Rather aptly, Thief snuck up on me. I wasn’t following its production beyond a cursory knowledge of its development at Eidos Montreal.
Just before its release, however, I saw the video below and it immediately became a day one purchase. Stealth, amazing visuals and the ability to tackle each mission in a variety of ways - this looked right up my street, despite never having played a Thief game before.
When the game released, the reviews were decidedly mixed. Some complained about the controls and the lack of a jump button. Many derided the story and more still pointed out the lack of freedom compared to the previous games in the series.
I didn’t find the controls a problem at all and perhaps because I’d never played Thief or Thief II, my initial few hours with the game were good ones. No-one can deny how good the game looks and even though the environments rarely change to a great degree, the lighting and atmosphere of the game remains compelling.
As Thief progressed, however, things started to niggle at me. Unless I was being particularly unimaginative, I couldn’t see a variety of ways of navigating the area or completing the missions. The game seemed to funnel me in the direction it wanted me to go.
To be fair, if it hadn’t, I saw little reason to stray from the beaten track anyway. While “The City” of Thief had the feel of Dishonoured’s Dunwall, it lacked the latter’s detail and rich background.
It became apparent that the story was complete bobbins too, when I realised I wasn’t following it at all. Even now, having completed the game, I still have no idea what it was all about. Nevertheless, Thief wasn’t a write-off for me. I loved the visuals and enjoyed sneaking around, stealing trinkets and finding ways to distract guards. Ultimately though, the game failed to truly deliver on its promises.
Without the ability to replay missions from the main menu, Thief’s longevity is dead in the water; but the game as a whole isn’t a complete waste of time if you can pick it up cheap. I suspect many will have traded this game in on completion and with the lacklustre reviews, you’ll probably be able to get it at a steal - rather aptly.