Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

They’re Watching You… (Book Review: Little Brother)

Friday, September 5th, 2008

My good friend Wil Wheaton (yeah, we’ve never met.. or talked…) mentioned a captivating book he read a few months ago. What really caught my attention was that he handed the book off to his son because he thought it was a book he could share with him. Having children myself, I decided to take a look at the book to see what all the fuss was about. That book is called Little Brother .

Little Brother is a book about a teenager caught up in global events that forever change his life. After a terrorist attack in his neighborhood, the Department of Homeland Security swoops in to save the day. What follows is a terrifying look into the future of our own country as privacy erodes and Big Brother takes over.

Cory Doctorow weaves a tale that is not only believable, but may be an eery foreshadowing of real events. It is a glaring reminder that we, as citizens, must ensure that the government continues to serve rather than control us.

I heartily recommend checking this book out. Cory has released Little Brother under the Creative Commons License and has it available as a free download on his website. I strongly encourage you to support Cory and buy a copy if you like the book. And if you like Cory’s work, his website has free downloads of other stories he has written.

Review – Portal (PC)

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Anticipation : 10
Expectation : 8
Initial Reaction : 10
Overall : 10
Genre : First Person

Way back in 1995, 3D Realms announced that they were creating a game called Prey.  Key to Prey’s gameplay was the use of portal technology.  Portal technology is a way to create “rips” in space that be moved around in real time.  Portals allow the player to move from area to area by creating artificial doorways between them.  Unfortunately, Prey wasn’t to come out until 11 years later.

In 2005, students from the DigiPen Institute of Technology wrote a game, Narbacular Drop, for their senior game project.  Narbacular Drop revolved around a princess named “No-Knees” who is captured by a demon.  She is placed in a dungeon which turns out to be an intelligent being named “Wally.”  Wally can create portals, which the princess uses to escape the dungeon and defeat the demon.

Valve Software hired the Narbacular Drop programmers in mid-2005, and the team set to work on Portal.  Portal, built on the Source engine, is essentially the spiritual successor to Narbacular Drop.  In Portal, the player, Chell, is placed within the Aperture Science test facility and informed that she must complete a series of tests using the new “Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device.”

I won’t go any further into the plot because you really need to experience this game for yourself.  The commentary from GLaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), the computer controlling the facility, is definitely worth checking out.  The computer informs, taunts, cajoles, reassures, and lies to you.  And all with the promise of cake, when you finish!

The game is excellent.  It is exquisitely polished from the environments to the controls.  The game mechanic itself is quite simple, very easy to learn.  Gameplay consists of completing a series of puzzles to find the exit, using portals along the way to move from place to place, move boxes, disarm weapons, and more.  Included are a series of advanced puzzles and challenges that you can complete once you have beaten the main game.

This is definitely a game worth checking out.  Go..  Now..

 

But remember: The cake is a lie.

Review – Manhunt 2 (PSP)

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

Anticipation : 10
Expectation : 9
Initial Reaction : 8
Overall : 8
Genre : First Person

Back in 2003, Rockstar released called Manhunt.  The basis for the game is that a man on Death Row, James Earl Cash, is sent for execution, but is injected with a sedative instead.  Apparently, a director, Starkweather, bribed the doctors to not kill him.  The director is filming snuff films, and wants Cash for his latest movie.  Using his contacts with the corrupt police force and various gangs, he forces Cash into killing the various gang members to stay alive.

The controversy surrounding the game is the game mechanic itself.  The object is to sneak through the levels undetected and perform the most outrageous kills you can.  A variety of weaponry is available, ranging from plastic bags to knives and bats.  The player is “graded” on the style and number of kills.

 

Fast forward to 2007 and the sequel, Manhunt 2.  Manhunt 2 centers around a character named Daniel Lamb.  Lamb was part of an experiment, referred to as “The Project.”  During the experiment, something went wrong and Lamb was shipped off to an insane asylum.  Lamb escapes during a lightning storm and, working with a friend, Leo Kasper, he attempts to uncover the truth about what happened.

The gameplay is similar to that of the original Manhunt, but dispenses with the scoring screens.  The scoring screen was primarily removed to appease the ESRB, but Rockstar claims it distracted from the story as well.  The game was also altered slightly to obscure the kill scenes in accordance with ESRB requests.  Prior to these changes, the game was rated AO, the highest rating available for video games.  Unfortunately, AO rated games are not permitted to be release on any current console hardware.  As such, Rockstar worked with the ESRB to reduce the rating to M by making the aforementioned changes.

