|Designer(s)||Warren Spector, Harvey Smith|
|Composer(s)||Alexander Brandon, Dan Gardopée, Michiel van den Bos, Reeves Gabrels|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 1|
Deus Ex (/ / DAY-əs EKS) is a cyberpunk-themed action-role playing video game — combining first-person shooter, stealth and role-playing elements — developed by Ion Storm and published by Eidos Interactive in 2000. First published for personal computers running Windows, Deus Ex was later ported to Macintosh systems, as well as the PlayStation 2 game console. Set in a dystopian world during the year 2052, the central plot follows rookie United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition agent JC Denton, as he sets out to combat terrorist forces, which have become increasingly prevalent in a world slipping ever further into chaos. As the plot unfolds, Denton becomes entangled in a deep and ancient conspiracy, encountering organizations such as Majestic 12, the Illuminati, and the Hong Kong Triads throughout his journey.
The game received universal critical and industry acclaim, including repeatedly being named "Best PC Game of All Time" in PC Gamer's "Top 100 PC Games" (last in 2011) and in a poll carried out by UK gaming magazine PC Zone. It was a frequent candidate for and winner of Game of the Year awards, drawing praise for its pioneering designs in player choice and multiple narrative paths. It has sold more than 1 million copies, as of April 23, 2009. The game has spawned both a sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War (released in December 2003, for both Microsoft Windows and the Xbox video game console), and a prequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (released in August 2011).
- 1 Gameplay
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Development
- 4 Literary and popular culture allusions
- 5 Versions and mods
- 6 Film adaptation
- 7 Reception
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Deus Ex incorporates elements from four video game genres: role-playing, first-person shooter, adventure, and "immersive simulation", the last of which being a game where "nothing reminds you that you're just playing a game". For example, the game uses a first-person camera during gameplay and includes exploration and character interaction as primary features.
The player assumes the role of JC Denton, a nanotech-augmented operative of the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO). This nanotechnology is a central gameplay mechanism, and allows players to perform superhuman feats.
As the player accomplishes objectives, the player character is rewarded with "skill points". Skill points are used to enhance a character's abilities in eleven different areas, and were designed to provide players with a way to customize their characters; a player might create a combat-focused character by increasing proficiency with pistols or rifles, while a more furtive character can be created by focusing on lock picking and computer hacking abilities. There are four different levels of proficiency in each skill, with the skill point cost increasing for each successive level.
Weapons may be customized through "weapon modifications", which can be found or purchased throughout the game. The player might add scopes, silencers, or laser sights; increase the weapon's range, accuracy, or magazine size; or decrease its recoil and reload time. Not all modifications are available to all weapons; for example, a rocket launcher cannot be silenced, and recoil cannot be reduced on a flamethrower.
Players are further encouraged to customize their characters through nano-augmentations—cybernetic devices that grant characters superhuman powers. While the game contains eighteen different nano-augmentations, the player can install a maximum of nine, as each must be used on a certain part of the body: one in the arms, legs, eyes, and head; two underneath the skin; and three in the torso. This forces the player to choose carefully between the benefits offered by each augmentation. For example, the arm augmentation requires the player to decide between boosting their character's skill in hand-to-hand combat or his ability to lift heavy objects.
Interaction with non-player characters was a large design focus. When the player interacts with a non-player character, the game will enter a cutscene-like conversation mode where the player advances the conversation by selecting from a list of dialogue options. The player's choices often have a substantial effect on both gameplay and plot, as non-player characters will react in different ways depending on the selected answer (e.g. rudeness makes them less likely to provide assistance).
Deus Ex features combat similar to first-person shooters, with real-time action, a first-person perspective, and reflex-based gameplay. As the player will often encounter enemies in groups, combat often tends toward a tactical approach, including the use of cover, strafing, and "hit-and-run". A USA Today reviewer found "At the easiest difficulty setting, your character is pureed again and again by an onslaught of human and robotic terrorists until you learn the value of stealth." However, through the game's role-playing systems (see above), it is possible to develop a character's skills and augmentations to create a tank-like combat specialist with the ability to deal and absorb large amounts of damage. Non-player characters will praise or criticize the main character depending on his use of force, incorporating a moral element into the gameplay.
