on March 18, 2008
There are few games I enjoyed more than the Deus Ex series. Upon reading the reviews when these came out, I thought it's just another shoot'em up, so I didn't buy them. Then I received Invisible War in the box with my video card, and I was blown away. So much so that I had to immediately buy and play the original DeusEx too, despite several deadlines I was approaching in real life. Smooth graphics, good collision system, pretty versatile character, excellent in-game cinematics, the kind which don't give you some slick pre-rendered, stand-alone mini-movie, but fit right into the action and the story. Some reviewers here have faulted the game for its small zone maps and reduced 'RPG system'. Well, if you don't want to spend weeks on end just mindly shooting critters in huge maps full of repetitive gameplay, if you want to enjoy a gaming experience close to watching an interactive movie with a good story and believable characters instead of fiddling endlessly with a complex stats-altering system, in short, if you have other things to do in your life than playing games, both DeusEx games are great fun, following on, and improving the idea of cybernetically enhancing human beings (that I first encountered in games as the then-excellent System Shock), together with a healthy (? ;) dose of conspiracy theory, well-developed character backgrounds for NPCs as well as the main character, and (new in Invisible War) the choice to play as both male or female, with actual repercussions in the story (the latter, bested in my experience only by Jade Empire).
The relative linearity of the action (uncomparable with the expansiveness of the later Elder Scrolls games or even with the choice and variety of Fable) also contributes to the 'movie experience'.
There may be better games released after this, but, just as for Outcast, this is a game that beat by far its contemporary competition and will continue to be enjoyable because its appeal doesn't consist merely of flashy new technology, or tiresome grindstone action, but in presentation, cohesiveness, and that extra drop of added philosophy-in-action that leaves you thinking about real-life conundrums (about rivaling social structures, the results of (bio- and cyber-)engineering and friendship vs. duty) as you see them in a new light, and act upon your choices. In the two DeusEx games there is no clear-cut good vs. evil dichotomy... it's all in shades, as several factions compete for your allegiance.
on February 27, 2005
I really want to like this game, and I do; but it does it on the back of its predecessor, to which it does not live up. The reviews I have read on this page are mostly on the money. First the good things:
As a sequel, it's nice how the previous Deus Ex storyline, and characters therein are tied into this game ('the collapse', JC, Tracer Tong, and others). For anyone who played the first installment, this provides insight as to what happened after you finished the first game (depending on how you actually finished it). Because of this, much of the mood of the first game can be felt in DE:IW.
As a stand alone, the game is unimpressive but casually entertaining; it's an FPS, which tries to add RPG elements. The black market biomods are cool and Alex D.'s character is fairly interesting. I guess graphics are okay, but I'm not an authority on those things.
Ironically, the tie-in storyline to the first DE and DE:IW that makes this newest sequel enjoyable, also overshadows the game also makes it a poor cousin to its predecessor. So now the bad:
The RPG improvement system is not present in this game. You start and finish the game with the same skillset, with the exception of biomods you choose. This is by far the most rewarding part of DE1, and therefore the most disappointing part of DE:IW. Moreover, your choices in the game do not affect the outcome except near the end, and sometimes the poor AI can screw that up for you (I was going to go with the illuminati near the end one time, but their sentry attacked me, and soon my prospective allies were choking in poison gas and died in front of me). Whereas killing versus stunning people in the first DE could affect character interaction and therefore how goals were to be completed, DE:IW has no such repercussions. BTW, concussion grenade concuss people to death. Although Alex D is somewhat well rounded, most of the other characters are one dimensional, including the JC and Paul Denton, which is sort of sad.
Inventory: I never have enough slots, and I'm always dropping items in lieu of another. Dropped enemy weapons do not yield ammo, as I found out at the start, when I suddenly had 5 pistols at my disposal, and hardly any ammunition.
Overall, weak storyline. Although it hearkens back to the first game, providing continuity, the story here has very little intrigue to offer, and no bombshells like the first game. As the end of the game approached, there was very little in the way of bringing everything full circle, and no real moral dilemma as to what choice to make.
I'm a crappy gamer, but I finished the game in just over 12 hours. Simply put: it's too easy. Whereas stealth could be the best option in the first game because of too many enemies to face, I would walk into a battle against 4 or 5 guys and mop the floor with them lickety-split. Although I began the game using stealth, I soon realized that walking in guns-a-blazing was just as effective at minimal risk, with higher inventory payouts.
Now, I didn't know this when I bought it, but when I started playing the game I thought to myself, "This feels like a console interface." I.e., oversimplified with small level design, and repeated levels. Looking to see if anybody else had this sense, I found out it was designed for the console. I think this is the root of the problem with this game. I bought it cheap, and this game is a reminder of why I wait a year and a half before I buy a release (plus the fact that patches for glitches are usually available by then).
