As this month comes to a close, many of you will want to get your hands on Thief II: The Metal Age being released by Eidos Interactive.
If you have played Thief: The Dark Project then this sequel will seem familiar to you. You once again play as the master of theft and stealth, Garret. You must continue your thievery in this sequel under the reign of a new sheriff, Gorman Truett, who has a strange hatred towards you. He has the help from a special extremist group, who is supplying him with weapons. Together they are trying to put all honest thieves out of commission. Your goal is to find out why he is after you while, of course, still filling your pockets with the fabulous belongings of those innocent "victims."
Unlike the loads of "first person shooters" around, this game focuses on stealth. To an even greater extent than the original Thief (which did contain some straight up action parts to it), this game places great emphasis on strategy. You can't just run out into the open and pull out a rocket launcher, instead you must be careful walking around every corner, making sure nobody is there. You really get the sense of a real thief, not that I would know what that is like =). While carefully listening and waiting, you must progress through the darkness with a variety of "Metal Age" weapons ranging from moss to rope arrows and from gas mines to flash bombs. The game contains 15 missions, which all have a sophisticated and intricate purpose. For example, in the second level, which has all the appearances of a straight burglary, you have to get into dockside warehouses, grab goodies worth 500 GP and get back to your starting point. This intricate creation gives you so much to do and see that it feels more like reconnaissance for the game that follows. The AI has also been amazingly improved. The guards now have a sharper eye, actively seek you out, and even summon help, making it all the more difficult to sneak around. While playing this game, I found that, even after satisfying the numerous mission objectives, I stayed with the game, picking up information from many of the ledgers and journals I found on my way. In addition, to complete your objectives, you can take different routes through different areas. This makes for greater replay value and much more fun. When compared to the original Thief, this game far outshines its predecessor. With levels almost twice the size and many different routes, this game is what every Thief fan will not want to be without.
To be honest, I wasn't impressed with the graphics from the original Thief, however, that's not the case anymore. Offering hardware acceleration support and 16-bit colour, with resolutions up to 800 x 600, certainly gives it a more textured look. The fog in the game also enhances the effect, unlike games like Turok. In addition, the polygon count of the characters in the game has also doubled, giving everything a much smoother and polished effect. Overall, it's decent, but nothing special when compared to the newer games coming out.
The sound is decent, however some repetition makes it kinda annoying (i.e. the jumping sound). Good use of 3D sound too. There's not much else to say here.
Unfortunately, there will be no multiplayer features released with the game. From what I have heard, the creators of this game will be making a stand alone multiplayer Thief game, which will allow you to work together with your friends as a real pack of thieves.
· Eavesdrop on secret conversations
· Frame someone for a crime they didn't commit
· Travel an entire city districts via rooftops
· Participate in daring after hours bank robberies
· Tail a courier through the winding streets of a city
· Stow away on an enemy occupied vessel
· Kidnap someone from a well guarded installation
· Investigate a murder site
· "Case the joint" before breaking in and stealing your prize
· Follow an involving storyline complete with intriguing subplots
· Use powerful new items, like potions of Slowfall and Invisibility
· Scout areas using remote cameras
· Evade and engage some of the most sophisticated enemy AI
· Explore beautifully rendered environments, complete with weather, fog, and sky effects