Deus Ex features a head-up display crosshair, whose size dynamically shows where shots will fall based on movement, aim, and the weapon in use; the reticle expands while the player is moving or shifting his or her aim, and slowly shrinks to its original size while no actions are taken. How quickly the reticle shrinks depends on the character's proficiency with the equipped weapon, the number of accuracy modifications added to the weapon, and the level of the "targeting" nano-augmentation.
Deus Ex features twenty-four weapons, ranging from crowbars, electroshock weapons, and riot baton, to laser guided anti-tank rockets and assault rifles; both lethal and non-lethal weapons are available. The player can also make use of several weapons of opportunity, such as fire extinguishers.
Gameplay in Deus Ex emphasizes player choice, which GameSpot's review explains: "Deus Ex is quite long for an action-packed first-person game", it states, "but even so, most of its situations present you with two or three possible solutions." Objectives can be completed in numerous ways, including stealth, sniping, heavy frontal assault, dialogue, or engineering and computer hacking. This level of freedom requires that levels, characters, and puzzles be designed with significant redundancy, as a single play-through of the game will miss large sections of dialogue, areas, and other content. In some missions the player is encouraged to avoid using deadly force, and certain aspects of the story may change depending on how violent or non-violent the player chooses to be. The game is also unusual in that two of its "boss" villains can be killed off early in the game, or left alive to be defeated later, and this too affects how other characters interact with the player.
Because of its design focus on player choice, Deus Ex has been compared with System Shock, a game that inspired its design. Together, these factors give the game a great degree of replayability, as the player will have vastly different experiences, depending on which methods he or she uses to accomplish objectives.
Deus Ex was designed as a single player game, and the initial releases of the Windows and Macintosh versions of the game did not include multiplayer functionality. Support for multiplayer modes was later incorporated through patches. The component includes three game modes: deathmatch, basic team deathmatch, and advanced team deathmatch. Only five maps, based on levels from the single-player portion of the game, were included with the original multiplayer patch, but many user-created maps now exist. The PlayStation 2 release of Deus Ex does not offer a multiplayer mode.
Deus Ex takes place in the year 2052. In a world that draws heavily upon popular real world conspiracy theories for many of its plot elements. These include speculations regarding black helicopters, vaccinations, and FEMA, as well as Area 51, the ECHELON network, Men in Black, cow mutilations, chupacabras (in the form of "greasels"), and extraterrestrials. Mysterious groups such as Majestic 12, the Illuminati, the Knights Templar, the Bilderberg Group, and the Trilateral Commission also either play a central part in the plot, or are alluded to during the course of the game. This dark setting is enhanced by the fact that the entire game takes place at night, a backdrop that adds to the atmosphere of conspiracies and stealth.
The game contradicts itself in several instances regarding the exact year in which the events of the story take place, but information in the sequel Deus Ex: Invisible War reconciles this inconsistency via retroactive continuity, placing the events of Deus Ex in the year 2052. Most of the game takes place in fictionalized versions of real-world locations, including New York City, Hong Kong, Paris, Vandenberg Air Force Base, and Area 51.
The plot of Deus Ex depicts a society on a slow spiral into chaos. There is a massive division between the rich and the poor, not only socially, but in some cities physically. A lethal pandemic known as the "Gray Death" ravages the world's population, especially within the United States, and has no cure. A synthetic vaccine, "Ambrosia", manufactured by the company VersaLife, nullifies the effects of the virus, but is in critically short supply. Because of its scarcity, Ambrosia is available only to those deemed "vital to the social order", and finds its way primarily to government officials, military personnel, the rich and influential, scientists, and the intellectual elite. With no hope for the common people of the world, riots occur worldwide, and a number of terrorist organizations have formed with the professed intent of assisting the downtrodden, among them the National Secessionist Forces of the U.S. and a French group known as Silhouette.
In order to combat these threats to the world order, the United Nations has greatly expanded its governmental influence around the globe. The United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO) is formed, with the intent of maintaining peace internationally and combating the world's ever-growing number of terrorist groups. It is headquartered near New York City in a bunker beneath Liberty Island, placed there after a terrorist strike on the Statue of Liberty.
