Written by Richard Morris
The only thing “Thief” stole was an hour of my life
This game promises great things, yet I literally couldn’t bring myself to play any more of it after an hour.
The game loads well (after installing a few obligatory game updates and installing game files to the hard drive, which takes about twenty minutes in total), and you’re informed that the game uses “Shroud CloakWorks”, which means realistic cloak physics, so you know you’re onto a winner.
It has a menu, which means that starting a new game is easy to do because you navigate some options. For some reason it won’t let you continue loading the game without giving them your email address, which means you’re probably now ripe for the picking when it comes to spam and in-game “OFFERS” (which probably involves buying new hats) and promises from a Canadian Pharmacy.
The storyline starts with you in a room with a man grunting on a bed. Don’t worry, nothing explicit, and I don’t think he’s from the night before, he’s just knocked out.
You wander round the room as little square symbols appear, instructing you to take things. You approach a window and that leads you out. Then there’s some more sneaking around and climbing around on beams and eventually a woman appears and you follow her for a bit.
It soon turns out that she’s more of a hindrance than she is a help because she gets in the way, a lot. The two characters clearly have a “past” as the loud discussions in alleyways near guards who you’re supposed to be hiding from soon attest to. The character you’re playing clearly doesn’t like the fact that she takes to “thiefing” (which here means, playing thiefery/being a hoodlum) far too well. She’s too keen and before she starts getting really annoying she’s thankfully dead. She falls into some blue mist that some men create and that’s the end of that.
You’d have thought at this point that as you no longer have anyone to talk to, you can sneak around in alleyways undetected and not have a loud conversation at the same time. Well, no, apparently not, he starts talking and mumbling to himself at times, for no reason. This includes loudly declaring “THERE’S A GUARD” to yourself when you see one round a corner.
At this point it’s worth pointing out that the whole game is in first person, which is not what the majority of people are used to, I wasn’t. I pressed every button in turn trying to change the camera angle, and after deploying an arrow into a crate and lunging into thin air I discovered that there are no other camera options.
Combat options are few and far between. I understand that the point of the game is that he’s a “good” thief, he never injures people unless to knock them out for a few hours (which considering that they’re all outside and it’s always raining would probably give them pneumonia and make the characters die anyway, but let’s not go into that too much).
This is fine, and it’s all well and good being “good”, but when you’ve got three guards on you and you’re only expected to “hide”, that’s a bit of a tall ask. It’s also worth pointing out that in my button mashing (trying to discover a combat response while a guard was bludgeoning me to death), my character decided that was a great time to start picking a lock. Yes, I died picking a lock because I was being hit from behind and couldn’t exit the lock-pick screen.
You can hide from guards by looking at a handy orb in the corner of the screen which shows you how much you’re in the light, and it is hilarious to have a guard come right up to you because he heard a noise, but he can’t see your face right in front of him because your orb is dark. That is literally the equivalent of me turning off some lights and no-one being able to see me at all. “Thief” must eat a lot of carrots, the guards apparently don’t. Eat healthy, kids.
Eventually, after trying the same mission a few times I got fed up and so asked my housemate’s boyfriend to try playing it for me, he described it as “all the boring bits from Assassin’s Creed”, and “a lot of sneaking in shadows and moving slowly”. Atmospheric, little storyline.
No, I will not be buying this game.