🐳 Moby v2024.02.16

Thief

aka: Thi4f
Moby ID: 63996
Windows Specs
Buy on Windows
$19.99 new on Steam
Buy on Xbox 360
$35.97 used on eBay
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Description official descriptions

Thief is a reboot of the Thief series and throws away most of the lore - there are no Pagans, no Hammers and no Watchers. The game starts when Garrett, a master thief, is on a job with his former apprentice Erin. They run into a mysterious ritual from a faction loosely reminiscent on the Mechanists, and due to unfortunate happenings Erin falls right into the middle of it. Garrett blacks out for a year and awakens in the city which changed to a fascist regime in the meantime. Now Garrett has to use his thieving skills in order to find out what is going on (the common people are affected by a strange disease) and eventually stop the usual conspiracy.

The basic structure is similar to Deadly Shadows: There is a semi-open city hub structured into various districts. Just like in the predecessor, those are divided in loading screens and gradually open up over the course of the game. These can be freely explored until starting a self-contained mission at the designated point. Here lies the main difference to the previous Thief games: instead of sandbox levels, the design is completely modular and can be compared to the Clocktower level in Deadly Shadows. The set-pieces may be relatively open in itself and offer various ways to deal with obstacles or reach the next point of interest, but in the end they result in a choke-point of no return leading to the next area. Movement is also restricted because jumping is only contextual. Rope arrows make their return, but can only be used at a few designated spots. Except for a few minor climbing sequences, the whole game is in first-person.

Garrett can take on guards in direct combat, the system is based on dodging attacks with a designated button and placing blackjack hits at the right moments, but since he is no fighter he usually has no change against multiple enemies. So his main weapon of choice is stealth. It is based on shadows - the light gem in the interface shows how visible Garrett is - and while breaking sight also plays its role, there is no dedicated cover mechanic like in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. However, Garrett can grab onto corners and peek out to avoid running in front of a guard. This means the majority of the time is spent with observing guard patrols, picking a good time to move behind a guard, performing a blackjack takedown and drag the body into darkness before someone sees it. Like in Human Revolution, the takedown is a context based button press instead of a free swing.

In contrast to the previous Thief games there is no loot requirement to beat a mission, but of course there is still plenty of stuff to steal which is directly converted into gold. While the majority of small loot items is just lying around or found by opening drawers, there are also unique items which bring extra money. These are usually hidden and require the usage of a new mechanic: Garrett grabs a painting or book shelf and slowly moves his hand until he feels a hidden switch. By pressing a button, it may open up a secret passage, unveil a safe or disable traps. The lockpicking minigame works similar and requires to find the sweet spot by moving the lockpick around. Safes require the combination which has to manually puzzled out by searching the environment for clues and carefully reading near documents.

Between missions, Garrett can also find much loot in the city by just moving around and keeping his eyes open. However, the most lucrative is to take optional side missions. Here Garrett has to retrieve a certain object - usually it is just a quick burglary within the city, but sometimes they are real self-contained missions. Of course there is a useful usage for money: visiting a shop and stock up on equipment. The obvious choices are depleting resources like Garrett's trademark arrows which can be used for many tasks, e.g. regular arrows for distracting guards or water arrows to extinguish light sources, food items to heal, or smoke bombs. However, there are also various one-time purchases which reward new equipment to interact with the environment, e.g. a razor to cut out valuable painting or a wrench to open up ventilation shafts, or tool upgrades, e.g. a bigger arrow capacity or more sensitive lockpicks. Also available are items which reward passive bonuses. Additionally Garrett has two magical abilities to his disposal: The swoop move works similar to blink in Dishonored and allows to quickly move forward. Focus (similar to instinct in Hitman: Absolution) slows down time and has several useful perks, e.g. faster lockpicking, easier combat or showing all loot in the area. Those perks have to be unlocked with focus points which are also bought with money.

One of the game's special features are the difficulty modes. While there are the usual three standard types - the highest does not allow for kills or civilian knockouts - the player can also add several other difficulty options, e.g. disabling focus, more expensive resources, slower movement, no kills or knockouts, no quicksave or permadeath. Because those reward bonus points for bragging rights, the difficulty can only be changed when starting a new game. On the other hand there are also several other interface related options which can be disabled at any time, e.g. loot glow, prompts when approaching an interactive item, enemy alert indicators, objective markers, mini map or ammo counter.