The player assumes the identity of JC Denton, a nanotechnologically-augmented ("nano-aug") UNATCO agent. After completing his training, JC takes several missions given by Director Joseph Manderley to track down members of the National Secessionist Forces (NSF) and their stolen shipments of the "Ambrosia" vaccine, the treatment for the "Gray Death" virus. Through these missions, JC is reunited with his brother, Paul, who is also nano-augmented. JC tracks the Ambrosia shipment to a private terminal at LaGuardia Airport. Paul meets JC outside the plane, and explains that he has defected from UNATCO and is now working with the NSF after learning that the Gray Death is a man-made virus, with UNATCO using its power to make sure only the elite receive the vaccine.
JC returns to UNATCO headquarters and is told by Manderley that both he and Paul have been outfitted with a 24-hour kill switch, and that Paul's has been activated due to his betrayal. Manderley orders JC to fly to Hong Kong to eliminate Tracer Tong, a hacker whom Paul has contact with, and who can disable the kill switches. Instead, JC returns to Paul's apartment to find Paul hiding inside. Paul further explains his defection and encourages JC to also defect by sending out a distress call to alert the NSF's allies. Upon doing so, JC becomes a wanted man by UNATCO, and his own kill switch is activated by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Walton Simons. JC is unable to escape UNATCO forces, and both he and Paul (provided he survived the raid on the apartment) are taken to a secret prison below UNATCO headquarters. An entity named "Daedalus" contacts JC and informs him that the prison is part of Majestic 12, and arranges for him and Paul to escape. The two flee to Hong Kong to meet with Tong, who deactivates their kill switches. Tong requests JC infiltrate the VersaLife building. Doing so, JC discovers that the corporation is the source for the Gray Death, and he is able to steal the plans for the virus and destroy the "universal constructor" (UC) that produces it.
Analysis of the virus shows it was manufactured by the Illuminati, prompting Tong to send JC to Paris to try to make contact with the organization and obtain their help fighting Majestic 12. JC eventually meets with Illuminati leader Morgan Everett, and learns that the Gray Death virus was intended to be used for augmentation technology, but Majestic 12, led by trillionaire businessman and former Illuminatus Bob Page, was able to steal and repurpose it into its current viral form. Everett recognizes that without VersaLife's universal constructor, Majestic 12 can no longer create the virus, and will likely target Vandenberg Air Force Base, where X-51, a group of former Area 51 scientists, has built another one. After aiding the base personnel in repelling a Majestic 12 attack, JC meets X-51 leader Gary Savage, who reveals that Daedalus is an artificial intelligence borne out of the ECHELON program. Everett attempts to gain control over Majestic 12's communications network by releasing Daedalus onto the U.S. military networks, but Page counters by releasing his own AI, Icarus, which merges with Daedalus to form a new AI, Helios, with the ability to control all global communications. After this, Savage enlists JC's help in procuring schematics for reconstructing components for the UC that were damaged during Majestic 12's raid of Vandenberg. JC finds the schematics and electronically transmits them to Savage. Page intercepts the transmission and launches a nuclear missile at Vandenberg to ensure that Area 51 (now Majestic 12's headquarters), will be the only location in the world with an operational UC. However, JC is able to reprogram the missile to strike Area 51. JC then travels there himself to confront Page.
When JC locates him, Page reveals that he seeks to merge with Helios and gain full control over all nanotechnology, essentially becoming a god. JC is contacted by Tong, Everett, and the Helios AI simultaneously. All three factions ask for his help in defeating Page, while furthering their own objectives, and JC is forced to choose between them. Tong seeks to plunge the world into a second Dark Age by destroying the global communications hub and preventing anyone from taking control of the world. Everett offers Denton the chance to bring the Illuminati back to power by killing Bob Page and using the technology of Area 51 to rule the world with an invisible hand. Helios wishes to merge with Denton and rule the world as a benevolent dictator with infinite knowledge and reason. The player's decision determines the course of the future, and brings the game to a close.
