A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release date: February 25, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs, Violence
- Last updated: June 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.