Besides the main campaign, there is also a challenge mode. This mode re-uses some of the game's mission areas and adds special objectives. The modes are Chain & Gain (there is a timer running out which can only be expanded by collecting loot), Chain & Gain Limited (Chain & Gain with an overall time limit) and Special Loot Hunt (finding as much special loot within a time limit by using the "hot and cold" indicators). The goal is a leaderboards high-score.

The PlayStation 4 version uses the DualShock 4 gamepad's light bar to emphasize the effect of being in the shadow (with a dimmed dark blue) or exposed to the light (with a bright white).

Spellings

  • シーフ - Japanese spelling (Xbox release)

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Credits (Windows version)

790 People (705 developers, 85 thanks) · View all

Senior Producer
Art Director
Game Director
Narrative Director
Programming Director
Lead Programmer
Audio Director
Animation Director
Art Technical Director
Technical Director Level Design
Technical Director Animation
Producer
Associate Producer
Production Coordinators
Project Closer
Story/Cinematics Writer
Narrative Designers
Game Writers
Lead Game Designer
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 67% (based on 27 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.3 out of 5 (based on 33 ratings with 1 reviews)

Taffer stole my game and made a bad Dishonored knockoff instead

The Good
There are a lot of variable and detailed difficulty settings. I wish more games would offer that.

The Bad
- The level design is a joke. Did you think the levels in Thief: Deadly Shadows were small? You will be surprised. The best you'll get here are four small rooms at a time until the next chokepoint. And of course there is no free movement so we don't miss the next awesome cutscene.

  • I don't think I have ever encountered worse writing in a video game. Early in the game there is a cock ring conversation, but this is only the top of the iceberg. Every conversation is bad. I would bet money that this unsympathetic girl from the prologue turns out to be the predictable main villain. Garrett is no longer the man we love, a thief who only steals to survive and gets drawn in problems too big to chew - now he is a wannabe-Batman who lives in a clocktower, does not sell his loot and spouts out idiotic one-liners.

  • As you may remember, one of the best thing of the Thief series was the magnificent sound design. Well, say goodbye to that, here you get a non-functional turd. A few minutes before I quit I solved a (bad) puzzle while hearing the following: "SLAP ME HARD! OOOOH! YOU ARE THE BEST (one second pause) SLAP ME HARD! OOOOH! YOU ARE THE BEST (one second pause) (repeat indefinitely)." Sound plays practically no part in stealth anymore; you can drop down directly behind a guard without him noticing. With the exception of broken glass, the flooring makes no difference.

  • The stealth mechanics are broken. In the old games, being in pitch black meant that guards won't notice Garrett unless they directly walk into him. Now guards can randomly see Garrett in the dark. The old mechanics were probably not "realistic", but they were predictable. Now it is trial & error.

  • It is nice that you can disable focus and other indicators, but this does not help much. The game was obviously designed with the assumption that the player has everything turned on. By the way, I did not mind the loot glow in Deadly Shadows, but here it is ridiculous.

  • The city hub is awful. It is completely nonsensical and especially the lack of free jumping makes it a chore to navigate. For most side missions, the challenge is not to steal stuff, but to reach the window. Loading screens are frequent and mostly require the player to hammer the use-key.

  • The game rips off Dishonored at every opportunity. For example, they copy the blink mechanic and there is an exact copy of the Granny Rags character. I love Dishonored, but both series have very distinct differences. Thi4f slaps together too many elements from both which results in a mess.

    The Bottom Line
    Full disclosure: I am a huge fan of the original Thief trilogy and played Thi4f shortly after release. I only made it until chapter three (about 14 hours of playtime), then I could not take it anymore. I heard the game becomes even worse later and even features a bad Shalebridge Cradle knockoff level. Fortunately I missed that one.

The fact that I feel the need to write my first MobyGames review after almost six years should tell you something. I have to admit a big part of my hate is because I am a disappointed fanboy, but Thi4f is not only a bad Thief game - it is a failure on every level. Do yourself a favor, pretend Thi4f does not exist and (re-)play the original Thief trilogy and the Dishonored series instead.

Windows · by Patrick Bregger (297481) · 2020

Trivia

Development

Rhiana Pratchett is prominently credited at top of the Narrative credits, but shortly before the game's release she downplays her involvement in some Twitter statements:

Yes, I worked on some of the world building/cinematics. I chose not to talk about it. I have my reasons. Hope some of you enjoy it.

I was involved, yes. Mainly in some world building stuff a few years back and the pre-rendered cinematics.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Patrick Bregger.

Gloud added by firefang9212. Macintosh added by Sciere.

Additional contributors: lightlands.

Game added March 2, 2014. Last modified January 18, 2024.