Title Thief : Deadly Shadows
Developer Ion Storm
Date Released May 2004
Number of Players 1
System Link No
Xbox Live No
Thief : Deadly Shadows is the third game in the Thief series trilogy. The series was originally on the PC, but Xbox gamers do not have to worry about playing the first two games and can easily jump right in on this installment. You play as the thief Garrett. Garrett's world revolves around a city that acts as a hub for the games missions. In between missions you are free to roam around this city, breaking and entering, picking pockets, and offing the city watch as you see fit. Sometimes there are restrictions depending on the faction you are currently working for but for the most part you can do as you please. This section of the game could have allowed you more freedom but as it stands it is a good way to practice your thieving skills and stock up on supplies before undertaking the games missions.
Gameplay in Thief is all about stealth and it is really easy to pick up and play. If your a FPS fan then you will have no problems at all. If your a fan of third person games you will also have no trouble at all as the game lets you switch perspectives on the fly at any time you wish. Also a nice feature is the fact that you can save your game anywhere you want. I wish that more stealth games would use this feature as it allows you more freedom to try out different tactics. Several times through the course of the game I found myself saving, entering a room, then trying something totally off the wall. Sometimes the crazyness paid off other times I got wasted. Getting wasted just means reloading the save and trying something new without the tediousness of replaying half the level where you passed a checkpoint. Some may say this feature makes the game too easy, well then just don't use use it.
Moving Garrett around and making him interact with his world is a joy. Aside from some minor problems that I had with Garrett deciding to jump instead of climbing ontop of things, everything seemed to work like it should. The inventory and weapon management was very well thought out. Black button cycles through your weapons and Right Trigger uses them. White button cycles through items and Left Trigger uses them. A button is the "use" button. Y is the "jump" button. X button crouches and B button makes you hug the wall. All of these work very well together. A wide assortment of items and weapons make it possible for lots of options. Do I use a Water Arrow to put out a torch and sneak by, a Noisemaker arrow to make the guard leave his post, spilling oil on the ground so the guard slips and goes over the balcony, or just sneak up behind the guy and stick my dagger in his back.
The sounds in Thief:DS are top notch. All of the dialogue is spoken, and voice acting is very well done. With very little clutter on the screen as far as indicators go, your enemies conversations and the sounds ot their footsteps play a big role. Sound effects are nicely done and well above average. There are some nice little touches though like leaving a church where the background sounds are hymns echoing and the crackle of torches to be greeted by the chirping of insects. It's a little thing but really adds to the atmosphere. Background music is not that plentiful but what there is of it is passable.
The graphics engine of Thief:DS really shines. The lighting effects are right up there with Splinter Cell. All lighting is dynamic and it really plays a role in the game. Sentries walk around carrying torches which alter the paths you can take and timing you movements with a swaying chandelier in order to stay hidden in the shadows are elements of the game brought out by the graphics engine. Character models look very nice as well. A definite improvement over the Deus EX:IW models. Some of the weapon effects like the Water and Moss arrows are rather weak however. I also like the fact that there is no HUD on screen. You get a compass and a jewel which lights up depending on how concealed your are. When you take damage a meter pops up displaying the fact but after the fight ends it fades away. Removing all that onscreen clutter really lets you enjoy the graphics.
In my opinion this game finally gets "stealth" done right. I hated replaying a whole level over again because I didn't notice that guard up on the balcony, and now I no longer have to. Usually stealth games get boring after a while but with a the varied levels to explore and the addition of having the freedom to roam the city I can't stop playing this game. Being able to loot the residents homes and pickpocket them as they walk buy in order to get loot to fence is gret fun, and also necessary to stock up on items for the upcoming missions. If you were put off of stealth games because of the level of difficulty in Splinter Cell give this game a go anyways. If you loved Splinter Cell and are awaiting the next killer stealth game, then wait no longer... go pick this game up.
Gameplay - 8.5
Graphics - 9.5
Audio - 8.5
Controls - 8.5
Replay - 8.0
Overall - 9.0