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Are you going to buy an Xbox One X This Holiday Season?

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Game Profile
Eidos Interactive
Ion Storm
GENRE: First Person Shooter
December 02, 2003
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Invisible War

More in this Series
 Written by Nick Doukas  on July 07, 2003

First Impressions: Two trailer park girls go round the outside, round the outside, round the outside?

I'm sure you're asking yourself ?Ok Nick, what do Eminem lyrics have to do with Deus Ex 2?? (Actually, I'm not sure you're asking yourself that, in fact, you may be thinking about visiting your Aunt Edna, the girl sitting next to you, or that nifty new Ricky Martin CD you've been eyeing for the past few weeks). Either way, the answer to the 10,000-dollar question is?.innovation. Yes, I'm sure many of you out there will argue that Eminem is anything but innovative, but love him or hate him, you've got to admit, no one has a style or sound quite like his at the moment. Enter Warren Spector of Austin based developer Ion Storm, who quietly and efficiently cranked out a hit with Deus Ex: The Conspiracy, which was initially released (to critical acclaim) for PC, before being ported over to the Playstation 2. Many a vaunted critic had Deus Ex topping the list for best PC game of 2000.

Essentially an FPS with brains, the original game cast you in the role of cybernetic government agent J.C. Denton. Employed by the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO), you are issued a series of covert missions that require all out war, as well as stealth elements (and everything in between) to successfully complete. The game included the ability to upgrade certain skills, put a heavy emphasis on interacting with NPC's, and established an open ended type of gameplay that allowed for many different (and equally effective) solutions to any given problem. Committed to creating a superb follow up, Spector and his team are hard at work on Deus Ex 2: Invisible War, and if the E3 reports are any indication, action gamers are in for a real treat (and a ton of cool eye-candy) as Ion Storm takes the aforementioned open ended gameplay to a whole new level.

To get an idea of how serious Spector is about making sure the team releases a mind-blowing title, I'll let the Studio Director and Executive producer of DE2 speak for himself: ?There aren't enough people making games like this, with this type of deep and sophisticated gameplay. We don't settle for the easy, bloody answer. All of that sophistication and depth is in the service of making the players experience unique, and allowing players to get at it easier. We want to change the world.? Sounds like a man who's serious about giving gamers something special. So far it appears Deus Ex 2 will do just that, allowing gamers to customize their own individual characters, including Gender and Race. Various NPCs throughout the game will treat you accordingly, depending on the attributes you've chosen. (Early sources report that original Deus Ex poster boy J.C. Denton will be up for grabs as well). Much of the gameplay will consist of picking locks, hacking computers and disarming security, however heavy firepower is a requirement in Deus Ex 2, as many volatile firefights await you in between all that stealth and other assorted brain work. Deus Ex 2 gives players access to a wide variety of weapons, including: scoped pistols, compact assault guns, sniper rifles and shotguns. You'll be able to increase your skills (and thereby, your effectiveness) with each weapon, as well as attach upgrades designed to enable them to function more efficiently. You'll also have access to explosives and melee devices.

In keeping with the dark, chaotic, cyberpunk feel of Deus Ex 2's world, players will get to choose from different body part augmentations, many of which are spawned from the ungoverned Russian black market. Bizarre creations such as the leech drone, a mini-probe droid that seeks out life forms, saps them of their energy, and then transfers it to you, restoring your life. Wow, Go fetch boy! There'll be plenty of combat throughout the adventure (if you choose the path of resistance) so players will get a chance to use all the cool gadgets and weapons that Ion Storm is whipping up for DE2.There are forces in place against you that will challenge even the most battle hardened FPS fans. These include human guards, snipers and assassins, all in stylized, heavy black body armor, as well as fantastic beasts such as the tank-sized prehistoric Karkian and the feathered Greasel, which sort of looks like a cybernetic Doberman crossed with a Great White Shark. Ion Storm is utilizing a technique called Normal Mapping for the character models in Deus Ex 2. Essentially, this is a way to add tremendous detail to simplistic models by placing multiple textures on them. Minute details such as clothing wrinkles and facial features can be added without sacrificing hardware power.

As far as visuals go, DE2 is a title that has the potential to be Jaw-dropping in the graphics department. Seriously, from what the team has shown so far, this game looks to rival Splinter Cell's look, which, considering the work of art SC turned out to be, is saying a lot. The screenshots that have been revealed are nothing short of stunning, with incredible, bump-mapped textures and dynamic lighting on display from all angles. Every light source seen in the game is real, and every reaction to it is dynamic. Bulbs cast rays that are perceived by textures, which then change depending on the distance and angle. This means it will be possible to do some cool stuff, such as: opening a door, then ducking down into the shadow it casts, concealing yourself from the enemy. Shadows are volumetric, so they'll appear on moving objects as they pass. Physics in the game will be ultra realistic, with collision fields detailed to the exact polygon. To quote Warren Spector: ?This time, when we ship Deus Ex 2, I don't want anybody saying ?The graphics are so-so, but the gameplay rocks.' No, I want ?Final Fantasy what?' ?Metal Gear who?' ?.

Interaction with NPC's is related to their mood, the people they're with, and the things in their line of sight, so you never know what they're going to say. There are so many different ways to tackle the mission objectives at hand, and gamers are given the tools, and the free will, to handle things anyway they see fit. Spector elaborates: ?There are plenty of games out there where you step on a secret trigger in a hallway, and you hear the same NPC say the same thing every time, and they go to the same spots, and they draw the same weapon, and they start shooting at you. How is that interactive? How is that a game? For us, we have a whole different philosophy on how this all will work. Games are about players and developers having a little dialogue.? If you sneak through the game like a ninja, sparing a showdown wherever you go, some NPC's will react positively to your approach, while others will wonder why you're not kicking more ass. Conversely, if you blast through the game like Dirty Harry, you'll get plenty of responses for, and against, your behavior as well. By attaching responses, as well as consequences, to actions, Deus Ex 2 is poised to bring players a whole new type of gaming experience. A game equal parts FPS and RPG, which really transcends both genres, becoming something completely unique. It's a lofty goal, but I'll be looking forward to finding out if Ion Storm succeeds in their attempt to ?Bound player experience, but never determine it.?

Final Thoughts
I've got to admit, from what I've seen so far, Deus Ex 2: Invisible War looks like a groundbreaking title. From the graphics (which are being created using a modified version of the latest Unreal engine) to the interaction with characters and the environment, DE2 looks like a AAA title in every category. With a solid track record, and a critically acclaimed hit with the first Deus Ex game, Warren Spector and Ion Storm seem poised to bring some real innovation to console gaming. Here's hoping Deus Ex 2 brings home the experience the developers are aiming for.

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