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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action RPG

 

Publisher

Eidos

 

Developer

Ion Storm

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

March 2002

 

 

- The ability to customize most everything in the game

- Has that cool “X-Files” mood to it

- Storyline is almost too awesome for a first-person shooter

 

 

- Mediocre frame rate and graphics

- Too much reliance on stealth

- Aiming is a nuisance

- For most FPS gamers…is this game any fun?

 

 

Review: Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (Playstation 2)

Review: No One Lives Forever (Playstation 2)

 

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Deus Ex: The Conspiracy

Score: 6.5/10

 

On the back of the Deus Ex game box it brags that the PC version won over 40 Game of the Year awards.  The amazing critical success the game received naturally created much hype for the PS2 port.  Aside from a few minor alterations, the games would be exactly the same.  I wrote the preview for this game and was VERY excited about the prospects of reviewing it.

 

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Deus Ex supposedly combines the best elements of first-person shooter and role-playing games to make the juggernaut of all video games.  The storyline, from reading reviews of the PC game, was so great it would make Stephen King and John Grisham weak in the knees.

 

I have played this game every day for the past three weeks and I will agree with the statements made above, but the biggest thing I felt was missing was the all-important fun factor.  Maybe for a more experienced, skilled, or cerebral gamer Deus Ex would be a perfect score, but for me I found the game boring at times.

 

I’m sure many of you are wondering, “What the hell is up with this guy?”  Deus Ex has all the gadgets and weapons of Goldeneye, the technical quality of a Medal of Honor game, and the storyline of a Squaresoft title.  The game is both innovative and old school rolled up in one.  

 

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Personally, I was never impressed and here is why; I liken Deus Ex to the foreign film that the critics love, but has the flavor of a rice cake.

 

It’s very apparent why the game won over 40 Game of the Year awards.  Like I said above there isn’t much to complain about as far as storyline or gameplay flaws, but I believe Deus Ex is too much like another Eidos Interactive title, Thief and not enough like Halo or Half-Life.

 

Deus Ex gives the gamer two modes of strategy for advancement in the game.  The first way, and the one that I 

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believe Eidos wants you to take, is that of stealth.  (In the first couple of missions as you build your ammo supply, you are forced to sneak around everyone and everything.)  The second way is to use the old “See it, Shoot It” method of blasting and then blasting some more.

 

There are five basic skills for each style of play.  While you can’t neglect the other style of play completely you can definitely favor one set of skills over the other.  If you want to be Duke Nukem or Max Payne you put the majority of your skill points (which are earned by completing various tasks in the game) into being efficient in pistols and heavy guns.  If you would like to be a mime then you would put skill points in categories such as lock picking, computers (which allow you to hack into computers among other things), and swimming.

 

Aside from your basic skills there are augmentations you can add to your character.  In a nutshell, they are specific performance enhancers that improve your vision, armor, strength, and invincibility.  You are basically creating your own Super Soldier.

 

The level of customization seems baffling, but you are almost forced to take the “stealth” route.  Going the blazing guns route almost always resulted in extreme failure for me.  My skill level at FPS’s are slightly above average and the CPU repeatedly blew me away like the last kid standing on a dodge ball team.

 

You move around and aim with the analog sticks and although in other games this is an easy task, it is a burden in Deus Ex.  I still haven’t been able to put my finger on why aiming is so difficult.  It may be because the analog stick is too sensitive or the frame rate is too low for a FPS, but many times going the “gung-ho” route I was getting shot from behind and it always took me two or three times to successfully find and aim at the person shooting behind me.  The experience was frustrating nonetheless.

 

Many times I was left to sneak around enemies and use my head.  Deus Ex is definitely under the classification of a “Thinking Mans FPS”.  If you don’t possess some brain matter you better go rent Timesplitters.

 

While I find nothing wrong with using stealth and timing to sneak around (I am the biggest Metal Gear Solid fan you’ll find) I just don’t find it very fun in a first-person shooter.  I know Deus Ex wants to break through into its own genre, but when I have a healthy number of shotguns, pistols, and other forms of heavy artillery at my every beck and call, I want to USE them!  When I have to use a stun gun and a lock pick in a first-person shooter throughout most of the game there is something wrong.

 

My final gripe is with the game’s graphics.  While they aren’t horrid they are not in any way top-notch.  I think the lighting effects are pretty good and the characters are nicely done, but the backgrounds are pixilated.

 

Okay, I have given you the bad news first, now onto the good news.

 

I stated that the game was slow to get into, but once you get going the plot line is awesome.  You take on the role as a UNATCO, augmented agent, J.C. Denton.  As a government official, Denton is tasked with trying to save the World from terrorism. (Timing is everything – I loved kicking the terrorists’ asses.)  There are many plot twists and I would assess the quality of story as Final Fantasy-esque.

 

Now that I think about it—the storyline may even be better than Final Fantasy’s (mainly looking at FFX).  One of the RPG elements is the ability to select different responses in conversations that alter how the story plays out.  This creates a completely un-linear storyline that provides a feeling of freedom.  There is one level early in the game where you can either load up on ammo and shoot your way into a statue entrance or you can sneak through the back entrance.  There are many scenarios like that throughout the game.  The variation would be even better if aiming weren’t so difficult.

 

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The environments are nicely portrayed.  The game world has a dark, eerie feeling to it.  I guess the best way to put it is that Deus Ex has a great “mood” to it.  The comparison to the television show The X-Files is a fair one.  The latter part of the game’s title – The Conspiracy – is proper to what happens in the game.

 

Although I would have liked to use the guns a little more, when I did it was very entertaining.  I loved using the sniper rifle to pick off terrorists.  The number of weapons to choose from is amazing.  I counted 15 different types of weapons to choose from, but what I liked was how “true to life” they are – the bigger, more powerful guns take longer time to reload and decrease your running speed.  This theory may seem elementary, but I find it wrong in a lot of FPS’s, especially those on the consoles.

 

Deus Ex will not be played the same way twice – there are too many things that you can alter throughout the game, whether it is your mode of attack or your responses to questions.  The replay value is definitely  there.

 

In conclusion, Deus Ex is a solid first-person shooter.  I was expecting the game to be a little more appealing after reading up on the game for writing the preview, but for a console that doesn’t boast many FPS titles, Deus Ex is a nice choice for a FPS fan with an RPG mentality.

 

However if you are looking for a game that has a lot of fast-paced, fragging, then you will have to look elsewhere.

 

- Tim Martin

(May 12, 2002)

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