Stolen.. “Why in hell did you want to review that game” I hear you ask already. Well, I’ll confess you something. Despite my getting older I remain having a weakness for game babes. Eventhough in the past the interest dropped below the freezing point after playing about one minute and a half with the gamebabe, still they keep having an undeniable attraction to me. That why Stolen, with main character Anya, looked worthwile. Promises of stealthy gameplay, lots of gadgets and spectacular, sexy moves while robbing a museum were all present at the back of the cover. Whether it could conquer my gamer’s heart you can read below.
Anya looks good, you have to give her that. She’s got a nice black suit, matching sunglasses and lots of attractive things that help you against guards and other scum that want to prevent you from stealing. But not all that shines is gold. Before long you find out that our friend isn’t a cat that can be handled without gloves. She can’t kill anyone so you’ll have to occupy yourself with stealth activities when the guards are unconscious. Knocking them down isn’t always necessary either: their braincells are have clearly died due to the many hours of wandering around in the musea of Forge City.
Babes need to take care a lot of their appearance. On that part we can’t really complain but the graphics aren’t anything special either. There’s little variation in the models and these don’t even look believeable or finished. Thief Anya is a bit more detailed but tends to move as good as a dead tree. Also the surroundings and locations are average. No surprising amount of detail here and even the textures remain simple. The cut-scenes on the other hand are a bit better but the story and dialogues look way too simple. Even the music and sound will soon be forgotten.
Your main task always consists out of stealing certain things but there are enough extra objectives to keep you occupied for some time. The main part of the game therefore exists out of sneaking around and making sure you don’t get discovered while putting expensive stuff in your pockets. This isn’t always as hard seeing that the guards just give up their search for you when you stay in the shadows for long enough. You could almost pinch their cheeks without them knowing it.
Also sad is the way how the game keeps track of how visible or audible you are isn’t really handy. Luckily you can easily see where a safe shadow is present and where not. Extra parts of the gameplay like lock-picking and hacking consist out of mini-games which aren’t too bad. Frustrating on the other hand is that you’re always under time pressure as each moment a guard may awake from unconsciousness. It’s a bit like playing Tetris while having to change diapers on a baby: you won’t enjoy either one of the and it stinks!
The controls of the tested pc-version can make you cry. I honestly have to say that I played with keyboard and mouse, but even then a game should remain somewhat playable and this most certainly wasn’t the case. Anya moves all but swift and this despite her beautiful arsenal of acrobatic movements. Especially the walking against walls, the hanging or even the pressing against a wall is a lot tougher than it should be. On top of that there’s the camera which decides to switch view randomly so that you’re busy more with your controls than with enjoying the game. Should I really have to explain the makers that jumping from platform to platform without seeing the next one isn’t the average gamer’s idea of “fun” ? That’s why I think that even with a gamepad these problems won’t disappear. Add to that some bugs that sporadically require a restart of the game and you quickly realise that you’ll need to show some endurance to finish this title.
Meanwhile it should have become clear how the game is set up: the makers have tried to combine the gameplay of Splinter Cell and Prince of Persia and transfer that to the basic principles of Thief with a main character who looks run away from the television series Alias. Just like Sam Fisher you get help from someone who opens doors, disables alarms and gives you information during your endeavours. Anya has a multifunctional weapon with which you can fire anything, from trackers to projectiles that temporarily knock out guards, disable lights or disturb electronic devices. Also you’ve got sonic helps that show you what is happening in the next room or produce sounds that distract the personnel that’s present. Of course night vision is also present aswell as the option to zoom in on certain places in first person view.
All in all, Stolen is a disappointing game in a genre where we’ve gotten used to toppers like Prince of Persia and Sam Fisher. Mediocre is king here and other stealth-action games offer a lot better gameplay, better A.I., more fun scenarios and better animations and graphics.
On top of that, the controls and cameras are plain bad and frustrating. Innovation is hard to find and to be honest I was fed up with the game already after the first tutorial mission.
If you really love stealth games of sexy ladies in black suits you may want to try this game for a while but there are enough other options like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory that will offer a lot more for your money.