Anticipation : 7
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 intoÂ 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.