Thief: Deadly Shadows
Thief: Deadly Shadows lives up to its name, but it doesn't bring a whole lot new to a genre quickly become saturated with also-rans. In this latest thief you once more play as Garrett, a medieval thief who despite his apparently tremendous successes as a cutpurse, lives in a dive on the bad part of town.
The game sends you through a chain of missions where you have to steal specific items from well-guarded locations. The missions are all built around a loose and some what typical plot, but still remain interesting enough to be enjoyable. I have to say that in general I'm not a huge fan of stealth games. I prefer the more direct and much less intellectual route. But Thief: Deadly Shadows has done a really good job of making the stealth elements of the game enough fun to even captivate the typically run-and-gun fans.
The biggest way Thief: Deadly Shadows does this is the way the original did, by providing you with a relatively large assortment of tricks and gadgets so you can get the job done without being killed or killing. As another incentive to not take one on head-on, this latest Thief has replaced Garrett's sword with a dinky little knife and nearly completely stripped any skill from the head-to-head fighting elements of the game. I guess you could argue that this clunkier version of fighting was an unintentional side effect of the game's redesign, but I'd prefer to think of it as a clever and purposeful move.
Instead of fighting, you will spend most of your time trying to figure out the best way down hallways, through locked doors and around snoozing guards and castle gentry. Luckily for Garret and you, there are tons of tools to help you in your non-lethal larceny. You can use water and noise maker arrows to douse candles or attract attention elsewhere. Unfortunately, there are no rope arrows, instead you use climbing gloves. This isn't a huge deal, but it will likely rub some gamers the wrong way, especially if they were fans of the original. The other factor important to your stealth in the game is making sure you stay in the dark. This is accomplished by keeping a close eye on a gemstone that marks how much light you are in. By using the gemstone and your gadgets you can typically avoid most detection in a way that is a bit challenging and mostly fun.
The graphics are of course a vast improvement over the original, but that's not hard to do given the amount of time that passed between the release of the first and second game. The sound isn't quite as compelling as the upgraded look of the game. While it makes good use of ambient noise and a mood-setting music, the voice-overs are your typically over-acted fare.
While Thief: Deadly Shadows is one of the best stealth games I've ever played, I really can't get into the genre and I thought that the game could have done more with the fighting system. Overall, it's worth the time, but in my book it's no keeper.