All Features


  PlayStation 3
  PlayStation 4
  Wii U
  Xbox 360
  Xbox One


Deus Ex

Score: 95%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Developer: Ion Storm
Media: CD/2
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:

First major note: If you have a non-3Dfx card, go to Deus Ex right now and get the Direct3D patch. It will improve your framerate, at least a little, and you'll thank me.

That being said, Deus Ex is a very, very nice looking game. It utilizes the Unreal engine, in ways that it was never meant to be used (wide open spaces?), and because of that, it suffers from pretty bad slowdown. This is doubly true on non-Voodoo cards. Despite that, Deus Ex has one of the most 'complete' worlds that I've ever seen. Rooms are where they make sense to be, as opposed to having RPG sensibilities determining it; the Statue of Liberty looks disturbingly, well, exploded; the people look like people. They even move their mouths in time with the conversation, and although it looks a little odd, it's much nicer than the usual 'looped mouth movements' that you see in games. The character models themselves are easily distinguishable and nicely done.

The sound in this game is, oddly enough, a mixed bag. I found the walking sounds grating to my ears (especially the grass, although the hardtop makes it sound like J.C. Denton has high heels on). But the weapons fire and explosions are very nice, and as a general rule, the voice acting is excellent. I found that I could discern who everyone was by voice, without having to look at the name of the person -- which is a pleasant change from most voice-acted games where you have to see which of the five similar-sounding people is talking at a moment. It's not quite Metal Gear Solid, but it's close.


What Deus Ex may lack in graphics (not a lot), almost completely makes up for in gameplay. An aside: when I received this game, I was deep into a classic underdog, System Shock. (Yes, the first one.) Despite having to slow down the game to finish it, as it wasn't meant to run on modern-day computers, I found it to be the singularly most enthralling game experience of my life. When I started playing Deus Ex, I started noticing all sorts of similarities. And then I started correlating them both to another favorite, Thief: Gold. When I found out that all three were masterminded by Warren Spector, I had simultaneous feelings of surprise ('Holy crap!') and realization of the obvious ('Well, no crap!').

I didn't find Deus Ex as enthralling as I found System Shock. But that's like saying a movie's not quite as good as The Empire Strikes Back. It's still a damned good game, and a wonderful widening of the spectrum of games that Warren Spector's presented the gaming world with.

You're J.C. Denton, the second nano-augmented agent for UNATCO, a United States-based peacekeeping force. When you start the game, you get to customize your character. You can choose to specialize in various skills -- want to be an expert lockpicker? Go ahead. Want to be able to run in, guns a-blaze? Have at it. Deus Ex is marked by this ability to customize gameplay to your own style. If you want to play it Thief-style, it'll let you. If you want to play it Quake-style, it'll let you do that too -- to a point. DE is still an RPG, and as such, you're going to have to solve a few puzzles and figure out a few things whether you're a blazing guns type or not.

As you play the game, you'll find yourself embroiled in a plot that is reminiscent of nothing so much as the entire first three seasons of X-Files, rolled into one. Conspiracies and weirdness abound, and you're in the middle of it. I found a highly pleasing mix of ones that were broadcast easily, and ones that took me completely by surprise. Yes, some of them are kind of cliché, but the plot will suck you up into it despite all of that. (And hell, it's only cliché because we've all been watching X-Files for the past six years or so.)

One of the many things that Deus Ex does so well is present a gameworld that's genuinely shaped by your decisions. This is no black-and-white world, where the right choice is clear. You're going to make some hairy decisions, ones that you may regret later -- but you'll often find that the alternative is just as bad. And people keep track of you. If you're a slaughtermonkey, they'll note that. If you're a skulky bastard, they'll note that too. It's really a testament to design when you WANT to know what people think of you, simply because it's not completely plot-driven. Very, very nice.

The game does have its problems. It runs pretty choppy on anything non-Voodoo based (although they're busy fixing that, and as of this writing a beta patch is already out), and the save files are absolutely enormous as you progress throughout the game -- tens of megs are the norm. And the one thing that had me suspending my disbelief is the fact that when someone gets shot, say, from a turret that you hacked, they immediately know where -you- are and start coming after you. Are they psychic? Huh? I must have missed something.

Nonetheless, Deus Ex will provide you with many, many, many hours of entertaining gameplay. And you can always play through the game some other way -- ball-busting gangster instead of sneakthief, or the other way around. How many games let you do that sort of thing and don't end up cheating themselves?


At the beginning of the game, you choose just how you're going to take bullet damage. If you set it to easy, you can take quite a few before dropping. Realistic, and it's like Kingpin's realistic mode -- one shot kills, if it's in a good spot. The levels themselves stay unchanged. As for them, sometimes it's a bitch to get around without having to get into gunfights, but it's almost always possible. Skulking around is a viable alternative for the patient, but be prepared to spend many hours doing that. But that's how Thief was, neh? And we loved it!

Game Mechanics:

In a wonderful change from System Shock, Deus Ex's interface is exceedingly intuitive and easy to use. You have an 'instant use' list at the bottom of the screen, and you can always hit 'I' to bring up your inventory and pick your implements of destruction. Turning nano-augmentations on and off can be done with simple keystrokes, and your mouse is used for activating, attacking, and putting things away. After five minutes with it, you're going to feel right at home. The menus are all clear and understandable as well.

Deus Ex is a fine game. It has its flaws, yes, but they are far, far outweighed by the good bits. If you like intricate plots, Thief-style gaming, action gaming, RPGs... hell, if you like -gaming-, you owe it to yourself to play Deus Ex. It's an adventure from the master of hybrid adventures. It will pull you into its cyberpunk world and not let go until you get to the end -- and then you'll want to go back for more, to see what you missed. Truly a classic game. And if a few nagging problems could get fixed -- the A.I. weirdness, the graphical issues on certain cards -- Deus Ex would be as close to perfect as any game has ever been.

-Sunfall to-Ennien, GameVortex Communications
AKA Phil Bordelon

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows 95/98, Pentium 233, 32MB RAM, 4X CD-ROM, 100MB of free hard drive space, DirectX 6 audio & video

Test System:

Windows Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Rogue Spear: Urban Operations Windows Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated