Deus Ex: Invisible War Xbox Review

June 1, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox, Xbox

The original Deus Ex was one of those pioneering games that will be remembered in years to come for not only being an outstanding game to many, but also bringing great imagination and craft to the title. The open-ended design was astonishing and Warren Spector and his Ion Storm team had obviously lovingly created the game on an unmatched level of obsession and ambition. Now the sequel arrives, having been a little diluted, do we still think it rises to the greatness of the original masterpiece?

We’re glad that Invisible War is more a less the same of the original, but obviously a lot more technically achieving and even more open-ended in nature. Yes, Ion Storm has surpassed their own game, now allowing you to switch sides almost at will throughout the intensive plot. This makes you the star in the game that follows, in fact you can even select different genders and skin shading at the beginning of the game, furthering the amount of things that are your personal choice, which almost is free from boundaries. The plot is still pretty complex, driven by conspiracy and set in a techno age (20 years after the original game) even further advanced than our own 2004.

That’s the thing with both Deus Ex games, Ion Storm have envisioned tremendous imaging of our future world and that alone is enough to draw us in to its universe. Furthermore the exploration that allows you to move through numerous routes to reach a certain goal held our attention every time we got involved with the game, and constantly involved we were. The various missions range from those that set the ball rolling to optional goals that may very well gain you some helpful information, extra cash or items that may be of some use to you later. The game itself isn’t actually as complex as it may sound, with a lot of elements that ease you in, which is great for those with no knowledge of the previous game, for veterans it is a similarly new experience, although on a lesser level.

The on-screen HUD is pleasingly intuitive and allows you to scroll through your equipment by using the D-Pad in real-time or while the game is paused. This not only makes the use of items a pleasant task, but also presents management of the said items with ease. At the left hand side of the screen you have your weaponry and priority tools (which you can sort into your liking) and on the right hand side you have your installed biomods.

The upgrade system is almost non-existent, at least in comparison to the original games fantastic structure. No longer do you assign different skills when you begin a new game, nor do you get experience points to improve your abillities, all that remains is the less in-depth Bio modifications. Five slots that can be equipped with various biomod canisters, and later upgraded just isn’t as interesting compared to the original classic system. The installed abilities can be upgraded twice with extra canisters, but all five can quickly hit maximum levels, which doesn’t leave much in the way of character growth. To be fair you can install new abilities, but even then your current levelled up ability has to be dropped for good unless you use a canister to bring it back and then use more to level it up again. There are black market modifications this time around, these canisters are normally harder to find and the abilities are invariably very helpful.

The game is certainly diluted compared to the original. There are seemingly lesser choices to be made during the plot and smaller locations to explore. Even the fact that every single gun uses the same type of ammunition and that the multi tools can pick normal and electronic locks, whereas the original game had the lock picks for non-electronic lock. Even the little omissions make things feel considerably watered down, couple this with the massively disappointing character development system and the whole game is under whelming next to the original.

Further problems include the AI, that can be dreadful and very unsure of itself at times, and then there’s the graphics. Invisible War is a dutiful graphical showcase for the Xbox, providing lovely light shading, shadows, real-time environmental modelling and satisfying rag doll physics. Sadly it has some occasional heavy slow-down, which is the only chink in a very impressive suit of graphical armour.

Invisible War isn’t as good as the original game, as things are no longer as extensive. The game is a backward step as well as an advancement, but that backward step is a huge significant one for so called “unrestrained gaming”. Ion Storm is seemingly undermining the credibility of console owners, as we have a hunch that the game was made with those players in mind. Still, we found Invisible War to be a hugely enjoyable and absorbing experience that we’ll remember for a very long time.