Augmented UNATCO agent J.C. Denton travels the world investigating, negotiating, and kicking lots of ass. It’s like System Shock 2 without the annoying bits.
Who would have thought that Ion Storm could produce something that not only doesn’t utterly suck, but that kicks ass? Deus Ex pulled Ion’s ass out of the fire just in time.
Here is a game which takes the "expanded shooter" concepts in Half-Life and System Shock 2 and amazingly adds the most important element of game design… a really strong story. The story’s compelling nature and multiple solutions (to almost all problems) structure is what really kept me playing for hours on end, day after day. The strength of the writing and the obvious attention to research and detail are astonishing, and contribute to the game’s immersiveness.
Graphically the game is excellent, except for the inherent weakness of the Unreal engine (inability to mask or degrade effectively, leading to slowdowns in long-distance POV’s). Sound is also excellent, with a soundtrack that doesn’t annoy the player, and good voice acting. The user interface is as strong as any "RPG" currently being produced, at the very least.
By the by, this game can easily be classified as an RPG, perhaps more so than the titles which actively seek that title, including the Might and Magic series, the various Ultimas, etc. Personal choice and ethical considerations weigh strongly in the game’s progression.
AI is decent but not astounding. It doesn’t come up to the level of the Commando AI in Half-Life. Enemies’ tactics are dictated primarily by what sort of gear they have and how badly they’ve been wounded. There are some nice features such as NPC’s having reactions to finding a body on the ground, but unfortunately this only becomes noticably evident at the higher difficulty levels, which also causes your character to take more and more damage. Why would you want to make the AI stupider? Either leave it at its highest level, or have 2 settings for "Weapon Damage" and "Enemy Stupidity."
I have not played this ame multiplayer intentionally. The multiplayer patch causes a lot of problems and completely screws the single player game with bizarre bugs… there are a couple of bugs in the SP game, but the MP patch adds a bunch of new ones. Deus Ex is, at its heart, a single player game, and the only result from playing it multiplayer is to transform it into just another shooter. And who really needs that?
Mu rating: 8/10. I could of course be prejudiced by the tripe the industry is trying to force feed us these days, but damn this almost makes up for that Daikatana thing.