The initial idea of Deus Ex was originated by Warren Spector in 1994 while he worked for Origin Systems. His original conception of what would become Deus Ex was entitled Troubleshooter. After finishing development of System Shock, Spector had tired of straight fantasy and science fiction and he "got obsessed with this sort of millennial weirdness" leading to the conspiracy-focused storyline for the game. He stated in April 2007 to PC Zone magazine:
I was a huge believer in the 'immersive simulation' game style, exemplified by games like Ultima Underworld, and I wanted to push the limits of that sort of game further. But I could never get the project off the ground at Origin or, later, at Looking Glass. (I think it was lack of interest at Origin/EA and it was mostly a lack of money at LG!) But then John Romero and Ion Storm came along and said, 'Make the game of your dreams. No limits.' It took me about two nanoseconds to say 'Yes!'
The title "Deus Ex" is derived from the Latin expression deus ex machina, literally meaning "god out of the machine". It is used in drama and literature to describe an outside force that suddenly solves the seemingly unsolvable problem(s) the characters face in an extremely unlikely or impossible way. Warren Spector, executive producer for Deus Ex, has stated the name was both meant as a reference to the various factions in the game who aspire to god-like powers, as well as a dig at the typical video game plot, which tends to be laden with "deus ex machina" artifices and other poor script writing techniques. The meaning of the "JC" initials in the protagonist's codename, JC Denton, is unclear and never referenced in the story. Harvey Smith, lead designer for Deus Ex, has stated that originally JC was supposed to be a descendant of Jesus Christ; however, Warren Spector has said the name "JC" was chosen for its unisex qualities when the developers were still planning to let the player choose the gender of the main character, which was used later in the game's first sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, where the player took on the unisex name 'Alex D' and could choose for the protagonist to be either male or female.
During sections of the game where the New York skyline is visible in the background, the two towers of the World Trade Center are noticeably missing; the real towers were destroyed a year after the game was released. Harvey Smith has explained that due to texture memory limitations, the portion of the skyline with the twin towers exists in the game's data files but had to be left out of the final game, with the other half mirrored in place of it. According to Smith, during the game's development, the developers justified the lack of the towers by stating that terrorists had destroyed the World Trade Center earlier in the game's storyline. Warren Spector however states "I wish we could say that we did it on purpose and we were sort of seeing the future. But it was actually just a mistake. The artist who did the skybox just uh, left them out. And it sort of worked out in an unfortunate way."
30 second sample from the theme song of Deus Ex.
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The soundtrack of Deus Ex, composed by Alexander Brandon (primary contributor, including main theme), Dan Gardopée ("Naval Base" and "Vandenberg"), Michiel van den Bos ("UNATCO", "Lebedev's Airfield", "Airfield Action", "DuClare Chateau" plus minor contribution to some of Brandon's tracks), and Reeves Gabrels ("NYC Bar"), was praised by critics for complementing the gritty atmosphere predominant throughout the game with melodious and ambient music incorporated from a number of genres, including techno, jazz, and classical. The music sports a basic dynamic element, similar to the iMUSE system used in early 1990s LucasArts games; during play, the music will change to a different iteration of the currently playing song based on the player's actions, such as when the player starts a conversation, engages in combat, or transitions to the next level. All the music in the game is tracked - Gabrels' contribution, "NYC Bar", was converted to a module by Brandon.
A compact disc of the Deus Ex soundtrack was included in the Game of the Year edition and is not available for separate purchase. Notably, the soundtrack is not a direct audio rip from the game itself, however; it is a "remastering" of the soundtrack with added instruments and audio production. Originally only thirty tracks were included with the re-release, with tracks thirty-one through forty-one considered as extras. The PlayStation 2 port featured live, orchestral renditions of some tracks. Also OCRemix made an official remix called Deus ex Sonic Augmentation
|Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition Soundtrack|
|10.||"Desolation (Hong Kong Canal)"||1:30|
|11.||"The Synapse (Hong Kong Streets)"||2:20|
|12.||"Hong Kong Action"||1:01|
|13.||"Majestic 12 Labs"||1:53|
|19.||"Return to NYC"||1:36|
|20.||"Oceanlab" – 01:35"||1:37|
|24.||"Begin the End (Bunker)"||1:44|
|30.||"DX Club Mix"||3:01|
Literary and popular culture allusions
Deus Ex features a text-reading system that allows the player to read terminals and notes, as well as excerpts from newspapers and books found in various locations within the game level. These various bits of media serve a variety of purposes, from providing the player with useful gameplay information (such as a needed keycode), to the advancement of the plot, to the creation of atmosphere and metafictional irony. It is this last aspect that is most prevalent in the novels found in Deus Ex, with excerpts usually providing reflective commentary on the player's current situation. Such real-life works as The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton, Sun Tzu's The Art of War, Common Sense by Thomas Paine, and Shakespeare's Richard III are used for this purpose throughout the game.
