Friday, 16 May 2014

Thief PS4 Review

Thief.

Pfffft.

Thief (or Thief 4 as it was originally known) is a game many people were excited for. It has been years since Deadly Shadows came out and people hopes were high for this series' revival. I have only played Deadly Shadows for about ten minutes and the Thief games that came before it I've never played. So I went into Thief with no preconceptions.  

I thought this would help.

Thief tells the story of Garret who, after a failed job, goes into some sort of year long coma. He wakes to find his city, the imaginatively named; The City, to be overrun with an illness named The Gloom. The Baron is being a bit of an arse and generally things aren't going well. I'd love to tell you that the story was interesting, that the characters are deep but, sadly, I can't. The story is dull, spends too long being ambiguous and all of the characters are just archetypes with faces. Garret is dull and comes across as a bit of a prick, your handler is as stereotypical as they come and pretty much all of the characters are just forgettable if they aren't in your face every five seconds. The characters lack emotion, the script they are given is terrible and the voice acting is mostly average.

Gameplay wise things aren't much better. Since the last Thief was released Assassin's Creed and Dishonoured have happened. It shows. There is nothing wrong with being influenced by other games but if your game represents little more than a blatant merging of ripped off ideas from other games then you have a problem. The gameplay mechanics are made well and function but the camera will sometimes shift to third person and the climbing will be more controllable and you'll think you're in Assassin's Creed. Then it will snap back to first person and you'll only be able to clumsily climb up very specific surfaces. You are given tools like water arrows to put out fires and rope arrows to let you climb things, at the same time you are useless in combat despite Garret being an awesome fighter in the cutscenes. The result is a game with no identity, one whose gameplay is frustrating, boring and at times just straight up confusing.

Graphically at least the game is good. Lighting is very well implemented and the character models are detailed and believably animated. The problem is almost the entire game is set in darkness and this gets dull quickly. The City is run down and dilapidated and thieves only work in darkness. The game works hard to nail this point into you. All this achieves is a very repetitive visual style that gets old fast. The soundtrack is, like everything else here, forgettable. It's never bad and it always suits the action but I'm sitting here typing this and I'm struggling to remember how it goes. 

It's a shame, Thief has some flashes of brilliance, some moments of great satisfaction. You could bust a safe and find a rare collectible or sneak through a particularly well guarded area. But linking these moments is a marsh of tedium that the developers force the player to trudge through. Thief isn't a bad game it's just a painfully average one. 


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