Review by ZokeThe2nd

"For just $49.99 you too can set Penguins on fire."

The first Deus Ex was, apparently, an excellent game. A game filled with conspiracy, worldwide collapse and headshots galore. But, did it have Penguins? Possibly. I haven't played it so who knows? All I know is that DX2 delivers all the conspiracy, mindless violence and nanites a man can stomach and then tosses flammable wildlife into the mix. It's a game destined for greatness, surely.

You start the game as Alex D, where you'll see some similarities with that old ''It's Pat!'' SNL sketch as you're greeted with the ability to pick either a male or female character of various skin tones. You can choose from three men and three women each with the same face, but different degrees of whiteitude. It ranges from the pasty ''Larry Bird'' setting all the way to ''Face Shoved In A Deep Fat Fryer''. You can also adjust the color scheme and transperancy of your HUD, the difficulty level and other options. After that you're shown the end of futuristic Chicago as a terrorist'll see. Your character and his/her best friend Billie escape and arrive at Seattle where you're not even able to look around your room long before explosions begin to rock the building you're in. The place is under attack by a faction called ''The Order'' and you need to escape and damn quick before you're turned into a pasty corpse. The scientist who's been looking after you urges you to stop asking about what's going on and escape to saftey, while your friend Billie reveals she's been talking with these ''Order'' folk and suggets you turn your back on said science persons. After escaping you're given the choice to aid the Order or a military orgonization named the WTO. This is just the first of many conficting decisions you need to make, ending with a decision that will effect the path humanity takes and the fate of the Earth itself (insert scary, dramatic music here). The plot is full of twists, turns, revelations and scary Grey creatures. It's confusing, but enjoyable.

Gameplay consists of standard FPS fare with a splash of RPG tossed into the mix. You've got a limited inventory similar to Diablo, meaning you need to decide what to take along with you on your adventures. Extra grenades or more Med Kits? Weapons range from a simple Baton to a Pistol, all the way up to a Rail Gun, Flamethrower and Rocket Launcher. To aid you in your missions you're given special enhancements called Biomods. These give you abilities like extra strength, cloaking, silent moving, computer hacking or even the ability to take control of massive robots the likes of which you've probably seen in Robocop or something. The tricky part here is that you only have limited space for mods, and there are more mods than you have space. So, do you go with Regeneration or the Black Market Mod? There are multiple ways to approach every situation. When thugs hassle you, you can pay them off, buy info from them, or just pull out a pistol and shoot em' all in the head. In another mission you're asked to destroy a Coffee Shop's supply of beans. You can melt the glass on the window and hop in, sneak in through a vent or try to bypass the door lock. In most cases you're given the option to either shoot everything that moves or sneak around, slinking through air vents like a super spy. In most areas you'll also find security terminals that you can use with the Hacking ability in order to turn auto-turrets against your enemies and shut down cameras. Ammo can be a problem at times if you choose to constantly run-n-gun, but you should always have enough to make it to the next stockpile. One problem I had with the game was that there was plenty of Credits to go around (rewards from missions, found lying around, etc) but not enough stuff to buy. There are merchants here and there, but they have a limited selection and once you buy the item from them it's gone forever. A weapons and supply store of some sort would have been nice.

As far as Graphics go, the game does amazing with a Splinter Cell-esque lighting system. Light and shadow is realisticly portrayed and you can use the darkness to your advantage, hiding from your foes in order to sneak up behind them and give them the beating of a lifetime. Though somewhat small, the areas of the game look wonderful. The character models look good, though the faces are somewhat odd looking. DX2 also sports a nice ragdoll physics engine, which allows stuff to be realisticly tossed, shot or exploded in different directions. You could spend countless minutes disturbing your friends by seeing if you can get a corpse stuck up in a tree. The voice acting is excellent and done quite well by the two versions of the main character, but you'll get tired quite quickly of the generic cries of your enemies. The control scheme is simple and responsive, with the face buttons used to interact with objects and gain access to your inventory, and the shoulder buttons allowing you to spray firey death all over your foes. Right Trigger allows you to fire your weapons and the Left Trigger lets you access a number of (mostly) useless alternate fire modes.

Despite it's minor flaws, DX2 is an exciting and addicting FPS/RPG hybrid. There's many, many sidequests to undertake, a number of secret weapons to find, tons of ways to accomplish almost any goal and four different endings to achive. As someone who's never played the first game, I can reccomend DX2. It's definately worth your money, and you won't regret it. Other people who have played and loved the first game say it's a step down, but I say DX2 is an excellent game and deserves a spot in your collection.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/15/03

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