It's a no-brainer game and better than some I have played. I recommend borrowing it, or waiting another year yet until it's even cheaper, however. If you played the first DE, then this is a must for curiousity's sake. If not, I highly recommend you pick it up instead.
on August 25, 2004
I purchased this game recently because I was getting bored of first person shooters. I was getting sick of killing guys to find keys to open doors so that I could go through and kill more guys and find another key to make it to the end of the level (and the whole while being tied down to a single track, weak story line).
This game has multiple story lines which allows YOU to make the decision as to how the game goes. In addition, you get to decide how to handle missions. You can sneak by your enemies, hack into computers to turn security systems against the enemies, or go in with guns blazing. The story line is actually interesting (how many of you are sick of the "evil corporation creating monsters" story line?).
Like other RPG's, you get to custom create your character. I was worried that this would get overwhelming (as RPG's often do), but this turned out not to be the case. While there are many options available for outfitting your character, you do not get lost in them all.
Although this game did have a few flaws (high end graphics card requirements, unstable at times), the break from brainless first person shooter was more than welcome. A+ Overall!
on June 28, 2004
The original Deus Ex was an incredible game. Although each of its individual parts (the action, the graphics, the stealth) had been outdone by numerous other games, it managed to mesh them together into something much greater, thanks to superior writing, characterization, and immersiveness.
This game is not Deus Ex.
The plot of this game is practically identical to that of Deus Ex, except it makes you think even less of the issues at stake. No matter which side you support or actions you take, they have NO relevance until you near the end of the game. The characters are limp and lifeless compared to the first game, and the recurring ones are shadows of their former selves. I couldn't find myself CARING, though I did try. The plot consists of running to and fro doing things not because they're important to you, but because others tell you to do so. The non-linearity is a joke, and despite what the hype implies, you have no control over the storyline except at the end. Game-critical characters are STILL rendered invulnerable in lame ways (people shut down your weapons or when you enter the area. Including batons and other melee weapons. How does THAT work?). Anyone you can kill is simply not important to the story, or has outlived their usefulness.
The game allows you to play a male or female Alex D, but this is really nothing but a cosmetic issue (a couple of lines of dialogue by NPCs change, but that's it). Neither model looks particularly good, and lacks the "personality" of JC from the first game.
The graphics have a brief "neat" factor, but are nothing special. The lighting is superior to most games, but the textures, models, and movements feel stark, bland, and artificial. In some ways, the same charge could be leveled at the first game, but the time put into creating this new engine was not time well spent.
The smaller size of the levels (due to the hardware limitations of the XBox compared to PC) gives you a feeling of claustrophobia, and requires numerous level loads. Not only is the constant interruption disruptive to any feeling of immersion, but the loads can take around 30 seconds of waiting, AND the game consistently minimized during loading, showing off my desktop until it was ready to load. Total failure to captivate me. Level design is fair, but nothing special. The small size of the levels means exploration is easy, short, and not very entertaining.
The skill system has been removed altogether from the game, as has the traditional augmentation system, replaced by the "biomod" system. You may select different biomods for 5 slots (2 "normal biomod" possibilities, and 1 black market). The biomods are merely convenient little tricks in DX: IW, but not even close to critical in the way you play the game, minor "powerups" instead of demonstrations of your superhuman nature.
Inventory has been drastically changed. Instead of shuffling your gear around (which was sometimes an annoyance in the first game), you are granted a number of inventory slots, each slot capable of holding ANY object. Whether it's 5 rocket launchers, or 5 knives, they use up the exact same amount of space. It feels contrived and tends towards the inconvenient.
Universal ammo and weapons. The UA concept seems to attract universal hatred, and rightly so. All weapons use the same ammo (although different amounts of it), which means if you run out of ammo for one gun, you're screwed unless you have a melee weapon for backup. There is no reloading, either, which makes the game blander.
The game allows you to add 2 modifications per weapon, although these modifications have no visual effect, nor do they really contribute any "cool" factor to them.
The weapons are not well-balanced, either. The small size of the levels removes the necessity of the sniper rifle, the SMG eats through lots of ammo while doing less damage than the pistol, and it takes several seconds to render anyone unconscious with the riot prod (as opposed to quick thwack with a melee weapon) My secret to success in the game was in using nothing but the police baton. And without sneaking. That's right, I'd run up and hit things with the baton and take them out. From soldiers to giant battlebots...the baton took them all in just a few hits. This is wrong.
The length and depth of this game is extremely shallow. I finished it in about 10 hours after completing all the sidequests, and there was maybe only an hour or two of replay value. There are some news terminals and "datacubes" (universal replacement for books, newspapers, etc.), which have some neat things to say, but compared to the first game, they are sorely lacking. No longer do you punch in PIN numbers and such, the game does it for you. There are no more lockpicks, only multitools, which kills that kind of variety. The game has devolved into a simple substandard action shooter, with a few gimmicks that have been done better elsewhere.
