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- REVIEW: Pillars of Eternity
publisher: Square Enix
developer: Eidos Interactive
genre: Action Adventure
|ESRB rating: RP
release date: Feb 25, 14
|» All About Thief on ActionTrip|
It’s amazing how long we’ve had to wait, but Eidos Montreal and Square Enix finally release a new stealth-themed action game that continues the well-known Thief series. It took them exactly 10 flipping years to do this. For the past year or so, they’ve been touting this as a true sneaker and a long-awaited gift to fans of the series. They’ve also been pushing the game into the spotlight as a proper next-generation triple-A title. Frankly, we weren’t bothered by this all that much for a few reasons. We are primarily concerned with gameplay and story-telling and not so much with a few extra polygons, richer textures and ton of reflections everywhere. Yeah, we don’t care if the whole city and its inhabitants look like they’ve been drenched in Vaseline. We just want things to be fun (no, that wasn’t a euphemism…although the Vaseline bit may have been).
Players are taken on a dark journey, following the story of Garrett, a master thief, who lurks in the shadows of a vast city, which is, rather unimaginatively, referred to as ‘The City.’ Here he gets to plunder the homes of the rich and famous. Serves them right, I hate the rich and famous. However, he also nabs from homes that may not have necessarily been inhabited by really rich people. All I wanted to say is that he’s not exactly Robin Hood. Oh well, it’s not vital to the game itself. Anyway, The City is controlled ‘The Baron' whose ruthless leadership does little to ease the lives of countless citizens who are suffering from poverty, starvation and the plague; pardon me, I meant the ‘Gloom’, as it is constantly being referred to in the game.
I'm not going bald! Shut up! This hair is the fashion.
Look, man, you have to shave. This is getting ridiculous.
To recap: you’re a thief in the ‘City’ ruled by a tyrannical madman. Oh and the plague (a.k.a. the Gloom) is in town. Seriously, this has to be one of the simplest and indeed tackiest scenarios to issue forth in recent years. We’re all for simplicity in video game design, but not when it comes to the narrative. In Thief players are given precious little to hold on to. All in all, poorly constructed and downright dull conversations between characters are all you have. You can also throw in the game’s thin and ultimately disappointing plot structure, which definitely feels unfinished. The game introduces Garrett rather inadequately and briefly. From there on, you’ll be on the lookout for some sort of coherent and intelligent clarification on why he continues to do what he does. The old ‘he’s just a thief’ is sufficient but only for a while. Eventually, the explanations you get just aren’t enough and are clichéd at best. You always end up with questions no matter what flimsy explanation the game hurls at you. So, in that respect, no hurling whatsoever. If there’s any hurling, it’s most likely done by individual unfortunate enough to be holding the gamepad.
Okay, experiencing the life of a master thief, in this case, has its charming and fun moments. Going around through the shadows and remaining undetected, pinching stuff as you go along is entertaining. There’s no depth beyond that I’m afraid. The gameplay mechanics are a skillful mix of game’s like Mirror’s Edge and the previous Thief installments. At this point, such a game won’t hold your attention for long.
The fact that this was made by the same people who gave us Deus Ex: Human Revolution is baffling. There’s a lot of sneaking in Deus Ex as well, but the players always feels that drive to go on and the missions were given some depth. Things are interesting even when you’re taking the time to complete side-tasks. In Thief you won’t have an ounce of that feeling because the story isn’t gripping at all and the side-missions involve a series of fetch quests. Discovering secret areas and hidden treasures might prove to be an interesting distraction, but all it leads to is more loot.
The loot Garrett collects is used for buying items for his inventory; weapons and tools that are handy for any thief and that includes different types of arrows, items that can be used for distracting guards and so on. All the items Garrett pinches immediately gets converted to gold, which he uses to purchase said equipment and to improve his Focus abilities. Focus increases Garrett’s agility. The Focus meter remains in the lower left corner on the screen and it can also be used for special vision that highlights key objects in the area.
The AI isn’t stupid, but it’s not that difficult to outsmart either. All you have to do is watch their determined path and stick to the shadows. That’s it. There are no unpredictable changes of pace in that sense. Increasing the difficulty is an option also, and that makes guards a bit more alert and items more expensive at the trader’s.
6.3 Above Average
An atmospheric sneaker with some reminiscence for fans of the Thief series;
Exasperatingly repetitive at times, from the makers of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, this is an overall disappointment.