Thief: Retrospect #1

Very few Stealth games have come out in the past couple  years. Most games that have stealth mechanics make it more of an afterthought and a viable option rather than a necessity. This lack of focus is a product of developers attempt at making their games more accessible to gaming’s growing audience. However with this new blended style comes a lack of straight up stealth games. That is not to say that they don’t exist anymore it is just that they have decreased in number.                                                                                              However well searching for something to play this weekend I happened upon the Thief series (Excluding the 2014 reboot) and decided to start with Thief 2 due to it’s well balanced difficulty. I now after () of game time realize why they are hailed as not only Stealth masterpieces but as pillars of good game design. For those not familiar with thief they are stealth games based in a dark fantasy/steam-punk named, well, The City. Players control the endearingly cynical garret, a master thief and (According to deadly shadows) a real ladies man.                                                                                                                                  The              older character models take a little getting used to but overall it looked wonderful for it’s time and even today the overall aesthetic still holds it’s own. The maps in Thief are massive, and have multiple secrets and hidden entrances. Each map is diverse in it’s layout and design, in one map you will go from swimming through pipes, to hidden cave system that opens up to a police station which is situated above a haunted dungeon. They are massive. However due to technical limitations they lack detail but for it’s age it is amazing that there is not a single loading screen in a hour long level.                                                   The audio design on display here is amazing. For the most part the levels have little ambient noise and barely and music which accentuates  footsteps and guards idle chatter which does miracles in the way of building tension as guards approach your hiding spot or hidden bodies. I have yet to write of the elephant in the room: Gameplay and that is due to how  interwoven all the aspects of Thief. The beauty of Thief is how it handles stealth. Sneaking about a level is free form and intense due to level and audio design and is exciting due to the originality of the places you discover around any given area.                             True to it’s title Thief has you pilfering candlesticks bars of gold and literal stacks of cash. This ties in nicely with the the heavy focus on exploration and risk versus reward mentality that comes with exploring a level and risking discovery. before a mission you get to use previously stolen money to stock up on gear for your next foray into private property. Every piece of equipment is incredibly and although the the default loadout is adequate it never hurts to bring more health potions or water arrows. Shadows are your best friend here and you should try to avoid going into lamplight unless hidden.                            The interface is clean and concise with a gem (which indicates light) and a small line (which changes color depending on the noise you are making). The control scheme allows for a good amount of control on how Garret moves and acts. Thief is truly a gem of a past age. A relic of the golden age of stealth an age that we can only hope comes again.

Sincerely,

Earlegrey

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