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The original Deus Ex is absolutely still worth playing

Content of the article: "The original Deus Ex is absolutely still worth playing"

I recently had the yen to finish Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, a game I enjoyed but never completed. The I thought it might be fun to do Human Revolution and MD back to back. THEN I decided, what the heck, let's go all the way back to the OG, which I've maybe played about an hour of previously.

THere's a lot to be turned off by in the original Deus Ex. For starters, the game looks UGLY. Not really it's fault, 3d graphics were still very much in their infancy, and the game is loading pretty massive areas with a lot of dynamic NPCs, but it still doesn't look great. The way textures stretch over NPCs whenever they animate is WEIRD and some of the levels (particularly the outdoor ones) feel more like a child's diorama of NYC/Paris/wherever than the actual place. The voice acting is also hilarious, even offensively bad in some places.

But underneath all of that is just an absolute banger of a game. Almost every level is a generously designed clockwork mechanism that respects most of the ways you can choose to build your JC Denton. Every level is full of optional secrets and intelligence you can discover and has multiple ways to make use of the information you glean.

At one point in the game, in Hong Kong, you are given a mission to retrieve something from a police station by a very suspicious character. Instead of doing what I was told I crept around their apartment, found a secret passage by pulling a suspicious Chinese lantern, and ultimately skipped right to the ultimate objective of my quest. It was just immensely satisfying to ask the game "I don't trust this character, I bet they're hiding the thing I'm after. Can I go against what the game is telling me to do?" And have the game answer "Yeah, sure."

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There are some other niggles born of antiquity: The fact that you have to manually activate all of your augs is needlessly fiddly (I've wound up accidentally leaving an aug on and draining all my energy several times). The AI can be fairly buggy, and I think the game whiffs a lot at the end by throwing a lot of difficult robot enemies at you that are not fun to fight.

But the respect for player choice still feels wildly advanced for its age, and even rare among st games made today. I've been looking up the possible paths through levels after finishing them and am consistently blown away by how much stuff I'm missing. I honestly think I might like this one better than Human Revolution/Mankind Divided, and I usually have a tough time playing older games after their more-modern sequels.

So yeah, if you have any fondness for immersive sims (Dishonored, Prey 2016, the later Deus Ex games, etc.) definitely go back and give the OG a try!


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