Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Very good, but could have been great. 4.5 out of 5
on 13 July 2014
I'm a Thief aficionado, and I have been waiting for this game for literally years.
I even designed my newest PC to be able to play this game on max. Sad, but true!
There are lots of ways to look at, rate and judge this game, depending on why you game, how you game and what type of game you like. Many of the reviews on the game are from people expecting something else, or better, or different, or simply don't really get stealth games. They are not necessarily wrong, but believe me, if you are looking at Thief, you need to know what it is about. It is most definitely NOT a first person shooter.
The first way is to look at it nostalgically and compare it with the three preceding games. Don't take this approach. It is wholly different, set a hundred+ years in the future. The feel of the game is different, the game is linear, but with more 'roam the city' gameplay than 3. A huge difference is the width & breadth of the city. There are more nooks and crannies in Thief 4, and more ways to get around. The freedom to explore and go everywhere is more like Thief 1 & 2. However, because it is set 100 years later, all the Burricks, rat men, Pagans, Hammers, zombies and haunts, etc are gone. New enemies for sure, but nostalgic folk, may miss them.
The second way is to focus on the storyline. In my opinion, a good story covers a multitude of negatives. This to me, is the opposite. The story just hangs together, but only just. It just seemed to me to be… well, feeble. Almost like the devs produced this superb game and then thought "what shall we make the story all about then?" It would have been easy to make it more credible, so why didn't they? Rather frustrating and the reason why I gave this 4 stars.
However, if you like good grafs (and for me it is essential) this is a beautiful game. Don't expect bright sunshiney mornings, every bit of this game is set at night. I use a 27" 10bit monitor and a 780ti so I maxxed the settings. Superb. Really excellent. Everything I hoped for.
Fourth, gameplay. Essentially, you move round, trying not to get seen, nicking stuff, finding info and completing short tasks, longer missions and storyline chapters. I loved this, but people have complained that it is linear. Well, yes it is but very many games are. The transitions though windows, narrow passages, access doors etc, is not liked by some, but I'm fine with it. There is wide scope for exploring the city and new huge bits of the city open up as the story progresses. I love the freedom to roam, firing rope arrows (which stay up for the duration of the game! Excellent!) so I would spend hours, simply running about, understanding and learning the city. Safer routes, location of access points, that sort of thing. For me this was the strongest part of the game. There are several speed runs which are good fun, especially the burning bridge. I also like the way you can get more coin by completing a mission/task in a certain way to vary gameplay. Downsides are the focus ability (which you can opt to not use and I recommend you try it) and the wirecutter trap disarming. Repetitive and lacking imagination. The boss fights are a bit too easy.
Fifth, the pace of the game. If you like fast paced, gun 'em down games, you won't like it. For instance, the movements of NPC guards are not synchronised, so if you have to sneak past two of them, it may take a minute or more until they are both where you want them. During that time, all you can do is watch and wait. Also you may need to spend a long time on a 5 pin lock. I would imagine that this would be frustrating for some, but I love stealth games so I was completely cool with it.
The characters are mostly pretty good and mostly believable. The female lead, Erin is well acted. When she starts, she is an out of control thug, who is on the hard stuff. Basso is a great character amusing, rogue-ish and sympathetic. The main character Garrett, I mostly liked. Cynical, suspicious, cautious and dangerous but has a believable emotional guilt trip throughout the game. Liked it, although as I said, the story is a bit flimsy. NPC guards are not as dim as 1,2 or 3 and the AI sends them to likely hiding places. They do tend to reassure themselves, calm down and resume their plodding beats rather too quickly. Lip sync & subtitles on some of the cutscenes are poor on several scenes.
Combat has three basic options. You can club someone with your blackjack (including dropping on them from a height), dodge sword blows or fire different types of arrows at an enemy. Although you can upgrade your blackjack & bow several times, Thief aficionados would say that if you are fighting you've failed! Horses for courses and I like to mix it up. The odd arrow through the helmet, an occasional club round the head, but mostly sneaking around, not being seen. Have to say that the grenade arrow is completely OTT. By the end of the game, the blackjack is powerful enough to knock out a charging rhino, which is kind of disappointing.
The controls come in for some criticism, especially the multi use button ('x' on my controller). However, I am totally cool with them except when you need to pick something up and instead you find yourself peering round a corner. A bit annoying.
Overall, I like this game a lot. But it could have been great. Game play excellent, grafs excellent, character excellent, mood and theme excellent, play area excellent, but the story, always the story...
4.5 out of 5