Since its release late last year in the United States, Deus Ex: Invisible War has had a somewhat mixed response. While most in-print and online reviews sites loved the game, many users were left disappointed with a game that seemed almost unplayably slow on PCís that had much higher specs than the game required. The Xbox version also came under attack from those who bought it in performance terms, although not quite as much as the PC version did.
The last few weeks have seen release of the European versions of the game, both on the PC and on the Xbox. The PC version in Europe is more up to date than that sold in the U.S as it includes the latest patch, and comes on a single DVD instead of CD with improved intro movie footage and uncompressed sound.
We are taking a look at the Xbox version here and we are going to take a neutral view of it as I loved the first game, one of the best games ever made.
Approximately 20 years after the events depicted in Deus Ex, The World is only beginning to recover from a Catastrophic worldwide depression. In the Chaotic period of recovery, several religious and political factions see an opportunity to re-shape a worldwide government to their agendas, understanding that the right moves now could determine the shape of human society for decades- even centruries- to come. In this techno-nightmare, take part in the dark struggle to raise the world from its own ashes.
There have been few role playing games that have had the kind of impact that Deus Ex had back in 2000, it was a fantastic title, it was pretty open-ended, it had stealth gameplay, stat improvements, lots of great storytelling, good combat, something that very few games have had anything like apart from the recent Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Morrowind.
From the first looks of Deus Ex: Invisible War you may think it is your plain old first person shooter, but underneath the first person interface leys a deep game (although not quite as deep as the first title was) one that gamers havenít seen since Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
For those of you who havenít played the first game, the game takes a similar approach to story and gameplay as Knights of the Old Republic. It is similar in the fact that both change depending on what you do during the game, good or bad, itís up to you as you choose your path through the game. Itís also a game in which the developers state you can get through without resulting to violence, although I canít say I have tried that method so far.
There are lots of quest type missions to go on; these range from killing people to breaking into apartments and firebombing coffee shops to help out the smaller businessmen. Despite that fact that I mentioned that there are some missions in which you are required or asked to kill someone, you donít actually have to. The developers have created the game in a way in which you donít have to kill anyone, although to be honest, I have been (quite a lot).
The game is no longer as in-depth as the first one, least not in terms of skills as we have plain biomods and such like now, this is most likely because the game was developed on the Xbox at the same time as the PC version, so things have been cut back and dumbed down for the console market in Ion Storms eyes.
The physics system that has been touted around so much before the games release isnít all itís cracked up to be though, just walking through rooms can turn the place into a mess, there are however some cool bits such as a basketball court early on in the game. Here you can pick up the basketball and throw it around as much as you like, even if there is no real reason to.
Generally the game is excellent in my view, the story may not be as good this time round but it is still better than most other titles out there today. The game doesnít begin too hard either, another good point, but the problem here is that unless you played the first game; itís hard to understand what the heck has been going on in the world of Deus Ex.
Personally I think Deus Ex: Invisible War looks great on the Xbox, the performance problems that have hampered the enjoyment of the PC game are no where near as bad here, yes the frame rate can get slow at points, but certainly not like they have done on the PC version that I have played.
Graphically the game is excellent, the look may be a little gray for some, but the shadowing is the best I have seen in an Xbox title and the textures look good too. Some of the character animation and stances may seem a little stiff for some, but overall itís a good looking title.
Sonically the game is also very good, each character you meet seems to have something different to say when you click on them, the main character you play, be it male or female each do their voice work very well. The general in-game sound effects are good, creaking boards, snow, gunshots etc, everything is done well. The music also does it's job, there are also some great original songs in the nightclubs as well.
Although the game hasnít got that far ahead of the first title, it is still a good game, and more of a stand out title for the Xbox than it is on the PC due to the PC versionís graphic performance problems. The game has had a lot of unfair criticism from those who were more interested in performance over gameplay, but if you, like me, prefer good gameplay then youíll get more than your share out of Deus Ex: Invisible War.