Deus Ex 2: The Invisible War
|Editor Rating:||7.8/10, based on 2 reviews|
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A war rages on even if you cant see it and several rival groups would love to have you on their side. The religious Order, the corporate-minded WTO, the genetically altered Omar, and the anti-biomod extremists of the Knights Templar tend to have goals that cause them to work at cross-purposes with one another...and there may even be other organizations at work behind the scenes. Work for them or decide that youre a better man than The Man and work for yourself.
No doubt about it, the best thing about Deus Ex is its freedom of choice. This cyberpunk first-person adventure presents you with an astounding number of decisions. For instance, say the bigwigs in the WTO want you to snag something from the vault of a VIPs home. You could bribe the buildings janitor to get the door code, break in, or convince the VIP at a bar that youre going to prepare drinks back at his place. To get past the security devices, you might sneak past cameras, take over the gun turret by the stairs with a special ability, or just blast everything. Its up to you. The only problem with the games wealth of choices is that you rarely realize all the options open to you until youve already picked one. Between that and the fact that the missions rarely branch too far, youll find little need to discover all of Invisible War's nuances. Even so, your journey wont disappoint: This gorgeous futuristic world demands exploration, and the story is intriguing enough to compel you forward. Just be prepared for long loading times, somewhat clunky combat, a crappy mapping system, and weak finales. If youre looking for another unconventional RPG now that youve explored every possible nook and cranny in Knights of the Old Republic, you should check out Invisible War, but its definitely the padawan to KOTORs Jedi master.
The developers didnt put a game on this Xbox disc they crammed an entire world onto it. Like Morrowind, this is a huge, open-ended, do-anything-you-want adventure that sucks you in and holds you a willing prisoner until you almost forget youre playing a videogame. The story line is rich and complex in that twisty whom can/should/will I trust? sorta way. And no matter what you do whether you kill characters you shouldnt be killing or tackle objectives in a counterintuitive manner the game is always ready for it, giving you endless options to take it on however youd like. To test out how well-designed Invisible War is, I played the Cairo level through twice, skipping goals and doing stuff out of order the second time. You know what? It knew exactly what I was doing and guided me along as if Id done nothing unusual. This is a truly great, immersive experience only hampered by poor enemy A.I.
As Joe stated, Invisible War is all about choices. Well, heres the big choice: Should you buy it? Weigh the positives and negatives. Heres the good: The story unravels like a thrilling mystery novel where you determine the outcome. Better yet, you wont fully realize the consequences of your actions until the ending. And with such open-ended gameplay and a stockpile of side quests, your time spent playin Invisible War will vary greatly from your friends. Now for the bad: The game suffers from questionable A.I., frequent and lengthy loading times, and some horribly choppy graphics. If you can look past these technical hiccups, Invisible War shouldnt disappoint.
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Deus Ex 2 begins with a bang, not a whimper, according to Ion Storm's Project Lead Harvey Smith. "We start the game by killing off everyone in Chicago," he says.
That tragedy, apparently sparked by terrorists, forms the backdrop of this new first-person shoot-er-cum-action/role-playing game...but beyond cryptic mention of human cells as an invisible weapon in an invisible war, the developers are keeping mum on the plot.
We do know that Deus Ex 2 is set in the not-too-distant future--roughly 15 years after the events in the original game. This time, you'll jump into the role of Alex D--a secret agent of sorts--and you choose whether Alex is male or female. Since nanotechnology has become more commonplace in this brave new world, you'll improve your hero using special neural interface bio-modification chips. Render him/her a brutish figure strong enough to kill enemies by picking up crates and using them as projectiles, or create a stealthy sort who can slink through the entire game without ever picking up a weapon. Or, aim for some point in between.
"It's your experience," says Ion Storm's Studio Director Warren Spector. "We want to empower players. We want them to create the experience while we get out of the way."
That's DE2's biggest draw: the freedom it presents to players. Modification chips (some of them illegal) boost strength, suck energy from the dead, or make you tough as steel. One particularly useful (and shady) biomod will allow you to possess the game's droids. With it enabled, Alex D can saunter into a room as a cleaning robot (no one ever suspects the cleaning robot), eavesdrop on an important conversation, leave, then possess an ass-whomping military robot, storm into the same room, and lay waste to foes with extreme prejudice. Smith and Spector don't want to reveal much more about the game just yet, but they have said that DE2 will take you to Seattle, Cairo, an Antarctic base (inspired, they admit, by John Carpenter's The Thing), and a number of additional spots around the globe. Ion Storm has written approximately 20,000 lines of text for the game. Like its predecessor, DE2 will have multiple endings.
The game looks delightful in motion, with highly detailed characters; menacing, burnished-metal robots; and even cool, bump-mapped (a graphics technique only Xbox and PCs are capable of) sofas that, Spector laments, currently look like a dinosaur's hide. We're a little concerned about the game's A.I. after seeing a character run into a table and get stuck there, but it's still early, and the game looks very promising. "We're using everything Xbox has to offer," Smith says, remarking that this version will be identical to the PC game in look and content. You'll be able to judge that for yourself when the game ships at the end of this year.