Generally favorable reviews - based on 45 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 41 out of 45
  2. Negative: 0 out of 45
  1. I have never seen a game use light the way Deadly Shadows does, nor have I seen such realistic environments rendered on the fly. For those who can get it to work well on their systems, this is an astounding visual experience.
  2. 100
    The true wonder of the game isn’t in normal mapping or Havok physics, but rather in the low-tech ways in which the game turns skulking in the dark into tons of fun. There’s still room in this business for loving craftsmanship and intelligent design, and Deadly Shadows has both.
  3. What really impressed me about Thief: Deadly Shadows was its exquisite attention to detail in all regards. From the graphics to the sound to the level design, every aspect of Thief: Deadly Shadows seems lovingly crafted by those who genuinely cared about what they were doing.
  4. Exceptional level design and whet with atmosphere this will elate series faithful and deserves to attract all fans of stealth-based gaming.
  5. Ion Storm has definitely learned some important lessons from "Invisible War" and while there is still room for improvement, this is their best game, and certainly the best version of Thief yet.
  6. It's a surprisingly long game, with plenty to do away from the main story; Thief will consume you for months on end.
  7. The AI has been greatly improved from its predecessors, requiring you to use even more thought to get around guards and other characters in the game.
  8. 90
    Carry out your finest work in shadowy places and dole out dagger lobotomies with little chance of being penalized. It's almost as good as being a U.S. president or Hall of Fame running back!
  9. Casual gamers may not be bothered by the difficulty bug or AI glitches, but diehard Thief fans would be better off with the PC version, both for definitely available patches and the offhand possibility of future mod missions.
  10. Thief contains a level more terrifying than anything we've ever encountered before. [Aug 2004, p.76]
  11. Even though some of Ion’s design decisions, like the removal of the rope arrow and the inclusion of the third-person camera, will disappoint purists, it would be difficult for anyone to deny what a splendid experience this release is.
  12. Console leftovers or not, Thief: Deadly Shadows is one of the best PC games of the year. [Aug 2004, p.62]
  13. We flat loved the wide open feel of the game, got a ton of enjoyment out of it, and really liked the look and feel of the game engine and the weapons and interaction interface.
  14. 88
    The glaring clipping error kept the game from true greatness, as did the minor glitches in the rag doll system and the difficulty modes.
  15. 86
    A stellar and mood-defining sound environment, excellent voice work, gorgeous lighting, and a slow-to-build but page-turning story fuel Deadly Shadows to great effect, and it's also fairly long and involved, although there is no multiplayer or modding tools to extend the life of the product.
  16. The atmosphere is intact, the story is very nice, the graphics are well above par, the audio is very good, and the gameplay should be interesting both for new and old players. With a few more months of development this game would have been truly excellent.
  17. Deadly Shadows has real problems with collision detection. I’ve found myself stuck in midair several times, when I accidentally slipped off a ledge and got caught between it and the building it was attached to.
  18. 85
    A terrific game. All of the stealth gameplay, intricate level design, Byzantine story branches, and delightfully larcenous action makes a welcome return in this edition. The godfather of stealth-action games is back. Unfortunately, while Thief: Deadly Shadows stands as an equal to any of the previous games in the series, it doesn't exceed them - nor does it move the franchise forward as much as it was obviously designed to do.
  19. 85
    The perfect antidote for people who think they've seen it all when it comes to the stealth genre.
  20. The story is great, the tension is real and if you like copious adrenal activity then you won't go too far wrong.
  21. The background story is great, the fantasy world is rich and enthralling, and the ability to explore the open-ended environment during intense and fun missions will certainly have you playing this one till you've finished it.
  22. Not as good as either of the first two games...What it is, is a rather decent homage to the greatest stealth game ever made, which does a reasonable job of recapturing the ethos and style, and a great job of recapturing the gameplay of the game we all fell in love with.
  23. Features a memorable protagonist, a great setting, and some very interesting missions. It also happens to suffer from a variety of miscellaneous, minor flaws. These are unfortunate, since Thief: Deadly Shadows is great game, for the most part.
  24. 83
    T: DS is a very atmospheric game which has just one too many small faults to make its gameworld a compellingly believable one.
  25. This is a case where the synergy between compelling gameplay and environment design, enabled by great technology, is too important to compromise. [July 2004, p.74]
  26. Problems aside, Thief 3 is overwhelming salvaged by three of the cornerstones of the franchise, an engaging, well crafted plotline, solid premise and impressive sound values.
  27. The games sound by far outshines the graphics with everything from idle non playable character conversations to discreet footsteps pacing through the dark environments.
  28. Any fan of stealth games needs to pick this one up and try to look past the technical issues to the excellent gameplay and sense of style beneath.
  29. I've played Thief the third time now. It's time to elaborate and expand. The small touches implemented by the developers, like the City, factions and stores are mostly cosmetic, never taken advantage of fully.
  30. Deadly Shadows sticks closely to the formula, albeit with a highly refined touch. [Aug 2004, p.101]
  31. A taut, atmospheric and engrossing experience. The only real gripe is that The City sections become long-winded, lacking as they do the focus of the story missions and as a result make the game feel a little bloated.
  32. Strangely, the game that I've played lately that Thief: Deadly Shadows reminds me of most is the cell-phone version of "Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow."
  33. Graphics so pretty, it's a genuine shame to turn out the lights... A great title. Witty, stylish, and entertaining.
  34. This is not going to leave players breathless or have critics singing praises of innovation, but Thief: Deadly Shadows does the franchise proud by delivering a solid, worthwhile, and memorable game experience.
  35. A good addition to the stealth genre, but Garrett would much rather run and hide than to stand and fight.
  36. Longtime Thief fans who can overlook the game's handful of flaws will find Deadly Shadows a worthwhile continuation of the series, even though some sacrifices were made to bring it to the PC and Xbox platforms simultaneously.
  37. Without the guns, gadgets, and radars of modern-themed games, it's a much tenser experience, and the cunning level design and excellent sound effects really draw you into its world. The variable difficulty levels mean no one should get seriously stuck, but there's still plenty of challenge for those that want it.
  38. 80
    The slow-burning story is fun, and the dedication to stealth results in game mechanics that easily surpass the competition. It's an essential purchase for anyone who values an atmosphere of great gameplay over body counts.
  39. Works so well in third-person mode that it makes you wonder why it wasn't offered earlier. [Sept 2004, p.70]
  40. The difficulties and player skill involved vary the time greatly, but don't expect to finish it in less than 30 hours. For stealth junkies, Thief: Deadly Shadows is a pure, powdered-to-perfection, Grade-A addiction.
  41. It’s the creepy atmosphere and the easy-to-pick-up-but-tough-to-perfect gameplay that most impress, and there are enough quirks and twists to ensure that you will do your damnedest to complete this compelling title.
  42. Not everything it should've been, but sporadically brilliant and usually fun. [July 2004, p.56]
  43. It's a decent play, but it didn't steal my heart the way that I had hoped. [July 2004, p.113]
  44. Series veterans may find there's no individual mission that can compare to past highlights like the nails-down-a-blackboard dread of Return To The Cathedral or the emergent possibilities of Life Of The Party, but they remain admirably clever pieces of level design. [July 2004, p.101]
  45. The biggest fault I found in Deadly Shadows is the A.I. The guard’s awareness at one point can be very high, but then in other situations you’d think he was deaf.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 200 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 50
  2. Negative: 6 out of 50
  1. May 7, 2011
    I love all of the thief games they are entertaining with interesting stories. This is a good game if you like to use strategy and be naughty. :p Not a run up and kill stuff and make everything explode sort of game. Hours of fun and glory. Full Review »
  2. Aug 24, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Thief: Deadly Shadows is truly the weakest game in the series, partially due to it being produced for the XBox. The levels are small, and the mini-maps are linked by this unexplained purple gas to connect them. Thus, you don't go through any of the city gates, but actually go around them through the purple gas. Other characters don't travel through the purple gas. As a result of the small levels, I found the cities somewhat boring. Further, some of the fun features of previous Thief games were removed (i.e. rope arrows) and were replaced with a wall-climbing ability, but it just wasn't as interesting. They really missed out on the opportunity to create a much more complex map (utilizing the "Thieves' highway" of the rooftops. Travel through water and flooded areas - once an interesting puzzle - has been disallowed. If you accidentally fall into water, you sink like a rock. No swimming, as in past games! A voice comes through and says you've been captured and taken to prison, which is fun to escape from -- once.

