Reviews by h4rpwn

96

A great collection at a great price--a classic series!

h4rpwn | Sept. 8, 2013 | Review of Deus Ex Pack

Once in a blue moon, an ambitious game will come along and redefine people's expectations of what PC gaming should be. When it released in 2000, it was immediately

clear that Deus Ex was one of these games. One of history's great milestones, it truly stands above even the some of the very best titles out there. The Deus Ex saga

is comprised of the original, the successful (yet slightly dumbed-down) Invisible War, and the outstanding Human Revolution make up one of the finest trilogies ever.

The TLDR version of this review: If you call yourself a gamer, but have never played any of the Deus Ex games, you have two options. 1.) hand in your geek card right now and repent the error of your ways, or 2.) stop reading this review RIGHT NOW and buy this collection! You owe it to yourself to experience these masterpieces.

An extremely balanced blend of role-playing, first-person shooter, stealth action and adventure, the Deus Ex trilogy succeeds at being the kind of "something for everyone" games that so many others try and fail to be. Are you the run-and-gun kind of player who solves all your problems with an assault rifle and grenades? You can do that here. Are you a stealth ninja who revels in passing unseen (and unheard) through the shadows, fulfilling your objectives without anyone ever knowing you were there? Then this game is for you. Are you a tech-head who likes to hack your way through the back door, or turn the enemy's own security defenses against them? Check. Or maybe you just want to combine play styles and do it all. The decisions are yours to make. Even better, those decisions have consequences--some immediate, some subtle and far-reaching. The multiple paths, decisions, play styles, and endings all lend to the high replay-ability of these games.

Here's a rundown on each aspect of each game. Bear in mind, that the original came out in 2000, so technologically the first two are somewhat dated. With that said, the scores reflect how well they hold up today (Hint: surprisingly well)

GRAPHICS 8/10- Overall, the futuristic cyberpunk themes are well represented over the life of the series. Each game succeeds at creating a dark, detailed dystopia. The older games still hold up well, especially with some tweaking under the hood for widescreen resolutions. Human Revolution continues the distinct look and feel of this world very well. Character animations are the weak point here, as every character appears to have a cross between epilepsy and Parkinson's. Any complaints I have with the series are extremely minor, and won't kill your desire to finish each one to completion.

SOUND & MUSIC 9/10- DX1 and Human Revolution really shine here (Invisible War was merely 'adequate' in my opinion, and lacked some of the quality in the soundtrack department. Sound effects also are top notch across the board, though most of the voice acting is memorable only because it's so bad. Some of the women sound like men trying to sound like women, and NPC's sound like they learned how to read script from the Lucas school of acting; it's wooden and emotionless. Overall, sound plays a critical role in the game, and for the most part it's really well done.

GAME PLAY 9/10- Another high point for the series. Controls are tight and responsive and there are some interesting mechanics at work here. The RPG elements succeed in representing themselves accurately in actual game play. Not trained up in Rifles? You'll be lucky to hit the broadside of a barn because you won't be able to hold your rifle steady. Want to hack a console that's beyond your skill? Ok, but get ready to run when you clumsily trigger the alarm. It's a system that not only rewards careful consideration when deciding where to put your points, but also challenges you to find the most efficient path for your specific skills. There's definitely a sense of satisfaction when you utilize all of your chosen abilities to successfully navigate a tense, enemy-filled area--whether you eliminated everyone, or avoided combat completely. It's necessary to mention a couple of shortcomings: IW doesn't quite measure up to the bar that DX1 set and HR followed. The best way to describe it is 'Deus Ex Lite'. Held next to DX1, it was lacking certain complexity that just didn't make it feel like a worthy successor. Time has shown it to actually be a great game with a lot to offer still. It's just that compared to Part 1 and 3, it seems a bit out of place. The other concern is the maligned boss battles in HR. Not only are you required to kill them (something that will cheese you off if you're trying to complete the game without killing anyone), but the battles are an exercise in frustration if you've spec'd your character for anything other than the frontal assault. Your super sneaky hacker build? Be prepared to reload A LOT! Square/Eidos has promised to fix this with the upcoming 'Director's Cut', so this could make HR a perfect 10, but right now, you have to just accept the fact that some of the more indirect play styles will find these battles incredibly tough (still doable though!).

STORY 10/10- Nothing I can say here will do these games justice. Warren Spector has crafted a detailed story-rich world in which conspiracy theorists (or just avid movie fans) will feel right at home. Everything you find in a great book, you will find here. Part Blade Runner, part Minority Report, the games are rife with intrigue, mystery, and political and moral conflict. Oftentimes, you'll feel as if a story element could have been ripped out of yesterday's--or tomorrow's--headlines. Once you pick it up, it will hook you in and won't let go, long after you completed it. And here's the kicker: It's different EVERY TIME YOU PLAY IT!! Few games have ever successfully made you feel that every decision needs to be weighed...every path considered. Actions have consequences, and you'll either be rewarded or punished accordingly for decisions like no other. To date, this is the only game that I've ever played through and then immediately replayed just to experience another aspect of it.

You're still reading this?! Buy!