Thief of Thieves Review

Based on the best-selling comic by Robert Kirkman, Rival Games’ Thief of Thieves: Season One is a story of Celia, an upcoming thief in a circle of thieves who undertake crimes across the globe. Taking on a comic-book approach for its cutscenes and offering players some freedom of movement during gameplay makes for an interesting prospect. However, does it all gel together well enough and is it worthy of your time?

To begin, it has to be said, the presentation is top-quality and the game’s greatest asset. The comic book aesthetic really draws you in, as does the self-assured personality of main character Celia. You will get to make timed choices during cut-scenes, so paying attention is a must and the choices you make have an impact on relationships with others and how the story unfolds. Simply put, there is nothing wrong or untoward with regards to the story-telling so thumbs-up there. You get it right away thanks to the digestible dialog and perhaps clichéd characters who you can relate to. There is a stealth game here as well alongside some other gameplay elements which are tossed in adding a bit of variety. So for example, as you would expect from a game about thieves, a bit of lock picking, safe cracking and using secondary characters to perform distractions or even pick-pocketing. All good so far.

The opening volumes are pretty engaging, whereby you have to steal a motorbike and start out casing the joint first, entering a party later on, then committing the crime before escaping. So as not to reveal too much of the plot it’s all good here, but then sadly cracks begin to form. One has to remember this is a story driven experience, so if you’re looking for a full-on crime game where you plan missions and undertake them, you won’t find that here fully even if the theme fits. After the first volume you end up in Italy where you become part of a new crew of undesirables and it’s here where your adventures begin proper. Now it has to be said, season one is obviously the beginning of a much larger story so expect some cliff hanger moments. Also bear in mind, although you are the bad guys in the eyes of the law, from the narrative, Celia and chums are the good guys despite their occupational choices.

Aside from the story, which is pretty decent, well-scripted and acted, except one character with the worst London accent known to man (Mary Poppins Dick Van Dyke would have been a better choice here), the gameplay can be a little fiddly thanks to an unhelpful camera. There are side-on views which look great and panoramic, but when the camera moves to using more of the third dimension depth, the view can become too obscure and detrimental to the character movement. You will run into static objects trying to navigate and although there are places where Celia can mantle, it’s only select places where this action can be performed. With no option to move the camera makes for some untidy moments. This aspect becomes more apparent during the last section of the season (which we won’t spoil here) where using Celia’s intuition – a skill which highlights areas of interest on the screen – marks where you need to go. It’s all rather sloppy and will require several attempts due to the nature of the scene. Hopefully similar moments don’t appear in the other seasons because this finale really did leave a sour taste after some excellent build up.

So, to conclude then. Thief of Thieves is an interesting idea and one that from a story-telling standpoint works very well. However, the gameplay could do with some tightening-up especially with regards to the camera. The stealth mechanics are just competent, rather than compelling and could be better implemented. With this in mind and given the asking price of £17.54 which provides a few hours of play (2-5 depending on what you do and if you replay) it’s perhaps a tougher sell than it needs to be. As always with these episodic experiences, waiting until all the stories are available is a good idea and if there is a discount in buying a complete package, then that’s a bonus as well. As it stands, this is not an essential game to play right now unless you’re a massive Kirkman fan or just looking for something different.

Score 7/10

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.