Legend of Zelda: A Thief to the Past

thief-2014

Thief 2014 is pure inertia. An odd choice by the Eidos Montreal team, considering the structure they built upon. With a semi-open world city, including side quests and the odd branching path, there’s the expectation of multiple approaches to problem solving. This is a feint: most paths either dead-end or feed back into a main artery leading to a setpiece. Ledges which should be climbable have invisible walls or can’t be walked on unless some other trigger’s been activated. Quests are fluff, Eidos happy to discourage pursuing them by dropping players in areas where it would be a chore to double back. Stealth, the series staple, is likewise hamstrung, the developers resorting to simplistic guard routes and dull monologue cues expressing every inner thought. If titular thief Garret is spotted, they don’t even pursue him past a few yards. So, it’s checkpoint to checkpoint movement and rote puzzle-solving, Legend of Zelda in an industrial cesspool and stripped of even the slightest ingenuity (it’s hinted in-game this Garret is a reincarnation of the original Thief trilogy’s anti-hero, a grim play on Zelda‘s Link). Garret is also put through warmed over political intrigue–a noble class stressing ‘progress’ to the detriment of the poor, who in-turn become villains by reacting in mindless bloodshed and revolt (oh hello, Bioshock Infinite). An implacable, sadistic lawman also seems to walk in both circles (unexplained) to capture the thief. Garret offers no opinion on any of this, only unintelligible grumbles during a search for a missing teen apprentice amidst this backdrop. Not sure even Eidos Montreal cares, since dialogue disappears due to glitches when not drowned out by a pounding score begging for excitement rather than teasing players with dread. Studying the city as an entity never occurs to them. They certainly don’t expect players to stop and do so.

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