Some bad points now.
While the game has great sound effects and positioning, like the previous titles in the series, there’s also, quite frequently, choppy Dolby Digital audio. I know this isn’t me because it doesn’t happen on other games, nor using same amplifier and cables in any other capacity. It doesn’t happen massively often, but it does take you out of the moment.
Graphics-wise, things are… okay, but not something you’d write home about. Not that Garrett would write home, as the postmark would give away his location… you get the idea.
As before, the game has lots of loading screens. Why? My PS3 has a massive 1Tb hard drive. Why can’t the game be installed onto that – with a requirement for the disc’s prescence, so as not to encourage the real-life Garretts – so I don’t have to suffer these?
The enemy AI never seems to improve, meaning they’re rather thick much too often. You can kill someone and leave the body out for them to find, then go and hide, and they’ll run about for a while to try and find you, but if you run away, nip round the corner then crouch and stay hidden then it doesn’t take long before they give up and carry on their usual route.
In addition, and as before, after killing the baddies, why can’t I pick up their weapons? I could in the first two games, but not with 3 & 4.
Also, one time I approached a lit fire with two people standing next to it. From a distance, I put it out with a water arrow, then sneaked past them and they made NO comment about the fact they were suddenly in the dark! WT F?! Even previous games in the series wouldn’t have been this lax.
The prologue is a training level – run and jump, steal some basic stuff, avoid the light and stay in the shadows. I expected more from subsequent levels but they just don’t feel very involved or scary. Basically, it doesn’t feel very ‘Thief’. You can skip past baddies when it’s bright if you ‘swoop’ past them with the press of a button, which rather kills any suspense it should have. This leaves the game as just a lot of simple looting while creeping up behind people and knocking them out.
And the major mistake here? It’s that the unique voice of the first three games, Stephen Russell, has been replaced – without explanation – by Romano Orzari. Who? Exactly. Garrett doesn’t feel like you’re playing Garrett. If they couldn’t have brought back Mr Russell, they should’ve changed the name of the main character.
Oh, and Square Enix pull the same trick they did with Hitman: Absolution by sometimes getting CGI clips to finish off the level for you(!)
I don’t want games to be easy, but when it comes to faffing about in dark catacombs for what feels like forever, I find that plain irritating. Levels can take an hour or so to wade through, and that’s before you even start the chapter, which itself is a bunch of unexciting street-walking as you go from A to B wondering whether or not the level has started yet. That’s bad design. Hour-long levels really do my head in, in any game. I’m not saying we need games that last 3 minutes as I do like to get stuck into a game, but 20-30 mins tops is enough, surely? That was the average length of a level in Call of Duty: Ghosts.
By comparison, Beyond Two Souls was a relative oddity as some levels lasted a few minutes, while a couple of others were almost 80 minutes!
And regarding the dark catacombs, yes, I know the place isn’t meant to be full of light, so Garrett can get about without being seen, but don’t make the gameplay arenas more frustrating than the maze in The Shining(!)
At one point in level 3, Garrett moans, “I can’t wait for all this to be over”. I know how he feels.
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- Publisher: Square Enix
- Players: single player campaign
- HDTV options: 720p/1080i/1080p
- Dolby Digital 5.1 sound: Yes
- Spoken language: English
- Subtitles: English
Writers: Steven Gallagher, Mathieu Lariviére, Ivan Mulkeen, Rhianna Pratchett, Ian Ryan, Ben Schroder and Craig Towsley
Music: Luc St Pierre
Garrett: Romano Orzari
Orion: Daniel Kash
Erin: Vanessa Matsui
Thief Taker General: Matthew Edison
Queen of the Beggars: Renne-Madeleine Leguerrier
Basso: Harry Standjofski
The Baron: Michael Copeman
Madame Xiao Xiao/Mercs/Beggars: Eric Davis
Watchman/Beggars: Matt Holland
Watchman/Mercs: Al Goulem
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.