Deus EX Preview
Deus Ex was originally scheduled for a Winter 2001 release, though, after the numerous halts, it still has yet to see the light. Despite the abundance of delays I still laud Ion Storm for not rushing this highly anticipated title.
Deus Ex can't really be placed into one specific genre. Much like Dark Cloud, Deus Ex holds such a diverse range of elements from different genres that it won't probably ever truly be one full-fledged type of game. The plot is comprised of a massive story line built up around tons of action. There is also, however, a strong presence of RPG elements such as the alter ego which you will construct and manipulate throughout the course of the game. Also more of an RPG facet, is the ability to choose a lot of what you say towards the other characters. To top it off, the game is played in a 1st person view, which makes this game quite a diverse title.
The game is pitted into a murky, futuristic-type setting. As the action-packed plot begins, there's a deadly plague which has broken out in New York City known as Grey Death. Fortunately, the brilliant doctors nearby have discovered a cure for it. But for reasons beyond human knowledge, a group of terrorists are plotting to terminate the distribution of the medication. As J.C. Denton of the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATC), and heavy trained in nanotechology, you must stop these terrorists from carrying out there dastardly scheme.
The story isn't this mere, however, because the game's story relies heavily on what you say. Having said that, there are numerous times throughout the story you will be given the preference of what to say--letting you have an immense amount of control in the exhilarating plot. With different things you say, come different responses, and in the end, various outcomes. This option holds to be very enthralling with the ability to chose your own destiny in addition to the multiple ways to complete the story.
There's also another facet which can have significant impacts on the gameplay. At the beginning of the game, you will be awarded with 5,000 points which can then be used toward an array of different abilities and skills. Initially, Denton has skills in all the required fields such as swimming, lock-picking, hacking, and, of course, weapons usage. Although, when you put skill points towards specific actions, J.C. will then become increasingly effective in using them--making it also easier for you to control his actions. Denton can handle the various types of weapons regardless of the acquired skills; however, if you did put points towards the weapon usage skill, then Denton would become more handy with his guns, giving you a less cumbersome time when aiming. In addition to these augmentable skills, you can also get nanotech augmentations which will be essential throughout certain areas of the game such as letting you hold your breath longer and gain night vision.
Ion Storm has provided an array of weapons and items to be collected during the game. Weapons included are pepper spray, crowbars, handguns (multiple ones), snipers, and electropods. Two very important items to collect are lock picks and medical packs (your only source of health). And lastly, though not needed, but a humorous addition, is the 40s (40-ounce of beer) found during play.
One of the biggest concerns from bringing this PC game over to the PS2 is the vast menus that would supposedly create some confusion. The other concern is in regards to transferring the multitude of controls from the myriad keyboard commands to the somewhat lacking (in terms of choice set-ups) PS2 controller, without mapping them to be to difficult. Fortunately, both worries have been addressed by the developers and are headed on the right track thus far. There are two basic menus to pull up. One is done with square, which lets you toggle between a weapon and item selection. The other menu is brought up with the circle button--this menu is used for scrolling through the skills and augmentations acquired. Likewise, you can also buy new ones here. Having said this, Ion Storm is listening to the cries of gamers as they are making both USB mice and keyboards fully compatible.
In addition to the multiple alterations, Ion Storm has also spent a considerable amount of time improving upon both the audio and visual departments. On a graphics perspective, the polygon count has been increased, the resolution has been bumped up a notch, and the textures have been enhanced to a respectable degree. Equally as impressive, the sound has been augmented to present a more clean, crisp overall quality.
Perhaps, some people have lost anticipation from the plenty of delays. But Ion Studios is seemingly trying to put in as much time as possible, which you have to applaud. Thus, the numerous delays will probably result in a high-quality effort--resulting in a very positive outcome, both to the consumer and to the developer. Deus Ex, with the chance of any further delays aside, will hit stores this March.
2/13/2002 Joseph Comunale