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Another Thief 3 Review

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May 30, 2004 6:43:58 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

Hope there's room for one more person's impression of the game. I know that
many of these issues have already been addressed but I thought I'd give my
opinion of them and my take on the game in general. Feel free to correct my
criticisms if I overlooked something.

For reference, my system consists of an ATI 9600 Pro, 3GHz P4, SoundMax
onboard audio and a gig of PC3200 dual channel memory.

/////////////// PLUSSES //////////////////////////

Greatly Improved Graphics And Lighting Effects. As much as I love the Thief
franchise, the earlier games always felt "clunky" to me. The lighting alone
in this game makes it far more immersive, and the animation is greatly
improved. For one thing, the guards don't make me feel like I'm being
chased by cardboard cutouts anymore. Also, "fobbed" objects have a very
cool blue haze enveloping them - very atmospheric. Moonlight streaming
though castle windows reminds me a bit of the game Wheel of Time, only
better looking.

Great Use Of Audio. The music is still hard to compare to the earlier games,
as I just started, but so far I'm very impressed.

Better Voice Acting. So far, much better than Thief 2 and just as good as
the original. The dialogue is varied and colorful. It's fun just listening
to the guests and the guards - sometimes for clues, sometimes just for
laughs.

Improved Lock Picking. I find it much less tedious than fumbling through
your inventory and holding down the mouse button. As an
added bonus it's also force-feedback enabled. I discovered this when my
Firestorm Dual-Power controller started hopping around the desk every time I
found a tumbler "sweet spot" - scared the hell out of me! I haven't used it
in ages, it was just plugged-in to the PC at the time. ... of course I
suppose it could just be possessed ;-)

Wall Press - Nice to have a new addition to Garrett's repertoire.

Arrow Trajectories - much easier to aim this time round, though it would
have been nice to have the arc increase with the difficulty level. Blue
tracers are a bit tacky though.

Menus - The interface is smooth and polished.. There's a better flow when
navigating the option screens and no loud "industrial" clangs each time you
scroll up or down (which drove me nuts in the first game)

Books and Documents - load extremely fast. That was always an annoyance to
me in the earlier games, that delay you endured every time you tried to read
something.

Compass-Detectability Gadget - very elegant and unobtrusive

Tutorial - I love the blue footprints that light your path. The tutorial in
general makes the game as accessible as possible.

////////// MINUSES ////////////////

PC Version Feels a Bit "Consoley" - seems like there's fewer elements on the
screen yet they take up more space - courtesy of the Xbox co-development I
know.

Three Forward Speeds But None For Sprinting. I find myself wishing for a
faster gait while trying to cover lots of uneventful ground (like yards,
hallways, etc)

Mid-Level Loading Zones. I'm sorry but I just can't get used to it. It
breaks the flow of what's supposed to be a large-level non-linear game.
Fifteen seconds (for me at least) doesn't sound like much but it's a long
time to be out of play every time you cross a loading area. I know that the
Xbox is the reason but I would have preferred smaller levels, or at least
have the boundaries serve as a sub-level "finish line" - one you don't need
to cross for an objective again, only if you want to explore or collect more
loot. That fog could appear *only* when you completed what was required of
that area. I would find that the lesser of two evils as some of the T1/T2
fan missions have already proven how engaging smaller levels can be.

Books And Notes Are No Longer Added To Your Inventory. Unless I'm missing
something you cannot review all of the documents you discovered unless you
retrace your steps and read them all over again. That's a shame because
they're nice to have along (being that they're so crucial to the story).
The opened books/documents also lack the artistic style found in the
previous games.

You Can't Slash Banners Anymore! I used to love checking for loot back
there - I miss that sword.

"Noisy" Main Menu Screen- it looks like you're watching it on a TV with bad
reception. I assume it's the Bink compression, as I recall Tomb Raider games
having the same problem.. If it is then it probably looks fine in the
stand-alone Bink player.

