Game Name: Deus Ex (Game of the Year Edition)
Developer: Ion Storm
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Release Date: June 17, 2000
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, and PlayStation 2
Genre: Action role-playing, first-person shooter, and stealth
If you have been reading my reviews for a while, you will know that I am a huge Deus Ex fan. I loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. If you want to see my previous review for Mankind Divided, here is the link.
Mankind Divided (with DLC): https://www.aroundtable.ca/blog/tag/Deus%20Ex
I had played the original game very briefly almost 20 years ago at a friends house. However, I did not have a good enough PC to play it at home. By this time, I was more of a console guy than a PC gamer.
One of my viewers on Twitch, Sykosys000, suggested that I play the original Deus Ex as he was a huge fan. I have been wanting to play this for years, so I downloaded it from GOG.com and installed it.
Is this game as good as fans remembered? Let us see and find out.
You would have thought that this was a prequel to the new Deus Ex reboot, but it is not. In fact it takes place in the future.
You play the character of JC Denton in the year 2052. You are an augmented soldier that works for UNATCO (United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition). Denton is given special abilities due to nanotechnology that allows him to have augmented abilities such as Resistance to Toxic Air, Ability to take more energy damage, and heal faster than a usual human, just to name a few.
Initially your enemy are the NSF (National Secessionist Forces). Then as you progress you realize things are not as they seem and in the end, all that Denton wants to do is find the truth.
I do not want to say too much here as this is what is very fun with this game.
Deus Ex: GOTY - Sample Gameplay
I have to admit that this game was a surprise to me. I did not expect it to be as good as it was. However, there are quite a few technical issues with it.
Let us start with the good aspects of the game. The first thing is that, I enjoyed the voice acting. I think that it is dated and it is nowhere close to the quality of today's games, but they are still pretty good. Some of the dialog seems robotic at times but I think this is what gives it its charm.
I also really like the setting. A cyberpunk world where there are augmented individuals and regular humans. The world is in chaos and you are trying to find the truth. It is very intriguing and also a snapshot into the future. There are many conspiracy theorists out there and Deus Ex actually asks the question, what would happen if the rumours were true. There have been other apocalyptic dystopian games but not many are as well laid out as this one. Remember this game was released in 2000.
The story itself is great and engaging. Yes the story is pretty linear, but it does not feel like you just need to go from point A to point B. The story gives you just enough freedom to explore so that it feels like an open world game.
I was surprised at how many aspects of this game were kept for the future Deus Ex games.
1) Energy Meter and Biocells: Like in the more recent games, you have an energy meter that will drain when you use your augmentations. In order to refill the energy you need to take some Biocells. In addition to this there are repair bots that can refill your energy in one shot. These are scattered throughout the game.
2) Inventory: Like in the more recent games you have inventory blocks. Each item that you hold takes some kind of space. This is how you need to manage your inventory. In the recent games, you get to expand your inventory, however not in this game.
3) Augmentation Upgrades: This is a more trivial version than in the recent iterations. Here you just have an aug and you can upgrade each up to 4 times. At the highest level you have mastered the aug. In the recent games, you have trees and Praxis Kits. Here it is upgrade canisters, however the idea is exactly the same.
4) Tranquilizer Darts: Although presented differently here, these are still a staple for the player that wants to have more of a stealth approach to the game.
5) Hacking and Lock Picking: These are a staple in the more recent games and here it is the same. You can upgrade your lock picking and hacking abilities to be more efficient.
6) Datacubes: These are called Pocket Secretaries in the newer games. However they function the same. They provide tidbits of information that you will need to progress in the game. Sometimes, it is just to provide an FYI but it is still cool to read all the notes scattered around in this world.
The level of detail that has gone into this game is insane. I left out some elements that are still in the games today but I thought the above were the main ones.
The character development is excellent for the time. Nowadays people would probably scoff at the game but for back in 2000 this was huge. Most characters in this game have some kind of story and have a reason for what they are doing. The creators actually mentioned that they wanted this game to be 3 or 4 times bigger but the technology was not ready at the time. This game is already packed with information, imagine 3 or 4 times more data? My mind is blown.
The soundtrack is very good. I did not play with the music on as I was streaming on Twitch and I wanted the viewers to hear me, but the soundtrack is worth the listen for sure. It has that Deus Ex: Human Revolution vibe more than Mankind Divided.
Deus Ex - Sample Soundtrack
Although this is a great game in its own right, there are still quite a few flaws with it.
When you buy the game on GOG or Steam, the game is bugged. The dialog gets chopped off. This is due to the fact that the game is running on newer hardware and it does not compensate for it properly. I would suggest that you download the Kentie launcher for Deus Ex. It will resolve 90% of the out of the box glitches that you would experience. Just follow the instructions.
However it does not fix the fact that there are many game crashes. Be ready to save a lot as this game will crash on you randomly. I am happy that I have the reflex to save as it saved my bacon numerous times.
Also, if you are planning to stream or record this game, please fix your contrast. It took me about half the game for me to realize that my stream was very dark. Just fix the game in your OBS or Game Capture device and you should be good to go.
Now back to the actual gameplay at hand.
One thing that I missed in the game is a lack of a map. You get hints in the way of images and information that people give you. However, it is not always easy to see where you are in the game. It is easy to get lost.
The game sometimes tells you where you need to go, but how you accomplish the task is up to you. That is not always clear what you need to do, even though you get hints along the way.
The AI in this game is horrible. You can see that we have taken huge leaps in games with Artificial Intelligence. They are really dumb and act so randomly. It is frustrating but funny at the same time.
For example, you get killed and one of the killers, says right after, "Anyone, hungry for lunch?". It does not fit but it is very funny.
In the end, even though there are many bugs in the game, the game is still fun to play because of the story. It keeps you engaged and invested and you want to find out what happens. I would recommend this game to anyone who is a player that likes the other Deus Ex games but also Cyberpunk 2077 or any other post-apocalyptic game. You will not be disappointed with the story, I promise you.
Have you played? Did you like the game? Let us know below.