Although it may be too easy for those who've played Thief before, it still offers an unforgettable stealth experience.

User Rating: 8.7 | Thief: Deadly Shadows PC
Close your windows, bolt the doors, and put your goods in a place that deems secure - thief Garret continues his nocturnal hunt for gold in Deadly Shadows, the third iteration in the Thief Universe, which is highly acclaimed by fans for games like the Dark Project and Metal Age. Although DS came out after quite a long wait, - around four years - it still offers an experience as great as its predecessors', although long-time players may be a little upset with the difficulty of the game, which I will depict later.

If you have played Thief before, you will find this game has a lot in common with the prequels. You're still Garret, a master thief, living in a cold, medieval world, where various factions, including the Pagans, the Hammerites and the Keepers, abode. The latter ones are your allies and give you orders most of the time, but as long as you play nice with the other factions, as well, you should have no harm walking around them. However, since this is a stealth game, there must be someone you're always afraid of, right? Town Watch are the ones. It's better to sidestep those, or, if your nails itch that much, at least kill them unobserved.

Although most of the characters you meet in the streets are people, you'll get to face some inhuman foes, as well - zombies, enemies with heads of a fish, and more. While some of them are easy to dodge, others may require either patience if you're sneaky, or quite a few items from your inventory if you feel like charging enemies full speed, which, believe me, is way too hard and un-rewarding. Saying "hard" is maybe too risky, as Deadly Shadows feels to be much easier since there is a lot more freedom this time around. But does this "freedom" make the game more challenging? Not unless you feel like collecting 90 percent of goodies in missions on the highest difficulty setting. It takes quite some time to check every corner, and, personally, it got me pretty frustrated when I couldn't finish a quest just because I'd 89 percent collected, - had to get to the area at the very beginning to pick a worthy ring. Stuff like this may make you pretty pissed at the game, but on the other hand, it adds the difficulty that Deadly Shadows needs a lot.

Burglaries are very fun to perform. Lots of houses and shops can be accessed. Sometimes people sleep, sometimes they don't, but it's easy nevertheless, - using the right gadget / arrow / move in the right situation lets you do whatever you want undetected, and makes stealing a whole lot easier. There's a lot to steal - rings, medallions, candles, and more - stuff that can be stolen is easy to notice because it shines more than other things do. If something you click on's worthless, you'll simply pick it up instead. Sometimes this can get pretty frustrating, since dropping items without making a sound is pretty hard, so if there's someone nearby and you pick an item, it's best to walk away and then drop it, unless you want to do a distraction, of course. As I already said, depending on the difficulty you play on, you've to steal a certain amount of goodies on a mission or you won't be able to pass it since it's one of your main objectives. Special loot items are sometimes needed to steal, as well. They cost a whole lot more than regular items. Since there's no encumbrance in DS, you can carry as much as you want.

While not in a quest, you can free-roam the whole city. Certain areas may be locked at the start of the game, but they become accessible after you pass some quests. The whole city's divided into districts, but it's pretty easy to navigate, since you have a map. Maps show where fences are located, as well. Fences let you sell stuff you have stolen, so, after you collect enough money, you can buy weapons and gadgets, or buy a lock and practice lock-picking. The whole lock practice thing is pretty dumb, in my opinion, since lock-picking is way too easy in DS, anyway - just move your mouse till the pin starts moving and click the RMB.

The environment in the game is pretty interactive - as mentioned, you can pick locks to break into houses and rob them. You also have the ability to take out candles with your finger or using a specific type of arrows, climb walls using special climbing gloves, read papers and books, pick up and throw things, etc. Throwing stuff makes a great distraction and climbing walls lets you rob houses on a higher level, so all this stuff is really needed and makes the game much more fun.

Since the game's a medieval setting, don't think you'll get to use any hi-tech stuff against NPCs. The blackjack, dagger and bow are your best friends in the game. Bows support many types of arrows, including ones which take out torches, create a diversion sound, create a pile of moss letting you land softly, etc. Normal arrows are obviously in, as well. If you shoot at the torso or the head, it's a one-hit kill. Blackjacks and daggers have a stealth-kill option, as well - strike an un-aware NPC from the back and he's dead meat. If you attack an NPC and he doesn't die, you'll either have to try attacking him with your weapons dozens of times until he finally dies, or throw a flash bomb and run out of sight, since the characters are pretty powerful. The flash bomb is one out of many gadgets you get to use in-game. There are gas bombs, mines, and many other useful things that make getting rid of enemies easier. If you're on low health, you can use a healing potion, too.

Remember how the first games looked? Of course, graphics seen in DP and MA looked impressive at the time, but nowadays most people would not want to play games like these. Well, they're lucky! Say "good bye" to low-res textures and low-poly characters - Unreal engine that DS uses does its job well - quality shadows and real-time lighting give DS a horrendous atmosphere that will keep your eyes glued to the monitor throughout the whole game, while realistic-looking NPCs and other models will make your stay even more enjoyable. What's even better is that unlike in games like Splinter Cell 1, you don't need to crank up the brightness to the highest just to see something in the darkness. Sure, the game's pretty dark, but it isn't so dark that you don't get to see the whole beauty of the graphics. The requirements for the game aren't big at all, but don't get your hopes up just because the two first Thief games ran well. Deadly Shadows now requires a graphics card that supports Shader Model 1.1, so if you think your GF2MX "owned" Dark Project and Metal Age to the max, think again before getting this.

Voice acting in Deadly Shadows is done really well, especially the main characters'. They react when you get nearby, attack them, or when they hear you. Undead creatures make sounds, as well. Believe me - playing Deadly Shadows at night is awesome. This especially goes to Shalebridge Cradle - a quest where you get inside an abandoned orphanage. It was acclaimed as one of the most atmospheric levels of all time by players, and I got nothing but to agree, - since I'm a sissy, it took me around two weeks to pass it. The music is nothing special, since there isn't any. But I didn't have a need too big for it, since every sound that greets your ears in-game is done top-notch.

Deadly Shadows doesn't have a multiplayer, but the singleplayer features a quite lengthy campaign with an amazing story that's full of interesting twists. What makes DS even better is that it has pretty much no bugs. I, for one, didn't fall into any bugs or crashes whatsoever. The game is not as linear as its predecessors, so you can take any route you want in a mission. Although it may be too easy for those who've played Thief before, it still offers an unforgettable stealth experience, which makes the game well worth to try out.

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