Finished this game last week, but just had to review it here. If you’ve played Thief 1: The Dark Project, & Theif 2: The Metal Age, this is obivously a must have. Garret is back on the normal 5 to 3 job of theivery. What starts as a few simple jobs draw him into a prophecy… just like the last ones. The commonality, however, is very well wrought together via the story. The game re-did their engine, and there are a plethora of Splinter Cell influences, if you could call them that. Their engine is fantastically improved compared to the last 2 games. Their modelling of NPC’s only marginally so, but the terrain and city you now play most of the game is fantastically done. The gamma controls ensure you can play just as well during the day as night… although, I recommend you only play at night. To solve you being able to see the protaganist in the dark, Splinter Cell used a glowing Palm Pilot on the character’s back, as well as his night vision goggles glowing in the front. Theif merely lightens the gray outlines on your clothes; and the mechanical eye you received from the Hammerites can be seen as well from the front.
Although there are numerous references to Garret’s past deeds weaved into the prophecies you walk, there is disappointenly very little mention of Viktoria. I only counted 2 brief references form notes “garnered” from the Pagans, but I was a Hammerite affecionado in the game; you have a choice now on which side to be friendly with. Maybe had I been more Pagan-friendly, I might of learned more, doubt it though. They made it pretty clear she wasn’t coming back.
You have your standard armanments your used to, with the addition of an oil flask with which you can spread on the ground, and light using your fire arrows. I went through the whole game using no oil nor fire arrows; I like it steathy.
The one thing that was lacking was the rope arrows. Although they were magical, I guess the thought of shooting an arrow into wood, and then climbing up the rope it drops was maybe too fantastic. …I mean, it’s not like you used them to beat the game in the first one or anything…
Anyway, they are replaced with climbing gloves, which are still cool. They get you out of tight spots just like the rope arrows did and you can reach some places you couldn’t normally reach.
A new move, another Splinter Cell ‘esque touch, is the ability to lean flat against the wall. Initialilly, I didn’t use this move and thought it pointless as courching sometimes is less visible… but later in the game, when light is sparse as is space, this move is invaluable. Finally, the ability to toggle from first person to 3rd person has got to be the biggest control change, and certainly adds a new element to the game.
The tips during loading screens are a lot like the tips one would get in Baldur’s Gate, although, you get more, and they change as the game progresses which is really cool, and prevents you from getting more food & drink during level changes. The new interface for the game, however, needs some design work. I dig it’s etherealness, but some of the gothic interfaces of past games just worked better.
The best thing about this game, however, is the audio. It is very well executed, and with a good surround sound system, one can truly be immersed into the game. There’s nothing like hearing faintly, distant laughing children who are no longer alive amidst far off machine clanks & whispers at midnight in total darkness while you skulk around a the burned out orphanage turned mental institution, now abandoned. The hair on the back of my neck stood on end as I kept chanting to myself that I was the one that was the one to be afraid of in this hellish place. Like I said, it’s best played at night.
Additionally, they didn’t skimp on voice talent. You still have the 2 famous guards who always talk to eachother through various places, and some even react to the board’s situations, some had me on the floor laughing.
If you’ve never played either of this game’s predecessors, it’s still a good play, and requires more patience than most first person games, with a nice touch of RPG.
Overall, this game rocks. I recommended it to an Aussie sounding gent at Best Buy Friday while shopping… amongst 50 other games. I’m sure he dug it, and I’m sure you will too if the above sounds appealing.