games / Previews

E3 2013: Thief (Xbox One) Preview

June 11, 2013 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris

During E3, another one of the new titles I got to try out was Thief from Square Enix, developed by Eidos Montreal. The demo I got to play was a work-in-progress demo. The game is a first-person shooter where you play as the master thief known as Garrett. The game is set in a fictional world with some Victorian and steampunk-inspired aesthetics. The city in which Garrett resides is under the control of a tyrant called The Baron. Civil unrest is high, and all out war is brewing. In the chaos, Garrett seeks to exploit the situation and steal some rare gems from The Baron. During the demo, Garrett is outside The Baron’s mansion, ready to infiltrate the highly secure building to steal a priceless, rare jewel.

While you play as a master fighter, this is a game that focuses on stealth and staying hidden. With guards and sentries lurking around every corner, it is important to stay hidden in the shadows. Garrett is not a normal human. The shadows render him almost invisible, and you can also activate a special “Focus” vision (basically this game’s version of Detective Mode from the Batman: Arkham series). Being discovered by a guard can basically be a death sentence in this game. Garrett is armed with two special weapons you can use in the demo: his specialized baton and a compound bow armed with a variety of arrow types. The demo looks like it offers a lot of freedom of movement with the nimble Garrett. Garrett can climb and traverse many objects to his advantage. Thankfully the controls are very responsive in this regard. While the focus on the game is on stealth and getting to your goal to steal your quarry, there is a combat aspect. You can engage in hand-to-hand combat with guards. Focus mode helps with this to locate weak spots on guards and quickly knock them out. You can also perform stealth kills, but if you take out a guard you have to drag him out of sight so other patrolling guards do not discover it. The enemy AI looks fairly smart for the game, doing things like turning off the lights in an area can set them off and make them suspicious. So clearly the developers put a lot of thought into this.

Once you infiltrate the mansion, your troubles are not over. You have to locate the hidden room to find The Baron’s jewel. The mansion is littered with booby traps and more guards though. Luckily the demo allows you to locate and disable the traps. The playable demo ends once you find the hidden room and attain the jewel. Besides the stealth and combat aspects, there is a heavy puzzle element to the game as well in the form of unlocking the hidden rooms and chambers.

The environments for the game look immense, beautifully rendered, highly-detailed, and complex. There are lots of nook and crannies in the areas you can explore. The mansion itself has multiple points of infiltration which is nice. Graphics look impressive, even lint particles are present in the air. When there is moonlight shining in the room you can literally see lint floating around.

Thief is set for a release on the Xbox One, PS4, and Windows PC in 2014.

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Jeffrey Harris
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