Review by Calamity
Reviewed: 09/06/11 | Updated: 09/07/11
DEUS EX: Every time you mention it, SOMEONE will reinstall it.
Deus Ex. The game so universally praised and critically acclaimed that anytime someone mentions it, a person is bound to reinstall and play through the game again. Released in 2000, Deus Ex quickly rose to fame and became widely regarded as one of the greatest PC shooters of all time. Personally, I had not played the game until recently. I had heard some of my friends mention the game, but I never gave the game a try at the time they mentioned it. However, with the third game of the series Deus Ex: Human Revolution just recently being released, I became extremely interested in Deus Ex. I figured, why not give the original game a try? If this is truly one of the greatest shooters of all time it should definitely stand the test of time. Even in 2011. 11 years after it's release. I had nothing to lose after all. The game is relatively cheap, and if I ended up enjoying it, then it's pretty much guaranteed according to nearly anyone that I would enjoy Deus Ex: Human Revolution. So, I played through Deus Ex and beat it. Needless to say, the game did not disappoint at all.
Graphics:9/10:For those familiar with late 90's PC shooters, Deus Ex's graphics will seem familiar. Despite the game being created in 2000, the game definitely has that late 90's PC shooter feel to the graphics. Everything ranging from the textures, gun designs, character designs and area designs all resemble that era of shooters in terms of graphics. In terms of areas, the game will take you to many different areas. New York City, Airfields, Hong Kong, Paris, Catacombs and just a variety of different areas. Each of the areas having a decent amount of detail. Furthermore, some cities in the game look incredibly realistic. Such as New York City. When I went through that area, I was immediately immersed. The place resembled an actual real life city. An urban area with graffiti spray painted walls, basketball hoops, fences, apartments, back alleys, hotels and all kinds of things you would expect to see in such a city. Hobos scattered throughout the city sitting near fires for warmth and survival. Conversing and cooperating with each other among many other activities going on. Police scouting the area for trouble and soldiers doing just the same etc. Areas such as bars, had tables, people conversing and drinking, people stranding around among many other things. Simply put, the area design for in the game is quite great. So, what's the one flaw with the graphics?
Character models and faces. In particularly, the faces. They just look terrible. I don't know what went wrong, but they do. For the time Deus Ex came out, the character's faces should not look so poorly designed. Many of the characters just have bizarrely shaped heads, massive heads that are just of unrealistic proportions and several other unrealistic features. You know how when you look at someone's family portraits you notice odd things about their family members as you look? Such as one of them may have a gigantic head? Well, you'll definitely have that feeling here. You'll see some characters with heads so massive that you'll be wondering where you can get hats for someone with a head like that. As for the character design, it was pretty decent, but the characters models in the game can just look downright awkward at times. Ultimately though, I don't have too much else to say. Everything else when it comes to the graphics works properly and the game has a smooth frame rate from start to finish. I give the graphics a 8/10. With graphics out of the way, it's onto the gameplay. The most important aspect of any game.
Gameplay:9/10:To start off, Deus Ex is not purely a first person shooter. Don't be fooled. Even despite how frequently I have referenced shooters in comparison to Deus Ex. Instead, Deus Ex is pretty much a combination of a first person shooter and a RPG. Having elements from both genres. In terms of first person shooters, the whole game take places from a first person view. Furthermore, you get guns throughout the game as your primary weapons. In addition melee weapons too, but primarily guns. As for the RPG aspect, that has to do with customization, the storyline of the game and all the exploration available in the game. Deus Ex isn't extremely linear like some other FPS games.
Instead, most of the areas in the game are quite open-ended and require a lot of exploration to find items among other things. Literally, you'll need to look everywhere. Every single nook and cranny to make sure you get all the items in the area. Simply put, this game greatly rewards people who thoroughly explore areas looking for items and all kinds of secrets. Explorers will definitely feel like this game caters to them. As they reap truckloads of treasures by searching areas carefully. The exploration in Deus Ex is excellent. It's satisfying and fulfilling. Plus, the game is a lot of fun to explore in. It's enjoyable discovering new areas among many other things in the game. Even with good exploration though, what really separates Deus Ex from other games of the genre? Well, that would be the element of choice that's prevalent in the game.
