Thief Preview: Out of the Shadows
Eyes on the Prize
For a decade, the Master Thief has laid in slumber with the rate of theft in video gaming at an all time low. That is till the day Eidos Montreal decided to reawaken Garrett from his rest to steal what’s yours in an all new reboot of the series. Reboots are dangerous, especially when the franchise consists of a game that has held a very strong hardcore fan base on the PC platform. Eidos has a challenge here but it’s not something new for them given the fact their reboot of Deus Ex has been incredibly successful in recreating the cyberpunk world setting. After sitting down for roughly 3 hours of Thief, it’s safe to say the reboot is in the right direction.
Before jumping into a preview of a game, I’ve always been lectured on the basic controls and premise of the game but the one I had with Thief was far different than anything I’ve had in the past. There was lots of things to take in and those things were customising the actual game. I’m not talking visual and audio settings, I’m talking about deep mechanic changing ones that alter the way you play the game… drastically. It has seemed that Eidos wanted people to tweak the game on how it actually plays to either satisfy of challenge them. A great move in my opinion which helps balance the line between the old die hard fans and welcoming new ones with open arms.
There was preset options to choose from (if you just want to jump into the game straight away) but I preferred mucking around with the different options to challenge myself without making it too difficult. Similar to racing games where you put on assists, guidelines etc. Thief follows the same footsteps. I saw options like allowing the use of certain abilities, giving player guidelines in the levels, and things like making Garrett the silent anti-protagonist and there was even an extreme perma-death mode for the very hardcore. Thief has lots of tweaking before jumping in and should serve enough options for anyone wanting more than a standard challenge.
“Thief has lots of tweaking before jumping in and should serve enough options for anyone wanting more than a standard challenge.”
The game opens up in a bedroom with a man snoring on his bed, more than likely drunk. As I gazed around, all I could see was shiny loot glimmering in my eyes. I can totally feel Garrett’s urge to pick the room apart and so I did. The level then progresses into the more stealth mechanics of the game like sight, sound and movement – with each a vital skill as you progress the game. The tutorial level also serves as a prologue to the game introducing the characters and setting – however this was most likely the aspect I didn’t quite get involved with. It was kinda one dimensional and flat in tone but luckily the gameplay serves up a better offering than the story so far. It was kinda early in the game but it didn’t quite grab the attention and emotions of the player as it tried so hard to do. Maybe it was just me but let’s just hope it progresses into something much more than what I saw.
Once the tutorial was over, this is where the game starts to get real interesting. This is what I was here for. Thief offers some incredible options in gameplay with a city to explore and tons of quests thrown at you to do. The levels also offered various ways of completion as you decide which way you want to tackle the situations. The DNA of the game is to delve in stealth mechanics but players can option to go a little aggressive in their approach. You could play the game without killing anyone but that all comes down to what you want out of it. Stealthy approaches are more rewarding and allows easier progression while full frontal attacks can lead to a more challenging game.
“levels also offered various ways of completion as you decide which way you want to tackle the situations.”
There was lots of arsenals to use and various ones fit different types of players. I used the more stealthy approach but still killed guards. I utilised more of the lethal and water arrows to progress through the level. Looting is a must if you rely on optional gear such as arrows and health packs so I made sure I picked the place clean without missing any nooks or crannies.
I managed to play roughly 3 hours of Thief in my preview session and still felt that I’ve only scrapped the surface of what’s to come. The story maybe bland so far but the gameplay and dark age setting was what took me in. Thief requires plenty of patience and exploration – playing it as an action game is possible but highly not recommended as being in the shadows is what this game is about. With plenty of options for tinkering around, the game will satisfy many of those looking for that next level difficulty and tons of replay value… Seriously that perma-death mode will be quite tempting on the second run. If you enjoy lurking in the dark, snickering in the distance and looting the crap out of people’s houses, I’ll keep an eye out for this title. Reboot or whatever, Thief looks very promising.
Thief was previewed on the PlayStation 4. The game comes out on February 27th 2014 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC DVD, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.