Generally favorable reviews - based on 61 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 61
  2. Negative: 0 out of 61
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  1. 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.
  2. The Xbox version is not a port, it was developed alongside the PC title and while the graphics and sound aren't quite as solid, it is still a remarkable gaming experience.
  3. The voice acting on this game was top notch, and trust me, there is a lot of voice acting in this game. Great, gritty voices really helped you believe in each of the characters.
  4. Stands as a stark contrast to this normal guns-a-blazin' attitude, due to its meticulous stealth-based gameplay that demands patience, strategy and more than a little ingenuity on the gamer's part. This uniqueness of gameplay combined with great presentation and engrossing story makes Deadly Shadows a true gem.
  5. It's a surprisingly long game, with plenty to do away from the main story; Thief will consume you for months on end.
  6. Though far from flawless, Thief: Deadly Shadows is a magnificent game that breathes a bit of fresh air into the stealth action genre. It's got impressive graphics, ambient sound, immersive gameplay, and an intriguing story that is truly deserving of praise.
  7. Thief: Deadly Shadows creates a super-realistic environment and weaves a sinister storyline full of plot twists and plenty of suspense to create a game like no other.
  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. A breath of fresh air when it comes to stealth games.
  10. 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.
  11. The idea of stealing loot which you then need to sell at certain fences to buy equipment is good fun and the way you are free to explore is very nice.
  12. GamePro
    While this kind of slow, patient "stealth" gameplay has obviously been done before, it's never been done this well or been so throughly entrenched into every nuance and layer of design. [Aug 2004, p.64]
  13. The game mechanics might seem simple but the freedom and depth is astonishing - a dark and engrossing return for the Godfather of Stealth.
  14. It doesn't stray too far from the conventions of today, but there is no doubt, at least in this reviewer's opinion, that this is the best Thief game to date.
  15. Delivers on its promises and is a worthy addition to the legacy of Looking Glass, we can only hope that more innovation and interaction is present in what all Thief fans are hoping for; "Thief 4."
  16. Official Xbox Magazine
    The tense atmosphere conjured in the Thief universe is fantastic. [July 2004, p.74]
  17. The biggest problem that the Xbox version has is that it, like Hitman: Contracts, is a remarkably buggy product that bears unmistakable signs of being rushed out the door.
  18. 86
    Despite a slow start, Thief manages to snow ball into a wonderfully unique experience that will appeal to some and not to others.
  19. 86
    While the graphics disappoint a bit, the sound is where the atmosphere truly lies. Haunting sound effects cascade through hallways and abandoned rooms giving a true sense of foreboding.
  20. Small problems like this, the brightness level and the basic control system are heavily outweighed by the exceptional gameplay and the stunning world laid out before you in Thief. [XBM]
  21. The game's audio is awesome. The soundtrack is fitting to the tense action present on-screen. The sound effects are particularly enjoyable, as they offer a bit of everything.
  22. While the load times, poor framerate, and relatively easy degree of difficulty undermine what is a considerably polished presentation. The experience of playing a Thief game is more than just entertaining, it's rewarding in all of its glory.
  23. One problem with the game is the brightness and many will be wanting to adjust their TV settings.
  24. 83
    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 to extend the life of the product.
  25. 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.
  26. Since Deadly Shadows shares the same engine as "Deus Ex: Invisible War," you get the same gorgeous visuals, amazing lighting and incredible physics.
  27. Hardcore fans will be shattered to learn they are limited to using normal and easy modes due to the glitch with the A.I. although it isn't a complete loss.
  28. 83
    T: DS is a very atmospheric game which has just one too many small faults to make its gameworld a compellingly believable one.
  29. Play Magazine
    The way the AI reacts to your specific presence is eerily keen. [Aug 2004, p.56]
  30. Players tired of lugging around AK-47s, Uzis and rocket launchers in the cookie-cutter shooter assembly line should hop into Garrett's shoes. It's a slower game, a deeper game, a more cerebral game. If another is released, which is probably too much to hope for, I'd steal it...ahem, I mean, buy it, in a heartbeat.
  31. Overwhelming salvaged by three of the cornerstones of the franchise, an engaging, well crafted plotline, solid premise and impressive sound values.
  32. The slow-running technology, loose controls, and bugs could have been improved to make for a better game in the long run. But, fans of the Thief series should be happy with what Ion Storm has developed here.
  33. 82
    Overall the gameplay is very fun, although it can get a little bit repetitive towards the later portions of the game.
  34. This is a game that you have to put a little time and effort into just to slip into Garret's mind and start to think like a Thief, if you can then you have found yourself a very challenging and rewarding game.
  35. There are times when the subject matter doesn't quite measure up to the gameplay, and vice versa. Thief: Deadly Shadows, although a killer PC title, doesn't seem to have the flair that makes for a strong console title.
  36. Xbox Nation Magazine
    If you're willing to stick it out through a couple of slow-paced early levels, it quickly hooks you and won't let go. [Aug 2004, p.95]
  37. There's something so pleasingly honed about the overall structure of Deadly Shadows and how that integrates with the gameplay mechanic - and in terms of getting your money's worth, there are few games that suck you in quite as much.
  38. games(TM)
    Lead character Garrett slides effortlessly from the shadows in order to pick a lock (or pocket) before silently dropping out of sight. It's an effect you simply never tire of, and it's why it never feels stupid to be hiding three inches away from a patrolling guard without being seen (as is so often the case in "Splinter Cell"). [July 2004, p.104]
  39. It seems like this project has received more loving attention than Deus Ex 2, and this is why it is still a pleasure to become a master thief, even though the game is rough around the edges.
  40. Aside from a few missions which have some unexciting objectives, you have a game that combines fun stealth with a good storyline.
  41. Cheat Code Central
    It's not so much the gameplay that lures you in as it is the story.
  42. 80
    The perfect antidote for people who think they've seen it all when it comes to the stealth genre.
  43. Graphics so pretty, it's a genuine shame to turn out the lights... A great title. Witty, stylish, and entertaining.
  44. A good addition to the stealth genre, but Garrett would much rather run and hide than to stand and fight.
  45. 80
    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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 79
    It's a good game, and worthy enough to carry the Thief mantle, but it's also a perfect example of a game that is brought down by several minor flaws and a game engine which is, at times, very hard to get on with.
  49. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    Thief's visuals are so nearly pitch black that it's easy to get lost in the shadows, making mapping out new environments a plodding process. [Aug 2004, p.108]
  50. 75
    More fun than not, but the repetitive nature and framerate problems dampened my enjoyment. I couldn't help feeling that it was a PC game slapped on a console.
  51. While both versions are comparable in most respects, the slow down and horrendous load times between areas that are apparent in the Xbox version are what sets the PC incarnation a notch above its console brother.
  52. The City could have been much larger with more to explore, Garrett could have used a lot of new moves, and the optimization issues will almost certainly drive you a little nuts. Even though Deadly Shadows is a fun game.
  53. It's a shame that the rag-doll physics are the worst we've come across since, ooh, Rainbow Six: Raven Shield, because you'll often find that lifeless and unconscious bodies fall in the most ridiculous and impossible positions.
  54. It's a decent play, but it didn't steal my heart the way that I had hoped. [July 2004, p.113]
  55. Those who loved previous Thief games will equally enjoy the latest title, though it is by no means innovative.
  56. The final verdict on Thief: Deadly Shadows is a story about what could have been.
  57. Edge Magazine
    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]
  58. 70
    This is a very easy game to get into, and one which intuitively finds its complexity in difficult situations rather than bombarding the player with gimmicks and gadgets. The very essence of the stealth genre was created with Thief: The Dark Project back in 1998. Six years later, Thief: Deadly Shadows captures the same spirit beautifully.
  59. Although the graphics could have been smoothed out a little bit, and the game could've used some sort of extra goodies like multiplayer or more playable characters, Thief: Deadly Shadows remains a remarkably deep game, thanks to an excellent story, some great presentation quirks, and quite simply some of the most challenging stealth aspects around.
  60. The AI is symptomatic of a larger malaise which envelops the game and hems in the player.
  61. It excels in creating a gripping narrative that lends a strong contextual backdrop to the gameplay.

