Thief First Look - Prima Games

Thief First Look

by Prima Games Staff

There’s something about playing a renegade on the opposite end of the law that’s purely fascinating, not only discovering what drives him to continue breaking it, but watching him or her do so with the utmost skill of a master criminal. The classic Thief games from Eidos managed to do this, and the latest game in the series, which will arrive on consoles next year, looks to continue the trend.

Players once again take control of Garrett, the main star as the series, as he continues his quest to steal from the rich for those less fortunate. That doesn’t mean this is a Robin Hood tale, though – Garrett provides far more skills that make him capable of breaking into highly guarded areas to steal priceless goods. You’ll also need to worry about getting back out, as a larger presence of thugs and surrounding conditions to your escape route – like running through a structure crumbling in fire – adds complications.

Fortunately, Garrett is not here on amateur hour. Thief puts his skills on full display, allowing him to take out a thug with ease – not a group, this isn’t Assassin’s Creed – and sneak back into the shadows before he’s even noticed.

There’s one particular mission in the beginning that shows just what Garrett can do when the situation calls for it. He makes his way to a mansion owned by the nefarious Baron, setting out to steal a relic known as the Heart of the Lion. As expected, guards are on full alert upon hearing about Garrett’s antics, but that doesn’t even faze him.

That’s because, along with his first-person tools, including a lock pick and weapons, he also has “Focus” abilities. Using these, Garrett can get out of an enemy’s range much more quickly, as he can slow down time for a quicker evasion, as well as countering an incoming attack. He’ll also be more capable of pickpocketing, which an otherwise alert person might notice going at normal speed. You’ll have to use this ability sparingly, and keep in mind it won’t even be present at all on the game’s higher difficulty settings.

Thus far, Eidos Montreal has done a suitable job nailing the stealth feel of the game. You’re able to jump onto ledges out of guards’ views, sneak along walls, and “feel” your way around crevasses for possible secret entries. The Baron’s mansion, after all, comes with an assortment of hidden walkways that will help you get through guarded areas with ease.

That doesn’t mean the game will be easy all the time, though. Guards will be on full alert most of the time, and aware of any hiding spots that are perfect for hiding. Not to worry, as you aren’t defenseless. Though you don’t want to get in a heavy combat situation, you’ll have no problem dispatching guards with the help of your blackjack club – which folds up for easy carrying – as well as a compound bow, which you can use for distance shooting and distraction. You’ll want to save these for vital moments in the game, as Garrett is more about acrobatic physicality instead of all-out warrior. That said, he can definitely hold his own in a one-on-one scenario.

Speaking of physicality, it really makes a difference in this game, as you can access higher ledges with ease, whether by climbing over to them or using a grappling claw in order to work your way up. You’ll want to use the environment to your advantage, so that it seems like you were never even there. Noise plays a big part in the game, because the louder you are, the more likely you’ll be discovered. Stealth players will love the set-ups here, and savor the rewards they reap from collecting the goods.

Once you successfully complete a mission and collect your rewards, you can power up Garrett’s abilities however you choose. Want a better lock-pick? Maybe you prefer a better club for those close encounters? You can purchase whatever supplies and equipment you need, and then set a course for your next mission.

Some people may feel that Thief borrows a bit from Bethesda’s stealth/action game Dishonored, which was a big hit last year. In actuality, however, Thief set the mark for stealth action first, and it’s simply returning to its roots. The first-person perspective is quite similar to Bethesda’s game, but its play nuances definitely set it apart, especially when it comes to combat and striving to stay out of a guard’s sight. We’ll break down some of the better strategic techniques in the game closer to its release, to give you an idea just how much it stands apart.

With a huge sandbox world to explore, great mission set-ups and plenty of stealth action to keep you on your toes, Thief should have no problem stealing your money when it arrives on February 25th for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

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