Review by Fraghappy

"A good, solid XBox RPG that almost anyone will enjoy"

I rented Deus Ex: Invisible War from the local blockbuster after a friend recommended it to me. I had not played the original game, so I was worried the story would be a little foreign to me, but I popped it into my XBox, and was immediately drawn to the game.

Like many of the RPGs that have come out in the past years, Deus Ex has a futuristic feel to it. The story begins in Chicago where you are at a research lab where they are developing the new “biomod” systems, high-tech nanomachines that can be used to enhance a human’s abilities. You are one of the test subjects, a prototype human that has been outfitted with the ability to install these new machines.

Your facility is attacked by a bunch of terrorists, and you are thrust into a very open-ended adventure in which you must ultimately take sides on the “Invisible War,” a war not between two countries, a war not fought on the battlefield, but a silent war between two factions.

The storyline apparently builds off of the first one, and spends a great amount of time explaining what happened in the past so things will make a bit more sense for the new player. Apparently there was a huge “Collapse” after the end of the previous game, and all of the worlds powers fell into disarray. An organization called the WTO now is offering help towards city-states who will join under it’s leadership, and Chicago, the city where the beginning of the game takes place, was one of the most recent additions.

The first thing that hit me about the game was the rich detail in the models used in the game. While the game doesn’t have graphics like Morrowind, (I have yet to see something on the XBox which can stand up to that game) it has very well-designed realistic environments that provide sort of a dark and mysterious atmosphere. The game has sort of the same feel that movies like Matrix and Dark City had—a chilling and strange world in which you feel alienated.

Sound for the game is decent enough. The soundtrack adds to the mood of the game, and while it isn’t something I’d go buy the CD for, the game wouldn’t have that chilling and mysterious edge to it. Sound effects and dubbing are very well done, they managed to stay away from bad voice actors (it seems like a lot of games these days have a problem with that) and the sound effects are realistic sounding.

Gameplay is a strong factor in this game. I found some nit-picky things about it annoying, but for the most part, it was great—taking all of the things I love from games like “Splinter Cell” and improving upon them. Being a test subject for the new biomod system, you can collect biomod canisters throughout the game and install them on your character. You can even find black-market biomod canisters, to learn some of the “illegal” biomods, which happen to be some of the coolest abilities in the game.

It isn’t incredibly long, but its open-endedness makes each time you play through the game different, bringing in a lot of good replay value with the game. It’s something that you could definitely finish in a rental period, and might be something some people would consider renting, but you shouldn’t be disappointed if you buy it.

For the most part, Deus Ex presented itself as a good strong RPG/Action game, perhaps one of the best in it’s genre for the XBox. While it is absolutely dwarfed by games like Final Fantasy X-2, Dark Cloud 2, and Xenosaga for the PS2, this is definitely a game that anyone with an XBox should spend their money on.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/11/04

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