Look at Thief from Midas Montreal the same studio that brought us Deus ex human revolution. Like Deus ex is an attempt to reboot a beloved series and bring it to an age where the characters don’t look like they were smashed into existence with a hammer and chisel. You play as the light-fingered fleet-footed tea leaf of the title as he attempts to lift every semi-precious item within 500 metres and avoid the attentions of Timothy Dalton look-alike the thief-taker General. Allen save the city from mysterious forces unknown because you know it can’t all be about you. The result is what feels like a proper old-school stealth game the obvious point of comparison is dishonored we have the option to go loud if you get impatient but here if you try that you’re likely to be run through by the nearest guard. Less freedom of choice sounds like a bad thing but in this case it’s not really it forces you to actually observe each new location plan every move and execute those plans quickly and quietly. It’s what Thief games were always about only now there’s more advanced lighting and AI to play with know how we managed to remain unheard with a lot cutlery clanking around our pockets remains perhaps the greatest mystery of all. One thing we weren’t sure was going to make the cut was the more open levels of the original games while there are a few completely linear sequences in the game maintains packed a slightly tighter focus as the missions progress most areas have multiple routes depending on which gadgets you have available such as rope arrows for scaling walls and French tools for getting a ventilation systems.
One level in particular is a mansion vigil with secret passages something we only discovered what we’re already running the front door and close all the guards on the head with a blackjack. The city really is the star of the game is hugely atmospheric as a sort of pseudo victorian medieval mash up with some absolutely stunning architecture is enormous in scale. The big criticism levelled at dishonored was that there was no real chance to explore what looked like a fascinating city. In Thief the city acts as a hub that you’ll need to sneak through to get to missions and serves as a location itself the optional jobs and side missions that rack up throughout the game. The main story will tell you about 10 hours give or take and it’s tempting just to charge through it but it’s definitely worth mopping up some of these mini Hisle on the way to get an even greater feel for the world. After Thief deadly shadows mission the cradle rules are you have to have at least one scary level and thief’s more asylum chapter does the job beautifully.
It’s got the foreboding atmosphere half heard whisperings and buttock clenching jump-scares down to a tee we’re not going to say any more than that at the risk of spoiling the surprise. As we talked about before there’s a real tactility to Garrett’s movement as he peaks around corners swoops between shadows and gropes paintings. New free running system similar to Assassin’s Creed encourage you to stick to rooftops and walkways if at all possible which is legit Fifi behavior. It’s not absolutely perfect mechanically occasional make a pig’s ear of the free running over some tricky terrain and fork immediately on top of a guard there also moments where you have to line the camera very precisely on an X button prompt which can be fiddly. Basically is not a game that seems designed for doing things in a hurry and that’s usually where the wheels fall off the wagon. Frame rates can get a bit shocked beyond the Xbox One version and you’ll occasionally get that unreal engine thing but forgets to put the proper version of someone’s face on until a few seconds into the cut scene and talking of the cut scenes are crying out for performance captures of the characters match the quality of the environment. The biggest single misstep is one broken puzzle involving cracking a safe which had us wondering if the game or perhaps our brain gone a bit wrong.
As it turned out it’s just poorly designed a badly explained that didn’t stop a smashing her head against it for the better part of an hour. In this case it’s so spectacularly badly thought-out yet easy to fix would be amazed if it wasn’t patched in the next few weeks until then though it’s likely to slam the brakes on progression for a huge number of players. That aside thief is definitely worth your time it has a beautiful world to explore, sophisticated mechanics and crucially replayability. All the missions including side quest can be replayed as soon as you’ve completed them you might wonder through the first place in like a piss shoplifter but in doing so you identify ways you can be more efficient bypass a confrontation or even skip a whole chunk of the level plus there are as you might imagine an entire sack full of collectibles. More than anything that we just love the world big imposing mansions and castles gloomy claustrophobic alleyways and rain-slicked rooftops all of them begging to be explored and looted. Most games are exhausted and discarded once we finish them but we’re already planning our next trip to the big city. So that was our look at the final version of Thief on xbox one.
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