Artificial Continuum

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I recently played through Deus Ex. Some would say I'm a bit late, (ten years late) but screw them. In Deus Ex, the player is dropped into the position of J. C. Denton, a cyborg secrent agent in the future. That's all I can really say without spoiling something, but I have to say, the story is excellent.

The gameplay in Deus Ex may seem difficult to some at first. The player has six health bars for different body parts, and if one were to waltz into the first level and start shooting baddies, as many of today's gamers would do without question, he or she would most likely die very quickly. The game encourages a very tactical, stealthy approach, whether the player prefers to take out enemies with explosives, rifles, or pistols, or he or she invests points in electronics and lock picking and never participates in fights at all.

That brings us to the topic of morality. Deus Ex has no meter which proudly displays just how much of a douche the player is, and the player will rarely find himself making choices which are clearly labeled and separate. No, the player projects his or her morality through the gameplay, with choices between guns and tranquilizers, or letting an NPC die and protecting him. Deus Ex is one of the few games to really have consequences for a characters actions.

While characters may not be as deep as those in Bioware games, the writing is still excellent. The story is reminiscent of 1984. It shows a cautionary tale of the consequences of technology which could well possibly exist soon, and some that do already.

Deus Ex has no problem immersing the player within its dystopian atmosphere. I must confess that while playing, I actually yelled at one point when attacked from behind. One can't have a snack or talk to a friend while playing Deus Ex, because they will simply be lost in it.

Unfortunately, the graphics have not held up very well, but those who don't mind older graphics should have little trouble adjusting. However, they do an excellent job of showing the deterioration and general dirtiness of the setting.

Deus Ex has fantastic gameplay and is incredibly immersing. The greatest thing about it though, is that it is a perfect example of a video game that becomes more than a game, something definitely artistic, and teaches us something important. Go get Deus Ex right now. It's ten bucks on Steam.

Post Script: On a rather creepy note, the twin towers had been destroyed by terrorists in the game. Keep in mind this game was made before 9-11. This can be read here.