Square-Enix has been rather busy with releasing reboots for top acclaimed video game series for Tomb Raider and also Deus Ex. So with this trend what does the master thief Garrett have in store?
It has been over a decade since we last saw our protagonist in action. The city has changed with a viral bug killing its habitants; the shadows are not safe anymore for a master thief. A viral bug called the Gloom has taken over the city; Garrett is not the only problem that the city has anymore. The game starts off on summer’s eve where the city is all gloomy, full of dark murky and smelly alley ways, but that does not stop our master thief from doing his job of stealing precious items. Opening cupboards, desk draws and even laundry boxes feels like a chore for a housemaid to do and not for a thief. If something is of an interest then Garrett can take what he wants in no time.
Garrett meets up with one of his apprentices and is on a mission to break into the baron’s manor, when something goes wrong and Garrett loses his balance then later wakes up in a body cart. Breaking free from the cart it is Garret’s job to head to the clock tower. Now on the way to the clock tower allows you to explore the city and also do some stealing. The clock tower is Garrett’s own place to stash away precious valuables found throughout the game, from gold masks to city wall plaques; everything is placed in its own area for you to see. During your time exploring the city you will meet a character called Basso, now Basso will have plenty of side jobs for you to do.
The city is not fully free-roam as you would expect in a stealth game, it acts more as a hub where you can return to at any time, and this was a similar setup with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Each section of the city will be blocked off by gates or even rubble, but that does not stop Garrett; using the roof tops and also jumping into open windows can be fun. Getting to different sections of the city and accessing the missions, you will need to head to a waypoint on the map. Once arrived you will notice a glowing light which makes you press the X button to enter the area, this is where the free-roam does not exist. Some areas of the levels are blocked off by an invisible wall so you cannot move further and explore the area fully. When entering each district of the city, you will encounter a loading screen; this can be rather annoying.
The graphics are not the best I have seen for a next-gen game, this clearly shows with the time it takes for the graphics to load and render in a level. The shadow areas are rather dull in places; this then leaves you making tougher choices to make while hiding and been stealthy away from the patrolling guards. Since Thief: the deadly shadows was released back in 2004, the series has somewhat been heading for spiral downfall. With the help of Eidos Montreal and Square-Enix the series needed a reboot and this reboot is rather good but also not good in other places.
The story is rather misplaced in some areas, it’s like the writers are leaving big gaps in the storyline and just leaving the player to figure it all out by themselves. Peering through door locks allows you to see what’s up ahead before opening or lock picking the door. Health in the game does not regenerate automatically you will need find health packs scattered around the levels. If not spending time exploring the city you can always find a shady character in the black markets that will be happy to be of service.
Garrett has an ability called focus vision (similar to eagle vision in Assassin’s Creed), this allows you to see where important items are, location of patrolling guards. To upgrade Garrett’s abilities you need to use focus points, you can find special flowers in the game world that will refill you focus vision.
After completing a level or side mission you are given an award by completing thieving challenges. You can decide how to play each level and mission by either being a predator, opportunist and even a ghost. All of this is represented by a pie chart at the end of the level. If you wanted to redo the level you have the option to play the level again to get a better reward.
Completing the game you also have the option to try out three different challenge modes. These are Chain and Gain, Chain and Gain Limited and Special Loot Hunt. Each mode consists of finding loot against the clock. The more loot you find the longer the clock lasts. Once finishing the challenges your score is then put onto the global leader boards.
Square Enix have made a good attempt at this reboot of Thief, but I feel that overall the shadows were far to light for poor Garrett and waiting a decade was not enough to save it.