Deus Ex has several distinctive gameplay styles all rolled into one: It looks like a first-person shooter, but it's got pronounced role-playing elements as well as gameplay puzzles you might otherwise find in adventure games. In fact, you can opt to play Deus Ex with emphasis on any and all of these elements. That's because your in-game persona, JC Denton, is a cybernetically enhanced government operative who can choose to specialize in many different types of skills, from gun-slinging to computer-hacking - and depending on how you build him up, the game will play out differently. Because of this, as well as the game's science fiction setting, Deus Ex bears likeness to 1999's acclaimed role-playing shooter, System Shock 2.
But System Shock 2 took place in the dank, solitary confines of a derelict spacecraft. On the other hand, Deus Ex is set in New York and all throughout the world in the middle of the 21st century. Your international escapades will be expense-free, courtesy of your employers at UNATCO, or the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition. But what might first appear like just another routine cleanup job for JC Denton will turn into a real run for his money - Denton will gradually uncover a major conspiracy at work, and it'll be your job to respond to it as you see fit.
Deus Ex contains a lot of character interaction, a great deal of which will affect the plot. Designer Warren Spector points out that only around 50% of the game is plot-critical, and as such, you'll get to make a lot of significant decisions over the course of the game, just as Deus Ex will offer a lot of replay value. The game is nearly complete, and is scheduled ship in June of this year. Until then, look for our hands-on impressions of Deus Ex from the show floor to get a sense of how the game finally turned out.