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THIEF Review

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Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. In case you’ve never heard of the series, they are stealth video games in which the player takes the role of Garrett, a master thief in a fantasy/steampunk world resembling a cross between the late Middle Ages and the Victorian era, with more advanced technologies interspersed. The story within the latest reboot is set several hundreds of years after the events of the original series in the same universe. Clues to the backstory are hidden among documents, plaques, and letters. Don’t be confused, this particular titles protagonist is also called Garrett.

I’ve been a fan of the Thief series since 1998 when Thief: The Dark Project was released by Looking Glass Studios. The games contain a hidden a joy, sneaking into a building and tracking down your target loot whether a painting, vase, piece of jewellery or a letter. The Thief games have always made shadows your friend, and in many ways they were a pioneer when it came to experimenting with lighting in games. As a player, you use the shadows to hide from the guards and as such, hoping they don’t see you. The series from the start has always been about stealth and not confrontation, and this is no different in Eidos Montreal’s take on the game.

So, you the player take the role of Garrett, a master thief who has been hired to steal the Primal Stone. On route to the Primal Stone’s locations, you run into Erin, a female thief of whom Garrett is already acquainted, and discover that stealing the stone is a two person job. Once you reach the location of the stone not all goes to plan and things turn sour leading to the death of Erin. This is the opening mission, and it’s a good one. Throughout it you’ll given very easy to follow and understand tutorials, helping you to understand how the game mechanics work. It’s just the basics, additional mechanics will be introduced later in the game as they unlock. Once this mission is over, you’ll need to steer Garrett to his hideout, the clock tower, and there the game then truly begins.

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Thief is set in an epic fantasy world, fully imagined with no detail left out. It takes fantasy as we know it, blends it with a touch of classic Victorian England and finally adds a dash of some steampunk industrial revolution.  The City is dark and compact which makes traversing the roofs fairly easy and fun, making you feel like an actual thief. Garrett’s handler, Basso, sends the master thief out to steal various objects around the city. At this point Garrett can make his way to the mission point in the city any way he wants or you can go your own way for a while, break into a random house to steal some trinkets – just be careful to make sure the watch isn’t around. Once you make it to the starting point of each mission, they’ll be a brief cut scene and then it’s down to business. This is formula throughout the game.

Of course, being a Master Thief means more than just being great at climbing rooftops, picking locks and knowing how to hide amongst the shadows. A thief needs tools and Garrett has many tools at his disposal to use while sneaking around. You’ll have tools for making distractions, putting out light sources, stunning guards, etc. Aside from his hands, he can use items like his bow with water arrows to put out light sources from a distance, or rope arrows to help him climb. His blackjack is used to knock out guards; the claw is used to hook onto ledges and help pull him up out of range of guards or just to grab those hard to reach ledges. As you progress through the game stealing a variety of common items, these will automatically be turned into gold, this is then used to upgrade or buy new tools. Mission items and unique loot will be stored in the Clock Tower.

Games like Splinter Cell and Metal Gear Solid make sneaking around seem fun, but sneaking around in Thief feels satisfying and with it an immense sense of achievement. There’s nothing like the high that comes with sneaking up on a guard as he’s on his rounds, relieving him of his wallet, keys or whatever else happens to be in his pockets and then fading back into the shadows as silently as you came. If you’ve managed to negotiate your way round a particularly tricky level with some well-placed guards, the sense of achievement and satisfaction from avoiding them using all the tools in your arsenal is great.

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When guards think they see you an eye appears over their heads, the eye slowly fills up as long as you are in their field of view. Once it fills, the guard has seen you and he alerts other guards around him. Once guards are alerted, you can run and try to hide, or fight the guards. Combat in Thief is extremely clumsy and difficult control. Garrett is a Master Thief, not a Master Swordsman. If you engage and fight the guards, try to separate them, more than one at a time will prove tricky. Complete a mission without raising the guard’s suspicions, or engaging in any combat and you’ll be rewarded richly.

One of the tools that Garrett has in his arsenal will help with this; empty bottles. They can be found in the environment and then thrown to distract guards. Pairs will split up to search creating opportunities to slip past them. Be warned, if you try this trick too many times, they’ll be alerted to your presence and call in reinforcements. You can only carry one empty bottle at a time, use it wisely and plan your route.

