Posted: May 31
+ Graphics are gorgeous, along with the atmosphere. The developers really nailed the industrial/mechanical setting
+ Lighting effects
+ The game offers a custom difficulty setting, allowing you to set a variety of different modifiers, i.e. no kills/knockouts, no damage taken, slow speed etc. You can adjust any parameters to customize your own difficulty level.
+ Challenge map with different game modes to increase game length
+ The stealth mechanics are solid, it finds the right balance between fun and frustrating. So long as you are completely hidden in darkness guards can't see you unless they are standing right next to you. It can be unrealistic at times but it provides for a much less frustrating experience
+ Although set pieces have no place in a thief game, I found the cinematic moments in the game to be really impressive.
+ Upgrades are handled by stealing loot scattered around the levels and then purchasing upgrades through a vendor. However, you can easily complete the game without upgrades
+ I found the achievements to have a nice variety between easy and challenging.
+ Sound effects
The story is adequate but very forgettable. The first problem, it's hard to care about any of the characters. Every character including Garret are one dimensional. The second problem, the main story starts off interesting but doesn't really do anything with its ideas afterwards. The third problem, it leaves a major plot point unexplained.
The levels are linear in design especially the first few levels. Even the later levels which are more open ended still feel linear because the levels are designed in "stealth segments" You complete one area and then you move on to the next stealth area. Even worse is that there are points in each level that once you pass you can no longer return to. There is not a single level that is truly open-ended. Although I enjoyed playing these levels, the design approach is completely different from past entries, and the game isn't necessarily better off for it either.
The original Garret was MUCH cooler and felt more like a thief than the Garret in this game. The original Garret felt like a thief caught up in a bad situation and based on the writing and story was always looking for an opportunity to steal regardless of the situation. The Garret in this game feels like an average run of the mill hero saving the day.
The game crashed on me a few times
- One of my biggest complaints for Thief 3: Deadly Shadows was the loading in-between levels. This game not only fails to address this problem but actually makes it worse. The loading only occurs in the main hub world and when you first enter a new level. The first problem is the main hub world is pretty confusing in its design, its broken up into a several different sections and the entry/exit points are not always obvious. Most loading points are designated with a bright light at a doorway which is a good indication that you will be heading to a different area, however other loading points are not indicated at all, sometimes opening a window sill or squeezing through boxes will trigger a loading screen. It will take a long while before you figure things out.
- With tightly scripted levels come tightly scripted controls. The game controls beautifully with the left trigger allowing you to vault, climb and jump yet you can only do these things at specific points in the level. You can only shoot a rope arrow at predetermined points, You cannot pick up or drop items etc. Everything in the level is strategically placed for you to be "stealthy'. It doesn't feel like YOU are being stealthy so much as the developers guiding you to the end of the section. In many respects modern game design has taken a step back rather than forward.
- If you are a fan of the previous Thief games then this game will be disappointing to you. A lot of the "thief charm" is absent from the game. Eavesdropping on guards, "taffer", Hammerites, pagans, complex level design, crazy unique levels, ...all gone.
This is not a bad game so long as you are willing to overlook its design choices and just enjoy the game for what it is...a modern reboot that lost all of the charm of the original. Calling this game Thief seems to have hurt it more than helped. It feels like there should be two reviews for this game, one for those who never played Thief before and the other for fans of the series. Even though I've played the original games countless times I was still able to enjoy this game only because my expectations were much lower than normal.