I’m totally the wrong person to review PC games, because I don’t play a lot of them. I have, however, played through the previous Thiefs multiple times and on all difficulties, so I from that angle, I am the right person to review this.
This is based on one playthrough on the lowest difficulty level. I finished all the chapters, played a couple of them twice (because of reasons I’ll get to later) and finished all the sidequests. I have 21 achievements out of 37, but these include finishing the chapters.
Also, I was more than a bit under the weather when doing this, so that might have an impact.
Also, spoilers. Nothing major, and I’m not giving away anything gameplaywise, but still, some minor story spoilers.
All in all: Pretty good game, just wish it had been more like Thief.
There’s just so much stuff that seems to miss the point. Pretty much every chapter ends with Garrett making a run for it, usually after meeting with the so-called Thief-Taker General. This is particularly stupid, because when you finally need to take him down, it isn’t particularly hard. Worst yet, the fact that there is a scene of Garrett actually kicking the ass of this person is just wrong. Garrett doesn’t do that. His enemies die of their folly and hubris, not in his hands.
Early in the game, Garrett says he dislikes murder. Still, there’s often an optional objective where killing is what you need to do. In the previous Thiefs this was the opposite. On the higher difficulties, you just didn’t kill anyone. It wasn’t something Garrett would do.
Also, there’s a lot of points-of-no-return within the chapters. In the earlier Thiefs, you could take your time investigating whereever you were, but here, after you have done a certain objective, you are pushed in the next part and you can’t get back. That’s not the Thief I loved.
Also, like in the third game (Deadly Shadows), there’s a lot of running around the City. This is basically just pretty stupid busywork, but unlike Deadly Shadows, it doesn’t really pay off in the end. In Deadly Shadows, you benefit from knowing the City in the end, but here its just content, that isn’t really fun or interesting. Its just extra work for the player, because they couldn’t be bothered to put more work into the chapters.
Also, Garrett is pretty much betrayed. Its happened before, but this is the first where Garrett seemed to be stupid because he couldn’t figure it out. You shouldn’t do that to your major asset, the main character.
Besides not feeling like a Thief, the story is in a way more compelling, but seems to lack the intricate plot of the previous Thiefs. Things just happen and no-one seems to have any control, or knowledge of what they are doing. There isn’t a big bad behind it all and the persons cast as the major villains are actually just pretty lame.
The game tries to make it clear, that this is adult content. And it clearly is. There’s a chapter in a whorehouse, where you can witness opium use, intercourse and sadomasochistic behaviour. There’s a chapter where bodies are robbed in a former production facility in a very systematic way. There’s a chapter in an abandoned mental hospital, where things like water therapy, electric shocks and lobotomy occurred. Some of the inmates are still there. Otherwise, there’s plenty of homeless in the City and people murdering each other, making a pretty strong political statement against both dictatorship and the problems with revolutions.
I suppose there’s an audience out there, that will appreciate this more than I do, but I would have really appreciated a return to the original games, where you didn’t need to work to get to your actual chapters, but would be moved to them automatically. Gladly, they’ve taken out the need to find fences. That was very stupid of them in the third game.
Also, finding blackmarketeers in places where you don’t expect them at all is just weird.