Being a longtime Thief fan (I own T1, TG, and T2), I bought Thief: Deadly Shadows on Wednesday from the cute girl at the Alderwood Mall EB Games. 40 bucks and I drove home as quick as possible.
Simply put, the game is incredible. It's ... Thief. It's not some piece of crap with a franchise logo on it for marketing purposes. ION Storm did not screw this game up, in fact they made exactly the game that should've been made. The games in this series have always had kind of a "wonky" game engine, so any comments regarding the movement, animation, graphics, or performance not being up to par are nothing new and not really attributable to the DX:IW fiasco.
Performance is good enough with my Radeon 9700 Pro at 1280x1024. It's not Ut2k4, but then again you don't need 60+ fps when you're taffin' around and sneaking about
It at least feels smoother, or at least the framerate is more consistent, than it was in DX:IW (which I played all the way through). The graphics range from jaw-dropping great to wet-willy lame, but the latter is not distracting.
The only part that really feels like a "console port" is the fonts that are used on the menu and options screens. They look a bit low-res, but no big deal. It's the gameplay that matters. People complain about the loading zones, but they're really not a big deal. What matters is what when you play the game, you're immersed. You're enthralled and thinking about how to sneak past some guards to get upstairs, or where the owner of the house (or castle) might've hid some extra loot, or why Benny is such a dork (if you've played Thief 1/2 you know who Benny is).
So to summarize: Thief 3 is not a DX:IW repeat. IS has made a game faithful to the Thief series and I for one applaud them. I'm only on the 4th mission and it's been totally engrossing so far. I think I'm about 8 hours into it ... roughly 2 hours per level, in other words.
Anyway the demo comes out today (Friday), supposedly. Go download it if you're still not convinced!
BY THE WAY: Do not use the Catalyst 4.5 drivers with this game.
Downgrade to 4.4. Otherwise all the lighting effects and shadows are messed up. Can't fully blame IS for that though ... Thief 3 was finished before Cat 4.5 was available! Don't know if you can blame ATI either, as Cat 4.5 was done before Thief 3 was available! It does suck, but at least there's a solution.