did back in the day when there are so many stealth games on offer? There’s only one way to find out…
Like many of the stealth games we see today, Thief relies on light, sight, and sound as a game mechanic to traverse through the level, avoid enemies, and complete the objective. So far, those objectives have simply been to retrieve a particular item without being seen or getting caught.
There are a fair number of tools at your disposal when sneaking around the environment. Along with his keen instincts, Garret also has his trusty bow and arrow that can shoot many different types of arrows, ranging from Water arrows that are useful for putting out any flame or even rope arrows that are good for climbing up to higher areas.
The levels so far are designed to work as a maze. There may be an end goal in mind but the player has the freedom to choose the route that they think will be the most effective. This style of movement is present whether you’re actually stealing an item for a mission or simply traversing the landscape to get to your next location.
No matter where you go in The City, there will be items and trinkets for you to quickly steal. Every item has a gold value meaning that stealing all these items is how Garret earns money in the game that can be used to upgrade any abilities and replenish any resources you might have used like arrows and health packs (food).
What is There To Like So Far…?
Honestly, trying to nail down everything that I like about this game so far is a bit of a struggle since there’s a whole lot more that I’m unimpressed by. The core gameplay mechanics work well and I think that’s a big deal since stealth is such an easy thing to mess up in games like this.
I remember my first playthrough of Batman: Arkham Asylum and laughing uncontrollably at how useless the enemy A.I. was at detecting my presence. I could be close enough to whisper into a henchmen’s ear without any indication that they knew I was there. I almost had to step on his toes to get a response.
The A.I. in Thief seems more than capable if this were a real-life scenario. Like, it doesn’t matter if you’re ‘concealed’ in the dark, if an enemy is standing directly in front of you they’re going to notice your presence. Standing in darkness doesn’t make you completely invisible and I’m glad the game treats it as such.
I also like the rating system at the end of each mission. You have many options on how you can go about completing each objective so it’s cool that the game will take notice of my playstyle if I choose to take a more violent approach to my missions instead of sneaking around and staying hidden.
What Is There To Hate So Far…?
While the original Thief: The Dark Project was extremely unique back n the day, there is an abundance of stealth games on the market right now that do this mechanic so much better. The game may be open-ended in terms of how you can approach each level but this game somehow makes you feel constricted.
It may be cool to take any route that I want but the game doesn’t really make those routes fun to take. Instead of feeling cool and efficient running across the rooftops, it felt like a chore trying to get familiar with how exactly the player is expected to traverse the environment.
I mean, I don’t need every pipe, rope, and ladder to be highlighted in gold but a better indicator is needed. I get so confused just trying to figure out what I can climb on and which rooftops are actual routes to take. It makes me miss Assassin’s creed and the way that game lets you climb and jump on literally anything!
Not to mention the fact that I’m playing on the harder difficulty and haven’t felt the need to use my arrows. I’m hoping to get a lot of use out of them as the game goes on because I don’t know how much fun this is going to be if I can just sneak my way to the Endgame.
In For A Good Time?
While I have my doubts, this game still has the potential to turn things around. I would like to see some kind of change to the environment as we progress and hopefully, as I maybe unlock new abilities, traversing the environment becomes a lot smoother. Either way, it ain’t over until the credits roll.
Have you played Thief (2014)? What did you think of the game when you played it? Let me know in the comments section below!