Review by Dark Angel

"Fantastic mix of FPS and RPG"

It was hailed as the Game of the Year in 2000 and with it's recent port to Playstation 2, Deus Ex gives a refreshing twist to the first person shooter and combines many a role playing game element, not to meant an evolving and engrossing storyline to boot.

As you start the game you play an agent for a company called UNATCO with the codename JC Denton, a nano augmented special covert operative agent. UNATCO (United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition) well does just what it says on the tin, an anti terrorist group in a world where the mysterious ''Grey Death'' is wiping out all those not rich enough or without the right connections to obtain it's antidote. But yeah you guessed it, it doesn't quite stay that way, as you learn the truth behind the organisation you work for as well as who is manufacturing the virus.

JC is one of the first agents, aside from his brother to receive nano augmentations, special additions to his body that allow for such funky things like improved lifting strength, silent running to avoid guard detection, even up to cloaking devices and regeneration of health. There are certain choices to be made about which augmentations to install and this allows you to play the game a certain way which is accustomed to the way your character is ''built''. Augmentation canisters are throughout the game and offer you more choices to add to your character's physical development, by upgrading certain augs instead of others, such as silent running if you're a more stealthy player etc. Using augs consumes bio energy that acts as power for them, and you can either replenish it with bio energy cells or bots. Another way that can customise your player is the skills feature. During missions, you can skill points for exploring and completing primary and secondary objectives. These points can be spent on upgrading certain skills in such areas as lockpicking, hacking computers, healing, swimming, resistance to radiation etc and bypassing security systems. This, in conjunction with the augs choices allow you to completely customise you character. It's not possible to become a master of all skills though. You can choose a couple to become proficient in and attempt to steer your character in areas of his strengths, alot like which augmentation upgrades.

One main selling point and I'm sure one the developers Ion Storm like mentioning is the way that the game is played and how the individual player reacts to certain situations makes the storyline unfold in different ways, as well as changing the eventual ending of the game. While these situations don't have a huge affect on how the game unfolds, it's a great touch to the gameplay, especially such things as JC walking into the ladies bathroom at UNATCO HQ. Ok so it's not an amazing storyline moving example, but it's funny to get told off by your boss for doing so.

The graphics obviously depend on the performance of your PC, but generally are acceptable. It's an area that could have been improved, though bound to be at the expense of the system requirements. The movements, especially on some face animations can be jerky but it's easily overlooked. The lighting and water effects are pretty standard it seems, but just look at any screenshots of Deus Ex 2 to see how good it's gonna get when the sequel comes out. The voice acting is excellent, and really conveys what's being said with emotion. The sound effects could have been better, with only a few footstep sounds for example, but maybe I just wasn't paying much attention to it while blasting the heads of terrorists? The music is again excellent, changing with the situation; get spotted by the guards and in comes the change of tempo from the background music previously. Ok it's probably not a hugely new feature, but it really fits well with the game. Enemy AI is pretty good too, with the usual ducking of fire, and if you shoot them enough but don't kill them they'll run away to the nearest alarm and send for more troops before high tailing it outta there. Pending you giving them a good ol' pistol shot in the back of the head of course.

Talking of weapons, and Deus Ex primarily being a first person shooter, it does have some pretty cool weaponry. There's the pistol, assault rifle, shotgun etc, as well the damn heavy plasma gun, GEP gun, flamethrower and LAW rockets, that actually slows your walking speed down considerable from that as if you were carrying a knife for example. You can even use swords in the Hong Kong levels. One great thing I love about the weapons is the feature to upgrade them. Through the game you can pick up Weapon Modification Chips, that you can add to a certain weapon and increase (or decrease in some cases) stats like range, recoil, and accuracy as well the ability to add some weapons with accessories such as targeting lasers, scopes and silencers. This again can allow the player to customise the way you play, as well as in link with your skills levels. For example you can have higher rifle and pistol skill levels and then use weapon mods on those guns, or if you prefer to play less stealthy, upgrade the plasma guns, LAM's and grenades as well as heavy weapon skills.

The new multiplayer patch contains the bog standard deathmatches, team deathmatches and erm that's it. But it does have similar elements to that of the single player, in that some servers offer the skills upgrading and augmentation choices, while you can't use inventory, notes etc and there is a limit of only three main weapons and now three grenades etc. It's a pretty good little multiplayer, although with limited initial maps, this can be rectified with user made maps for example.

Deus Ex is a clever little game with a great involving storyline that is gradually revealed through the gameplay. Lots of mystery, back stabbing, twisting plots make this an FPS with great suspense elements and lets you really get into the game. A definite Half Life beater. Stick some headphones into the PC, shove everyone out the room and
enjoy.

Overall: 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/16/02, Updated 09/16/02


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