Wow... just... wow. Where is the Game Of The Year 2004 title?
I've just finished this game, it was actually last night, after a month of intense and extremely emotional Thief gameplay, in a trip that started in Thief: The Dark Project, went through Thief 2: The Metal Age, and finally reached its end in this Thief: Deadly Shadows. And boy, am I astonished. I can't believe I've been missing all this marvellous and magic Thief gameplay for so many years. After I accomplished the final objective in this last Thief, and saw the ending sequence, my words were something like "Wow. Just... I mean... It's like... wow."
And why has this happened?... read below.
First... the plot! It's waaaay over the top. I mean, it should get like 15 in 10, or something alike. It recreates a completely new world, but drawing a parallel line with the hierarchy of our society. Or how it used to be a few centuries ago. It has the "Peasants", represented by the random people wandering around the streets and drinking in the taverns, the "Church", awesomely represented by The Hammerites, the Noble (which there is very little reference, though you know there is some by reading some books) and there is what I call the "Military Faction", represented by the "City Watch". Then, there are the Pagans, which are a different cult, completely opposed to the ideals of the Hammerites. It's like the "Jeova"s or something. And finnally, there's an underground secret order, called "The Keepers", that somehow represent the "Invisible Hand", commonly known as "The Illuminati". Their objective is, basically, to control and ensure Balance in the world. And then, during the course of the game, you have the chance to work with some of these factions, and doing special jobs for them which grant you a raise in the popularity towards those factions. I won't describe the way the plot evolves during the game, but it sure is catchy and immersive, and provides an intense and unexpected course of events in the very ending, culminating with an excellent ending sequence, that leaves the ring definitely closed for Thief series.
About the graphics: Despite a few minor textures glitches, and a lack of engine efficacy in my opinion, since I really can't understand how my 7950GT in some places can't handle easily this game in the top resolutions, I'd say this game looks definitely very good. Taking in account it's a 2004 game, the graphics are awesome, though not the best for that time.
The sound is incredible. It pushes the adrenaline and atmospheric feeling to the limit. The voices are also great, I love the way the dialogue evolves during the encounter of more than 2 people. It's very well accomplished. Top score!
The difficulty level is quite adjusted. In my opinion it's a significant improvement over both other Thief games. In the other games, you'd get addiotional objectives to accomplish if you chose a higher difficulty level... however, you were also forced to steal more loot, you'd be restricted to kill human adversaries, etc. In this game, they decided to give the same objectives in every difficulty level, which allows you to play on Easy, and still have the same plot objectives that you would have playing on Expert. The only difference is the minimum amount of loot to pick up, the awareness and number of opponents to face, and the restrictions over enemy kills. It's much better in my opinion, since the plot-related objectives should be completely independent from the loot-related objectives.
There's a lot more to say about this game, but not without taking the risk of spoiling a little bit of the game's storyline, and that would be a complete shame. It's something so beautiful that you MUST find it out for yourself.
For the first time, I'll give a game a Perfect score. Because it was just what I felt in the end. Even though a few minor glitches during the game, in the end I felt completely fulfilled. The game has done its job extremely well. I salute you, Ion Storm. After the mess you made with Deus Ex: Invisible War, this is the best that could ever happen. Congratulations.
Definitely buy this game. I bought it on a cheaper version, like Retail or something, I hope you have the same luck. But it's definitely worth the originally released version value, even nowadays.