From a hardware perspective, this game is terrible. My machine is a 3Ghz, 512MB RAM, 64MB ATI Radeon Mobility card (laptop), and even on the MINIMAL settings, I ran into consistent choppiness. When I did turn all settings to max (for grading the graphics), it became a LONG slideshow. I am sure that XBox players would have a better time of it, the PC version of DX: Invisible War is merely a port of that version.
Compared to the first, this game is a MAJOR disappointment, and I would urge those lucky enough to play the first to save their money, unless they wish to collect IW in a bargain bin. The failed attempts to "streamline" and convert the game to XBox specifications go only to prove that less is...less. But despite all the negative criticism I have given in this review, the game is not TERRIBLE, just "fair".
on June 14, 2004
If you think you've got a nice, relatively new computer, therefore you should be able to play Deus Ex. Be careful and read the video card support list very carefully. I have a Dell Dimension 2.4 gHz machine with a Geforce 4MX video card. Deus Ex will not play on this video card. Your card must have Pixel shader 1.1 capability to run. I bought the game and it will not work on my machine. I fell into this trap because I didn't know what the exact video card in my machine was. I assumed that, because it was relatively new and not bottom of the line, it would run pretty much any game out there. Live and learn. Don't make the same mistake as I did.
I'm rather discusted with the deus ex creators. I've been eagerly waiting for this game and now I can't play it. They didn't even give me the option of defeating pixel shading. So what if it wouldn't look as nice, at least I would be able to play it.
Oh well, The reviews I have read say it was a real disappointment anyway. I'm just glad I didn't run out and buy it for $50 when it was first released. I only got stuck for $20.
I guess this game will sit on my shelf until I upgrade my system in a few years. Hopefully it will be compatable with the system I buy then.
on June 1, 2004
The rumors were true: Deus Ex was the greatest game ever to grace the video/computer game market. Any attempt to follow up with a sequel would be an uphill battle. In a way, Eidos succeeded. Invisible War is slick sci-fi action RPG. The graphics are a tremendous update from the original, and the levels and characters offer greater interaction. The weapons are even more customizable, allowing you to turn a pistol into a silent glass-shattering tranq gun, or refit your Uzi to spew explosive shrapnel and use half the ammo.
However, while some aspects of the gameplay have been enhanced, others have diminished. Most notable is the storyline. While Deus Ex put forth a clear struggle of establishment vs. freedom fighters vs. secret society, Invisible War basically has you choose sides between 4 power-hungry factions, with oddly similar ideologies. There is no "for the good of the people" or "preserve the world" faction - in the end, you will be helping to put a single person or group of people in charge of the world.
However, if you go into this game looking for just an enjoyable romp, and not something to top the original, you will be in for a treat. Recommended for action enthusiasts and RPG fans.
on May 24, 2004
When I first heard that they were coming out with a second Deus Ex, I was completely stoked. I was waiting for another beautifully designed and engaging game.
Unfortunatly, it was neither.
For the record, I operate a P4 2.80GHz with 1024megs of ram and a radeon 9800 pro.
The first thing I noticed that disappointed me was the fact that it was designed completely around nVidia GeForce Graphics cards. Another disappointing factor was the load times and there frequency. I have never seen a game crash so many times in between loading. You can tell by first glimpse that this was a game that was rushed out. And It has plenty of bugs. The patches I have downloaded have seemed to clean up some of the problems but there are still quite a few in my opinion. The thing that annoys me the most are the menus. They are not very user friendly and selecting the weapons and tools can be a bother at first. The larger downfall is the gameplay and the time it takes to get through it. Granted, if you do all the side quests, it can take you a couple of days at most. If you just do the main missions than you could be through in a couple of hours. There was a feeling to the first Deus Ex that this one lacks. This game is in no way as enticing as its predecessor.
on April 9, 2004
When you realise that a sequel to a great game is coming you cant help but feel a little excitement because you expect yet another masterpiece from the exact same developer of the orginal. Not with Deus Ex: Invisible War, the game is amazingly short and just doesn't have that magical detail from the original.
You cant help but feel robbed of a potentially great game considering that they made it primarily for the dumbass X box. I don't even know where PC Gamer got their 91% score from (but as with every review, PC Gamer only base their scores on the graphics). Don't get me wrong the game has incredible physics and a frighteningly real lighting system which for most of the time feels like the only interest throughout the game. The storyline just doesn't immerse you into the game like the original did. Also with a game this short, where is the storyline?, all i remember was a bunch of moaning people saying "Do this" and "Do that". I can't believe i'm talking about this franchise like this cause i loved the first game and know it virtually inside out cause it was so addictive.
