holoz0r's A-Z of Steam: Deus Ex: Invisible War

8개월 전

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Following the success of Deus Ex, coupled with its critical acclaim, the role of a sequel is simple - don't fuck up. The critical reception to Invsible War is one where that mantra was not followed.

Invisible War is simplified in every possible way compared to the first game in the Deus Ex series, and even with fresh coats of paint (and a release on the XBOX console, which led to many development issues) - it is somehow filled with less visual splendour than the original title, less flexibility, worse level design, and far, far simpler game mechanics.

The gaming media of the time documented these issues well, but I recall on my very first play through of Invisible War - I didn't mind - it was more Deus Ex, and at the time, I had a PC that could play the game - and what a time.

It was a time for a 21" Sony Flat screen, one of the fabled Trinitons - and with it, a 4:3 aspect ratio. This is the only aspect ratio officially supported by Invisible War which means one thing, on a modern system, you're fighting a very visible war against black bars either side of your 4:3 image.

However, that's not where the issues end. Between each area that you move to, you've got a loading screen (instead of the Unreal engine's elegant text "prefetching") - and a jostling "here's your desktop in 1280x1024 resolution, stretched across your gorgeous 27" gaming monitor" - every single time you move from one area to the next.

This game is a disaster, and has not aged well in any way shape or form.

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Given my limited memory of this game, I really wanted to play this through - and to get my teeth sunk into the story. Given the technical issues (that can't be fixed without significantly modding the game files) - and the simplification of the game play mechanics, I just can't.

Lockpicks and multi-tools are now the one thing. Doesn't matter if its a mechanical lock, or a control planel for something - the same device now unlocks both of these things. Ammunition is just ammunition - or energy cells, regardless of the weapon type.

Augmentation gives you simple options and a few levels of extra ability. There's one expanded option here, with the ability to use black market augmentation, which is nice.

However, everything else is horrible. Character models are flat, and don't have the same presence or structure as they did in the original game. Animations are horrid - especially when emotion is trying to be portrayed through gestures or body language.

Voice acting is... well, acceptable, but jarring given the unacceptable animation.

Interactive objects in the environment pale in comparison to the original title in the series.

I could go on - and on - but I simply... just couldn't. But I'll try - due to the fact that levels are so small, you're constantly given audio clues and the impression that the story could play out in many different directions, but instead of being given the option to choose faction a, or b, or go in guns blazing or not, or sneak around, or go through a vent - it's a pale veneer that is quickly stripped back as you realise there's nothing hidden to find in this game.

Its all about following the bouncing ball, and doing what you're told. It isn't even done in a sophisticated manner like as in BioShock - its just... a mess - and... if I haven't made it apparent enough at this stage - it looks like a mess every time you need to load one of the new levels, which is often - owing to the fact that the game was never optimised for PC following the use of the XBOX as the lead development platform for this title.

I had this in my library for nostalgia - and it will remain - but I will never attempt to play this particular abomination ever again - it just isn't palatable compared to the glory of its former self. A tough shadow to stand in, but exactly the place it shall remain.

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