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I’ve had stealing on the brain. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Thief games lately and realized I haven’t played many fan missions or campaigns. So I ran a search for the best Thief campaigns and it seems there’s more single missions than campaigns so I ran a search for the best campaigns for The Dark Mod which is basically a Thief game without being an official Thief game. That search led me to Requiem. It’s a huge single mission but from what I can tell, a lot of the great fan missions are huge. What really attracted me to it was an article claiming it’s one of several missions that builds upon The Dark Mod’s cosmology. It also has a pretty good rating on the Thief Guild website. So I found it in The Dark Mod’s mission archive and downloaded it. Requiem was created by Moonbo and released in October, 2013.
Not only does Requiem build upon The Dark Mod’s cosmology but it’s apparently a companion piece to the author’s novella called Shadowcursed. I have yet to read it, myself. You are informed about the novella right after you click “Start This Mission” so after seeing that, I figured Requiem was going to be a very story-heavy mission. The player assumes the role of Bolen, day laborer and thief. He returns home from work one day to find a message from his most reliable fence and he is eventually tasked with finding a letter that supposedly reveals the location of a valuable gemstone.
I was right in thinking Requiem is a story-driven mission and if you can get invested, there are some pretty good twists and turns. Much of the backstory is revealed in the books, letters, and journals that you come across. The story is conveyed through text and dialogue and the voice work is pretty good. Overall, I would say Requiem tells a pretty good tale and you will get the most out of it if you actually take the time to read. Not only that, some of the text will give you hints and tips on what you need to do or where you need to go. I do wish the mission provided closure on certain plot developments but maybe that’s done in the novella.
I know many fan missions are huge and while Requiem is pretty big, it’s also a little more straightforward than some others that I’ve played. The environments are not maze-like so it shouldn’t be hard to figure out where to go. Some of the puzzles will require some thinking but this mission primarily centers on stealth. You can find resources and treasures in the environments and I did my best to avoid combat. While Requiem is a big mission, it’s didn’t take as long as I thought it would to beat it. It took me a little over two hours.
If you’re looking for a thievery mission – where you have steal a bunch of shit – that’s not what Requiem is. While there is treasure to steal hidden around the mission, your primary objectives don’t really focus on stealing. But I did have a good time with it. The worldbuilding is good and the mission was designed in a way that conveys a unique and compelling atmosphere. You will want to be on the lookout for resources like the different arrow types, Holy Water, and health potions because they will prove to be helpful. While you can avoid combat, there are plenty of enemies in this mission, and if you’re spotted, you will be forced to defend yourself.
Requiem is a multi-stage mission which means when you complete an objective, another becomes available. It is the kind of mission where most NPCs are a threat. As soon as you hit the streets, you’ll be targeted if you’re spotted. You’ll have to be on the lookout for guards and what I believe are Acolytes and more supernatural foes towards the end. As you may or may not know, I’m not a fan of the monsters or combat in the Thief games. While I would say the combat is better in The Dark Mod, I’d still rather avoid it so I get a little hesitant when I read about fan missions that place an emphasis on the supernatural because that usually means monsters and I really dislike ending up in situations where I feel I have to fight them. I didn’t read anything about Requiem that said that ghosts or the undead would be present so I admit, when I first encountered the supernatural foes, I said “oh fuck”. But I didn’t quit and I’m happy to say and I never felt forced to engage them or any foes for that matter. I was able to sneak around and evade combat most of the time.
If there’s any complaints I have with Requiem it’s with some of the platforming and a specific enemy. There are certain areas where you’ll have to jump and pull yourself onto platforms and it can be a pain in the ass. Unless I missed something – and it’s possible I missed more Rope Arrows than what I found – it seems to be one the best ways to progress. That said, Rope Arrows can make some of these areas a little easier to navigate. As for the specific enemy, at a certain point you encounter ghosts or spirits or whatever they are which are only visible in the light and they disappear in the shadows. This is actually kind of cool but can make navigating around certain areas a bit tedious. Other than these things, I really enjoyed Requiem and felt it put up a fair challenge. By no means does it ever feel impossible or cheap and I never once felt forced into a hostile situation. I used my sword and Holy Water Arrows a few times but getting spotted was always my own fault and I felt I could evade most of the foes I encountered. I deliberately engaged the undead at one point because fuck them, I wanted them out of my way.
Despite Requiem’s straightforward and somewhat linear nature, it does give you plenty of room to explore and exploration is usually rewarding. If you don’t find treasure, you’ll find equipment. You’ll want to look high and low and use rope arrows and climb things whenever you can because chances are there’s something to find around almost every corner or so it seems. The mission will take you to the streets, into a church, and into the crypts under the City. However, there are some buildings you can navigate through in the City area. I found myself backtracking from time to time but it never became excessive and only one puzzle stumped me for a little bit and it’s one that will require you to read to solve. Unless you get lucky, of course.
If you’ve played any other Dark Mod missions, you should know what to expect in terms of presentation and I would say Requiem is very well crafted. It does feature some new textures and assets and I really enjoyed the use of certain colors. The environments flow together nicely and there’s a good amount of visual variety to keep things interesting. The sound work is also great. In fact, I really enjoyed the use of ambient sounds like dogs barking in the distance, horse steps, and people chattering away in another room of one of the buildings you can enter. Furthermore, Requiem features a fantastic soundtrack in my opinion. A lot of dramatic and ominous tunes that not only help elevate tension but also drive home the mission’s somewhat unique atmosphere. On the technical side, I encountered no major issues.
I really enjoyed my time with Requiem even though it wasn’t what I was looking for. I was looking for a campaign that centers on robbing and stealing and doesn’t include monsters. And just to be clear, when I say “robbing and stealing”, I mean treasure. Breaking into buildings and quietly stealing valuable items and ripping people off. Because stealth, stealing, and the world is what I love most about the Thief series. Requiem is not a campaign, robbing and stealing isn’t really the focus, and it does include monsters. But it proved to be a fun time, regardless, and I think it actually tells a pretty good tale, too. It’s a well made story-driven mission with an emphasis on stealth. Sneaking around is fun, exploration can be rewarding, and I never felt forced into hostile situations. It’s all good stuff.
I would recommend Requiem. For one thing, The Dark Mod is free so it’s not going to cost you anything and as of this review, it doesn’t come with much so the missions you download will determine what you get out of it. And Requiem is certainly a mission worth playing. Everything great about Thief gameplay is here, I feel the story is pretty good, and it conveys a compelling atmosphere. Definitely check it out.