Deus Ex: A Return to a Classic

I had beaten this game years ago and did not really walk away with the "wow" factor that is heaped upon this title. Now, in anticipation of the new Deus Ex: Human Revolution coming I decided to travel back and test my current brain plaque level.

It takes some messing about to get it to work (and look a little better) on Win 7 x64 and the Steam forums have a great how-to to help you along. What worked for me was the DxFix (still required), DX10 renderer v24 as v25 has problems, the HDTP texture pack, the New Vision texture pack and the unmentioned Maps Patch that fixes some game-ruining bugs.

Personally, I had thought the much besmirched Invisible War was a superior game. The graphics were far better of course, the level design much more interesting and the debauchery and double-crossing were unsurpassed. Agreeing to kill a defaulter, only to agree to rob the creditor and then killing the defaulter after getting paid for the theft, taking the creditor's money and following it up by turning the him in to the police for a bounty is elaborate to say the least. It also had many great characters that you could miss completely such as meeting the real NG Resonance who, befittingly, is a complete snob. I took great pleasure in shotgun blasting her in the face and air-juggling her corpse with said death machine for a good ten minutes. The joys of an open game world.

Story, story, story - That's all I hear when it comes to DEx. Having beat it once already, I struggled to remember anything beyond "cyberpunk", "dystopian" and chunky buildings. Every time I had a recollection of something great, it turned out to be from Invisible War - How memorable can it be? The answer: It's... good. It follows a plot line that you have seen in a dozen movies; Huge conglomerate is toppled by rebel upstarts utilizing one of the conglomerate's star pupils. The characters are nicely interesting for such an early game, well acted and well scripted for the most part (Tom Hall is a little flat but he created the Dopefish, so he gets a pass). The conversations are mostly one-sided, with you offering little in response but again, it's what's said that makes it good.

The other flag that is waved in DEx's favor is choice. While you are given multiple avenues on how to approach a situation, it really affects very little; kill the terrorist leader, let your partner kill him, kill your partner instead, block the door so no one can kill anybody. In the end, other than a possible appearance by said survivor(s), slight conversation changes and/or maybe a bonus item, it makes no difference to the plot. Try to escape or kill Gunther after the subway mission, you can't - even with cheats. You still continue the same course with the endgame changing based on how you decide to finish. That's not choice, it's the end of the game so the outcome is moot as it won't continue. If you want a real lesson in choice vs consequence, I suggest you try The Witcher 2.

No I am not cutting steaks from your sacred cow, I never said I didn't like the game. In fact, I'm enjoying the hell out of it and will definitely see the credits a second time. What I am saying is that it's not the incredible treasure trove of choice and story that you remember it as. It was great for it's time, absolutely amazing, but holding it up to today's offerings is wishful thinking. Trying to get the perspective DEx3 player to go back and "witness the awesome" that is DEx will win almost no one over, you had to be there the first time.
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