Hard stealth game stars thieving antihero on a dark journey.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game glorifies the act of thievery and the life of a thief. It makes stealing appear both exciting and lucrative and shows little if any of the consequences affecting victims of theft. 

Positive role models

Garrett, the game's protagonist, is an antihero. An unapologetic criminal, he steals valuables whenever and wherever he can, regardless of who might own them. But he also adheres to a code that keeps him from using violence unless absolutely necessary, even ending up the reluctant savior of his city, fighting its corrupt aristocracy. He never completely redeems himself, though, and his career as a thief doesn't result in any serious repercussions.   

Ease of play

This is a challenging game meant for veteran players experienced in stealth play. Being spotted can lead to a quick death, which means caution is a constant requirement. Thankfully, saving is allowed almost everywhere and at nearly any time, so prudent gamers will never lose much progress.   


Players are encouraged to use stealth rather than violence (it's possible to play the entire game without killing anyone), but the game's hero is capable of vicious attacks using arrows and a blackjack club. Players will see arrows embedded at grotesque angles in people's bodies as well as stylized animations showing the game's hero whacking his enemies on the head, making them grunt in pain. Blood is sometimes seen smeared on various surfaces. Nonplayer characters carry out attacks with swords and bows, and several scenes show men hanged or in the process of being dropped from the gallows. Innocent civilians can be targeted if the player chooses, though without any objective or reward. 


One of the game's chapters is set in a bordello, where topless women can be seen lounging with men. Moans and light movement suggest sexual activity. Some paintings and sculptures depict naked women.  


Spoken and text-based dialogue includes profanity, with frequent use of words including "s--t" and "f--k."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The player's character doesn't take drugs or drink alcohol, but nonplayer characters do. A pair of pubs serve as important locations, and men can be seen drunk, mumbling, and stumbling through the streets. There's frequent talk of drugs, especially opium, and one mission allows players to knock out a whole building full of people by piping the substance through the ventilation system. 

Privacy & safety

Minor privacy and safety concerns. A challenge mode allows players to post their scores to a leaderboard viewable by all players, but no communication is permitted.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Thief is a stealth-action game with some very mature themes. Players take on the role of a skilled and unapologetic thief who doesn't care whom he steals from. The act of thieving is made to seem exciting and alluring and serves as the core of the game. Violence is relatively rare but can be vicious and sensationalized when it does occur. Some parts of the game feature drugs and sex, especially a lengthy chapter set inside a brothel, where prostitutes naked from the waist up are seen and heard pleasuring male clients. Opium pipes are scattered around the environment, and although the player's character refuses to partake himself, he doesn't balk at using the drug to knock out rooms full of people. This is a game squarely targeted at adult players and is appropriately rated "Mature" by the ESRB.  

What's it about?

Players take on the role of a master burglar in THIEF, a reboot of the classic stealth-action series from the late 1990s. Garrett has spent his entire life pilfering from the people of a dark and fantastical city with a corrupt aristocracy. But when a night of prowling goes wrong and ends in a strange, quasimagical explosion, he finds himself waking up a year later with no memory of what happened after the blast. All he knows is that he needs to find out. So begins a 20-plus-hour journey that sends Garrett thieving his way through pitch-black streets, from a library and a mansion to a madhouse and a steaming bordello. Players will need to complete primary chapter objectives as well as dozens of smaller side missions scattered around a mostly open, free-to-explore world, upgrading Garrett's equipment and abilities using money earned from his purloined treasures along the way.

Is it any good?


Though it's certainly not for kids, older players may find Thief's challenging stealth-action seductive. The game is set in a stunning world filled with dark and beautiful architecture that feels real and inhabited. And while Garrett is an antihero whose actions and motives often are suspect, it's hard to deny the fun of the mechanics involved in sneaking around the city undetected and filching valuable loot. Looking for hidden levers amid tomes on bookshelves and searching for clues in random notes that give a hint to private safe combinations make for undeniably tantalizing play that more often than not will leave users feeling smug and clever.

That said, Thief does run into the occasional hitch. Glitchy sound design makes it hard to hear the direction from which nearby conversations are taking place and how far away the speakers are. Also, although most of the levels are cleverly designed and memorable, one of the main chapters descends into a tedious journey through a maze of random rooms. Still, adults with a taste for sneaky games and who like a serious challenge are in for a treat.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about stealing. How does thievery hurt people? Do you think thieves typically consider their victims? Can true thievery ever be morally justified?

  • Families also can discuss the impact of violence in media. This game discourages violence by ensuring there are realistic consequences and also by offering rewards for successful stealth. Do you think this makes the action more interesting? 

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Square Enix
Release date:February 25, 2014
ESRB rating:M for Blood, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs, Violence

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byMaaah March 9, 2014

Thief is fine!!!

This game looked horrid but is quite enjoyable and fun and is a great stealth game and no killing is needed! Heaven!!!
Teen, 14 years old Written byByron March 18, 2014


This is a game about a thief that doesn't care who he steals from, with great graphics and is really interesting.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byMother_of_1000 March 24, 2014

Only Bad if You Want it To Be

You don't have to kill anyone unless you really want to. I got this for my eleven year old son, and I usually do a good check of the game to make sure it is appropriate. I think game is fine for anyone old enough to understand that sneaking around at night is bad in real life, but good in this game.
What other families should know
Easy to play/use
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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