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Thief review round-up: reboot's flaws rob game of true greatness

All the verdicts in one place

In our Thief review, we said the game "doesn't deliver on all of its swagbag of stolen promises, but still outshines many new-gen titles".

"Finding routes through the levels peaceably and intact is a genuine challenge on the normal 'Thief' difficulty - and with the aids turned off, it gets much, much harder," said our reviewer.

"Add in the custom difficulty modes, which allow you to recreate old Thief - indeed, which allow you to make a much harder game than any Thief - and it's an enjoyable, challenging customisable sandbox. It's just sad that the main story and The City itself don't match up to the toolset Eidos Montreal has created."

Websites far and wide have been dishing out their verdicts on the game and, as always, we've collected them up and stashed some excerpts below in a review round-up.

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  • GamesRadar: 3.5/5 - Thief maintains the strengths of its stealth-centric predecessors and offers plenty in the way of actual thievery, but don't expect any fun, new gameplay mechanics or an enchanting story in this reboot.
  • Joystiq: 4/5 - Thief is best when it sticks to the involving, slow-paced stealth that made its ancestor such a tense affair. In its subtle moments, Eidos Montreal gives your creeping a sense of closeness and texture, in a game where you almost always have your nose pressed against things. Much like Garrett, Thief succeeds while quiet, fingers reaching out and almost - almost - touching an irresistible spread of glittering prizes.
  • GameTrailers: 7.5/10 - When you've found your place in its skewed world, Thief can surprise you, summoning up a thick atmosphere of mystery and unease in a moment's notice and drawing you into the shadows. Sometimes, though, you may see things you don't want to see. The game's technical performance feels like a struggle at times on both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, and after a strong buildup that takes you through cleverly designed missions and well-considered spaces, the game departs from its strengths in an attempt to build dramatic confrontations at the end of the game. It's not exactly a perfect run for Garrett, but players will still find many things worth taking.
  • RockPaperShotGun: No score - Some will be furious about one aspect or other, and they will be loud about it on the internet. The context sensitive jump/climb/swoop button is going to be the launch pad that fires a lot of people out of the game in abject fury. But the truth is, I've had a fantastic time playing it. For where it falls short, it far more often had me crouched in a shadow, heart racing, waiting for the perfect moment to dart past a guard's routine. It may be the fourth best Thief game, but it's a damned fine game in its own rights.
  • Official PlayStation Magazine: 7/10 - Let the shortcomings slide and there's still pleasure to be had skulking around the City and being swept up in moments of both scripted and spontaneous excellence, but Thief's stripped-back gameplay and dumb AI leave it in the shadows where it'll be neither reviled nor remembered. Neither the disaster some anticipated nor a reinvigorated reboot akin to Deus Ex: HR. Thief is worth it for the setting and hardcore stealth, but it's marred by some poor AI and passive gameplay.
  • Total Xbox: 7/10 - Towards the end of the game, I spent 15 minutes circling a storeroom in the company of a single guard, gradually divesting it and him of every valuable object. I was discovered, in the end, when another guard walked through the area below: the light of his torch shone through cracks in the floor, illuminating me in the act of picking a safe. During such moments, it's obvious that Eidos Montreal could make a masterful Thief game. Given a few more months in the shadows, this could have been it.
  • Polygon: 6/10 - There are elements of a better game in Thief - maybe even a great one. I enjoyed Garrett's adventure when it was about stealing, when it was about getting into a structure creatively and sneaking away, about accumulating and spending loot. But I wanted much more of that breaking and entering than it was willing to give me. Thief never quite pulls it together. Instead, too often, I felt like a mouse in a narrow hallway filled with cats.
  • Digital Spy: 4/5 - While the game does have its faults - particularly falling apart when Garrett is spotted - Thief excels in the shadows as a pure stealth title, becoming increasingly enjoyable as your skills improve.
  • PC Gamer: 79/100 - Whether you are heartbroken or merely disappointed by Thief's muddled sense of self will depend on exactly how invested you are in PC gaming's creation myth. This is a decent stealth game that feels nice to play, and that'll be enough for many - and if you feared the worst, you can rest a little easier. But the thing about evading disaster is that sometimes greatness slips away too.
  • IGN: 6.8/10 - Thief has some strong stealth mechanics going for it, and getting away unseen with a big haul of loot can be an enormous challenge, but doesn't always put that to good use. Between the hit-or-miss missions is an extremely annoying city hub map and a weak story full of bland characters, and Garrett himself isn't as sure-footed as a master thief ought to be. Ignoring the story and cherrypicking the best side missions is the best way to approach it.
  • Destructoid: 7.5/10 - Thief is a great escape for those of you who yearn for more stealth experiences, but it doesn't really offer up anything exciting. The story and characters are somewhat forgettable, most of the missions are straight-forward, and the locales tend to blend together after a while. Having said that, there's a lot of potential here if you dig deep down into the game's ingenious difficulty sliders and challenge modes. In that sense, Thief succeeds as a bold stealth game, despite its bruises.
  • God Is A Geek: 8/10 - With sharper AI and more considered NPC behaviour, Thief could have been a masterpiece. There are true flashes of brilliance, and they're not rare, but they're almost always offset by something that breaks the immersion or otherwise shakes the foundations of the game world. Not one of Thief's flaws are a major problem, but together they rob this reboot of true greatness. Still, for fans of macabre stealth there's nothing like it on PS4 or Xbox One, and despite a few issues, Thief does a solid job of satisfying the kleptomaniac within all of us.

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