The game itself is pretty compelling, though it seems to be a little on the easy side.  The storyline seems to be pretty decent so far, though it can be hard to follow.  The story jumps occasionally from the present, back to events from the past.  Regardless, the game is quite fun to play.

There are a number of different kill styles, some of them pretty gruesome.  Rockstar also added a number of new kill styles and weapons.  For instance, there are environmental kills now, allowing the player to use objects in the environment to dispatch an enemy.  New weapons such as the circular saw and a number of new guns are available.

I have enjoyed my time playing so far.  Some of the levels are definitely a challenge, while others are incredibly easy.  To be fair, I’m not playing on the insane setting, yet.  I expect that the insane setting, however, merely increases the hardiness of the enemies, and possibly the number.

Overall, I’m pretty happy that I picked this game up.  I plan on picking up the Wii version of the game as well.  It’s definitely a controversial game, though well worth checking out.

 

Note : This is *NOT* a game for children.  Parents, please be responsible.

Review – Puzzle Quest (PSP)

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Anticipation : 8
Expectation : 8
Initial Reaction : 6
Overall : 4
Genre : Puzzle

Well, it’s been a while since I did a review. I held off on reviewing this particular title with hopes that the developer would release a patch to fix some of the problems with the game. Unfortunately, they have not. With that in mind, on to the review!

Puzzle Quest was designed by Infinite Interactive and ported to the PSP by Vicious Cycle. It was ultimately published by D3 Publisher, who, incidentally, purchased [pdf] Vicious Cycle on June 20, 2007. Puzzle Quest received the “Best Puzzle Game” award at IGN’s Best of E3 2007 awards for the XBox 360 Live Arcade version.

The game itself is quite fun to play. The player navigates a large world map, detailed with a number of destinations that open up as the story progresses. Each location has a variety of options such as retrieving quests, purchasing items, and listening to rumors in the tavern. Quests lead you on through the story, ultimately aiming to save the land of Etheria from the evil Lord Bane.

You can choose from four player classes, Druid, Warrior, Knight, and Wizard. As the game progresses, you gain levels and invest points into a variety of skills. There are four primary “mastery” skills, earth, air, fire, and water. In addition, you can choose to increase other skills such as cunning, morale, and battle.

The four primary skills determine how much of each mana type your player can collect, as well as various bonuses for collecting it. Battle skill increases the amount of damage you inflict when you match skulls. Cunning increases the effects wild cards have, amount of gold you gain for matching coins, and determines who goes first when battle starts. Finally, morale increases your life points as well as various bonuses for collecting the purple experience stars.

Your character also has a citadel that can be upgraded to gain access to additional spells, skills, and items. As you gain gold, you can build additional portions of your citadel. A dungeon allows you to capture enemies and even ride them as mounts. The mage tower grants you access to learn spells from captured enemies. The stable allows you to train your mount, allowing additional bonuses during battle and increasing the likelyhood of bypassing creatures on the map. Still other features unlock the ability to train your character, forge items, and capture other cities.

When a battle begins, you are shown an 8×8 grid of symbols. The red, blue, green, and yellow gems represent the fire, water, earth, and air mana. The skull icons are used to inflict damage. Matching coins increases the gold you character has, allowing you to purchase items and skills. Purple stars are matched to increase your experience, helping boost you to that next level.

The battle is played in a similar manner to the popular Bejeweled game. The player simply swaps the positions of two adjacent symbols. If the symbols cause a row of three or more symbols to match, the symbols are removed and the appropriate reward is obtained. Additional symbols fall in from above, often causing chain reactions which can result in additional bonuses. If the player matches five or more chains, they receive an experience and gold bonus. Matching four symbols in a row results in a free turn, while matching five results in a free turn and a wild card. Wild cards can be used to match any of the four mana types.

In order to win a battle, you must reduce your opponents hit points to zero. This can be accomplished by matching skulls, or casting spells. Skulls come in two flavors, a normal skull, and a +5 skull. The latter cause explosions, destroying any symbols around the skull and inflicting additional damage on the enemy. Spells are obtained through leveling your character, as well as capturing enemies. Spells come in a variety of forms. Some spells can heal damage inflicted on you, some inflict damage on the enemy. Other spells can change symbols on the board from one type to another, while other spells can steal or reduce your enemies mana.

