With the 2011 release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution looming ever closer I decided it was time to sit down and play through one of the greatest action role playing games ever created, the original Deus Ex.
Deus Ex changed the gaming industry forever by proving that the insane idea of adding rpg elements to a fps was actually a good one. Since it's release Deus Ex has sold over 1 million copies. So obviously it was a pretty epic game, but ten years later is it still a good game?
Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first, the graphics in Deus Ex suck, and the AI isn't much better. However keep in mind that there are plenty of mods out there to improve the graphics, so if you are a major graphics whore slap on one of those mods and play away. Unfortunately there are no mods for the AI so you'll have to make do.
Unlike the graphics and AI, the game play in Deus Ex withstood the test of time quite well. In many cases it is better then most modern day games. For example unlike many modern day shooters Dues Ex actually gives you options regarding how to handle a situation. You can use heavy weapons to blast your way through opposing forces, equip a dart gun and silently take down those who oppose you (you can use lethal or non-lethal darts), or even crawl through the vents and avoid enemies all together. Of course there are a few flaws, alarms and loud noises do not always alert units that are well within hearing range and no matter how you take out opposing forces the main story is not altered (in some cases it is painfully clear it should be).
The story line in Deus Ex much like the game play is pretty good, if you only compare it to modern day shooters. But since Deus Ex is a fps/rpg you must compare the story line to rpgs as well which puts it well below par. Don't get me wrong I love that there are options as to how to answer a question during a cut scene, or which character to kill. But the choices you make have no effect on the game, n fact within about a minute of making a choice the consequences faced due to that choice are dealt with and you are back on an unchangeable story line. The only exception to this is that you face a decision, near the end, which affects the ending cut scene (this decision is actually a pretty tough one).
Besides for not having a dynamic storyline the story midway through the game starts to fall apart, and unfortunately it doesn't manage to recover until the very end of the game. The main reason the story fell apart is because just about anyone who has seen, read, or played a few conspiracy movies, novels, or games could figure out what's going to happen next. It is almost as if the creators of this game googled conspiracy theories and decided to make a game by combining the most popular ones.
Fortunately the games atmosphere makes up for the story's lack of originality. In fact it is one of the best cyberpunk atmospheres I have seen in a game. Everything from the streets of Hong Kong and New York, to the underground hideouts which various groups call home is done perfectly. Even the police dressed in riot gear give the player a subtle hint that the world around them is falling into chaos.
In fact despite not comparing well to modern day games in many categories I would urge people to play through Deus Ex simply because of the atmosphere. It is that freakin good! Also given that the game only costs a few bucks it is probably a good money saver too. So all in all Deus Ex isn't the best game out there, but it still has more then enough awesomeness behind it to motivate a play through.
FYI: If you want to get the HD textures mod for deus ex you can get it here