The Nintendo Switch port of Thief of Thieves: Season One is filled with technical issues that ruin what was already a bland adventure & stealth game.
Thief of Thieves: Season One has brought its mixture of adventure storytelling and stealth-based gameplay to the Nintendo Switch, but whatever fun could be had with the premise is buried within a terrible porting job that ruins the whole experience.
Thief of Thieves: Season One is an adaptation of a comic book about a former thief who decides to repent by stealing from other thieves. The Thief of Thieves comic book is created by Robert Kirkman of The Walking Dead fame. The story follows a cat burglar named Celia, who is an apprentice to a master thief called Redmond. Celia is picked up by security in an L.A. airport and is taken in for questioning. The first few chapters of the game are told through Celia recounting her previous crimes to a detective, all of which leads up to a huge heist. The story of Thief of Thieves: Season One is told through cutscenes composed of comic book panels and the voice acting is top-notch. The comic book storytelling is the highlight of Thief of Thieves: Season One and it's a shame that the rest of the game doesn't hold up to the same standard.
Thief of Thieves: Season One is all about performing heists, which means that Celia will be required to sneak through dark hallways, chat up marks for clues, and break through locks and computer programs with the tools at her disposal. The gameplay acts as a mixture between the choice-based adventure games of the newly-resurrected Telltale Games and sneaking through shadows to hide from guards in the manner of stealth games. There is a good concept here, but it never gets utilized to its fullest. The dialogue options are limited and there aren't many routes and options in each stage, which means that the game's gimmick is restricted by small levels that are over too soon. The entire runtime of Thief of Thieves: Season One clocks in at around five or six hours, which means that the game never gets a chance to play to its own strengths. The game would have benefited from bigger stages that gave the player more of a chance to experiment, rather than only having one or two ways to complete them.
The big problem with the Nintendo Switch version of Thief of Thieves: Season One is that it's a poor port in terms of glitches and performance. Thief of Thieves: Season One is also available for Xbox One and the two versions of the game look drastically different. The Switch version of Thief of Thieves: Season One has muddy visuals and downgraded character models that feel several console generations removed from what is possible on the system. It's not as if Thief of Thieves: Season One is some technically demanding game, especially when compared to something like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. If developers can port an impressive version of The Witcher 3 to Nintendo Switch, then there is no reason why Thief of Thieves: Season One should look like it does.
The poor visuals of Thief of Thieves: Season One would be forgivable if the game was technically sound in other ways, but it's a bug-riddled mess. Thief of Thieves: Season One has characters getting trapped in the scenery, audio not playing when it's supposed to, game-ending crashes to the home menu, save files being corrupted and forcing a checkpoint restart, graphical assets that won't load, and necessary button prompts that won't appear. It's technically possible to finish Thief of Thieves: Season One in its current state, but that's only due to a generous checkpoint system that makes it easy to retry individual sections of the game.
There are also fundamental issues with Thief of Thieves: Season One's gameplay outside of the glitches. There are only two fixed camera angles on missions and they can make it difficult to see upcoming threats, as the only warning for off-screen guards is tiny indicators that are easy to miss. The pickpocketing minigame has command prompts that can be covered up by text boxes, making it easy to fail them. The pathfinding and sight on enemy guards is also screwy, meaning that they can miss Claire if she runs around them and stands in the corner.
Thief of Thieves feels like a demo for a bigger game that has yet to be made. There are some good ideas buried beneath its limited gameplay, but they have yet to be realized in the game that is available now. It's possible that a second season could expand upon the concepts within Thief of Thieves, but the poor quality of the Nintendo Switch port of the game makes it hard to hope for the future of the series. We can only hope that the rumored Thief of Thieves TV show fares better when it finally leaves development hell.
Thief of Thieves releases for Nintendo Switch on November 12, 2019 and is available now for PC and Xbox One. A digital copy of the Nintendo Switch version of the game was provided to Screen Rant for the purposes of this review.