Gamestyle Archive intro: thinking back to 2002 we didn’t know what to really expect from Deus Ex. We knew that it was a classic game making the transition to a home console but how would it cope? Writer JJ.
Yet another PC smash is heading for the Playstation 2 in the form of Deus Ex. The question that must be asked – is it worth shelling out £45 for a PC title that now retails for £10 even though it won PC Gamer’s game of the year and a BAFTA award?
The PC incarnation was released to widespread acclaim as it tried to break the mould set by all first person shooters. The aim of Ion Storm-Austin was to release a game that embodied several genres. Whilst blasting featured, the game includes RPG elements such as customisation, tactics and surprisingly a story! This fresh approach had been tried before but Ion Storm managed to fit all the pieces together. The game is set in the future (2052 to be precise) where terrorism is the biggest danger to the world. You are JC Denton, agent for the anti-terrorism unit known as UNATCO and it is down to you to bring justice to the terrorists. Like any good film the corruption and greed spreads further than you could have envisaged. Following this trail will take you across the globe from New York to Paris. Are you a pawn in a much larger game, spreading to the top of the offices of government? Initially you are investigating a plague known as the Gray Death that has spread in New York and has been linked to the terrorists. There are side stories to discover and follow but only if you want to. In Deus Ex you are in control and the game is anything but linear and hopefully marks a trend of games to come. The usual Hollywood suspects heavily influence the game as you can judge from the screenshots.
Being an agent means that you are modified through current technology such as cybernetics and medical techniques. This as you soon come to realise is one of the great aspects of Deus Ex. Customisation is nothing original but it opens up so many opportunities and allows the player to create their preference rather than the game designer. Almost everything is customisable to suit your tactics, if you prefer a stealth approach then speed is more important than armour. Skill points are awarded depending on your progress and these in turn can be used to buy skills to develop your character. As the game progresses JC Denton will become more machine than human similar to that seen in Universal Soldier thanks to nano-tech enhancements. A nice touch is that there is no set way to complete a mission, rather there are several possibilities, resulting in repeat attempts and more customisation. As Deus Ex is a single player game it shows how confident Ion Storm are of the quality and depth that main mode offers. Apart from the training mode the game will offer no other options. Given that rival First Person Shooters on the Playstation 2 offer multi or co-operative options it says much about Deus Ex the game.
Conversions from the PC to the Playstation 2 have been disappointing with the stripped down Max Payne being the latest addition. The good news for console owners is that the Ion Storm team are handling development themselves, ensuring the best possible port with a few tasty extras including improved animation and sound effects. There have been sacrifices however, as expected, levels have been altered, resolution and textures lowered. Graphically the game isn’t a patch on the PC original but it will be interesting to see how it matches the various menus and controls to the Playstation 2 controller. For the answer to this and many more questions we’ll have to wait until the game is released in March but it could well justify the price for a taste of that rarity in games today, originality.