Can't Throw A Guard On The Barbie! After knocking one out and picking him
up, I find that Garret says a very Lara Croft-like "no" when I try to drop
him in a fireplace. Not really a minus I know, except for sick bastards
like myself. ;-P

////////////// WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO HAVE /////////////////////

Rope Arrows (naturally)

A Lean-Forward Control. I know I can switch to third person mode but it
still feels more Thief-like to peer forward in first person mode.

Ambient Sounds For The Loading Screens. You're given scripture to read
while maps are loading but it still feels a bit empty without the great
ambient sounds heard during the gameplay.

A "Print" Button For The Control Menu (though that goes for *any* game).
Having a printout of all user controls is nice to have, not just for
newcomers but also for acquainting oneself with all that's possible to do.

Improved Frame Rate. At 1024x768 I'm averaging between 15-30 fps. I know
it's a demanding engine but I wonder how much more it could have been
optimized.

Mouse Sensitivity Control - can't find one, unless I missed it somewhere.

/////////////// BOTTOM LINE /////////////////////

Despite its drawbacks I still find Thief III fun to play and very addictive,
if only because I'm as much of a Thief fanatic as anyone. It would take a
lot more than the flaws I found *not* to like it, which I sense is the case
for other reviewers here. Most importantly, it still has the famous
gameplay in full effect, and a great story to be told.

More about : thief review

May 31, 2004 5:56:42 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

> Can't Throw A Guard On The Barbie! After knocking one out and picking him
> up, I find that Garret says a very Lara Croft-like "no" when I try to
drop
> him in a fireplace. Not really a minus I know, except for sick bastards
> like myself. ;-P
>
Try a fire place, or stack the unconscious up, throw an oil flask in there,
light with a fire arrow, have yourself a little BBQ. Yeah, I'm sick, some
with no auto-saves and my short attention span followed by playing the 4
level 6 times over the course of this weekend, yeah, it was time for a
little pay back.

> Mouse Sensitivity Control - can't find one, unless I missed it somewhere.
>
You can tweak it in the ini file.

> /////////////// BOTTOM LINE /////////////////////
>
> Despite its drawbacks I still find Thief III fun to play and very
addictive,
> if only because I'm as much of a Thief fanatic as anyone. It would take a
> lot more than the flaws I found *not* to like it, which I sense is the
case
> for other reviewers here. Most importantly, it still has the famous
> gameplay in full effect, and a great story to be told.
>
Well said. I concuuurrrrrrr!
Loony
May 31, 2004 5:56:43 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

"Loony" <loony@nospam.loony.name> wrote in message
news:uhwuc.108285$hY.17197@twister.nyroc.rr.com...
>
> Try a fire place, or stack the unconscious up, throw an oil flask in
there,
> light with a fire arrow, have yourself a little BBQ.
>

Will do, Loony. Say, you really live up to your moniker ;-)

> > Mouse Sensitivity Control - can't find one, unless I missed it
somewhere.
> >
> You can tweak it in the ini file.
>

Found it. Thanks. Do you know if there's an ini file setting to increase
Garrett's running speed?
Related resources
Anonymous
May 31, 2004 9:50:26 AM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

Yup: http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=83310 has all the info.

Tim wrote:
>
> "Loony" <loony@nospam.loony.name> wrote in message
> news:uhwuc.108285$hY.17197@twister.nyroc.rr.com...
> >
> Found it. Thanks. Do you know if there's an ini file setting to increase
> Garrett's running speed?
May 31, 2004 6:17:51 PM

Archived from groups: alt.games.thief-dark-project (More info?)

> > Try a fire place, or stack the unconscious up, throw an oil flask in
> there,
> > light with a fire arrow, have yourself a little BBQ.
> >
>
> Will do, Loony. Say, you really live up to your moniker ;-)
>
I meant camp-fire/fire-pit. And yes, I try :) 
!