Deus Ex (PC) - Retroview

By: Red Raven

Review Breakdown
   Battle System 8
   Interface 6
   Music & Sound 5
   Originality 6
   Story & Plot 3
   Localization NA
   Replay Value 5
   Visuals 5
   Difficulty Easy
   Completion Time 30-50 Hours  

Yeah, good luck with that buddy
Yeah, good luck with that buddy
Deus Ex

   There is a very distinct line between what I consider to be an RPG and a game with "RPG elements." While Deus Ex sports a twisting story filled with suspense, a very customizable battle system, and branching dialogue paths, it is clearly not a RPG. So what is it? Deus Ex is a fairly solid FPS that could entertain both members of the normal FPS community and serve as a stepping-stone for those RPGamers unfamiliar with that genre.

   Outside the various cut scenes and dialogue interludes, the entirety of the game takes place from the first-person perspective of the nanomachine-enchanced J.C. Denton. Anyone familiar with FPS titles such as Half-Life or Doom will be quite comfortable with this viewpoint but there is a fairly intuitive tutorial mode for those that have otherwise avoided the computer gaming scene for the past ten years. The menus, weapons, and dialogue options are also very simple, clean, and easy to learn how to operate. The graphics of Deus Ex are entirely dependant on what kind of computer system you run but even the on high end machines the graphics cannot begin to compare with what is standard fare for similar console games. They are not bad per se, but it is fairly obvious that this game came out before the more advanced graphics accelerators became available

   The battle "system" in Deus Ex is very flexible: almost every problem you encounter in the game can be solved at least in three difference ways. Want to go in guns blazing? You can do that. Would you rather hack the computer security system and let the drone guns do the work for you? Fine. Rather use advanced technological gadgets such as stealth armor, night vision, and lock picks to avoid confrontation altogether? Go for it. Not only are different tactics sometimes necessary, but intrepid gamers will find a lot of bonus items and rewards for exploring areas that are not associated with the mission at hand as well.

   Besides just the various options of how to go about combat, Deus Ex also offers quite a lot of different opportunities to customize your character based on your playing style. As you complete missions you'll be able to scavenge weapon upgrades that can enhance any of your weapons with a larger clip, a scope, a silencer, an increase in range, or an increase in accuracy. Not only do you customize your weapons, but also you customize yourself. Since J.C.'s body mainly consists of nanomachines, you can upgrade him with special abilities contained in Augmentation canisters. Finding one and installing it presents you with two choices of augmentations. For example, will you choose to be able run silently or to be able to jump higher? Be able to be invisible to biological targets or mechanical ones? Bulletproof or bombproof? These augmentations are mutually exclusive: once you choose one over the other your decision is final. You'll also come across augmentation upgrade canisters that will heighten the effect of one of your installed augmentations. Finally, you get a number of skill points for interacting with other people and completing missions and such. These points allow you to purchase higher levels in skills such as Pistols, Rifles, Lock Picking, Swimming, and so on which can significantly raise your chances of success if you happen to use that skill a lot. Between augmentations and their upgrades, weapon modifications, skill point allocation, and personal playing style, it is extremely unlikely that two people will go through Deus Ex the exact same way.

Great, now it's A *MGS*PCFPSRPG...
Great, now it's A MGSPCFPSRPG...

   So what about the plot of this so-called PCFPSRPG? While it delivers an experience that most veterans of FPS game could appreciate, it falls far short of what console gamers come to expect from their genre. The great "conspiracy" advertised on the box starts to grow on you while you play but about halfway through the game the plot suddenly throws every single major conspiracy and secret organization known into the mix. The goal, I suspect, was that the player would feel as though the entire world was out to get him or her and that there would be nowhere to run. Instead of accomplishing that goal, the developers succeeded in over-doing the plot. "Too many cooks ruin the soup," as it were. The disappointing nose-dive in story-related motivation to finish Deus Ex was offset by the increasingly interesting locales and enemies however. Previous strategies have to be cast aside as new situations appear in where, say, sneaking past the guards is no longer an option or there are no security systems to hack into. These constant changes in environment help keep the missions from becoming too monotonous while at the same time making the player try some other strategies that they would not otherwise have tried.

   If you can stand the cheesiness of the final hours of the game, then Deus Ex is definitely worth a purchase at a mere $10 in a bargain bin near you. If nothing else, it is a fine FPS experience that will remind you how much you miss playing Half-Life. Just do not fire up Deus Ex expecting something on par with say...well...any other RPG you're playing right now. That is, unless you happen to be playing something very bad.

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