Review by slipperyalpha

"A sci-fi FPS that is actually more of an adventure mystery RPG; go figure."

Dues Ex: Invisible war may seem like your typical FPS from first appearances, but that is far from the truth. This adventure is a methodically paced mystery, allowing you to pave your own path and shape the story's conclusion. Ultimately, the pacing is what will probably make or break this game for any player, depending on what you expect from your games. However, the freedom of choice allowed in this adventure certainly allows one to enjoy this game and even overlook its flaws.

The story unfolds in a future terrorist attack on Chicago direct at the Tarsus Research Facility and Academy in which you attend. After narrowly escaping Chicago, you retreat to the company's other research in Seattle to begin your adventure. Soon after reaching Seattle, the academy is attacked by the Seekers, a religious group that doesn't appreciate the research being investigated by Tarsus. From this point, the path you take on your adventure to unravel who or what you are, who do you trust, what should you do; is all your choice.

Ultimately, choice is what Dues Ex presents you. You can choose your character's gender and skin tone. Since the research that Tarsus is working on involves biologically modifying (bio-mods) the human body, you will be able modify your character's attributes to how you want play. You can alter your strength, your ability to hack computer systems, your speed, gain the ability to absorb life energy from fallen enemies, and a lot more attributes. There are 3 different modifications for five different body areas, fifteen possibilities that make hundreds of possible combinations. On top of this each attribute can be upgraded three times. Once you've chosen an attribute, your only limitation is how many bio-mod containers you can find (some require legal mods others require black market mods) and that you can have only one modified attribute for each of the five body areas. If you choose you want to try another one of the three attributes within a body area, you loose the old attribute as well as all of the bio-mods used to acquire and upgrade it when you choose a new attribute. You'll certainly find enough bio-mod containers to do this a few times, but choose wisely for how you would like to play.

Surprisingly, Dues Ex accommodates all the possible play styles very well. If you like to be sneaky, you can be a sci-fi stealth ninja. If you like to run-n-gun, you can have guns blazing for every situation. The story develops according to how you play and what choices you make. The only big problem is that the pacing is slower than you may expect. You may very well stop to think about how you'll accomplish a certain task, which people do I trust, or how do I respond to their question. Therefore, expect a slower pace for this game than most other games.

Likewise, the NPC's within the game respond to how you play and what allegiances you've made fairly well. If you help a particular group, they will help you. There is a problem though. The A.I. in the game is dynamic, but you can tell that patrols are scripted. Even if they notice you and break from the scripted patrol to search for you, they don't look too hard and state "they must have been scared away", thus returning to their scripted walking path. To say the least, the A.I. has very predictable behavior. What they lack in intellect, they certainly make up for in numbers and strength, which means the A.I. will cut you down quickly if you encounter a number of them.

Now, this grand adventure with all its choices doesn't mean much if the world it is crafted in is not convincing. The world does look quite good. Almost everything that you see that could be picked up can be picked up. There is a good physics system too, where a basket ball will bounce believably and a hanging light will swing if bumped. Some drawbacks are that some models, especially character models, become really repetitive and the fame-rate is consistently low. There are not many times that the frame-rate drops, but it already seems to be lower than 30 frames-per-second.

In the end, the some of the parts to this adventure make a very compelling story that you get to choose. Even with a few minor problems, I was entertained the 20 hours I played, taking the time to make choices to see what would happen. Choice is ultimately what Dues Ex presents you.

Pluses
+A lot of freedom
+Story unfolds according to your choices
+Solid gameplay

Minuses
-Frame-rate isn't so good
-Repetitive models
-Games pace seems really slow at times

Overall 8
Buy, if you like a choose you own adventure sci-fi mystery FPS with RPG elements (should be able to get this for $8, the amount I paid for it coincidentally).


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 07/15/05


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