Along with these is Jacob's Shadow, a work of fiction created by Chris Todd, one of the writers for the game. It is attributed to the fictitious author Andrew Hammond (in homage to crime writer Andrew Vachss). The first chapter displayed is Chapter Twelve with a subsequent six other chapters (fifteen, twenty, twenty-three, twenty-seven, thirty-two, and thirty-four) that portray the cyberpunk themes of the game in the style of William Gibson. The book appears to be a violent, spiritual journey of a man named Jacob as he searches for a woman, who is never named, through a city described as 'Hell'. A chapter from a "sequel" to Jacob's Shadow, titled Jacob's War, can be found in the game's sequel Deus Ex: Invisible War.
A number of other more subtle fiction references also permeate the game. For instance, The Man Who Was Thursday protagonist Gabriel Syme's name appears in a hotel register, along with the names of fellow literary characters Gully Foyle, Oberst Enzian, Smilla Jasperson, and Hippolyta Hall (from the The Stars My Destination, Gravity's Rainbow, Smilla's Sense of Snow, and various DC Comics series respectively). Another comic reference is "Harleen Quinzel", being an MJ12 employee who sends an e-mail out about a "company picnic". Other literary sources alluded to include Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men, Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk novel The Diamond Age, Isaac Asimov's Foundation series, and the Ancient Greek myth of Icarus and Daedalus. The name of the AI Helios and the merging of JC with it may also be a reference to Euripedes' Medea, Medea appearing at the end of the play in the sun god Helios' chariot (a machine from the gods). Continuing the seam of literature references "O" and "René" from Histoire d'O can be found in conversation in Flat 12 in Paris.
Allusions are also incorporated into computer security passwords and e-mails encountered during the course of the game. An instance of this is the code "reindeerflotilla", a password originally used in the 1982 science fiction film Tron. Another is an e-mail found on Paul Denton's computer containing a notice from a movie rental company. It mentions the fictional movies See You Next Wednesday and Blue Harvest. "See You Next Wednesday" is a reference to the famous signature appearing in most of John Landis' films, while Blue Harvest was the code name used during the filming of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Gunther's killphrase "Laputan Machine" is a reference to the fictional island of Laputa from Gulliver's Travels.
This practice also extends to the ubiquitous key codes found in most levels of the game, with examples including the first door-code in the game being "0451", "an allusion to System Shock's allusion to Fahrenheit 451 (the first code in System Shock was also 451)" according to Harvey Smith, as well as the sequence "8675309" opening the only 7-digit key code lock in the game. There also exists a "Lord Brinne" tombstone found in the Lower East Side Cemetery level, which is actually a memorial for the real life Bill Iburg, an RPG fan and regular of multiple forums who died in 1999. The name "Marcy Plaigrond" is also tucked into a message cube in Paul Denton's secret computer room, referring to the band Marcy Playground.
Versions and mods
Deus Ex has been re-released in several iterations since its original publication, and has also been the basis of a number of mods developed by its fan community.
The Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition release contains the latest game updates and a software development kit, a separate soundtrack CD, and a page from a fictional newspaper featured prominently in Deus Ex titled The Midnight Sun, which recounts recent events in the game's world. However, later releases of said version do not include the soundtrack CD, and contain a PDF version of the newspaper on the game's disc.
The Macintosh version of the game, released shortly after the PC version, was shipped with the same capabilities and can also be patched to enable multiplayer support. However, publisher Aspyr Media did not release any subsequent editions of the game or any additional patches. As such, the game is only supported in Mac OS 9 and the "Classic" environment in Mac OS X, neither of which are compatible with Intel-based Macs. The PC version will run on Intel-based Macs using Crossover, Boot Camp, or other software to enable a compatible version of Microsoft Windows to run on a Mac.
