NYCC 13: Thief Preview
We've always been taught to fear what lurks in shadows. Bereft of light, the dangers concealed within the shade could be terrifying. We never know what hides in the black because it might be something we don't want to confront. In the comfort of light, you're safe. But what if you were that terror in the shadow? In Eidos Montreal's Thief, light is your greatest enemy. And the dark? The dark is your home.
At New York Comic Con, we were given a taste of what to expect from Garrett's latest adventure in the form of four missions taking place early in the game. Before we started exploring the area though, we took a quick tour of Garrett's clock tower home. The tower acts as a hub, where you can check-in between missions to see all the major goods you've acquired. It was a bit barren at the moment, as Garrett had yet to really start relieving the denizens of Thief's world from their valuables. Still, we couldn't wait to begin building our collection, so off we went to Stone Market to meet with our old friend, Besso.
Besso offered us a handful of items to procure from various citizens, including a fancy mirror, a painting, a pen and an ornate watch. Sneaking through the city while avoiding the guards was relatively easy at first, as they all had patterned routes and the nighttime shadows concealed our movements. Using cover, and peeking around corners helped us stay out of sight, but also let us see when it was safe to move. We also had the ability to use Focus to see enemy footfalls through walls.
For the most part, getting in and out of all the homes was a breeze. Most of these smaller items were all within the single room available for exploration, and with most residents asleep, the fear of being caught was minimal. On one job, we did have to search a painting to find a hidden switch, but it merely required running our hands around the frame, and hitting the right trigger when we found the lock. It's a good way to relate what Garrett is doing to a controller, but it's not hard to do in the least. It wasn't until we acquired the watch that things got interesting. You see, the watch was in the hands of another thief who had grand designs on stealing the mechanical hand of a government official. The thief probably would have been able to do it, too, if we hadn't stumbled upon his dead body.
Taking the initiative to heist the hand, we sneaked through the alleyways leading to a tailor shop on the outskirts of town. Inside, guards roamed the shop while the tailor worked under constant threat to get his work done for the official. There were a few paths into the shop, and we opted to climb in through the open window on the second floor. The several guards upstairs made it difficult going the first time through, as we learned the hard way you don't want to be caught in the open. Garrett isn't nearly powerful enough to take on multiple guards brandishing swords, nor should he be. Thief is about avoiding this kind of contact, so the second time through, we were doubly cautious when tiptoeing through the tailor's living quarters.
Blowing out candles and ducking into dressers proved key in avoiding the watchful eyes of the guards, and sticking to whatever shadows we could find helped us remain undetected as we worked our way into the basement. There, we found a safe to crack. Working the tumblers required rotating the right stick around to find the sweet spot, but we had to act quickly as the basement was lit well, and there was a guard circling back to the area. Once the hand was in our possession, we then had to sneak back outside, which proved to be a bit more difficult than we envisioned. The guards had changed their pattern, and we were met with some brute force outside the tailor shop. Opting to flee to the shadows, we quickly ran through the streets until Garrett was safely positioned out of sight. With the goods in tow, and the guards unaware of our position, we retired back to the clock tower to enjoy the spoils of the night's take.
It's been nearly a decade since a Thief game has graced consoles and PCs, but Eidos Montreal has finally gotten the franchise back on track. After our time with this new entry, we're optimistic fans and newcomers will find plenty to enjoy about living in the shadows. We just hope the final game has more variety and challenge to offer. Out of five missions, only one provided any real difficulty, making the world of Stone Market easy pickings for someone as talented as Garrett.
Thief is due out on Feb. 25, 2014 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.