â€¦I finally beat the original Deus Ex. And it makes me want to kick myself for not playing it back then.
To illustrate why this game is so important, it might help to make a few comparisons with more recent titles.
There are tons of games out there (mostly Bioware and Bethesda games) that advertise the fact that you can make choices in-game that have consequences. However, most of those consequences are fairly minor. For instance take Fallout 3 â€“ one of the quests early on lets you decide whether or not to spare the town of Megaton or not by defusing or detonating its resident unexploded nuclear bomb. How you resolve this quest certain has consequences â€“ for instance, it decides where your â€˜baseâ€™ will be early on, and it will change certain charactersâ€™ attitudes towards you. That said, pretty much all the story quests are unaffected by this â€“ they unfold in exactly the same manner, and you experience the main storyline the same way over multiple playthroughs. Sidequests might change, sure, but the main plot never does.
Deus Ex, however, has no such limitations. You can kill off major characters way before theyâ€™re supposed to have a major impact on the plot, and doing so will prevent those events from ever occurring (I actually did this). On top of that the decision making is thankfully free of the binary good versus evil distinction â€“ heck, in most situations the options available to you arenâ€™t really apparent unless you explore the areas and invest points in the correct skills. This even extends to the gameâ€™s conclusion – unlike Fallout 3 and so many other games that tout choice as a major selling point, there is no distinction between a â€˜goodâ€™ ending and a â€˜badâ€™ ending â€“ once again, just choices with consequences, and youâ€™re left to decide which choices are the most palatable to you. Believe it or not, it took me something like 30 minutes to decide which ending I wanted to go for.
Given that this game came out ten years ago, way back in 2000, itâ€™s amazing and thoroughly disappointing that no game has managed to improve on it â€“ not even its own sequel, apparently. Deus Ex 3 is on the horizon, but given that itâ€™s being handled by a completely different development team, and that Warren Spector is busy making Mickey Mouse games for Disney, Iâ€™m not going to get my hopes up too much.
Iâ€™ve just started on Mass Effect 2, whose developers insist that the way the game unfolds will depend on how you beat the original Mass Effect. Weâ€™ll see, I suppose.