Developer: Eidos Montreal
Platform: PS3, PS4, 360, XBO, PC
The original “Thief” was a landmark in stealth titles when it was released in 1998. First-person games tended to focus on brutal, direct combat, and to see a game focus on non-violent stealth was unheard of in those days. Even today, the original remains a masterpiece of stealth. However, while the recent reboot tries very well to maintain what made the original great, there are times when it falls completely flat, and some of the modern changes feel very forced.
The game begins with Garrett, master thief extraordinaire, as he loses an accomplice in the middle of a heist. He finds himself wrapped up in the woes of a plague-ridden town known simply as “The City” (a name borrowed from the original games’ settings). Here, he must help a resistance movement fight against the rich, overpowered 1 percent and bring balance to the City.
If the plot sounds familiar, it’s because it’s more-or-less a clean translation of the plot from developer Eidos Montreal’s previous game, “Deus Ex: Human Revolution.” It maintains a lot of the same themes of wealth disparity and the income gap, and it’s a bit disappointing that the developer couldn’t find something new to bring to the “Thief” series. As a result, the story feels dull.
The story isn’t the only thing “Thief” brings from “Human Revolution.” It also has a confusing open hub area, which clashes a lot with the classic “Thief” tradition of going from mission to mission. Instead of the huge, sprawling levels from the original games, players now have smaller levels interspersed in a clunky overworld that’s tedious and painful to navigate.
However, modern touches aside, the game maintains what made the original games great. Garrett’s trademark snarky voice acting is back in full force, and his new voice actor maintains the character’s original charm quite well. In addition, while it’s not as open as the original “Thief” games were, the stealth still feels very satisfying. There’s no feeling quite like manipulating the environment to meet one’s sneaky needs.
However, one has to ask: What place does this reboot have in today’s market? Nowadays, players have other stealth games like “Dishonored” or “Mark of the Ninja,” both of which bring their own twists and do stealth far better than the new “Thief” does. It’s as if this new “Thief” has no identity of its own and is simply trying to copy what other, better stealth games have done.
Hardcore “Thief” fans will get a kick out of hearing Garrett and exploring the City again, but others will be far more satisfied with other stealth games that bring new things to the table. “Thief” is a great stealth experience, but in a sea of other games like “Dishonored” that have done far better, it’s hard to recommend it.