Thief of Thieves Episode One: Xbox One Review
Launching on Game Pass is one of those phrases, like tax rebate or long weekend, which is guaranteed to make me all fuzzy inside. It’s a mixed bag, sure, not all of them are winners, but unexpected titles appearing in ready to install is always a good thing. The latest addition to the catalogue, Thief of Thieves, was one of the sixteen titles announced at XO18 and is available right now.
Based on the comic from Robert Kirkman of Walking Dead and Outcast fame, you play Celia, a master thief attempting to move up the ladder by pulling off some high profile heists. The game, in keeping with the Kirkman stable, has a very comic bookesque look. Speech bubbles and panels are used in the cut scenes, and the dialogue has a punchy, direct style
Although clearly influenced by the Telltale stable, Thieves allows much more freedom of movement and exploration. There’s an element of point and click, but you’ll be able to guide Celia with relative freedom around each area. There are dialogue options and interactions aplenty, allowing you to adopt certain tones or approaches as you see fit. How significantly these dialogue choices influence gameplay remains to be seen, but developer Rival Games ‘aims to raise the bar for dramatic narrative’. We’ll see.
The game remains devoutly story driven, but elements of stealth and exploration are present too, which feels like a nice evolution from the Telltale style (which had gotten a wee bit stale and restrictive, let’s be honest). A quick tap of the RB button allows you to use intuition, highlighting targets and points of interest, each overlaid with a line of text. It’s nice to look at, and consistent with the comic book stylings of the game. Although the visuals won’t blow you away, there’s a certain amount of visual flair to be found. In a nutshell, the game looks cool, without ever running the risk of being a graphical showcase.
But we play these games for the story, by and large, and the first episode of Thief of Thieves was intriguing enough to hook me in for the next chapter. The first chapter is quite brief – a run through took me just over an hour, although I suspect a second playthrough to harvest achievements could be done even faster. About those achievements? In a move welcomed by absolutely no-one, they come in increments of 18. All of them. For….reasons. Most of you won’t care, but for those that do, be warned.
You can guarantee access to the remaining episodes by purchasing the game for £16.74, or by maintaining your subscription to Game Pass (currently half price for 6 months access). There’s no timetable for release yet, but each episode will launch straight to the catalogue.
For those with a Telltale itch to scratch, Thief of Thieves could be a winner. It feels like an evolution of the narrative adventure, fusing the classic dialogue and exploration options with a freedom of movement Telltale titles didn’t offer. Although brief, there’s more to come and the first episode has enough chops, both stylistically and narratively, to suggest that future chapters will be worth our time. And since it’s on Game Pass anyway? Well, it’s a steal, right?