Review by doctari
"Flawed, but still brilliant"
In Deus Ex, a dark and gritty FPS set in the near future, you assume the role of secret agent J.C. Denton, working for a anti-terrorist organization called UNATCO. It starts out simply enough, but before long you'll be mixed up in a conspiracy where nothing is like it seems. You have to fight, sneak, think, and explore your way through a vast array of levels to once again save the world...
In terms of gameplay, Deus Ex might seem like a typical shooter at first, but in fact it's more of an adventure/RPG blend. There's combat aplenty, but it plays out really sluggishly and generally isn't that interesting.
The real strength of Deus Ex lies in the open-ended gameplay. No matter the situation you're in, there are always several different ways to get through: you can sneak past everything, snipe guards from afar, rush in like a crazed Rambo clone, hack the security turrets to take out enemy guards etc. Just about any approach is viable to get you through the game, and you can really play the character you want.
On top of that, exploring has never been more fun than in Deus Ex: the game's levels are usually huge, containing tons of secrets and side quests, and exploring them is always rewarding since it will give you skill points to improve your character, weapon upgrades, or upgrades that give you special powers. Many an RPG would be envious of the character creation options available to you in Deus Ex.
The combination of open-ended gameplay and roleplaying elements works really well, although there are still some pretty large flaws.
First of all, the way that J.C. gets his information leaves much to be desired: people leave important passwords scattered around everywhere and street bums give you the codes to secret military installations, to name a few leaps in logic.
Also, the AI leaves much to be desired..enemies always know instantly where you are when you shoot one of them (even from hundreds of meters away), but then forget about you ten seconds later. Hostiles get stuck on objects, don't even notice you when you're standing right next to them etc.
Deus Ex has one of the more entertaining stories I've ever seen it a computer game. For the most part, it's pretty standard conspiracy stuff, but there are some amusing twists and lots of little subplots and colorful characters. The dialog can be pretty crappy at times, but fortunately it doesn't take itself too seriously.
Graphics/Sound: 7 (graphics: 6, sound: 8)
''Deus Ex'' is by now an ancient game, but even when it was released it didn't look special. The graphics are very dark, the textures low-quality and the characters rather blocky. Also, just about everything feels really barren and even with very little to look at, the game doesn't run very smoothly. Somehow, though, the dark and washed-out look fits the game perfectly.
The sound is a lot better: I love the music (it never gets old, not even after 50+ hours with the game) and the sound effects certainly get the job done. The voice acting is a bit over the top, with many characters speaking with very thick accents, but overall it isn't hugely distracting.
Deus Ex is a very long game (for an FPS at least) and will take you at least 30 hours to complete the first time through. Given the fact that there are several difficulty levels and given the game's open-endedness, it's highly replayable. Definitely worth your money.
Conclusion and final score: 9
From my review, it might not always seem like I'm too happy with this game, and I definitely think that there are some rather serious flaws like the leaps in logic, the poor graphics, and the questionable AI. On the whole though, Deus Ex is one of those rare cases where the whole is much, much more than the sum of its parts. Highly recommended.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/29/03
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