A PlayStation 2 port of the game, renamed Deus Ex: The Conspiracy (although kept as Deus Ex in Europe) was released on March 25, 2002. Along with pre-rendered introductory and ending cinematics that replaced the original versions, it features a simplified interface with optional auto aim and motion captured character models. There are many minor changes in level design, some for the purpose of balancing gameplay, but most to accommodate loading transition areas, due to the memory limitations of the PlayStation 2.
Loki Games worked on a Linux version of the game, but the company went out of business before releasing it. The OpenGL layer they wrote for the port however was sent out to Windows gamers through an online patch, which also makes the game far more compatible with Wine on Linux than it would have been with only Direct3D.
Sequels and prequels
A sequel to the game, entitled Deus Ex: Invisible War, was released in the United States on December 2, 2003, and then in Europe in early 2004 for both the PC and the Xbox game console. A second sequel, entitled Deus Ex: Clan Wars, was originally conceived as a multiplayer-focused third game for the series. After the commercial performance and public reception of Deus Ex: Invisible War failed to meet expectations, the decision was made to set the game in its own universe, and Deus Ex: Clan Wars was eventually published under the title Project: Snowblind.
On March 29, 2007, Valve announced Deus Ex and its sequel would be available for purchase from their Steam service. Among the games announced are several other Eidos franchise titles, including Thief: Deadly Shadows and Tomb Raider.
Eidos Montreal produced a prequel to Deus Ex called Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This was confirmed on November 26, 2007 when Eidos Montreal posted a teaser trailer for the title on their website. The game was released on August 23, 2011 for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 platforms.
Deus Ex is built on Unreal Engine, previous games of which saw active community involvement in modding. On September 20, 2000, Eidos Interactive and Ion Storm announced in a press release that they would be releasing the software development kit (SDK). According to the announcement, the SDK includes all the tools used to create the original game. Several team members as well as project director Warren Spector said that they were "really looking forward to seeing what [the community] does with our tools". The kit was released on September 22, 2000, and soon gathered community interest, followed by release of tutorials, small mods, up to announcements of large mods and conversions. While ION Storm did not hugely alter the engine's rendering and core functionality, they introduced role-playing elements.
In 2009, a fan-made mod called The Nameless Mod (TNM) was released by Off Topic Productions. The game's protagonist is a user of an Internet forum, with digital places represented as physical locations. The mod offers roughly the same amount of gameplay as Deus Ex and adds several new features to the game, with a more open world structure than Deus Ex and new weapons such as the player character's fists. The mod was developed over 7 years and has thousands of lines of recorded dialogue and two different parallel story arcs. Upon its release, TNM earned a 9/10 overall from Australia's PCPowerPlay magazine. In ModDB's 2009 Mod of the Year awards, The Nameless Mod won the Editor's Choice award for Best Singleplayer Mod.
A film adaptation based on the game was originally announced in May 2002 by Columbia Pictures. The movie was being produced by Laura Ziskin, along with Greg Pruss attached with writing the screenplay. Peter Schlessel, president of production for Columbia Pictures, and Paul Baldwin, president of marketing for Eidos Interactive, stated that they were confident in that the adaptation would be a successful development for both the studios and the franchise. In March 2003, during an interview with Greg Pruss, he informed IGN that the character of JC Denton will be "a little bit filthier than he was in the game." He further stated that the script was shaping up to be darker in tone than the original game. Although a release date was scheduled for 2006, the film never got past the scripting stage.
In 2012, CBS films revived the project, buying the rights and commissioning a film inspired by the Deux Ex series; its direct inspiration will be the 2011 game Human Revolution. C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson are writing the screenplay, and Derrickson will direct the film.
Deus Ex received universal acclaim, attaining on average 91% and a 90/100 in both the MobyGames and Metacritic aggregate scores. Many critics praised the game's adept blending of genres, varied gameplay, expansive environments, ambitious and layered storyline, and its high replayability. Reviewers were impressed by the game's narrative, and often mentioned its use of dialogue and back-story to improve the overall experience.
