Thief (2014)

For some reason, I don’t fully grasp, there seems to be some negative vibe spinning around against this game which is, I think, mostly undeserved (perhaps, in the seemingly endless flood of good and great games, “okay” isn’t good enough anymore). The sole thing I really didn’t like, was that it was running too slow at times (and there is, yet again, some unnecessary button mashing to open windows […]), my PC is getting too old, I guess (but then again, this game doesn’t do anything graphically others haven’t done before AND it’s “only” Unreal 3.x, so… badly optimized?). Maybe the game was released too soon after Dishonored, which was a very good stealth game. It’s possible most people, who are into stealth games, already had their fill for the time being, with the last Dishonored DLC released only a few months ago.
I can’t really agree that it’s boring, because hiding in the shadows and sneaking around unseen is what Thief is supposed to be all about. Why would someone, who doesn’t like that, even try this game? It is known. :P

Now, much of the story is about this random girl Erin, who just sometimes hangs with Garrett, but it’s never even explained how they met or what kind of relationship they have (it’s only apparent that it’s not of a romantic nature). The game acts and introduces her as if she was a well established character from the series, but it’s her first appearance. Actually the game doesn’t even clarify if it’s a reboot or if it takes place sometime after Thief 3. Only the mere title of “Thief” seems to indicate the former. Then again, Garrett visibly has two different eyes which makes it look like it’s after the previous games, in which he lost his eye (and later replaced it with tech). Many aspects are this ambiguous. Thief (2014) has no watchers. So it’s new? Oh, but they were all killed in Thief 3, so it is a regular sequel? […] The game makes no effort to answer such central questions during its entire course. These flaws make it hard to really get into the story. With Garrett’s entire motivation kept secret, one could say that he simply doesn’t have anything better to do right now, than these missions. How is that supposed to cheer me up?

Speaking of missions, the game offers smaller side-quests like jobs from the fence Basso and more elaborate client contracts. One of the client jobs has the player collect parts of an automaton for Ector. He plans to build this metal man and needs Garrett’s help. I fully expected from the start that I would get some kind of payoff other than money for these extra missions, so I made sure to check in with him every now and then. So imagine my disappointment, once I had collected all the parts he needed, absolutely NOTHING happened. Ector says he now has all the parts, but his shop hasn’t changed, all the pieces he had still lie around in the exact same spot they were in, when Garrett entered the store for the first time. This is so unsatisfying. I expected the automaton, Ector would build, to run amok or something, I came prepared just in case something crazy would happen. I wasn’t prepared for NOTHING.

The high point of Thief probably is this super creepy asylum mission. Every Thief game has one of those (one of the reasons this installment still feels connected to the other games). It’s scarier than Dead Space. There are a few more intense scenes, in which Garrett has to escape from burning buildings, that fall apart all around him. They balance out the naturally much slower stealth gameplay. In conclusion I have to say, that people might have come to this game with expectations which were way too high. It’s not really that different from former Thief games (actually it’s closer to them than I expected it to be) except for current graphics and some ingame helpers (e.g. rope arrows can only be attached to certain, visible spots instead of wherever the hell you want to). But Dishonored is indeed a very tough act to follow.

It remains to be seen if this will be one of the games that gets an “enhanced edition” at some point, that will add to the solid base the initial release provided. This game would deserve it.

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