What should I do with Thief? It does some insane mistakes but underneath it all you can see moments of brilliance. The studio just didn’t have a clue as to what to do with Thief. They just fucked it up so bad. It is mind-boggling how game designers would come up with ideas that just ruin the whole gameplay and even after testing they just run with it. The good? The game looks fantastic and the atmosphere is really there. In the settings menu you can turn the whole HUD off. And I did. I can’t even imagine how weak the game would’ve been with all that, quite frankly, unnecessary shit taking up the screen real estate. You can also customize you difficulty. And I did! I made it a lot harder that what the master level alone was. And it was still pretty easy. I turned focus off because that has no reason to be in a Thief game. I turned no damage on and it made the game more fun even though some fall damage spots broke the flow a bit unnecessarily. I also tried turning on chapter saves only and that was the worst decision I did with this game so I immediately went back and turned that off again. I’ll tell you why in a moment. One of the good things was also this huge mansion level that just made me enjoy the game like I was back playing Thief 2. It was fun and how the whole game should have been.
Then the bad. The game should have been Garrett turning mansions upside down but it barely does that. The game has some seriously weak insta-kill spots that just ruin the game even if you aren’t playing with chapter saves only option on. The controls are also so god awful that you just cannot master them. The game just doesn’t do what you expect it to do and a lot of it has to do with the fact that the game developers bound several actions to single keys. With PC there’s no excuse to that and it made playing the game a joke. I lost count the times I tried to dash quickly into the shadows only to find out that Garrett had climbed up on a wooden crate exposing himself to all the guards around. I can’t even imagine the times I tried to open a drawer and Garrett either picked up something from the desk, blew some candles off, or worst (and most frequent) of all crouched behind the desk peeking around its corner. The dialogue in the game was god awful. The plot was a joke. The characters were horrible and dull. Everything in the game felt like it was written by a 12-year-old. The journal menu was a design disaster. How can you fuck all this up? Oh, and the music broke the atmosphere up in the worst way possible playing some ridiculous rock score over the scripted action sequences. Like the hud, I had to turn the music off and I DIDN’T MISS IT. The last chapters were boring as hell just navigating through some caverns and the game designers felt the need to do multiple sequences where if you didn’t immediately know what to do you just died. This review is turning into a novella. Also, what’s the deal with all the “Press X to proceed” climbing sections and gateways? They’re not challenging so why were they there?
So, what’s the verdict? I don’t know what kind of idiots made the decisions behind this game but they clearly didn’t have any clue as to what they were working on. And surprisingly enough a couple of the levels were actually really fun. I enjoyed Garrett talking to himself and hiding in the shadows watching the guards doing their thing. I loved the mansion level and the way you could just roam it all around trying to find all the secret nuggets of gold. The game was infuriatingly badly designed but when it was good it was REALLY good. If the game was just 8 levels of mansions and castles to loot I could’ve forgiven everything else in a heart beat. Still, I have to say it felt like a Thief game from time to time.