Saturday, 5 July 2014

Thief (2014 Reboot)

I usually don't play games where you are the "bad" guy, but I am a big fan of the master thief and kleptomaniac Garrett through all his iterations in the Thief series mainly because this franchise offered up some of my favorite stealth mechanics ever - and it was necessary as Garrett is quite frail when it comes to face to face fighting (more so against the monstrous and supernatural enemies).

In this reboot the nameless City returns in pretty and dark splendour for you to explore, complete with the expected patrolling guards and citizens. There are a number of easy jobs you can do while prowling about the streets and rooftops which teach you mechanics for extra cash outside the main, eight chapter story, and there are also six optional "instanced" side missions to complete too. Overall it does a decent job, with an interesting new story (which ends kinda strangely though) and giving nods to the mechanists, Garrett's odd eye, Shalebridge Cradle, the Hag and the Trickster from previous games but sadly most of those are missing in this new imagining as well as the decline of the word "taffer" and random woodsie scrawl that I really grew to love.

My main problem with it was that it is too easy, even on Master difficulty where you cannot kill anyone and must not harm any civilians. The maps certainly feel smaller than the previous ones which in turn make the AI enemies have very simple and often predictable patrol patterns. On top of that, if you build this Garrett the way I did and have the arcade skill to back it up, he can be a beast in melee. When you can knock out five opponents in open combat you begin to question if you really need to do all that sneaking around (unless you play as a "ghost", which I wouldn't have the patience for). If you play on a lesser difficulty I'm pretty sure you can just stroll around openly as you can suddenly just slaughter all the guards with your bow.

The old one-two. First to the balls, then to the face.

There was also a distinct lack of supernatural critters. There is one, pretty scary monster type in the game whom you cannot knock out in melee (stun only) but nowhere near the number and variety when the Trickster was around, not as terrifying as the Cradle inmates, and definitely easier to kill than those damn zombies in the first game where you needed to bless your water arrows to permanently put them down, otherwise they'd just get back up.

Still it was great to be in Garrett's shoes again. Perhaps if I didn't have his previous adventures to compare this to it would score higher but as it stands I give it 3 deadly shadows out of 5.

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