|Deus Ex: Invisible War|
|Developer: Ion Storm
Release Date: 5/03/04
Usually I try to start the review with something witty (well it's supposed to be funny anyway) but I will break from tradition and start with the end by saying Deus Ex: Invisible War is BRILLIANT.
Now a couple of things before moving on - there is no number TWO in the title and ignore any of those early reviews you may have read which where based around nothing more than five minutes with the demo.
DE:IW is set following the events of Deus Ex (widely regarded as one of the best PC games of all time) but besides the name, visual style and the free form gameplay it is a stand-alone adventure. IW is set many years after the events of the first game but you don't need to worry if you have missed it as no prior knowledge is needed. To those who have played the first game its like The Next Generation to the original Star Trek series, the same universe but moved on, evolved and developed.
DE:IW is set in a distant future, a world of neon lights, dubious characters and big corporations doing dodgy deals. There are robots aplenty; security cameras tend to watch your every move (and set gun turrets on you if you so something they don't like the look of) and its very cyberpunk in style.
Some things you may have read are true. YES the HUD (Head Up Display) interface has been simplified and YES all the weapons do use the same ammo as each other, and YES it maybe a game that has been designed to work on a console but it's still great. In many ways these changes make the game so much better and faster moving and even allow for more ways around problems.
DE:IW isn't a First Person Shooter but it is very much a First Person RPG. There are however no stats as such to worry about. The game opens with a disguised tutorial section and from the very beginning you are pretty much in the thick of things. DE:IW opens with an attack on the school that you have been enrolled in. Before long you realise things are no so black and white and that something sinister may (or may not) be going on.
DE:IW is an extremely free form game. You can do almost anything you want, when you want and how you want. It's supposed to be possible to go from beginning to end without ever firing a single weapon in anger - well not for me it's not, as there are so many smart weapons in the game it would be a crime not to use them. This time around each weapon takes up one slot in your inventory and as mentioned before the weapons all use the same ammo - however whilst a shot from your pistol may only use one bullet a shot from the sniper rifle may use 2. Weapons can also be upgraded and modified by installing up to two mods on them. The most obvious mod is a silencer but you also have the option to have exploding bullets, increased fire rate or there is also a very clever one that breaks glass windows without making a sound. With which weapon you use them is up to you, but having a silenced sniper rifle that shoots through windows without the sound of breaking glass is a personal favourite. One disappointing thing about the weapons is that there is no local damage system (unless you use the sniper rifle) so a pistol cannot achieve single shot head kills (this is probably one of only two faults in the game)
The other thing in the game that can be upgraded is YOU. As with the first game there are BioMODS, which allow each part of your body to be upgraded in one of three ways. These can be used to enhance how you play the game or maybe even cover some of your weak points. Each area has two "normal" upgrades and one "black market" upgrade. It's again up to you what you choose to upgrade, and your choices will affect how you play the game.
As stated, DE:IW is free from restrictions (for the most part). You may be given a task but completing it is down to you. At the start you have a choice of which of the two "factions" you go to learn "the truth" from. But along the way you pick up many, many more tasks. One neat part is the ability to complete a mission before you have been given it - it all leads you to believe that you really are in a living breathing world. For each of the tasks I have been given so far there must be at least four different ways to complete each one of them. How you complete the tasks and who you side with along the way changes how the game progresses. I imagine you could play the game to completion many times and never do the same thing twice and never have the same outcome. This is what an RPG should be - it's NOT all about the stats.
The game looks lovely - it has some fantastic graphics and great use of lighting - each area in the game has a unique feel to it. Some areas actually look so dirty and grubby you lean back from the monitor. The use of sound is also very well done. One very clever part comes early on when you approach the nightclub and can hear the thumping bass from inside before going in.
DE:IW does have two faults; The first I have mentioned above regards the lack of head shot kills except with the sniper rifle - however after a while you don't notice it and soon learn to use the weapons to your advantage in other ways. The second problem is the loading times. The game provides you with both quick saves and quick loads - only the quick save lives up to its name - and when you move from one level to another the loading times are far greater than they should be. Again it's not a huge problem but it is annoying.
I cannot recommend DE:IW enough - the above are more niggles than faults and when a game is this good you soon learn to ignore them. It's everything a game should be - it has a great story, it's clever, it's a challenge and it has almost unlimited replayability. Above all else it constantly gives you a feeling of achievement. If you have PC then you should get this.
One word of note though - A fairly powerful PC is needed to get this running at its best. The game makes full use of all sorts of clever graphical tricks so a powerful processor and graphics card are essential. I'm running it on a 2.6GHz P4 with a Radeon 9800Pro and it's fine - you will definitely need more than the minimum specs suggest.
- Just about everything except…
- A couple of minor niggles.
- High required specs.