Thief 4 (PS4)
Genre: Action/Adventure - Manufacturer: Square Enix - Age Rating: 18+
5 reviews from the community
Review of "Thief 4 (PS4)"
Journalling more for myself than anything else now, so I don't expect reads or rates!
Thief 4 isn’t the style of game I would usually pick up and yet somehow it appealed to me enough that I grabbed it second hand and then took nearly twelve months before I actually played it. I’m smart like that. Thief is a game which drew me in gradually through clever gameplay mechanics and a variety of different ways of playing to draw me into it and refuse to let me leave. Classed as a stealth video game, it’s about as far away from my steady RPG’s as you can possibly hope to get and yet somehow, it has something quite special about it.As you can probably guess from the title, your main character Garrett is a thief. He steals anything that isn’t nailed down…and a few things that are. The aim of the game is to sneak around and steal stuff, whilst completing main story missions. All in all, a very different game indeed to what I am used to. The game can be played in a variety of ways; you can play it as a stealth game, sticking to the shadows and trying to avoid confrontation. You can play it as an attempted stealth game where you fail miserably at the above and end up using fists to get you out of pickles, resulting in dead guards ahoy. Or you can play it as a stealthy assassin, using your sneaking skills to get through the shadows, creep up behind someone and slitting their throat.
The storyline is dark and intriguing although never becomes particularly brilliant, with several moments that felt like lost opportunities, however it’s more than enough to pull you into the gameplay. The plot is somewhat disjointed as it’s made up of a load of individual missions that struggle to come together as a whole and whilst there is a storyline behind everything, it often feels as though you are just doing thieving jobs for important people. You find out crucial information often completely accidentally and the plot isn’t the world’s deepest or most in depth.That however matters little because the game is absolute genius in its gameplay and had me hooked from very early on. You sneak, creep and hide in shadows to get to your next objective point. You have to dodge guards who can’t be allowed to see you, pick locks, steal treasure and generally get from A to B with as much loot as possible. Sorted! There are loads of different environments in which to try your skills out as well; dark alleyways, meat factories where the meat is a little too human for my liking, an asylum and more mundane places like houses and shops.
Throughout all of these environments you can interact with the environment, so you can dash from one shadowed area to another or jump up onto hooks and wait unseen above whilst guards prowl down below. You can then happily jump down and snap their necks whilst they aren’t looking if you can’t be bothered to wait for them to get out of your way. Likewise, there are different routes you can take to get to the same place and so whilst the game is fairly linear in its make-up it has a great deal of replay values because you can try out different approaches and different routes through the city to get to your destination.There are other mechanics that you can put to good use during the game, for example fire arrows and water arrows that can either light or put out fire. Unfortunately these are often of limited use as guards will relight fires close to them and it alerts them that you are nearby so you have to hide out of sight for a while. Getting through the game in sneak mode is hard. The game is therefore as difficult or as easy as you make it; firstly you can set the difficulty settings but additionally you can play to get through unseen and without additional help from the Focus gauge for example.
The Focus setting is kind of like a cheat gauge and if I were more experienced with this genre of game, I would probably have tried not to use it. Effectively it lights up areas that you can interact with blue so you can see close by objects you can interact with. That might be a grate you can grab hold of or a purse you can swipe or a door you can open… it’s a useful tool to give yourself a clue as to what to do next.The level of difficulty is drastically different though depending on whether you try and get through completely unseen or whether you are happy to drop a few bodies on route to success. The former approach is going to be more lengthy and pain staking and require a few (or more) restarts. The latter approach is significantly more haphazard and violent, but quicker and undoubtedly easier once you have the hand of combat. I went through the first half of the game in utter sneak mode because I couldn’t figure out how to kill people. I am actually that good.
The game also scores you based on what approach you took; so whether you acted like a thief, an assassin or a common thug although they put it rather more subtly than that! This does mean that you can try the same level multiple times and you can see how much your approach has changed depending on actions you have taken. I can be distinctly obsessive over things and so this quite appealed to me!Overall, I found this to be a very tense game to play which left me with very sweaty hands throughout the entire game. I got caught lots. I died lots. I restarted levels or areas lots. I also thoroughly enjoyed doing so, despite the frustration of this! I particularly enjoyed trying to get through without being seen but the knowledge that you have a chance to defend yourself if you are caught…providing you remember to hide the body where another guard won’t think of looking.
