The Summer Rolls On
Another week of summer has slipped through the cracks. As we careen towards the excitement that September brings, we’re going to take a look back at some historical games you should be playing in the meanwhile.
Last week, we recommended Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. This week, we’re going to take quite a leap backwards in time
Week 2: Deus Ex
Yes, we just reviewed the most recent installment of the series, Human Revolution, which you should check out, but now is the perfect time to find out where it all began.
Deus Ex is an FPS/RPG hybrid with a cyberpunk theme that places the role of choice firmly into the hands of the player. You play the role of JC Denton, an employee of a security firm called UNATCO. You start the game by performing various operations for the organization, before being drawn into a much larger conspiracy.
The plot isn’t the greatest and reads like pulpy science fiction, but careful attention was given in the gameplay department, and the result stands the test of time.
Why You Should Play it Now
Even though it was released back in 2000, which sounds like ancient history to some of you, Deus Ex still holds up very well today, despite some lackluster character models.
This is thanks to the unprecedented gameplay choices that the game provides you with. If you thought Human Revolution gave you choice, the original Deus Ex will blow you away. It’s incredible how natural and innovate the game still feels, 15 years after its release. No game has attempted this breadth of scope and depth since.
Like Human Revolution, the original Deus Ex allows you to mod JC Denton how you wish, thanks to his augmented nature. This is what allows for the gameplay variety. However, the game takes the idea of human augmentation one step further and incorporates seemingly endless ways to complete even plot heavy objectives, such as boss fights and dialogue choices.
The hub based nature of the game is also a great way to format quests. I’ve discussed this before in my Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines review, but Deus Ex had it first. Being able to organically come across side quests and complete them as you explored the environment is rewarding and immersive. There are no waypoints tugging you from one side of the level to the other. Exploration is necessary, and being able to traverse it how you wish is a highlight in gaming history.
Yeah, the level design is kind of boxy, but each area feels distinct and unique thanks to some great soundtrack design. Even with the somewhat bland textures of 2000, the game is very distinct in how it presents each level, making everything feel organic and natural.
My earlier comment about finding out “where it all began” is ironic because Human Revolution is actually a prequel to the original Deus Ex. If you paid attention to the end credits, you may recognize some of the names and plot points that were hinted at during the latter half of the game. Like I mentioned, it doesn’t have the best plot, but in terms of how it structures gameplay and quests, you’ll find yourself wondering if game developers simply forgot how to make great games.
If you have played Deus Ex, you probably won’t be surprised to find out the game has very high replay value. This is thanks to the multiple ways you can complete your objective which keeps each playthrough fresh. The muddy plot is also a bit clearer on a second go around thanks to your familiarity with the basic characters.
If you enjoyed Human Revolution, or just want to play one of the best RPG’s of all time, check out the original Deus Ex in your spare time between now and the AAA season. You can find it on Steam for fairly cheap (wow, best $6.99 you’ll ever spend) and hunt around for some mods to make sure you get the smoothest, best looking experience possible.
One last note, make sure to play it through and beyond the first level. It’s an odd way to throw you into a game with such unprecedented choice, but you’ll be hooked as soon as you make it through.
Steve Dixon is still on the waiting list to receive his augmentations, but you can follow him on Twitter in the meanwhile.