in gaming, xboxone

Thief: How Square Enix stole my money…

I recently finished playing Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition on the XBox One. It’s one of the best games I’ve played recently and certainly one of the best Tomb Raiders in the series. The game kept me on the edge, made me think, laugh, weep and go through the whole spectrum of emotions as I killed thugs and blew up half the island. One of the high points was the origin story of the dual pistols that I just knew was going to be a part of the game and indeed, it was. After I finished the game, my brother suggested another Square Enix title that seemed very interesting – Thief. I instantly bought the game, spending no time in downloading a digital copy. Big mistake.

Thief, unlike Tomb Raider:DE which is a Crystal Dynamics creation, is developed by Eidos Montreal and is a horrible, horrible game. The game starts off with no story line, pushing the gamer straight into game play. The controls are singular, leading me to believe that they wanted to make the game almost too simple. The Unreal Engine was a bad choice for the game, making it look extremely bad on my XBox One and meagre 720p TV. One of the worst decisions was to make all the cutscenes using the same engine, which translates to really ugly picturization. My friend pointed out that there seems to be a lag between the voice and the video. Nope, the Engine is so bad that it cannot be properly ascertained which character is speaking on-screen.

Some of the players actions seem to either be stolen from Tomb Raider DE or ported to it. In either case, TR:DE does things like shooting rope arrows to climb up great distances in a much better fashion. My brother, who’s still struggling with the game says that even after a few hours of playing, there’s no exciting storyline and instead you’re just leaping from one heist to another, that too in a control fashion, much unlike games like GTA. One more point of failure is the number of options you have to deal with enemies. You can run and hide or you can subdue them if they haven’t noticed you. But once you’ve been seen, the gameplay falls apart. You can try to dodge attacks, but the controls are flimsy and mostly, the dodge just doesn’t work. You can supposedly use flash bombs to divert attention and escape, but bringing any attention to yourself causes an instant failure in the mission.

One of the main differences between and the reason why Thief is suffering my wrath in the aftermath of playing TR:DE is that in the latter, if discovered, I could always get Lara to kill everyone in sight. In Thief, with the controls being ridiculous and the strict conditions of a stealth game (thou must not be discovered), most sequences end up as failures, making me have to repeat sequences often, which is very irritating.

Another strange and irritating thing, though I’m being nitpicky here, was the requirement of a Square Enix account when the game started. I was not given the option to skip the account process, but once I had entered my email ID, the game didn’t bother with my making an account or entering a password to sync things. It almost felt like Square Enix was only after my Email ID, which is disturbing on many levels.

Frankly, I’ve not played many stealth games, so I can’t be a judge of the genre, but Thief is an utter disappointment. The game was supposedly unveiled in 2009 and that’s where it belongs. I’m going to shake off this disappointment by reading a few gaming keyboard reviews, I’m in the market for some new gear and I want to make sure not to get robbed by a thieving company.

Final Verdict: Square Enix stole my money with Thief. Don’t let them steal yours. They’re very clumsy thieves.