Despite my best efforts I was repeatedly discovered by guards and therefore lost the level; this suggests to me that the AI of the guards is set at a reasonable level on the normal difficulty. I would anticipate it being better on the harder difficulty but ah, I’m not ready for that just yet. Nope, not me sirree! There were many occasions where my lock picking skills fumbled and I woke a sleeping guard…and failed. Or I was a noisy sod and woke a sleeping guard…and failed. Or I left a safe door or a jewellery cabinet open…and failed. Or I fumbled a dash or stood too far in the open or simply didn’t get my route right and landed right in a guards eyeline…and failed. Or possibly most stupidly, tried to pickpocket a guard, got caught…and ah, failed.Effectively, although the guards AI isn’t as alert as a human could potentially be, it’s high level enough to be a challenge for those trying to sneak by unseen. The darkness of the game means that actually you can kind of see why a guard might not spot you lurking in the shadows. They certainly do notice ajar gates that should be locked, open safes and locked cabinets that have mysteriously become unlocked. Although they patrol set routes and so you can try to avoid them by learning the routes, they also come off the routes once they are on high alert so even if only one guard actually patrols a set area you can easily find yourself set upon by three guards if he sees you.
One of the main complaints from those with an invested interest in the series was that the PS4 version is a dumbed down version that isn’t as good as the original games. Never having played the originals I can’t comment from my own experience, however there are clearly concerns about it being too linear and the storyline being weaker than it should be. From the linear point of view, yes, I can see that although it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the game. The game doesn’t let you roam freely and there are ledges that look jumpable but can’t be accessed and there are passages or areas you simply can’t access. Not having expected anything other than what I got however, I would say this doesn’t ruin the game and it isn’t as linear and unbending as some games.In terms of the plot, again, the complaints are probably justified. In reality, the plot is rather thin. However as the majority of the entertainment in the gameplay is from sneaking around and trying to complete objectives – regardless how thin the justification may be – again, this doesn’t spoil the enjoyment of the game. Or at least it didn’t for me. I would certainly be interested in trying some of the older Thief games though to see what all the hype is about.
This is officially an 18 rated game and whilst I would agree that it is aimed at a more mature audience, I’d have put it at 15 rather than 18. There are some obvious moral issues; you are playing a skilled thief who is utterly unapologetic for his actions. This is not thieving to feed your starving kids, this is thieving for the joy of the thieving and it is the core of the game. There is some rather obvious and vicious violence, although you are encouraged to play with stealth not violence. You can however kill characters and innocent civilians if you choose and whilst it isn’t gory, it is graphic. There is a chapter set in a bordello where you see topless women with men and suggestive movement and there is quite a lot of profanity including f***. Effectively, as per usual, parental judgement but I’d say a mature 15 is probably fine…It can be picked up cheap on Amazon though at £14 and offers at least 15 hours of gameplay even if you don’t want to play through again with different styles. There is the obvious repay value inherent in that which can add many more hours to your gaming adventure and the collectibles where any completionist is going to want to finalise. The game offers the usual PlayStation trophies which are in some ways pointless and yet have become a major draw for me in PlayStation rather than Nintendo.
Do I Recommend?
Yes, even if you’re not usually into the stealth kind of game this looks good, plays well and is challenging without being impossible – although of course you can put the settings up to that if you are feeling brave!!! I’ve been more than impressed with this game and pleasantly surprised with how drawing it is and how much I wanted to come back and play some more.
She was a liar and he was a thief
Suspended inside different stages of grief
When nobody listened despite how she sung
She learnt to twist truth on the tip of her tongue
His pockets were laden with diamonds and keys
So no one would notice the blood on his knees
They lived worlds apart but one thing they both knew
'I'm fine' sounds the same even when it's not true.
Product Information : Thief 4 (PS4)
Manufacturer's product descriptionGenre: Action/Adventure - Manufacturer: Square Enix - Age Rating: 18+
Developer: Eidos Studios - Montreal
Long Name: Thief 4
Release Date: 2014
Manufacturer: Square Enix
Listed on Ciao since: 03/07/2013