Review by Pickney

Reviewed: 07/06/01 | Updated: 07/06/01

Best game ever? Ludicrous claim!

Okay, I know this review is a bit late, but a friend of mine recommended I try Deus Ex out (For the sake of protecting his identity, I will call him A. Dennis. No, that’s too obvious, how about Alan D). Because I am always trying to educate the ignorant Deus Ex was developed by Ion Storm who happens to be the same group that developed the “spectacular” Daikatana. I had heard a bit about Deus Ex from other sources (“Best Game of the Year” –PC Gamer), but after trying it out, this game does not deliver what it promises. Alan, if you are reading this, you are a fool.

Story: 8 – Okay, I’ll cut the game a bit of slack here, the story isn’t that bad. At first it seems a bit cliché, you are an anti-terrorist named JC Denton who is cybernetically augmented to stop the bad guys. You wear a long black trench coat and sport a mean pair of shades (even at nighttime). Aliens and what not appear to make things worse (Don’t worry, I’m not spoiling anything. The aliens are completely unimportant to the story). Without giving anything away, the story gets better as you move along, although the main character bugs the hell out of me.

Graphics: 6 – This game is made on the Unreal engine. This would have been fine maybe a year before Deus Ex came out, but it is truly a sight that is sore on the eyes when released. The atmosphere that the ugly, grainy graphics generate I suppose fits with the bleak future that they illustrate. On a system that meet’s that graphics requirements for the game though, I had to turn the graphics settings way down in order to pull off a playable frame rate. The result were faces that appeared to have been hit multiple times with sledgehammers because I had trouble telling if their eyes were their mouths or vice versa. Seriously folks, everything looked like when I take my contacts out. Not pretty. Graphics don’t make a game, but when it looks this bad, it detracts a bit from the experience. On a side note, some levels (especially the first one) seem designed to require a super system. It’s wide open there by displaying many polygons which causes many systems to “chug” along frame-rate wise. From a design standpoint, that was a bad decision in my opinion. For your information, I played it on a 450mHz Pentium II processor with 64 MB of ram and a Voodoo 3 graphics card.

Sound: 5 – Well what can I say about the sound? To start off, Alan says the voice acting is very good. Then again, Alan wouldn’t know good voice acting if it ran up and kicked him in the nuts. Your main character, JC Denton, has the voice range of the stereotypical android ala Android 18 from Dragonball Z. Android 18 is done well in DBZ, but in JC Denton’s case something humanlike would have been appropriate. He is a human after all. JC Denton, in addition to the vast majority of characters in this game have the stupendous voice acting range from A to Z. That is assuming that A is one tone of voice and Z is a slightly different tone. Every person speaks in the almost exact same monotone drawl, it sounds as if they got a drug-using janitor to record the voices. There are a few exceptions, but those are few and far between. (ex. The soldier griping about the multiple uses of gas grenades is a riot.) The gunshots were not very convincing either. For example, the 9mm pistol you are issued at the beginning sounds like they recorded someone stomping on a wood floor. The chain guns sound like that, except they repeated the sound several times. Footsteps sound exactly the same with each step on a surface. It’s rather monotonous and unconvincing (not to mention annoying). Come on Ion Storm, even Counter-strike has 3 or 4 different footstep sounds per surface (dirt, grass, snow, etc). The only reason I did not score it lower than a 5 was because of the voice acting done by the UNATCO (the anti-terrorist organization you play in) soldiers was a saving factor.

Gameplay: 4 – Ugh, this is where Ion Storm really dropped the ball. The game claims that you can get through situations in multiple ways. If by multiple ways, they mean two, then they are right. One way to get into a locked facility is to find the right “nano-key.” Boy, haven’t we all seen this before in Doom? Secondly, you can sneak into the facility through useful air ducts that just happen to lead straight from the lobby into the secret alien testing laboratories. If you think I’m kidding then you may as well ignore the rest of this section, because everything else about the gameplay is just as ludicrous. I guess we could say that there are more than two ways in since sometimes there are 2 air ducts that lead to the secret laboratories. Wow! Find the key that leads inside, or use one of 2 air ducts, so many choices! I guess that adds to the game’s replayability. Your character can develop several skills such as computers, marksmanship, medicine, etc. So if you develop your computers, you can hack into computers right? Well every computer in the game is easy to break into, even if your computer skills are worse than mine, and believe me, I couldn’t build a system, let alone hack into one. Oh, and for those that don’t have hacking skills, you’ll find the user name and password to the computers written on “datacubes” (read: notepads) that are accidentally dropped in easy to find locations (read: under the bed). They may as well just place the high level secrets on these computers on documents on the table for you to read. Later in the game, you may as well forget stealth because if you dedicate your experience points only to stuff other than firearms, you may as well hit your head on the wall, cheat, or restart, because the last section of the game is a straight up, shoot-em-up. The advertising also says that decisions you make impact the game later. Yeah, right when you get into conversations, you get to choose between 2 or 3 responses and any choices you make seem to make a difference but after you play through a second time, you realize it actually doesn’t make a difference. This brings me of course to…

Replayability: 2 – The game claims to have multiple endings. That’s a plus right? Well, multiple endings rock if it’s executed well. In this case it’s not. The game has a grand total of 3 endings, and the place where the game branches out to the different endings in at the VERY end. In the words of Dave Barry, “I am not making this up.” The game is exactly the same until the final part of the game where you choose between 3 dialogue responses to get a different ending each time. So instead of replaying the game, save the game right before that dialog and then play that save game 3 times. There, you’ve just seen the whole freaking game.

This game is deceptive and a liar. It is supposed to be intelligent (why the hell do doors that are harder to pick the lock on require multiple lock picks to open? Are they disposable lock picks??? Ludicrous!). It’s supposed to have multiple ways through the game (See: Replayability). Do not pay 30-40 bucks for this game. You’d be better off spending 10 bucks on a hammer to hit your head with, it’s more fun, and you get the same result.

Average: 5 (The reason it didn’t get lower on an average was because of the story)
My Score: 3

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

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