The original Thief, subtitled “The Dark Project,” was a revelation in 1998, a murky world of dim sluiceways and moonlit machine-works that melded tiptoes exploration and combat avoidance with purloining, puzzle-solving and ingenious light manipulation, all staged in a dark fantasy world by way of H.P. Lovecraft and Terry Gilliam — a welcome antithesis to id Software’s frenetic, atmospherically one-note Doom.
Developer Eidos Montreal’s Thief reboot seems less a radical rethink than reimagining of that original game, a chance to introduce players who missed the 1998 PC game to stealth-play staples like the protagonist’s concussive blackjack, manipulating light sources to streamline stealth navigation, and the series’ lovely-weird Victorian steampunk purlieus.
That, and the reboot offers fresh wrinkles, like A.I. sophisticated enough to probe more inquisitively (think souped-up versions of Assassin’s Creed‘s haystack-needling guards) as well as nonlinear problem solving designed to make levels feel less like levels and more like mini-sandboxes.
(Also for PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One)