By the looks of the game it appears the developer ION Storm had an enormous budget but it appears most of it was spent on graphics leaving the remaining 50 dollars to hire Stephen Kings cousin to write the story. I mean computer games dont have to look amazing, the whole point is that it is a game that you play and enjoy being addicted to, not something you stare at for hours and go "WOW, look at that amazing life like textured wall, wish i was there"......NAAA, not for me, bring back the virtual snooker graphics, now theres gameplay!!!!!
Another annoying aspect of this game is that it doesn't seem to understand what hardware you have, I used a 2.4Ghz P4 and one gig of ram and the game ran jerky in 800x600!!!
I hope this is only a glitch in the history of great game sequels cause it doesn't make you feel very confident about Half Life 2 and Doom 3. Lets just hope it was a screw up based on the X Box involvement and not a true attempt at making a good game cause with Deus Ex 3 in the works i fear for future of games as a whole. Why aren't we getting any more zelda's, goldeneyes or Gabriel Knight's anymore, Who cares about the week on week releases of boring PS2 games that get filtered round all formats... (...)
on March 21, 2004
A lot of reviewers have compared DX:IW with DX1 and decided the former was a step background. I beg to differ.
Level Design ("the levels are too small"): It is true that DX1's levels were more expansive than DX:IW's, but they were not any freer. I never feel limited in DX:IW. Every area presents the same number of approaches and options, but with a whole lot less running across empty expanses. On the topic of level design, DX:IW's levels make so much more sense than DX1's. In DX:IW, apartments have bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and small living areas; dance clubs have dance floors, VIP lofts, security check-ins and offices. DX1's level design was laughable (recall the Statue of Liberty), not just on an aesthetic level but with regards to gameplay as well. Levels that don't jive with logic don't play well.
Biomods ("the upgrade system is dumbed-down"): "Streamlined" may sound like a euphamism for "dumbed-down," but in DX:IW's case, it's true. It didn't make sense to have 2 unrelated upgrade systems in the first DX. DX:IW's upgrade system presents players the same kinds of critical choices DX1 presented and basically allows customization of the sort that was handled by DX1's point system (e.g. for the leg biomod, you must choose between moving faster and moving stealthier, and the right choice depends on your style of play). I was skeptical before playing but DX:IW's upgrade system works.
Ammo ("there's only one kind"): Again, streamlining. Juggling different kinds of ammunition in DX1 was simply one consideration too many. DX:IW deals with that issue and focuses the player's attention on more important tactical considerations. Yeah, its weird to use the same ammo in a shotgun as in a rocket launcher--but its also weird to be trundling about carrying both a shotgun and a rocket launcher (and probably a number of other pocketsize items too).
Length ("it's too short"): It's simply not. According to IGN.com, DX:IW takes roughly 20 hours to beat. In addition, DX:IW is the kind of game you'll want to replay to make different gameplay choices (choose different biomods, choose different ways to beat misions, choose different factions to ally with). As far as lasting appeal goes, DX:IW excels.
Admittedly, DX:IW has flaws: load times are frequent and lengthy, for example. But generally the game rocks. Every area presents unique problems with numerous solutions, just like DX1 but more streamlined. Levels are short and sweet but not too small. The varied gameplay and concise level design keep things interesting and fresh.
I suppose reactions to DX:IW are subjective and I don't doubt that those who gave this game a bad review truly disliked it. I'm an intellectual gamer who digs turn-based strategy games, tactical shooters, and stealth games but can't stand the monotony of turn-based RPGs and Dungeon Crawlers or the mindlessness of racing/sports games and Run-N-Gunners (like Unreal Tournament). If you have similar tastes, then I highly recommend DX:IW--even over DX1.
on March 14, 2004
I don't see what all the fuss is about. I really did enjoy this game, and I DID play the first Deus Ex.
Well, just to break away from every other review here, I'm going to try to NOT compare DX:IW to the first one.
First off, the game moves along very fast. And I don't mean framerate, but gameplay and story. Maybe even too fast sometimes. Oh well.
The story that's there is VERY good, better so then say...Unreal 2, but that's just me.
Some people will say that the game is too short, and I agree with them on that.
But really all of these reviews are nitpicks and personal preferences to say the least.
Like for example, having to pay $50 for this "Stinkbomb", but that's another reason I was able to enjoy it so much, was because I payed $20! (Thank you Amazon!)
But since it's very hard to go without comparisons to DX 1,
please allow me a very small one: The lack of Lockpicks in DX:IW.
This is a MAJOR gripe on every messageboard, magazine, and website that I could find.
"The lack of Lockpicks shows how sucky the game is." Someone said. Well acually I made that quote up, but bear with me here, folks.
I liked only having to worry about one kind of gadgety thing.
I genuinely did.
In closing, I have to say: If you own an Xbox, then please rent.
If you must have it on PC, then go around the Z-shops and find this used.