Review by kianbung

Reviewed: 04/17/04

An utter disappointment for veterans

Deus Ex was hailed one of the gratest games in the world of digital entertainment. It allowed open-ended gameplay, a deep and stunning storyline of conspiracy and deceit, and people liked it. No doubt we were all hyped when we first heard of the announcement that a sequel to Deus Ex was undergoing development. Unfortunately, like most other sequels (games, movies or otherwise), Deus Ex: Invisible War falls short of player expectations, mostly due to a daring but unwise leap towards the XBox.

In short, Deus Ex: Invisible War's graphics are GORGEOUS. It has the best graphics I have seen so far in any game. One great feature of this game worth a mention is the dynamic lighting. Oh sure - we've seen dynamic shadows for millions of years now, but this is a totally different thing. I actually took note of the game's superb lighting features about halfway through the game when I accidentally bumped into a light bulb. I was amazed by the way the shadows danced realistically in rythm with the bulb's swaying.

Of course, there's much more to graphics than lighting and shadows. The texturing in this game is pretty decent, though it could have been much better - and we have the texture pack to prove it. Another symptom of it's cross-platform leap, perhaps?

The character modelling and texturing are nothing much to scream about, in my opinion. The characters look rather out of perportion (Alex D's legs seem kind of short), and the most noticable flaw is that all of the character seem to be in some kind of caffine-high: their eyes are WIDE open, for some reason.

The physics in this game is fine, albiet a little unrealistic due to the fact that you can topple everything over by walking into them. I enjoyed throwing things into various NPCs and at various other objects - it's rather entertaining to see how they interact.

My biggest complaint in this game is probably a side-effect of having high-end dynamic lighting. The developers probably knew too much of it will lag a game to unplayable heights, thus they made the whole game unbearably DARK. I would have preferred it if the advanced lighting effects were taken out so that we could all step back into the light.

The voice acting is rather monotonous, and thus may bore some. J.C Denton doesn't sound like the original one, and neither does Tracer Tong. That was rather a bummer.

The only thing I would like to personally praise is the remake of the good old title screen music. It really kicks in an odd sense of nostalgia and makes me want to play the original Deus Ex again.

''If it ain't broke, don't fix it''. I guess the developers at Ion Storm never heard of this. The interface, the gameplay and all other elements that make Deus Ex a great masterpiece was never broken. Flawed in some minor cases, but it was never broken. Somehow, some idiot thought: ''hey, let's simplify the interface and gameplay coz some people might be too dumb to understand it.'' Don't they realise that we love the old inventory - which encourages item management, that we love the skill system (which they stupidly scrapped), the fact that ammo are meant to have different types - so that we don't run out of pistol ammo after launching a few rockets? Most importantly, don't they even realise that the people that play Deus Ex are mostly intellectually gifted?

Deus Ex: Invisible war is flawed in so many different ways as compared to the original Deus Ex. One of the worst things was that the game was simplifed to such a degree that even my little sister can play it. Damage used to be allocated to different parts of the body - and we all loved it. It actually required thought like: ''should I heal my torso so I don't die, or should I risk it and heal my arms so that I can shoot accurately?''. But no, they had to use the plain old vanilla universal lifebar and negate such intellectual strain on the player. Skills were scrapped for some reason, and we are forced to waste a biomod space for hacking as opposed to having a hacking skill in Deus Ex. Keypads are now dumb - players used to be able to brute-force (randomly guess) keycodes, but now it's impossible.

The length of the game was also questionable. The original provided 20+ hours of gameplay in a single disc, yet Invisible War only provided about ten hours of gametime in TWO discs.

Regrettably, this is the only good reason to play Deus Ex: Invisible War. The story still contains the unparalleled goodness of Warren Spector's masterpiece, although it still does not compare to the original. Nevertheless, it is still filled with unimaginable plot twists all over the game.

Unpatched, this game is barely playable in the PC. Thanks to the good folks making the XBox version, they implemented the mouselag feature, which made the mouse lag (duh) indefinitely. While this may be fixed with a .ini hack or the patch, we're gamers, not tweakers. We're not meant to put in such effort to enjoy the game. Thumbs down.

Although in overall a decent shooter, Deus Ex: Invisible War betrayed its Deus Ex lineage by scrapping all the good stuff and putting in some dumb things. While Deus Ex veterans may want to play it for its storyline, be forewarned that you will be utterly disappointed, if not totally shattered. Casual gamers will want to pick this up for it is still a good game. XBox owners should definitely pick this up for it is probably the best game to ever be released (and spoiled) for their beloved consoles.

- Great lighting
- Biomods
- Word has it that Deus Ex 3 is under development
- Thief 3 is not being cross platformed (is it?)

- 'Dumbed-down' (I've always wanted to say that)
- Skill system is gone
- 'Universal ammo' sucks
- Wide-eyed NPCs
- Short
- Buggy
- Makes Warren Spector look bad

Rating:   3.5 - Good

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