Deus Ex: 20 years of a cyberpunk classic

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Fighting Mongooses
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Deus Ex: 20 years of a cyberpunk classic

Post by Stormwatch » Thu Jun 18, 2020 8:15 am

— This plague — the rioting is intensifying to the point where we may not be able to contain it.
— Why contain it? Let it spill over into the schools and churches. Let the bodies pile up in the streets. In the end, they'll beg us to save them.


On June 17, 2000, Deus Ex was released. It was a first-person action-RPG with a cyberpunk theme, revolutionary gameplay, and absolutely brilliant writing.

The year is 2052. The world is in crisis due to a devastating disease called gray death. The only treatment is the ambrosia vaccine. Due to its extremely limited availability, its distribution is handled by UNATCO, the United Nations' anti-terror division. But a shipment is stolen by the rebel group NSF - and this turns out to be a good opportunity to test out their new nano-augmented agent, JC Denton. Thus begins a journey in which you will discover not only the origin of the plague, but also a secular conspiracy of global political control. And in the world of Deus Ex, all conspiracy theories have some truth behind them.


To understand Deus Ex, we must look at its roots. Its producer, Warren Spector, had worked on Ultima Underworld, System Shock, Cybermage: Darklight Awakening, and Thief: The Dark Project. And its designer, Harvey Smith, had worked on System Shock, Cybermage: Darklight Awakening, and BioForge. In all of these games, it is possible to see elements that would return in Deus Ex. Especially the design philosophy that Spector called "immersive simulation": systems that provide great freedom for the player to explore and accomplish his goals by different methods.

Thus, in Deus Ex, there are always multiple paths. For example, right on the first map, you can deal with the terrorists as a normal FPS using the pistol; eliminate the threat from afar with the sniper rifle; destroy a security robot with grenades; hack the turrets so they do the job; or rescue the captured agent so that he can help in the fight; or make some noise and lure enemies to where your security robot is patrolling. But you can also risk a non-lethal style with a tranquilizer dart gun, or advance in the shadows and sneak through tunnels to hit the enemies from behind ... or avoid them altogether.

In addition to the gameplay and the writing, Deus Ex does not disappoint in graphics, using the then very advanced Unreal Engine 1 quite well. And the same composers of Unreal provide an impeccable soundtrack.


Deus Ex is still a magnificent experience, and it is on sale all the time (right now it's less than a buck on GOG, go get it). In addition, there are collections of mods to "modernize" the game. The most famous are GMDX (which improves the game a lot with a subtle graphic polish) and Deus Ex: Revision (which is more radical and notably changes the layout of several environments).


The sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, came out in 2003. However, it was not so well received. Made primarily for the Xbox instead of the PC, this game was praised for having good gameplay and an interesting narrative, but it was also criticized for having much smaller environments and framerate problems due to the limitations of the console, for the completely different interface clearly designed for gamepads, and bugs due to its rushed development.

Another planned sequel ended up dropping the name of the series, coming out in 2005 as Project Snowblind. Other attempts to create a "Deus Ex 3" just did not pan out.

Time passes, acquisition comes, acquisition goes, and the rights ended up in the hands of Square Enix, which finally released Deus Ex: Human Revolution in 2011. Rather than a sequel, it was a prequel, taking place 25 years before the original game. It was a tremendous success - although fans of the original Deus Ex will point out that the gameplay is simplified, and the writing is much inferior, even contradicting elements of the first game. Then came the sequel to that one, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which did not fare so well due to Square Enix's greed in exploiting the content locked in DLCs. There is also a spin-off, Deus Ex: The Fall, which was mostly ignored because it was primarily a mobile game.

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Re: Deus Ex: 20 years of a cyberpunk classic

Post by Dr. Zoidberg » Thu Jun 18, 2020 5:54 pm

Happy 20th, Deus Ex!

I've got it on Steam and the PS2. PS2!

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