Thief

Common Sense Media says

Hard stealth game stars thieving antihero on a dark journey.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

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.   

Violence

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. 

Sex

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.  

Language

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

Consumerism
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.  

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?

QUALITY
 

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
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 (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

This review of Thief was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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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Adult Written byCabooce January 7, 2015
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Let's Be Realistic

People seem to be caught up in the fact that killing is optional. While this is true, anyone is likely to kill at least once. If they're aiming to get a kill-free game trophy they may have to reload, but this is a strategy game that consists of observing and often times a bit of experimentation. Just because the killing is optional, doesn't mean it's necessarily unavoidable, even playing on easy. Another thing parents really should take into account, is how emotionally mature your child is, especially when it comes to sex. Simply explaining what the birds and the bees are, or having your kid attend grade 8 sexual education does not mean your kid is mature enough to understand what is going on in the game, especially during the stage of the game when the character is in a brothel. Knowing how babies are made, and even knowing what a sex worker is, is probably not enough when you have to peep through holes to progress, letting you view a dominatrix at work, a lengthy discussion on 'size' a woman bouncing on top of man, and a pimp refusing to allow a man to buy a young virgin due to how he violently treats women (which is also later shown in a cutscene.) while your child may easily be able to understand the concept of sex, there are other factors that should be taken into account in terms of how mature your child is, and how they will handle the subject matter. It's a great game, I would recommend it, just maybe it to your 10 year old. It does after all have an M rating, don't kid yourself or be open to a little more in depth talk about different kinds of relationships, feelings, and kinks.
Teen, 14 years old Written byCheeseburger743 November 29, 2014
AGE
15
QUALITY
 
Teen, 14 years old Written byMasterCrayola November 17, 2014
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Quite Scary

This game shook me up for a few weeks especially chapter 5 which is in an asylum. It also contains a lot of sex and language. Violence is optional but is hard to avoid. As for the actual game its playable but its not brilliant.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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