Garrett snuffs out a candle flame as he stalks through the closed jewelry shop, inches away from a snoring guard. While the jeweler toils in his basement and his wife basks by the fire, Garrett slips silently from room to room, rifling through drawers and pocketing valuable trinkets. Thief on PS4 is at its best when Garrett is left to his own devices, enabling players to vault through windows and pry open cabinets as the master thief himself.
This reboot of the classic stealth series takes a more open-world approach as players prowl the alleys and rooftops of The City, a shadowy nexus bathed in perpetual twilight. The City itself is a visual delight, steeped in long shadows and wavering fires that turn every nook and cranny into a sneaky play space.
And Thief’s thieving feels tactile. Coins, jewelry, and other collectibles litter cabinets and line hidden vaults, providing ample motivation for completionists to search every corner and crevice. The more loot you collect, the more resources you’ll be able to buy.
One resource worthy of investment is Garrett’s trusty bow, which supports many arrow types — some for extinguishing flames, others for stunning patrols with toxic vapors, and still others for knocking over vases or turning off light switches from afar. In a pinch, you can use lethal broadhead arrows to take out a guard, but it’s a risky move that could draw unwanted attention. These items are easy to access: just slide a finger over DualShock 4′s touchpad and click on the desired tool.
Like its predecessors, Thief offers a wealth of different play opportunities for each and every mission. Take, for example, the aforementioned scene in the jewelers. Some players may practice patience and timing to move through the environment unseen. Others may silently dispatch the guards with Garrett’s handy club before proceeding. Others may extinguish every light and use the shadows to their advantage. Each play style is wholly valid, and rewarded at the end of the mission with bonuses.
There’s much more to appreciate in Thief outside of its stealth systems and flexible play. Eidos Montreal has put tremendous effort into detailing the world and its story. Hallway tables are piled high with trinkets. Beggars reach out at Garrett with feeble hands. Guards mutter during patrols and complain about their love lives.
This attention to detail extends into play as well. Garret’s arms will begin to falter if his bow is drawn for too long, reducing accuracy. Newspaper clippings reveal additional narrative elements once collected. The lightbar grows in brightness when Garrett is exposed. And even Garrett’s trinkets (stat-boosting items) have stories to tell. The Cross-Wind Medallion, for example, reduces the chance of being hit by enemy projectiles. In its description, it tells of its previous owner, Silent Joff — a “long-dead archer who never spoke and never missed.”
Details such as these lend Thief authenticity, and make Garrett’s adventures all the more immersive from mission to mission. For those gamers that delight in keeping to the shadows and snatching up glittering loot, Thief launches on February 25th for PS4. You can pre-order it here.