The title has a great storyline, full of intrigue, back-stabbing, secret agendas, political struggles, and social commentary that is so powerful that it will surely overpower the free time of its players. It doesn't matter what style of game you prefer — action, RPG, or tactical combat — since Deus Ex has enough of each of those to please even the most prejudiced user.
Still, the game is not regarded as flawless, and several reviewers noted weaknesses in the gameplay. Former GameSpot reviewer Greg Kasavin, though awarding the game a score of 8.2 of 10, was disappointed by the security and lockpicking mechanics. "Such instances are essentially noninteractive", he wrote. "You simply stand there and spend a particular quantity of electronic picks or modules until the door opens or the security goes down." Kasavin made similar complaints about the hacking interface, noting that, "Even with basic hacking skills, you'll still be able to bypass the encryption and password protection ... by pressing the 'hack' button and waiting a few seconds."
The game's graphics and sounds were also met with muted enthusiasm. Kasavin complained of Deus Ex's relatively sub-par graphics, blaming them on the game's "incessantly dark industrial environments." GamePro reviewer Chris Patterson took time to note that despite being "solid acoustically," Deus Ex had moments of weakness. He poked fun at JC's "Joe Friday, 'just the facts, deadpan," and the "truly cheesy accents" of minor characters in Hong Kong and New York City. The staff at IGN pointed out, "The graphics are blocky, the animation is stiff, and the dithering is just plain awful in some spots," referring to the limited capabilities of the Unreal Engine used to design the game. This was not a fatal flaw however, as the review goes on to say "overall Deus Ex certainly looks better than your average game."
Reviewers and players also complained about the size of Deus Ex's save files. An Adrenaline Vault reviewer noted that, "Playing through the entire adventure, [he] accumulated over 250MB of save game data, with the average file coming in at over 15MB." Such a large file size was especially problematic, considering the smaller capacity of hard drives at the time of the game's release. These large files were a result of the save games creating duplicate copies of the game levels that reflected the changes the player made while playing the levels.
Awards and top lists
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Deus Ex has earned a number of awards and many nominations, including over 40 "Game of the Year" and/or "Best in Class" awards in magazines and websites. This includes awards from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, IGN, GameSpy, PC Gamer, Computer Gaming World, and The Adrenaline Vault, among many others. Deus Ex was also awarded "Excellence in Game Design" and "Game Innovation Spotlight" at the 2000 Game Developers Choice Awards and won in the "Computer Innovation" and "Computer Action/Adventure" categories at the Interactive Achievement Awards. It has additionally received many "Best Story" accolades, including first prize in the 2006 Gamasutra "Quantum Leap" awards for storytelling in a video game.
Deus Ex has appeared in a number of "Greatest Games of All Time" lists and Hall of Fame features, placing in the top twenty for most, and in the top ten for many. This includes IGN's "100 Greatest Games of All Time" (#40, #21 and #34 in 2003, 2005 and 2007 respectively), "Top 25 Modern PC Games" (#4 in 2010) and "Top 25 PC Games of All Time" (#20 and #21 in 2007 and 2009 respectively) lists; GameSpy's "Top 50 Games of All Time" (#18 in 2001) and "25 Most Memorable Games of the Past 5 Years" (#15 in 2004) lists; GameSpy's "Hall of Fame"; PC Gamer's "Top 100 PC Games of All Time" (#2, #2, #1 by staff and #4 by readers in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2010 respectively) and "50 Best Games of All Time" (#10 and #27 in 2001 and 2005) lists; PC Zone's "101 Best PC Games Ever" (#1 in 2007) list; Yahoo! UK Video Games' "100 Greatest Computer Games of All Time" (#28) list; Edge's "The 100 Best Videogames" [sic] (#29 in 2007) and "100 Best Games to Play Today" (#57 in 2009) lists; and GameFAQs' "Top 100 Games of All Time" (#67 in 2005) list. It was also named the second-best game of the decade by Gamasutra. In 2012, Time named it one of the 100 greatest video games of all time, while G4tv ranked it as the 53rd top game of all time for its "complex and well-crafted story that was really the start of players making choices that genuinely affect the outcome."
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