Yes, that's right. Choice! Many FPS/RPG hybrids have choice. Typically in the form of customization. Which can have an effect on the way you play the game. For example, games such as System Shock 2 are similar to what I am referencing. You can choose to specialize in different skills, weapons, magic and all kinds of things. In Deus Ex you can do that too. Once you begin, you can choose what you want to put your starting points into upgrading. You could upgrade hacking to make hacking into computers, cameras and security systems a lot easier, you could upgrade Pistols to make Pistols more powerful, accurate and have faster reload times etc. However, Deus Ex goes above and beyond with choice. It doesn't just stop at how you can customize the protagonist. The element of choice shows itself by allowing you to play the game in many different ways.
For example, you could play the game by going through areas killing all the enemies who come across your path quite lethally. With powerful loud weapons that will absolutely tear them apart. If not, you could play a stealthy style by sneaking past guards and quietly taking out guards individually in a room from advantageous positions. Both play styles have their pros/cons and are quite difficult to pull off. Since, stealth requires extreme planning and relies on you being incredibly sneaky. Meanwhile, shooting your way across a room requires smart planning in knowing what enemies to target first, where to position yourself and what you will do afterward. This is not a game where you can go into another room or area and just immediately win a firefight without first carefully assessing the area. That doesn't mean you can't be an aggressive player who shoots their way through in a deadly manner, but just that you gotta plan it out. You have to go about it tactically. Typically, taking on 3 or more enemies at once is not a smart idea in Deus Ex. Since, typically the odds are greatly against you in such situations. So, you gotta have a game plan that you come up with after assessing and analyzing a room or area. Then, the next step comes with executing the plan. If done successfully, you should be fine. If not, you probably died due to poor planning or poor execution. Possibly even both if you're really unfortunate. Hopefully though, your plan works. However, even then, you really gotta pick and choose your battles in Deus Ex.
Since, if you use loud weapons you'll alert the other guards. Upon hearing noise or seeing you, guards will immediately investigate the perimeter of the area. So, you gotta be careful if you're being stealthy or aggressive. Since, fighting a lot of guards at once is difficult in Deus Ex. You don't want to necessarily do that. Always, you generally want a low number of enemies to fight you at once. So, you'll need to be careful when you commit to killing. Once you do, the corpse remains on the ground. If another enemy sees the corpse, they'll immediately become suspicious and begin temporarily searching for you. Fortunately, you can grab bodies and hide them in places where convenient. That way, dead bodies won't be detected. Helping your location remain unknown. If you are going hardcore stealth, this probably won't be as major of a issue.
At least, the gun noise won't. Since, you'll probably be using silent guns, melee weapons or be conducting your operations from a safe secluded location. Despite how much this may seem to favor stealth, it doesn't. Since, if they catch you and you are specializing in stealth...Guess what? You'll most likely have a really difficult time with direct combat. That's the one gaping disadvantage to stealth. Still though, stealth is just as viable as shooting your way through. You can literally go through Deus Ex from start to finish only killing one person the entire game. That's how possible it is. In addition to all those things you can do to keep yourself hidden, the game generally has multiple routes through a single area such as underground passage ways or air ducts you can travel through to keep yourself concealed while picking off enemies/getting a good view of the area in it's whole. What's truly amazing, is how enjoyable the stealth is. Since typically, I dread stealth in games.
It almost always is guaranteed that I will quickly fall asleep when a game heavily revolves around stealth. Literally, I just begin wanting to stop playing the game whenever I have to use stealth in games. However, being stealthy in Deus Ex was actually quite entertaining. So, definitely props to Deus Ex for that. Back to the choices though. In addition to all these choices, there is a customization feature that adds even more flexibility and variety to Deus Ex.
That would be Augments. In the game, you can Augment yourself with mechanical parts. Basically Augmentations. These give you various abilities. Such as regenerating health, faster movement speed/higher jumps, ability to lift heavy objects, resist toxin and many other possibilities. Despite all these choices for Augments though, you can never really screw yourself over. At least, if you aren't playing anything beyond Normal difficulty. If you are, then you probably are an experienced player who most likely knows what they are doing. Even then, it is possible to beat the game using no Augments. It is more difficult obviously though. Since, Augments definitely are helpful. Despite that though, Augmentations never cross the fine line of being so important that poor Augment choice is going to completely ruin the game. You can make poor Augment choices and still get through the game. As with using no Augments it's a lot harder, but still possible. Speaking of difficulty, I would like to mention that now.
