The most remarkable fact about Thief: Deadly Shadows is how remarkably close the feel and style of the game is compared to its predecessors. There's a new game engine, new developer and one heck of a long time between games. Even Garrett's motions are familiar; he sneaks around in his slightly awkward, almost laggy gait. Now this could be ION Storm trying to save CPU cycles by delaying keyboard response time like they did mouse response with Deus Ex, but whatever it is, it works.
In concordance with the title of the game, you play a thief. This generally means breaking into homes, taking valuable property, pickpocketing, knocking people on the head and other disreputable things. Ostensibly there is some freedom of action as Garrett now has some choice about in which order to do missions, but the destination is the same in the end and the routes don't vary all that much. Stick to the shadows, don't make noise, disable/distract/kill guards and get the goodies.
The linchpin of what freedom of choice the game gives the player is of course the City. Supposedly huge from what you read about it, in fact it's more like a hamlet. Even with load times, it rarely takes more than two minutes to cross it. Fortunately, the City has content of its own. In addition to the various locations to loot, each zone has its fences and thief stores. A fence will take goods off your hands, while a thief store will charge you ridiculous prices for your equipment. Garrett may be a master thief, but a haggler he is not. If a diamond necklace worth 100 coins can only buy him a simple broadhead arrow, our one-eyed friend should perhaps consider hiring the drunken bum in the street or perhaps a senile old geezer with advanced Alzheimer's to do his negotiations for him.
Disappointingly, the rooftops of the City are inaccessible to Garrett. Not because he can't get there - climbing gloves will bring Garrett to the top of many buildings - but because they don't exist (it rather ruins the suspension of disbelief when you can see beyond the game world.
-ed.). It's a petty thing to complain about, but Garrett's not much of a thief if he hasn't figured out the Rogue's Road, the Thieve's Highway, so to speak. This is particularly disturbing in light of the endless supply of city guards and other potentially hostile factions who roam the city streets at night.