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Review: Thief of Thieves: Season One (Nintendo Switch)By Ofisil At 11.03.2020 17:36

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The cat burglar Celia has been caught in the airport, and is now under custody from an investigator who wants to get some answers from her - and this is how this heroine starts retelling her story, which revolves around her being the protégée of the 'Thief of Thieves.' This short segment looks promising, as both the in-game, cel-shaded visuals, as well as the typical comic book panels look really good, with the voice acting being of decent quality. It's a damn shame that Celia is such an unpleasant protagonist, who tries so, so hard to act cool, yet ends up being cringy beyond belief. Maybe it was like that in the original comic, but the writer of Thief of Thieves clearly doesn't understand what makes a character look like a cool, witty criminal, and not a cocky fool.

In the initial interrogation scene, where you can choose between a variety of responses to questions posed to you, every single line of dialogue spoken by Celia is a needlessly snarky (and badly written) remark, that sounds more like a teen character from a live-action Nickelodeon show trying to be all badass and stuff. Celia couldn't fool anyone even if her life depended on it, which actually makes it easier to like her - equally boring - inquisitor. It doesn't help that the plot is as by-the-numbers as they come. This critic's advice: skip cut-scenes every time they appear.

Besides the lacklustre presentation, the rest of it all is like playing a, sort of Hitman-lite stealth game, as you are tasked with infiltrating a couple of places, and carry out a handful of objectives, like acquiring a certain object, eavesdroping to gather helpful info for your future heist, and so on. It's like a Hitman instalment where you don't assassinate anyone, and simply sneak around using the shadows, distracting the guards through various means, and even blending in by changing uniforms. In theory, all these are great. In practise, this is a clunky mess.

For starters, the mechanics at hand are very unreliable. The dumb AI will lead guards to do all sorts of weird stuff, from not being able to see you or chase you around without any reason, to simply forget why they were on your tail… mid-chase! Moving around the place can also be a major pain. So, you can vault over obstacles, right? Well, yeah, except sometimes you won't be able to for... reasons, something that happens with the rest of the game's systems as well. Badly implemented controls and mechanics put aside, the design of it all is even worse. There's isn't a single level here that was fun to do your sneaking thing on. Thief of Thieves is by no means a tough deal, but it's definitely bad at communicating to the player what needs to be done.

Oh, sure, you can activate your intuition mode with the press of a button, which "paints" the walls with tutorial-like info, but also hints that essentially hand-hold you way too much, stripping away the challenge on offer. Use it though. Use it all the time, in order to reach the end of this borefest as fast as possible. That is, if you can stomach the technical mess that is this piece of software. Starting with the loading times, these can take you a whole minute before you get to play, or watch a cut-scene, and happen so often, and without any real reason, that they can seriously break your will.

Finally, this is far from a polished affair, especially on the Switch which is the weakest version of the game yet. Stuttering problems when toggling between the two available - and equally useless - camera modes? Check. Frame-rate issues? Check. Glitches and even bugs that send you to the homescreen? Check. Downgraded visuals, and in a system that has managed to carry the weight of a DOOM and of The Witcher 3? Check, and check. Generally, there's no reason try this first, three hour-long Season, and there's certainly no reason to wait for any future ones.

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Final Score
[i]Thief of Thieves[/i] has a gratingly sassy heroine, and a completely forgettable storyline. The stealth gameplay is like in those forced, half-baked stealth sessions in other games, as the mechanics as clunky... and then some. Finally, this port is actually the weakest version of it, as it's technically broken, with loading times that can put you to tears. Don't wait for [i]Season Two[/i].



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