Deus Ex: The Conspiracy

Deus Ex: The Conspiracy Features for PS2

On: PS2
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Deus Ex screenshot
Deus Ex screenshot

At the turn of the millennium, Deus Ex was an unusual fusion of FPS and traditional RPG values. Ion Storm wasn't alone in its efforts to fuse these two genres; Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios attempted a similar feat with System Shock 2 in 1999, but despite enthusiastic reviews their collaborative effort didn't sell particularly well. Deus Ex was seen as a trailblazer, but today some of its design has understandably aged. Action-RPG hybrids like BioShock and Mass Effect 2 have long since done away with proper inventories, and as a result it seems a bit weird that hero JC Denton has a grid-shaped coat pocket.

Elsewhere we've seen a steep rise in the quality of voice acting; even the most ardent Deus Ex fan would admit that some of the in-game dialogue bears a strong whiff of fromage, if not outright racism.

Still, look past the rough presentation and the intelligence behind Deus Ex is as clear as ever. Twelve years on from its initial release, it's still got one of the smartest game scripts I've ever seen. There's something particularly gratifying about the persistent sense of progress. Over the course of the narrative Denton transforms from a humble counter-terrorist to a transhuman superweapon, an all-powerful angel of death - or of mercy, if you so desire.

But beyond this - and I risk getting super pretentious here - the really sneaky thing about Deus Ex is the way it forces the player to develop their beliefs, particularly in terms of the corrupting nature of power. At the start of the story you think you're fighting with the good guys, but by the halfway point all idealism has long been discarded. For most of the game you wrestle with the slippery question of control, of what constitutes good government, then in the final moments you're presented with an ultimate choice - a simple decision that will determine the future of the human race. None of the three options is perfect, and it's obvious there will be collateral damage regardless of the path you take. It all boils down to your final judgement, and the unstoppable consequences.

In the wake of such ambition, it was never going to be easy for 2003's Deus Ex: Invisible War to live up to expectation. Despite making a bold effort to move away from the linear structure of the first game, the sequel is widely regarded as a disappointment that falls far short of its predecessor's greatness. On its initial release, Invisible War drew criticism for its comparatively small levels, and for supposedly dumbing down to appeal to console gamers.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution screenshot

Now, of course, a third Deus Ex is almost upon us. Like Invisible War, Eidos Montreal's Human Revolution has been designed with a console audience in mind. When the new prequel was first announced the Deus Ex fanbase largely reacted with a mixture of scepticism and outright pessimism, and yet there's been a growing sense of hope since last year's E3, with the game finding fresh ways to impress with each new preview.

Will the new game achieve the unthinkable and live up to the legacy of Deus Ex? We'll find out soon enough, but one thing is for sure: if Human Revolution can recreate the freedom and excitement of the first game, it'll be something very special indeed.

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9 Comments

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Wido's Avatar

Wido@ Clockpunk

It's very tempting to pre-order a copy myself rather than borrowing my brother's copy.

:D
Posted 14:13 on 05 August 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

That's it - i'm placing my preorder right now! Thanks for the info, Neon - that sealed the deal! (However, my bank manager wishes you harm, just so you know!! :p)
Posted 08:15 on 05 August 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ mydeaddog

Quote:
I've just started playing Human Revolution

I just turned green.
Posted 06:46 on 05 August 2011
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Cheers for the comments, chaps. Glad i'm not the only one who still holds a candle for Mr Denton.

I've just started playing Human Revolution (yeah, lucky me). Just thought i'd mention that to my surprise, it actually has an old schooll grid inventory! Shows how much I know...

Also, FM: You can turn off the highlighting completely, if you like. You can also turn off the indicators that point you to your next objective, too.
Posted 02:01 on 05 August 2011
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

I wonder if there's an option to turn off the "Look, a yellow outline, you can interact with this!" feature in Human Revolution? It'd be like turning off the breadcrumb trails in Fable or Dead Space.
Posted 19:45 on 04 August 2011
Zikron's Avatar

Zikron

Awesome article, you summed up why I enjoyed the game so much. What is really disheartening to me is that most developers didn't learn from Deus Ex. While there are more games that give the player different paths to go on the player usually decides on them through dialogue options which clearly lay out the options. Meanwhile in Deus Ex the paths are far less clear ie. whether Paul lives or dies, which makes the game more realistic and more immersive to me.
Posted 18:51 on 04 August 2011
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Oh, that style of inventory is truly missed at my end as well. In fact, I think that was my biggest disappointment with Bioshock - having expected a similar system to that featured in System Shock 2, with degrading weapons, different kinds of foodstuffs and armours, a bigger range of weaponry, and little curios (remember the 'gameboy' and different game carts scattered about the ship? ;)), along with the whole chemical analysis aspect of research (itself tied into the inventory space due to the many different chemicals needed to properly investigate recovered organs). Proper managament was a major part of defining what courses of action the character could take. Serious choices had to be made regarding what the player could take, and the streamlining of the experience made the game suffer, in my estimation.

I'm assuming Deus Ex: Human Revolution will take a similar efficient approach?

Despite the inherent changes I'm hearing about the title (shooting no longer mainly skill-based, health regen, and the like, this title is quickly growing on my 'must have' instincts... damn you and your enthusiasm, Neon! :p
Posted 14:00 on 04 August 2011
mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

Yeah, I like the inventory too. What I meant was that we're now used to games like Deus Ex getting by without an inventory - or at least without one where you have to physically re-arrange stuff in a grid.

It's one of the few elements that seems dated now - because so much of the game remains fresh.
Posted 12:03 on 04 August 2011
Darkr8zor's Avatar

Darkr8zor

I quite liked the restricted inventory, it made you have to choose wether you wanted to carry about rocket launchers and big blammy things, or concentrate on smaller weaponry and gadgets.

Tear gas and tranquiliser darts, hours of fun :0)

Crossing my fingers for the 3rd iteration.
Posted 20:42 on 03 August 2011

Game Stats

Release Date: 24/05/2002
Developer: Ion Storm Inc
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 6,764 210
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