Iowa Writes--Student Edition

COLE RUSH
THIEF, an excerpt (video game review)


Thief is a game of stealth. Confession: I'm horrible at stealth.  In the first few stages, I try to fend off any guard who has sighted me.  Unfortunately, while Garrett (the titular thief) excels at remaining unseen, he is laughable in combat.  It is fairly easy to defeat one guard, but once two or more enter the fray, I am dead within seconds, and this is on Thief (normal) difficulty.  I opt to run away when sighted, but this proves equally futile.  See, when you start to run, you make noise.  Make noise, and more guards see you.  Sometimes I manage to escape into the shadows, but more often than not, running away leads to my death.  This is the game's main flaw: a lack of options.  It does not equip players to reasonably fend off a small group of enemies, even though being sighted is a very real possibility.

Thief is a game of stealth. Confession: I'm horrible at stealth.  In the first few stages, I try to fend off any guard who has sighted me.  Unfortunately, while Garrett (the titular thief) excels at remaining unseen, he is laughable in combat.  It is fairly easy to defeat one guard, but once two or more enter the fray, I am dead within seconds, and this is on Thief (normal) difficulty.  I opt to run away when sighted, but this proves equally futile.  See, when you start to run, you make noise.  Make noise, and more guards see you.  Sometimes I manage to escape into the shadows, but more often than not, running away leads to my death.  This is the game's main flaw: a lack of options.  It does not equip players to reasonably fend off a small group of enemies, even though being sighted is a very real possibility.

I don't have any complaints as to Thief's story.  The characters aren't anything special, but the slightly supernatural vibe adds some depth to the otherwise superficial story (a disease-ridden city is falling apart both physically and economically).  Perhaps I missed much of the bad material when my roommate asked me to turn down the volume so he could play League of Legends, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  The campaign brought me to some interesting levels, most notably a not-entirely-abandoned asylum that was genuinely creepy.  I was tense for the entirety of my stay in that locale.  The other levels aren't quite as captivating, but they are infinitely more intriguing than the overworld.

Thief's main hub (called The City--creative) is dull.  There are a few civilians sprinkled about the streets, but mostly, I encountered guards as I traveled from one mission to the next.  It is in the main map where running away from threats actually works; there, districts are separated by loading screens.  Put simply: Enter a door to a new area and your enemies will not follow.  I often use this to my advantage, making transportation much less arduous.  Generally, I can afford any upgrades I need with the money/loot I find in missions, so I have no incentive to explore The City for any other reason than finding my next objective.

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Iowa Writes--Student Edition

This week "Iowa Writes" celebrates the work of talented University of Iowa undergraduates!


COLE RUSH

Cole Rush graduated from the University of Iowa in May with a BA in English from the Creative Writing Track.  He is originally from Geneva, Illinois, and he is fascinated with all things digital.  You can find more of his writing, videos, and podcasts at Glitched Online!

This page was first displayed
on July 24, 2014

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