Deus Ex is a challenging game. I played on Easy and died numerous times throughout the game. A lot of it was due to of course needing to be adjusted to the game's style at the beginning and once I got better I began dieing less, but the game was still difficult despite that. This is really a thinking man's game. You have to be capable of critical thinking and coming up with great strategies. Otherwise, you just won't make it in this game. Especially, at the beginning where you are rather lacking in terms of how strong you are. Even with the insane amount of times I died, the game never felt cheap at any point though. Every time I died, I could relate it to a mistake I made. The hardest part of the game is the beginning though. Since, you only have a few weapons. Once you get further, the game becomes easier. The further and further you get, the easier the game becomes. Upon reaching the halfway point of the game, the difficulty was greatly reduced though. Due to an incredibly overpowered melee weapon you get. Called the Dragon Tooth Sword.
Basically, this sword does 105 damage with your Melee skill not being upgraded at all. To give you an example of how much that is...The Rocket is one of the most powerful weapons in the game. Without Heavy Weapons upgraded, it does 305. So, the Dragon Tooth Sword does slightly more then 1/3 OF THE ROCKET'S DAMAGE! Honestly, the Dragon Tooth Sword pretty much renders almost every other weapon in the game obsolete. I killed the vast majority of enemies in the game with it in 1 hit. Yes, 1 hit. Only real obstacle were robots. Who I just saved Rockets for. Despite that, I still died a few times though and I did have uses for my other weapons. Such as the Sniper or at times Auto Shotgun. Literally though, the Dragon Tooth Sword should just be renamed to: The sword that absokutely annihilates anything that gets in your path. Since, that would accurately describe it's power. In conclusion though, the first half of the game is the difficult part of the game. The further you get into the game, the easier it becomes. Then, you reach the second half and get weapons such as the Dragon Tooth Sword that absolutely tears through everything in the game. That's pretty much the closest thing to a major flaw in the game. A minor flaw on the other hand is the lack of stealth mechanics.
Just feels like there's a lack of mechanics based around stealth in Deus Ex. For example, in games like Metal Gear Solid you can move along walls etc. Splinter Cell you can shoot out lights etc. Deus Ex's stealth basically is as complex as remaining in shadows, using objects to create noise/divert guards attention, hiding bodies and using silent weapons. All of which are pretty basic fundamental mechanics to pretty much ANY game with stealth in it. There's no really revolutionary feature of Deus Ex's gameplay that complements stealth. Which is a shame. Since, the stealth has such potential. Overall though, that's about it for the gameplay.
The gameplay in Deus Ex is incredible. It has around 2 minor flaws or so, but that's it. Everything in the game for the most part works smoothly. From start to finish, the game is a blast to play and is definitely one of the most fun addictive games I've ever had the honor to play. This game does not lie when it claims to be about choice. There's loads and loads of choices to be made throughout the game. Lots of customization, playstyles and ways you can handle situations in the game. The game is extremely tactical too, and definitely encourages smart strategic planning instead of just blindly charging into areas and killing things. Plus, the exploration is satisfying and fulfilling. Not to mention, quite rewarding. Unfortunately, the difficulty begins to diminish once you obtain one of the most overpowered weapons ever around halfway through the game. Not to mention, the lack of innovative or additional stealth mechanics aside from basic fundamental prevalent ones found in nearly any stealth game. Despite that, the game still remains tactical to the very end and is a lot of fun to play. This is definitely a game with replay value due to all the choices and variety. Not to mention, the game requires at least 20 hours to complete. So, you'll definitely get your bang for your buck. In conclusion, the gameplay gets a 9/10. Just falling barely short of near perfection. Now that gameplay has been covered, onto the storyline of Deus Ex.
Storyline:10/10:You play the role of J.C. Denton. A agent who works for the organization UNATCO. Short for United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition. In the beginning, you just go from situation to situation solving terrorist problems. Only generally hearing one side of the story. However, things begin to take a interesting turn once J.C. Denton hears the other side of the story from the terrorists who he has been pursuing all this time throughout the game. From there, Denton begins to question if what he is doing is really right or not. What starts out as being a simple agent working for an anti-terrorist organization, soon turns into a intricate plot filled with conspiracies and philosophy. As you travel to different locations meeting different individuals. Each with their own perspective and opinions on different things. All the while though, wondering if what you are doing is right or wrong. Choice becomes important as you go through the storyline.
Since, you have many choices to make throughout the storyline. For example, at one point you confront a terrorist leader who you were ordered to kill. However, you can choose to speak with him instead of killing him. By doing so, you hear his side of the story and his motivations for what he is doing. As you do, you begin to really wonder if you are necessarily doing the morally correct thing by killing this person. Soon after, a fellow agent of yours rushes onto the scene urging you to kill him. I ignored their request and continued speaking. Unfortunately, that person killed the terrorist leader before I could further question him. The outcome could have been different though. So, I reloaded my save from a earlier point and got to the scene again. Except, this time...When the agent appeared to urge me to kill the terrorist leader I killed them! That's right! I killed one of my supposed fellow allies and it changed the storyline. This time, I was able to hear the terrorist leader completely out. I was reprimanded for my choices, but was allowed off the hook due to other people realizing that the dead agent was being rather irrational about the whole situation and that in a sense I made the correct choice to allow the terrorist leader to live. Basically, your choices do have a minor effect on the storyline. Then, at the end you get to make a few major decisions and they decide the ending you get. What's great though, is all the plot twists of Deus Ex.