    Going through the city and picking pockets is an interesting diversion for a while, but having to sell your stuff at a fence can get tedious.

    You can befriend the Pagans and the Hammerites by doing things for them to increase your friendliness ranking. (Okay, that could be interesting... but...) But this just prevents them from attacking you later, and possibly defending you, and if you steal from them, your status goes down. Whether the faction noticed you stealing or not, they still lose respect for you. Also, the favors you do for them are pretty odd. Pagans, for example, like you to shoot moss arrows at green cornerstones to increase your status with them. Hammerites like you to shoot at dog-sized bugs which explode when you shoot them. (Huh?) To make matters worse, I encountered a few annoying bugs. Occasionally, the protagonist would get stuck in a jump and not descend until I exited the level. Occasionally, you could lean just right an look through an object to the horizon. Expect a few little screwball errors like this.

    The storyline, as opposed to Thief: The Dark Project, was lacking as well. You don't want to think about it too hard. The villain of the story uses inconsistent resources throughout the story, as if the level designers did not consult with each other when designing the characters or levels. So sloppy all around.

    So, yes, Thief 3 is a little disappointing, but possibly worth playing if you can get it cheaply and keep your expectations low. The game was obviously rushed to market, and could really have used another month or two of play-testing.
    Full Review »
  3. Nov 16, 2012
    Not as bad as some gamers claim it! Thief:DS is definitely the weakest addition to the Thief series. I think the reason behind that are the innovations the developers tried to implement in the game. Innovations like the new open city, the player can explore between missions( In the previous games the player were placed from mission to mission) , the cutscenes now use simply animation (previously they used partly animation, and partly motion capture technology). The developers tried to update the game to 2004 gaming standards, and I think it was not liked by many old fans of the series. I have to admit that the story is somewhat weaker this time (The villain in the game is not as charismatic as Karras or the Trickster.) Above all I still enjoyed the game. It had the same stealth mechanism as the previous games. The atmosphere of the old games was still present, the graphics were improved, it had great music, and really good missions ( Like the Cradle). The story of Garrett came to a full circle in this last installment. Full Review »