by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
A thief, but not a master thief
Protagonist Garrett plies his trade as a Master Thief in the Victorian, somewhat London-like locale known simply as The City. His title is well deserved, too. He moves about the various locations throughout the city like some sort of Gothic ninja, collecting loot 'found' lying around the by the citizens of the city. He picks locks like a boss, knows exactly which paintings are disguises for wall safes and has an uncanny knack for evading any local security personnel with ease. Surely, he should be putting his valuable skills towards a much more worthwhile pursuit. Indeed, if he could fight a little better, he could be Batman with all his stealthy abilities.
Not unlike Batman, Garrett has a handy arsenal of tools and gadgets available. A grappling hook and specialized arrows to help him reach higher areas, some lethal arrows to dispose of unsuspecting foes, fire arrows which can turn flammable substances into blazing balls of heat, water arrows which can be used to douse the aforementioned fires or simply put out candles from afar. And then there is a plethora of blunt arrows that he can use to activate levers and switches from afar and even distract guards from their normal course. As I said, if it weren’t for his kleptomaniacal tendencies and poor fighting skills, he could have been the caped crusader.
Thief's main story arc is unfortunately quite linear, and to a small degree a tad bland. Though there are often multiple ways to progress through the game, the game pushes you down a narrow path. I felt that this was somewhat counterproductive. I would expect a master thief to be able to find different ways in which to enter a building. I was especially disappointed with the climbing aspect. There are places that you would -expect- Garrett to reach with a jump or a grappling hook, but were unable to because the game simply wasn't designed to allow you to do that there. Thank God for the side missions, as they tend to lighten up the gameplay somewhat, and allow Garrett to shine.
Loot is scattered around The City, giving the impression that the citizens were out partying one night and dropped many of their possessions whilst drunk. Garrett is required to search through cabinets and desk drawers once inside the homes of the rich though, if he wants to top up his treasure trove. The value of this treasure can then be used to buy upgrades for his bow.
As expected of a master thief, Garrett possesses a number of handy skills. Lock-picking enables him to access the treasures hidden inside safes, but the skill also enables him to enter fenced off areas, by picking the lock at the gates. The mechanic works well, requiring the player to move the mouse around until an indicator lights up signifying the correct spot, not dissimilar to the lock-picking mechanism of Bioshock Infinite. The locks are fairly simple for the most part, and there’s rarely a time when Garrett cannot crack them.
Garrett also has a special Focus ability. When using this ability, areas of the environment that can be used are highlighted in blue. It is often these points that enable Garrett to continue on his journey. Indeed, it works quite well as a hint system if ever you get stuck. Another function that helps the gamer control Garrett is the light meter. As Garrett moves around, the light meter indicates whether he is hidden in the shadows or is out in full view. For the most part it is unnecessary, but there are times when it can come in handy. Also, when in the dark, Garrett has a special ability when crouching that allows him to quickly move from one hidden location to another. This too, helps to keep him in the shadows. Indeed, all his available skills complement the stealthy nature of the game.
The designers have done their best to ensure the game is played as a stealth game
Story is a little bland