All of the plot twists in Deus Ex are excellent. There are numerous twists and turns in the game. That will really change your perspective on how you view people and organizations in the game. A lot of them are pretty surprising and reveal a lot about certain characters in the game. Not to mention, the game does a good job of keeping you in the dark until the very end. Which is a good thing. Since, mystery is a powerful component of a compelling storyline. From start to finish, I was glued to my monitor screen just wondering what was going to happen next in Deus Ex. Since in Deus Ex, nothing is ever just clearly in black and white. Rarely, are there instances where something is clearly good or evil. A lot of it is up to interpretation. You may think that someone in the game had a evil perspective regarding life, society and thee world, but someone else may think differently about it. That's the kind of morality and choice Deus Ex brings to the table with it's storyline. It forces you to really think through your decisions in the storyline and about if what you are doing is necessarily for the better of humanity. By the end, the game manages to tie in philosophy and quite excellently so. Another fantastic aspect of the storyline are the characters.
Nearly all of the characters are memorable in Deus Ex. Each of them are entertaining, remarkable and well developed. Almost every character has a recognizable feature about them. Denton and his brother, have the monotone voice and badass look, Carter has the extreme integrity rooted deep into his heart of fighting for what he believes for to the very end, Jock is only looking out for the best interest of the people he is connected with and there's many other examples of this in the game. All of the characters have different views on situations in the game and it's incredibly interesting to learn about them. Ultimately though, the storyline is amazing.
Deus Ex has a terrific storyline. Especially, for a shooter. Which is rare in the genre. Since, many shooters tend to have lackluster storylines. However, Deus Ex has such a great storyline, that it soars above nearly every single game of not just it's genre, but many of the RPG genre. Where storyline is generally one of the most focused on aspects of those types of games. Deus Ex definitely has a compelling storyline that will grip onto you and won't let go of it's hold until the conclusion. You'll care about the characters, the choices you make and the impact they have on the world of Deus Ex. Ultimately, a 10/10 for the storyline. Superb. Last, is the music. Second most important aspect of a game in my opinion.
Music:10/10:The music in Deus Ex kicks ass. Definitely one of the greatest soundtracks of all time. Every song in the game appropriately not only contributes to the atmosphere of the game, but also to the enjoyment of the listener's hearing. Aside from that, the voice acting in the game is quite good. Even though, a lot of people criticize Denton as having a monotone voice. Personally, I think it gives him an extremely clear distinction from other characters. It may seem bizarre, but the monotone voice actually works for him. I'm someone who complains about Bat Man having a really lame monotone voice in The Dark Knight for example too. So, I think I'm being pretty honest when I say it works. Last, the sound effects which are completely fine. They sound terrific and work excellently. Gun shots sound like gun shots, explosions like explosions, etc. Overall, though a 10/10 for the music without a doubt. So, how is Deus Ex overall?
Overall:9/10:Deus Ex owns. Definitely one of the greatest shooters of all time. I understand why it's not only praised by a few of my friends, but by a lot of people in general. It's one of the funnest games ever. Not to mention, the game is just filled with choices. In regards to the plethora of options you have for the storyline and gameplay. The game can literally be played in a multitude of ways and there's just endless possibilities for different experiences upon future replays of the game. Every situation has multiple ways it can be handled. Not just that, but the game is incredibly strategic at least until you obtain a ridiculously overpowered weapon around halfway through the game. Unfortunately, the graphics are a little disappointing when it comes to the bizarre character models and their heads. Aside from that, the graphics are great though. As for the music, absolutely phenomenal. One of the greatest game soundtracks ever. Last, the story. An excellent storyline. That will have you caring about all the characters of the game, questioning what is right and wrong and that will have you on the edge of your seat in excitement from beginning to end. The plot is just filled with twists and turns at every single corner. All of them exciting and fascinating. In conclusion, I give Deus Ex a 9/10. Definitely one of the best shooters out there. A must play for anyone. ESPECIALLY, fans of the genre.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Deus Ex (US, 06/23/00)
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