I wrote a preview for Deux Ex: Human Revolution not long ago, so I decided to write a review of the first game for good measure. Deus Ex was released in 2000 by Edios and developed by Ion Storm Inc. (R.I.P.). It put Warren Spector on the map as a game designer and used the well-known Unreal Engine version 1. The game is a mix of RPG and first-person shooter that delves into conspiracies, world decadence, transhumanism and terrorism.
First the story, DX has a straightforward story when you don’t want to talk too much about the spoilery stuff. You start the game as JC Denton, a new recruit for the UNATCO (United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition) and you are given your first assignment: capture the leader of the terrorists that are currently holding the Statue of Liberty. Your elder brother Paul Denton is the first character you meet in the game proper. Although, doing the tutorial will allow you to meet a few game characters and give lot of background information. It’s a good idea to do the tutorial (called training). So, like all conspiracies, at some point in the game you will learn that who you think are the bad guys might not be so bad and who you think are the good guys aren’t necessarily the good guys either and you (as JC Denton) will have to make choices, to know who you will support. Also, some of your decisions will change part of the game slightly, without spoiling anything, sometimes helping somebody in a side quest will help you in later part of the game. You get to visit parts of New York, Hong Kong, Paris as major hubs.
Second, the gameplay. DX isn’t a typical shooter; your character’s abilities with weapons is dependent on your character’s skills that range from weapons to things like hacking or swimming. I usually go with pistol and melee, because I love to sneak around and head shooting enemies is enough to down them, except for the harder ones like the “mecha commando.” Besides the skills, there are also augmentations. These augmentations are composed of nanites, and JC Denton is one of the first agents to support them. These augmentations can sometimes replace skills and they also give the player a lot more options to solve missions. Using augmentation drains energy, but it can be recharged with biocells. Finally, there are a lot of different weapons in the game: simple pistols, crossbow, mines, swords, grenades, sniper rifles, machine guns, rocket propelled guns (RPGs), etc. Plus, the weapons can be upgraded with mods to reduce recoil or increase damage. Lots of variety for lots of fun. Now, there is one thing that I’ve seen people don’t really like about the ranged weapons in the game and it’s the cursor; if you aren’t trained in a weapon skills you will have problem using the weapon correctly and the cursor will sway, making targeting complicated. Personally, I love that feature.
Third, the gameworld. The game is split into mission hubs and mission maps. The hubs are larger areas where you will usually find side quests and information, while the mission maps are what you need to finish to advance the storyline. Each mission map is big and offers multiple ways to finish the objectives: be it by sneaking around, killing everybody, stealing keys, using underground passages, or bribing people. Some maps offer more possibilities, while others are more limited in both size and scope. My favorite maps are Liberty Island, New York, and a certain boat.
Fourth, the ambiance. Deus Ex not only shines through its gameplay or maps, it also shines through the ambiance: the cyberpunk almost post-apocalyptic world. Burning cars in the street, security robots, people with implants, etc. Also, the game happens exclusively at night, which gives a certain gloom to the story. The voiceovers are also very good, as is the dialogue, which has a few “quotable” moments. Also, Ion Storm created a few marketing brands for the game which appear a little everywhere and really add to the world.
There is one major flaw with the game, basically the whole thing kind of falls apart toward the end. The last mission map isn’t as good as the others and is filled with annoying encounters that can’t always be avoided, slightly annoying for somebody who enjoys sneaking around.
Let me say that I love te game a lot. It has flaws, but the ambiance is so great and the replay value is really high, so that I still find new things when I replay the game… yet never finish it, because I don’t want a good thing to end. I do know all the possible endings though, thank you YouTube.