Review by Agent47

"New to the series, but I will be staying."

I, like many, am a n00b to the Thief series. I always wanted to play the first two, as I heard the good reviews, but my aversion to PC gaming coupled with my crappy PC made it impossible to play them. When I heard that it was coming to the Xbox, I new that I would be getting Thief: Deadly Shadows upon its release. I was not disappointed.

Without going into much depth, as I hate having the experience spoiled for me, so I won't do it for you, but the story for Thief: Deadly Shadows is a tale of a reluctant anti-hero and master thief, Garrett. Prophecies, betrayal, mystery, and even the undead find their way into Thief: Deadly Shadows (which will be referred to as T:DS from now on.). The game starts with Garrett acting on a hot tip that a noble has a velvet bag that is assumed to be filled with something valuable. In the process of stealing the bag, Garrett is pulled into something more than he bargained for, driven by his love of loot. I won't say more, but the story is quite good, although I admit I am not anywhere near done. I assure that it is good enough to draw you in and keep you playing.

Now I am sure the one thing everyone has heard and has been asking about is framerate. There is some slowdown when there are a bunch of things going on, but since most of the game, if you want to be successful, is spent moving slowly in a crouch, the game doesn't slow that often. When it does get choppy, it isn't too bad, and if you stop moving for a second, it stops right away. It is not nearly as bad as some would have you believe. Now with that out of the way, we move on to the important stuff, how does it play? The controls are simple and responsive. While the game is essentially "Sneak here, hide in shadows, steal artifact, repeat", it is much deeper than it seems. The way you complete a level is up to you. Knock everyone out with your blackjack, murder them with your dagger, or simply avoid them all. The most recent competitor to T:DS is obviously Splinter Cell 2: Pandora Tomorrow, a game which I also own. I prefer T:DS much more than SC:PT, mainly for the fact that SC:PT is more linear. There is no set path you must follow through a level, and in between missions, you are free to roam the city as you please, doing what you want, which will inevitably be stealing from poor unsuspecting strangers. Just watch out for those darn guards, they can be tricky.

Wow. This is the only game that makes Splinter Cell: PT look pedestrian. The characters models could be improved slightly, if had to be forced to make a negative comment, but the background and lighting is like nothing I have ever experienced. The immersion factor is incredible. The world looks so nice, you can almost feel the warmth from a torch and feel the grass beneath your feet.

Not only will T:DS compete with Splinter Cell 2 for Game of the Year, Garrett will face off against Sam Fisher for Gravelly Voiced Protagonist of the Year as well. The voice work is second to none and it is the little things that make the game shine. Every sound adds to the incredible immersion factor. If you have surround sound, USE IT!, if not, turn it up as loud as your neighbors can handle.

While T:DS is not perfect, most of the issues do nothing to detract from the incredible package that is presented for you to enjoy. I recommend it whole heartedly and it will not disappoint.


Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 05/30/04

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