As the game progresses, you can capture enemies and gain additional spells from them. Some captured enemies can also be used as mounts, allowing the player to move quicker through the map, gaining a chance to avoid some encounters. Capturing creatures occurs after you have battled a given creature at least three times. To capture a creature, the 8×8 game board is displayed and you are tasked with clearing the board of all symbols. In this version of the game, no symbols will fall from above. But don’t be fooled, some of these puzzles are quite difficult.

Once a creature has been captured, you can learn spells from it. Again, the battle board is shown and you match symbols to gain access to the spells. In this form of the game, you must match a specific number of symbols to progress. If you reach a point where no more matches are available, you fail to learn the spell and must start over.

Similarly, you can forge new items using runes found throughout the land of Etheria. This time, you must match the forge symbols on the board. As with learning spells, when no more matches are available, you fail to forge the item and must start over.

Overall the game is quite fun to play and can keep you occupied for hours on end. Additionally, you can choose to battle specific creatures through the battle menu, or play wirelessly against friends. Sorry, only ad-hoc multiplayer is available.

There are, however, a number of issues with the game. During the game, you have the opportunity to gain companions. Each companion adds bonuses and skills to your player that are used while battling. Unfortunately, a bug in the PSP version of the game prevents your player from actually gaining these bonuses. You still gain the companions, they just have no effect whatsoever on the gameplay.

Worse are the freeze bugs. I’m not entirely sure what causes these, but they have been reported by a number of users. There are a few different versions of this bug, all causing the game to freeze and the PSP to turn off. Some are avoidable while other can result in needing to completely restart the game. For me, I first encountered this while using the Druid character. After playing for some time, I noticed that browsing through my spellbook caused the game to freeze and lock up. I found no workaround for this and, as a result, was not able to use any spells above level 10. I have also seen the game freeze during various battles, though this seems to be a random event. I have seen additional reports of repeated battle lockups, causing the player to have to restart the game.

According to the Gamespy review, there is yet another bug that prevents settings from being saved. Personally, I haven’t noticed this particular problem, but I haven’t really played with the settings much.

I have emailed both Infinite Interactive and D3 regarding these bugs. Infinite Interactive directed me to D3 explaining that they did not write the PSP code and had no control over it. D3 responded with what seemed to be a canned response that they would “look into the issue.” That was six months ago. I have since emailed them twice. I have received no response from them, thus far.

This lack of customer service has me quite upset. What could have been an excellent game has been marred by bugs. The lack of response on the part of D3 has forced me to reconsider buying any additional D3 and Vicious Cycle titles. I highly recommend you check all reviews and forums regarding any D3 titles before you decide to purchase. While Puzzle Quest is still a great game and I do enjoy playing it, it is quite frustrating to reach a point where the game becomes unplayable due to a bug. I’m still holding out hope that D3 will address these bugs, but as time goes on, it seems less and less likely.

Review – EA Replay (PSP)

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Anticipation : 7
Expectation : 7
Initial Reaction : 3
Overall : 5
Genre : Various

 

EA Replay is a collection of old “classic” games.  Included in the collection are the following :

In addition to these classic games, EA decided to add some extra content such as multiplayer, collectible cards, and mid-game saving.

Unfortunately, this collection falls well short of being fun and entertaining.  My primary interest was the Wing Commander and Syndicate games.  I remember playing these on my PC and thoroughly enjoying them.  In fact, the Wing Commander series is still one of my all time favorites.

It’s not that the games don’t live up to present day expectations.  I’m realistic, I know that these aren’t next-gen multi-million dollar megahit games.  I realize we’re not talking about the latest in graphics and gameplay.  But I do expect them to play the way they did back when they were new games.

Wing Commander falls way short of this goal.  The WC games included are apparently the SNES versions.  The controls are just too quick!  It’s extremely hard to identify and target incoming ships and the controls are confusing.  Unfortunately, this killed the entire experience for me as I was very much looking forward to playing WC again.

Budokan and Syndicate are a little better.  For the most part, they’re what I remember from years past, although the Syndicate they included was the SNES version.  The gameplay seems to be identical to the originals and while not the best games in the collection, they’re not the worst.

The rest of the collection is actually pretty new to me.  I’ve heard of Road Rash, but never truly played it.  After taking a look, it reminds me of Pole Position, but with a bike.  The controls are responsive and the games seem to play pretty well.

