Feb 25th marked the release of one of my most anticipated games of 2014, Thief. Having played a lot of games like Assassin's Creed I was supremely interested to see what could be done for open ended stealth based gameplay on the next generation of consoles, so after a long tuesday at work I cancelled my Amazon pre-order that didn't show up as promised and walked by Bestbuy on the way home to grab the game. Having psyched myself up to play the game, upon walking in the door I stripped off all my outerwear and boots and slipped the disc into the Xbone. "Perfect," I thought to myself. "The wife is out, it's only 7, lots of time to get into the new game and see what it's all about." But as everything booted up and I grabbed my chips and beer I remembered what one of my biggest gripes with the new system is, the very lengthy install time. On the 360 you had a choice to play off the disc or install it to the HDD, and while every game I played a lot did get installed, that never happened on day one until I was done playing and tucked away in bed. So how long did it take to install the game? Well I got home at 7 and was in bed by 11:30 and only had 2 hours of game time, if you don't want to do the math the answer is: Too fucking long!
I did get time with the game however, and now, a couple days later I can write a bit about it. After watching all the trailers and footage before the game came out, my expectations were high. And the visuals delivered. The game is beautiful, the character models look great, the clothing has a natural flow and movement about it and the shadows fall perfectly on the the landscape around you. Even the cut scenes rival those we are used to from Blizzard.
Playing through the prologue Thief certainly lived up to expectations. As is always the case the intro has a ton of the backstory and a tutorial type mission where you are directed in a very linear fashion, forced, at every turn to use skills and interact with objects as you are taught to use the basic controls that will aid you in game. Usually this is boring as hell and assumes the player is, at best, an infant in their game playing ability. But Eidos does a great job at making it mostly interesting and not stealing too much of your game play with the mundane.
Garrett wakes up one year later after dieing in the prologue mission, apparently rescued by a couple beggars. Perfect, I’m awake, I can get on playing and exploring the wide open world those Quebecers have made for me, right? Wrong. Having played a lot of Assassin’s Creed, Dragon Age, Skyrim and Mass Effect where the possibilities to find side quests and stumble across random things are seemingly endless, the directed and closed off environment were an immediate disappointment. What’s the point of creating such a well detailed world if you can’t explore it? They promised all sorts of side jobs and heists all over, and while there are side jobs it really feels like you have to force yourself off the main questline to do any of them. Choke points are created all over because of the doorways from one section of town to another, and when you check your map to see how to get from one spot to another the shortest route never works, with you often getting taken on the same, too long, path over and over again with nothing new to see or do. At this point I am only a couple hours into the actual game so I will hope that at some point the world opens up into something more exciting.
But for now, when I get bored of Thief, I can always have a ridiculous good time with the other game that came out on the 25th, Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare… hilarious.