Deus Ex: Invisible War
Who can still remember the romanticized Deus Ex? It looked like a shooter on the surface but it was much more than just some brainless shooting. An RPG from a first person point of view was pretty new and it apparantly turned out great. The game received numerous high scores, so Warren Spector was forced to make a sequel. Deus Ex: Invisible War is born but can it chase away the memory of the veiled Deus Ex or does it leave us longing for the good ol’ times, when things were much more pixely?
Deus Ex: Invisible War takes place 20 years after the events in Deus Ex 1. You take on the role of Alex D. A young fellow, grown up in Chicago and at the moment training at the Tarsus Academy. This academy is relatively new and it soon turns out they’re not liked by everyone. A suicide terrorist blows the whole city to smithereens with the help of a little nano-tech mechanism. The only survivors, including Alex D., are forced to leave for Seattle, where destiny strikes again. After arriving, some mad followers of the Order clan are trying to destroy the Seattle based academy.
Throughout the game, several groups will cross your path and it’s your task to decide who to trust and who not. In most RPG’s the line between good and evil is quite clear. In Invisible War it’s a whole different story. Every group has its own charm so it’s harder to distinguish good from evil and the many different groups will all be trying to get you on their side during the missions. Aside from the standard objectives there are also some sidequests to solve. Plain civilians will ask you for a favor, mostly killing someone they dislike, and in return they’ll give you some extra cash or some discount on weapons. These sidequests add a bit to the diversity but don’t get you any further in the story. You can perfectly ignore them and only occupy yourself with your main objectives but trust me: Don’t! The game is rather short. I myself did a couple of sidequests and came on a total time of 10 hours, so take my good advice and do as much sidequests as possible!
Yes, you read it correctly, 10 hours! I know, it’s pretty short, especially for a role playing game. Invisible War does offer multiple endings that add a bit to the replay value but it isn’t necessary to begin all over again, you can just save at keymoments and when you finished the game once, just load those savegames and choose for a different path (my way!).
Interaction is a growing term in the gaming industry and more and more developers like to show off with it. In case of Deus Ex it’s completely appropriate. If it ain’t screwed to a wall, you can throw it (unless it’s really heavy). From boxes to fire-extinguishers and from crates to lifeless bodies, you can’t imagine. Especially throwing some dead guards around can be extremely satisfying. Mister Spector however didn’t succeed in giving every throwable object a different weight. Alex throws a body around with the same ease as throwing a basketball. In spite of the fact that this isn’t realistic, it still is fun.
It looks like a shooter, but it’s not. Or is it? Ofcourse it’s possible to pump some bullets. You’ll be able to get your hands on numerous weapons ranging from rocketlaunchers to flamethrowers. But it’s the ammo-system that might be a bit odd. In the earlier levels you’ll mostly have to deal with robots, and those mean machines can swallow a lot of bullets. Result: you’ll find yourself searching every corner for some ammo. The bullets for your pistol are also identical to those for your flamethrower, so running out of ammo for one gun means you’ll have to trust your two fists. This strange ammo-system is also linked with another minus, the damn loadingscreens. These are pretty long for an Xbox game and thanks to the ammo-system and rather small areas, you’ll find yourself staring at those bastards several times. Thank god for the weapon-upgrades. They’ll make your guns more effective so you will defeat your enemies more easily.
Deus Ex: Invisible War is a roleplaying game, there’s no denying that and the bio-modsystem makes it all more clear. Thanks to these nanotechnological gadgets, Alex D. turns into a super human. He can see in the dark, cure himself and take over bots. Aside from these normal biomods, you can also find some black market biomods mostly with a dark touch to them, eg: hacking computers, draining the remaining life out of dead bodies (yes, it’s possible). Ofcourse there is a limit to performing these supernatural powers and the bio-mod meter indicates how much energy you have left. When the meter is empty you can use energy cells or repairbots to fill it up again. Every separate bio-mod can also be upgraded three times for a more powerful effect. In most RPG’s you can fully customize your character, but this ain’t the case in Invisible War, probably to make the game more accesible for the big crowd.
When it comes to graphics there isn’t much to say. They are just great. Deus Ex: Invisible War has fair amount of slowdowns and the overall framerate of 30 fps. But don’t forget that every single pixel casts its own shadow, not so bad afterall huh? For the physics they made use of the Havok engine, that will also be used for Half-Life 2.
After reviewing Deus Ex: Invisibile War I am stuck with mixed feelings. Invisible War was, as long as it lasted, a unique experience. The breathtaking world and numerous plot-changes totally absorb you. But the memory of the short lasting appeal keeps playing in my head. Why didn’t they make it longer? The gameplay is as open ended as can be but when the endcredits pop up this quickly you can’t but long for more. The multiple endings hardly heal the wounds and with an innumerable desire I long for the next, hopefully much longer Deus Ex. May our prayers be heard, Warren!