B.O.B. is pretty fun to play.  I vaguely remember hearing about this game, but never played it.  B.O.B. is a side-scrolling platformer game.  It’s pretty neat, actually, and I had some fun playing it.  Worth checking out.

Jungle Strike and Desert Strike are pretty fair games.  I’m not a huge fan of games like this, so I don’t have much to say.  They’re worth playing if you’re fans of helicopter shooters, but if not, avoid them.

Mutant League Football is actually pretty fun.  Apparently this was a play on the Madden series of the day and they did a pretty good job with it.  Definitely worth a look.

Haunting Starring Polterguy is a very odd game.  The idea is to scare a family out of their home by screaming, making noise, and haunting items.  It’s a fun game to try out, but I don’t think it really stands the test of time.

Ultima is just plain horrible.  Again, this is not the original Ultima series from the PC, but a  port from the SNES version.  This game is simply horrible, just avoid it.

And finally, Virtual Pinball.  Not much to say here, it’s a pinball game.  Fun for a little bit, not much beyond that.

 

Overall I was extremely disappointed with the collection.  If I knew that most of these were ports from the SNES version, I would have passed off the collection altogether.  While I have had some fun playing Road Rash, B.O.B., and Mutant League Football, the game has mostly collected dust.

 

If you really need that classic-gaming fix, however, pick up the Sega Genesis Collection instead.  I’ll be reviewing that in the near future.  Definitely worth looking into.

Review – Metal Gear Solid : Portable Ops (PSP)

Monday, February 12th, 2007

Anticipation : 9
Expectation : 9
Initial Reaction : 10
Overall : 9
Genre : Third-Person Action/Adventure

I was first introduced to Metal Gear on the Playstation 2 console. The gameplay and story was incredibly engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Based on that experience, I purchased Metal Gear Solid for the Gameboy. The graphics were horrible compared to the Playstation, but I expected that. The game itself was pretty good.

Fast forward to the PSP launch and Metal Gear Acid. While I was caught a little by surprise at the card based gameplay, I was pretty satisfied overall with the experience. In fact, I plan on getting Metal Gear Acid 2 at some point in the future.

I picked up a copy of Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops after reading up on all the hype. I was pretty excited about the game prior to it’s release and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. My enthusiasm was not in vain, MGS:PO is an incredible game.

The game opens with Snake being captured by his old unit, FoxHound. After rescuing another prisoner and escaping from the prison, Snake start on a mission to save the world. Again. Think Jack Bauer, but cooler.

General gameplay is similar to what previous MGS games provided. Sneaking around, attacking from hidden positions, sneaking up on unsuspecting enemies… It’s all there. It seems that Konami spared nothing when preparing this game for the PSP. The graphics are simply incredible, the controls are almost perfect, and the gameplay is amazing.

But wait, there’s more! You can recruit additional troops by capturing them. Each recruit comes with unique skills that assist you in accomplishing your goals. You can place each recruit into special units that give you additional abilities within the game. The spy unit gathers intelligence about locations you visit in the game. The tech unit manufactures new technology for combating the enemy. The medical unit heals your injured troops and sometimes produces useful items.

Multiplayer has a number of modes that you can take part in. Cyber Survival pits your team against other teams around the world. Cyber Survival is mostly hands off, outcomes being determined by a central server. However, loading up your troops with advanced gear can help to make your team a winner. During these missions, teams can encounter unique characters or capture prisoners of war which they bring back to your system.

There are also other multiplayer modes such as deathmatch, team deathmatch, and capture. These games can be played in either Real or Virtual mode. The difference between these modes is rather simple. In real mode, if your character is killed, he’s a permanent loss from your game. Virtual mode allows you to play to your hearts content without the chance of losing a character forever.

MGS:PO is the first game I’ve played that has Game Sharing. Game Sharing is a method by which the game can be played with other PSP owners that don’t have their own copy of the game. They download a client from your PSP and then join in the multiplayer fun.

Overall, MGS:PO is an incredible game. The gameplay, story, and controls are all top notch. Definitely check this one out, it’s worth it.

Book Review : 19 Deadly Sins of Software Security

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

Security is a pretty hot topic these days. Problems range from zombie computers acquired through viral attacks, to targeted intrusion of high-visibility targets. In many cases, insecure software is to blame for the security breach. With the increasing complexity of today’s software and the increased presence of criminals online, security is of the utmost importance.

19 Deadly Sins of Software Security was written by a trio of security researchers and software developers. The original list of 19 sins was developed by John Viega at the behest of Amit Yoran who was the Director of the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cyber Security Division. The list details 19 of the most common security flaws that exist in computer software.

The book details each flaw and the potential security risks posed when the flaw exists in your code. Examples of flawed software are presented to provide an insight into the seriousness of these flaws. The authors also detail ways to find these flaws in your code, and steps to prevent the problem in the future.

Overall the book covers most of the commonly known security flaws. These include SQL Injection, Cross Site Scripting, and Buffer Overruns. There are also a few lesser known flaws such as Integer Overflows and Format String problems.

The authors recognize that software flaws can also consist of conceptual and usability errors. For instance, one of the sins covered is the failure to protect network traffic. While the book goes into greater detail, this flaw generally means that the designer did not take into account the open network and failed to encrypt important data.

The last chapter covers usability. The authors detail how many applications leave too many options open for the user while making dialogs cryptic in nature. Default settings are either set too loose for proper security, or the fallback mechanisms used in the event of a failure cause more harm than good. As the Microsoft Security Response Center put it, “Security only works if the secure way also happens to be the easy way.”

This book is great for both novice and seasoned developers. As with most security books, it covers much of the same material, but is presented in new ways. Continual reminders about security can only help developers produce more secure code.

[Other References]

10 Immutable Laws of Security Administration

10 Immutable Laws of Security

Michael Howard’s Weblog

John Viega’s HomePage

Review – Wii Sports (Wii)

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

When purchasing a new console or handheld gaming system these days, it’s not uncommon to have to purchase a game to play on it. So when Nintendo announced that Wii Sports would be bundled with the console, it came as a bit of a surprise to many.

Wii Sports is a collection of five sports, Tennis, Bowling, Golf, Boxing, and Baseball. Each game is played by using the Wii Remote to mimic the actions required to play the sport in real life. So, for instance, when you’re at bat in baseball, you literally need to swing the Wii Remote like a bat in order to hit the ball.

Wii Sports is also the first game on the new console to integrate with the Mii Channel. Each avatar you create on the Mii channel will show up in each game as you play. The game will also keep statistics regarding your play and display them at the end of each game.

In addition to the main sports simulations are two additional modes, Training and Fitness. Training mode presents the player with a series of exercises designed to teach the player. For instance, boxing training teaches you how to use combo punches, dodge, and throw accurate punches. You can earn a bronze, silver, or gold medal depending on how you do in the exercise.

Fitness mode presents the player with three randomly chosen exercises from training more. It then calculates the players “fitness age” depending on how well the player does. You can only play this once per day per Mii, but the game keeps track of your results and presents them in a graphical format so you can check your progress.

Overall, Wii Sports is a ton of fun. In fact, despite purchasing more “polished” and “professional” games such as Zelda, my kids are inexorably drawn back to Wii Sports. I’m pretty impressed with this title and I definitely recommend it. Of course, being bundled with the console makes it a little easier to try it out.

Review – Nintendo Wii

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

On November 19th, Nintendo released it’s latest console, the Nintendo Wii. Instead of focusing on an evolution in graphical capabilities, Nintendo focused on a revolution in the way we play games. With a unique controller and a new outlook on gameplay, the latest in Nintendo gaming may well be the hit of the season.

After standing out in the cold for a few hours, I drove home with a nice new Wii and a couple of games to check out. Of course, being a Christmas gift, I wasn’t able to check out the console until the night of Christmas Eve, after the kids went to bed.

The time in between allowed me to find another controller and nunchuk. I also picked up a set of component cables after reading that the graphics looked a LOT better with them. Unfortunately, I was only able to find the Psyclone cables, which ran a hefty $60. But, they do seem to be well built, so I’m not too upset.

A total of three games made it home for the holidays, Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam, Marvel Ultimate Alliance, and The Legend of Zelda : The Twilight Princess. Full reviews of these games will be coming sometime in the near future. All three of these games are excellent, however, which I find quite surprising for a console launch. In addition, the Wii comes with Wii Sports, a collection of sports games for general entertainment. While not as in-depth as some of the more popular third party titles, these games are polished enough to make them a lot of fun.

So what makes this such a great system? After all it’s really just a glorified Gamecube. Well, sort of. The processing power of the Wii is a bit more. The Gamecube clocked in at 485 MHz while the Wii clocks in at 729 MHz. Likewise, the Gamecube GPU ran at 162 MHz and the Wii runs at 243 MHz. There are obviously more differences but I won’t get into them. The real revolution is in the new controllers.