Any RPG or fantasy title needs a good back story and intertwining side missions and story arcs. A nice touch within Thief is the well placed notes, journals and letters that help keep the player up to speed. They aren’t overly long and detailed, just enough to push the story along at a good pace whilst introducing players to the history and lore of the Thief universe. Other notes can be used to find loot. For example, early in the game players come across a note written by a voyeur detailing where a safe in a house is. Within the safe is a good amount of gold. You’ll also overhear conversations detailing the locations of valuables in the city. For instance, guards outside a jewellery store discussing their rotation patterns etc. To get the most out of Thief, you’ll need to use your eyes and ears in a way many common games don’t require.

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Talking of using your ears, I stumbled across a couple of irritating bugs in the audio. For example during the prologue it is raining when players are trying to make their way to the clock tower. When ducking out of the rain, such as breaking into a jeweller’s store to relieve them of a few trinkets and jewels, the noise of the rain gets dulled just like it should. The annoyance comes from if there is a window open there is no gradual increase in the sound of the rain the closer you get to the window. The sound of the rain is either there or not depending on how close to the window you are. Similarly, when eavesdropping outside a window, the conversation happening on the other side of the glass is heard clear as day, even across the street. This can become off putting when you are making your way through a residential building, but the guards from outside, across the street, can be heard as if they were stood just around the corridors bend. Here’s to hoping an update or future DLC will put this right.

The music in Thief works well and adds to an already tense atmosphere. When spotted, music starts playing to create a sense of urgency to get out of sight and hide. A stealth game like this should be quiet with no music unless spotted, as a thief’s ears are one of his best assets. Thief does this well.

Overall Thief is an enjoyable experience that deserves to be played and explored if you are a fan of stealth games. Trying to figure out a creative way past the guards can be very fun and satisfying, and replaying missions to find all of the collectibles can be quite challenging and rewarding.

Thank you to Xbox for providing the review code

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Thief – Launch Trailer

To celebrate that Garrett, The Master Thief is almost ready to step from the shadows, releasing next, Square Enix and Eidos-Montréal have released the launch Trailer for the game. So take a sneaky peek at the launch trailer containing new sections of gameplay and glimpses at some key encounters that lie in wait for Garrett.

THIEF launches on February 28th for Xbox 360 and Xbox One

 

THIEF – 17 Minute Lockdown Playthrough Video

Thinking of grabbing yourself the new reboot of THIEF, but a little unsure? Today, Square Enix has released a 17-minute playthrough with the aim of showcasing some of the immersive environments and dynamic gameplay that gamers can expect when the title is released later this month.

This short transitional mission takes place immediately after the tutorial at the very beginning of the game After a heist gone horribly wrong; Garrett has to make his way to his hideout in Stonemarket Clocktower. Along the way, he happens upon a jewellery store. Garrett being who he is (The Master Thief), you can see where this is going… He can’t help but break in and steal shiny things.

This specific section was chosen for the playthrough because it demonstrates many of the strengths of the game in a short condensed mission without spoiling any of the plot.

THIEF will be released in Europe on February 28th for Xbox 360, Xbox One and other platforms.

THIEF – Director’s Cut Original Soundtrack Available

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Sumthing Else Music Works, who are best known for being dedicated to licensing and distributing video game soundtracks, proudly presents THIEF: Director’s Cut Original Soundtrack, featuring the original music score from the highly anticipated next generation action-stealth videogame published by SQUARE ENIX and developed by Eidos-Montréal. The THIEF Original Soundtrack is scheduled for a worldwide physical release on February 25th, 2014 to retail outlets through Sumthing Else Music Works, and simultaneously for digital download at iTunes, Amazon.com, Sumthing.com, and other digital music sites.

Composer Luc St. Pierre’s dark, ominous and atmospheric original score for THIEF draws on a variety of dramatic musical influences including classical orchestra recorded with the FILMharmonic Orchestra Prague, as well as electroacoustic compositions and electronic soundscapes.

Garrett, the Master Thief, steps out of the shadows into The City. With the Baron’s Watch spreading a rising tide of fear and oppression, a mysterious sickness grips the streets. Led by Orion, the voice of the people, the citizens rise in bloody revolution. Garrett’s thieving skills are all he can trust as he walks the fine line between politics and the people, entangled in layers of conflict. With time running out, the Master Thief unravels a terrible secret from his dark past that ultimately threatens to tear his world apart.