Awards & Rankings

#59 Most Discussed Xbox Game of 2004
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 13
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 13
  3. Negative: 4 out of 13
  1. Apr 11, 2017
    On pourrait grossièrement le résumer à un Splinter Cell au Moyen Age, un Moyen Age alternatif avec quelques teintes discrètes de magie et deOn pourrait grossièrement le résumer à un Splinter Cell au Moyen Age, un Moyen Age alternatif avec quelques teintes discrètes de magie et de technologie (Garrett a tout un lot de gadgets comme son oeil mécanique, ses flèches à mousse et à eau, les bombes éblouissantes...). Ambiance très sombre garantie (et réussie) à la manière du film "Le Nom de la Rose". L'histoire n'est pas avare en complots et les missions maintiennent un intérêt très intrigant.

    Heureusement qu'on peut sauvegarder quand on veut, car le jeu est d'une difficulté plutôt élevée. Elevés aussi les temps de chargement (!) : on a le temps de couler plusieurs bronzes. C'est très correct graphiquement mais ça rame souvent. Pas rédhibitoire puisque qu'en vue à la troisième personne, on peut bien appréhender l'environnement et ses (nombreuses) menaces... et la maniabilité au pad est sans souci.

    Reste que l'ensemble du jeu est d'une rare lourdeur avec pour seules cartes des gribouillis d'un enfant de 3 ans. Quand on ajoute à cela les niveaux qu'il faut explorer au pixel près pour ne pas rater un levier insidieusement caché ou un livre qui donne une information capitale pour la suite, on ne peut que lever les yeux au ciel et soupirer de lassitude. Si les Splinter Cell étaient parfois crispants, ce n'est rien en comparaison de ce Dark Project 3 qui en dépit d'évidentes qualités d'infiltration se fout de votre gueule en souriant sur tout le reste.

    Proche de la fin et ayant raté un passage secret -LE passage secret- j'ai décidé d'arrêter les frais : tourner en rond dans tout le niveau en essayant d'échapper à des machins qu'on ne peut pas tuer, ni arrêter (oui, oui, des Terminators déjà à l'époque...) ce n'est pas du jeu : juste une inutile perte de temps. Dommage quand même.
    Full Review »
  2. StephanK.
    Aug 10, 2005
    All I can say is...holy crap...this game blew me away. From it's great graphics and lighting system to the wonderful sound, Thief is one All I can say is...holy crap...this game blew me away. From it's great graphics and lighting system to the wonderful sound, Thief is one heluva game. And many people will disagree with me, but Thief leaves Splinter Cell (even though it is a great game) in the dust. Full Review »
  3. RobinH.
    Aug 15, 2004
    Thief 3 is a stealth game that differs from Splinter Cell in many aspects. You are Garrett, a master thief and must steal from the guys in Thief 3 is a stealth game that differs from Splinter Cell in many aspects. You are Garrett, a master thief and must steal from the guys in The City. You've got a lot more freedom, can buy your own gear and have a city like in GTA. Bad point vs. Splinter Cell: PT is that it doesn't have (XBL) multiplayer. Excellent Game! Full Review »