As a Thief, Garrett has an array of tools, trinkets, resources and weapons. Most of which can be picked up or purchased and upgraded at a shop. Early in the game, he gains a wrench which allows him to enter vents and take plaques that he finds off of buildings. Then there’s the scalpel, which helps take paintings and wire cutters which help disable traps. Upgrades apply to arrows, armor, health and other aspects of Garrett’s equipment. Trinkets can also be purchased to add extra bonuses to Garret such as increased health, lower resource cost at stores and more.
Stealth has always been a mechanic of the Thief franchise and it is even more apparent this time with the AI being able to search for Garrett. He can hide, use his swoop ability to glide through the shadows and sneak past enemies. You can alternatively knock enemies out and drive an arrow through their eye, or even toss bottles and jars to make them get distracted while you sneak past. There are also environmental kills such as having lumber fall on their head or other distractions like setting the oil they are standing in on fire. One thing that is emphasized is choice and that is nice to see.
The map isn’t always on in the top right, but requires you to sort of turn it on every now and then by pressing down on the D-Pad. At the end of each main chapter, you are graded by three categories based on your performance and ability to go undetected. Ghost, for the perfect stealth run. Opportunists for a good stealth run with a few knockouts and alarms here and there. Then Predator for the guy who just wanted to kill everyone and go all in.
On the normal difficulty, the enemies are pretty easy going for the most part and be fooled rather easily. The difficulty is rather low based on that fact and the AI is pretty bad. You can stand right behind them and they will not notice you, you can even run up behind them and then knock them out with ease. Even when sticking to the shadows, there is plenty to keep you from harm.
Challenge mode adds some depth allowing for you to take on one of two set environments based on the campaign. More are added as DLC. In these you can select the type of challenge you wish to partake in. Chain & Gain is your basic type, you are given a countdown timer and a circle that continues to rise as you consecutively gain loot. If you attack an enemy, are seen or anything of the like, you get negative points.
At the end, your overall points are added up and you are given a total. Special Loot Hunt has special loot hidden in the map and is distinguished by hot and cold indicators and once you collect one you move onto the next and the goal is to get as many possible within the set time limit. Finally there is Chain & Gain Limited which is the same basic concept as the first game type except you have a limited amount of time. These are fun distractions each with their own leaderboards and a nice idea given the stealth mechanics. Sadly, there are only two within the main game though.
Thief is not a bad game by any means. It lives up to the franchise expectations, but has a few odd story twists here and there that ends up to be a lackluster and utterly pointless 8 hour main story. Once the main story is over, players will revel in the looting, the thievery, and the fun that the game offers. Although the campaign is not without a few cool sequences of awesome staged events like Garrett escaping enemies or a burning building or two, the real meat of the game is the enjoyment of the stealth mechanics. This is all when the game is not bogging you down or taking you out of the moment with the bevy of load screens you will encounter from beginning to end on both current & next-gen along with some glitches here and there to press your frustration. If you can look pass these, than Thief is the true successor to the franchise, as long as they manage to change the story in the inevitable sequel.
[Editor’s Note: Thief was reviewed on the PS4. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Thief (PS4) Review,