THIEF is released for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on February 25th, 2014 in North America and on February 28th, 2014 in all other regions.

Thief – Tales from the City Part 3 – The Thief Taker General’s Hunt

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Thief continues its run to launch with the third part of Takes From the City, the preview series introducing us to the world in the game Thief.

The Thief Taker General is Commander of the Baron’s Watch; his main motive… to hunt and hang every thief in The City and he is hell-bent on capturing the prize that he desires most; Garrett, the Master Thief.

The Thief Taker General is corrupt to the bone, using fear to enforce an exorbitant ‘black tax’ on members of the underworld; those who don’t pay find themselves at the end of a noose. The Thief Taker General also runs a grisly large-scale operation where the bodies of the victims who have died from the mysterious sickness known as ‘The Gloom’ are collected and stripped bare, everything of value is stolen from their cold, stiff corpses; clothes, jewellery – even artificial limbs and gold teeth. So who is the biggest Thief in The City?

THIEF will be in your hands on February 28th for Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Thief – New 101 Trailer

In this feature trailer, you will learn everything you need to know about Thief. Releasing for Xbox 360 and Xbox One February 25th.

You play as Garrett, the Master Thief. Back from the shadows in a City brought to its knees by sickness and oppression, you’ll need to use all the skills and tools in your arsenal to find the truth… before your enemies find you. After all, you are a thief, not a saviour, and the political affairs of the City matter much less to you than the shiny possessions of its noblest citizens

From the studio that brought you Deus Ex: Human Revolution, this game looks like a great return to the series of old, really has the same feel that last year’s Tomb Raider reboot managed to accomplish for bringing an old gaming series right back to the present.

Eidos Montreal Has a New 3rd-person Action-Adventure In Development for Xbox One

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Eidos Montreal is said to be at work on a new (as yet unannounced) third-person action-adventure game that will also be released on Xbox One. This is according to the LinkedIn profiles of various employees who have been slaving away at the development since November 2013 following the completion of THIEF.

So far two different members of the development team at the Eidos Montreal studio have updated their LinkedIn profiles to include mentions of this unannounced game. Both the senior game designer and level artist started work on the title since November 2013 as confirmed by those two dev’s. For the record, Eidos Montreal are currently developing a next-gen Deus Ex title and will release THIEF next month, but the new development is unrelated – nothing “official” has yet been announced.

We’ll keep you updated in due course and keeping everything including our balls crossed this is not Kane & Lynch goes next-gen!

Thanks VideoGamer

THIEF: Stories From The City – The Queen of the Beggars Sees All

Today the second story in ‘Stories From The City’ is released. Each trailer tells the story from the perspective of a different character from the game’s story, describing life in the city. This time players are introduced to the mysterious sickness known as ‘The Gloom’.

“Let me tell you about the City. We both know a thing or two about survival. We have grown old together.

Time and again it has been brought down, only to rise from its own ashes.
But this time is different. The balance has shifted;

There will be blood. Seeping, oozing; bleeding from every artery in this city.
But still… there is one who may yet be the key.

One who fears the light inside him as much as the darkness.
Yes… He will do nicely”

Nobody knows how old the Queen of the Beggars actually is; rumor has it she’s as old as The City itself. Some say that although she is blind – she sees through the eyes of the rats that riddle the city streets. Despite being on the lowest layer of society, the Queen of the Beggars operates the beggar’s court with more respect, diplomacy and wisdom, than many of the people with real positions of power in the City. She is a wise, some say all knowing character whose words, beliefs and judgements should be revered.

THIEF is released for Xbox One February 2014

 

Thief – Stories From The City Part 1 Trailer

 

Square Enix has today released the first trailer in a new series of stylized videos that focus on the rich tapestry of THIEF ; its City and its characters.

Each trailer in this new series tells the story of The City from the perspective of a different character in THIEF’s narrative describing what life is like in the broken, repressed City that is being ravaged by the evil Baron Northcrest and the mysterious sickness known as ‘The Gloom’.

The first trailer focuses on Basso, a former boxman (safe-cracker) turned fence, who uses his vast connections to The City’s underworld to organize thieving jobs for Garrett. He owns an intelligent, but bad tempered magpie called Jenivere who delivers messages for him. Garrett might consider himself a loner, but Basso is the nearest thing he has to a friend – and whether he readily admits it or not; he rather likes the fellow.

THIEF launches on February 25, 2014 in North America on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.