I'm bit in a hurry (partially because I oversplept having last night played through this).
With this mission I had more fun than with the whole Thief 4. I think that about says enough.
I really cannot find much at all that I did not like.
One of the best things for me was that I - again like long ago in Thief - felt so much like an actual master thief, I guess because I really had to sneak, observe, hear and learn, and
my tools of the trade were limited (or rather fitting here "optimised") for an actual thief, not a killer/KO-guy that jsut waltzes through getting rid of piles of guards.
Many missions seem to try this, but here it really fit together: The right amount of guards, realistic hiding spaces, being stealthy is rewarding; being forced to go full stealth in some missions
makes it seem like tedious work or at least a hassle, not so here - it was pure joy of gameplay and immersion.
The story binds it well together, motivating for a stealthy and "researching" approach by the "collateral" theme and the fun of getting some possible black mail material, without hurting
a future customer or his household/family.
Visually of course it was top notch. Very nice variation in environments: you really feel like being in a living city (by the well done town surroundings in the distance); then there is this nice garden, then the servants quarters,
mansion environment, sewers, cellars, secret and nicely dusty/cobwebbed attics/storage/house technical spaces, a secret lair, and the nice secret forbidden drugs-growing-greenhouse.
And everything sneak-friendly for the enterprising night-guest, without being too easy - without some thief skills one not gets far.
The size was "just right" - no danger of getting lost,yet diverse enough to have a lot of fun exploring. Always feeling in control by having maps from the start.
Mantling and vertical spaces were very sneak-friendly: Many a time I evaded guards by sitting in the dark in the rafters or on furniture. Again a nice feeling of control here.
I could ghost the mission on epxert difficulty , having a stealth score of only 9; more use of moss-arrows would have made me even more perfect here; I am just a "saver", knowing not what awaits further in the
mission; next time I try to go perfect by dispensing all moss arrows. I got 1500 or so loot, which I see as a success; in reality, you would get most, but not all, too.
Ghosting was especially enjoyable because I could imagine being successfully stealthy if this environment was real, I did not use super powers or had to risk getting detected (and therefore killed) in many
places - carefully observing, listening and being patient would carry me safely through this map without being trivially easy by just overly exploiting the light gem mechanic; i really HID and SNEAKED.
I liked the kind of newish aspect of proving your skills to a future employer, so you not just grab everything of value, but leave hints that shows you were there and could have easily stolen everything,
but didn't. Maybe because that was quite innovative and new, but anyway it felt at least a little more rewarding than just grabbing the valuables and then make oneself scarce.
While there were quite some keys, it was no lame keyhunt; most keys were clearly visibly paraded around like treats on belts, or hidden with clear hints in logical places.
I have no mapper's skilled eye, but about graphics, lighting etc. I can see this: I never thought "bah, that looks much like it is constructed in an editor" - I went through the mission without getting
painfully remembered that it is "just" a map with textures and lights etc. - which probably means visuals were damn good.
The only very minor annoyance was my inabilty to get that rope arrow - I could not grab it from the garden, not by walking on the window ledge; stacking grates would maybe have helped, but seemed to much work, because
they were far away and would have needed to be transported through guard patroling space, so no rope arrow for me. Maybe I'll get that bugger in my nest playthrough.
This was a full-blown, exceptional thief experience in the good old way. Many thanks for over two hours of great enjoyment.