The Wii controller are wireless, using Bluetooth technology to wirelessly connect to the console. At launch, there are three different controllers. The Wii Remote is the primary controller with the Nunchuk and Classic Controller as add-ons. Most launch titles use either the Wii Remote, or the Wii Remote with the Nunchuk attached. The Classic Controller is primarily used for the Virtual Console games which I have yet to try.

The remote contains a number of accelerometers that allow the Wii to determine the speed at which you move the controller. Coupled with the Sensor Bar, the Wii can determine the location of the controller in 3D space, allowing for some interesting gameplay dynamics.

In addition, the Wii allows for online content such as a weather channel, news channel (not yet launched), a web browser (in beta), and an online store. There are likely more channels in production and will be released later in the consoles lifecycle.

Overall we had a blast playing the Wii and have clocked over 20 hours on it since Christmas day. There are still a number of launch titles that look excellent so I’m sure our library of titles will be growing. I highly recommend this system if you can get your hands on it. It is truly a revolution in gaming.

Review – Deus Ex (PS2)

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Anticipation : 7
Expectation :6
Initial Reaction : 8
Overall : 8
Genre : First-Person Action/Adventure

Way back, around the year 1996, there existed a small company called Ion Storm. Started by two of gaming’s most widely know figures, John Romero and Tom Hall, Ion Storm set out to change the face of gaming. That it fell flat on it’s face and was subsuquently closed has nothing to do with this review.

In 1997, Warren Spector joined Ion Storm. Warren previously worked on titles such as Wing Commander, Ultima, and System Shock. Wing Commander and System Shock are still some of my all-time favorite games. By all accounts, he avoided the main office and was able to develop the only truly successful Ion Storm titles. One of these was Deus Ex.

While dated by industry standards, Deus Ex blasted onto the scene in 2000. The game centers around a character by the name of JC Denton. JC is a nano-augmented UNATCO agent. The United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition, UNATCO, was formed to help defend the world against terrorists, some of which have already been successful in attacking the Statue of Liberty. JC is plunged into a dark world where a rampant disease known as the Grey Death is sweeping across the country, countered only by a substance called Ambrosia. Ambrosia is developed by Versalife and happens to be in very short supply and JC’s first mission is to obtain a number of canisters that were stolen by a terrorist organization known as the NSF.

Deus Ex allows you to make choices throughout the game that affect the story later on. While the story itself is mostly linear, always leading to the same locations, you do have some freedom in play. Ultimately you make a choice at the end of the game that hepls decide the fate of man in the future, a decision that should not be taken lightly.

The graphics are a bit dated, even for the year it was released. The game engine itself was built on a modified version of the Unreal Engine. There are a number of role playing elements within the game as well. You earn skill points as you accomplish tasks and find secret areas. These points are then used to enhance your abilities in various areas such as weapons, lockpicking, hacking, and more. This allows you to tune your player to your own playing style, building upon your strengths. In addition, the nanotech augmentation system allows you to transform your mostly human character into a super enhanced superhero.

The nanotech system is pretty interesting. Throughout the game you can find augmentation canisters. These canisters contain nanites that will re-program your body to enable special abilities. Each canister generally lets you decide between two different abilities. For instance, one of the first canisters you find will allow you to enhance combat strength, increasing melee abilities, or enhance your physical strength, allowing you to lift heavy objects. This choice can significantly affect gameplay later in the game as you come up against obstacles that can simply be moved out of the way, or must be worked around. Additional augmentation canisters allow you to enhance the abilities you chose.

Weapons can also be customized using weapon modifications. Modifications include scopes, larger clips, silencers, and more. Starting out with a simple pistol, you can create a very deadly, highly accurate weapon that will definitely help you later in the game. Beware, however, if you drop that weapon, those modifications are gone forever. Picking up the same weapon later in the game does not automatically return those modifications. After all, it is essentially a different weapon.

Overall the game was a lot of fun to play. There are a few frustrating parts of the game that may take you a little time to get through, but that’s ok. I enjoy a challenge and Deus Ex provided a decent one. It’s definitely not the toughest game I’ve ever played, but the storyline and excellent gameplay make you forget the fact that some parts are overly easy. I definitely recommend checking this game out, even though it’s over 5 years old. This is a definite must for any System Shock fans as well.