Deus Ex. Somewhat forgotten? maybe. A highly addicting work of art? oh yes.
First, the story. you are JC Denton, an agent for UNATCO, who has been heavily augmented, giving him superhuman abilities. I'll talk about this aspect of the game later. Its sometime in the near future, where the government is corrupt, the division between the poor and rich is growing, and a plague is wiping out the general population. JC begins the game thinking that hes fighting terrorists and doing his part to help everyone, but, of course, there's always something deeper going on, and JC discovers more and more about the conspiracy hes found himself involved in.
Now, the gameplay. Deus Ex was one of the pioneers in non-linear gameplay, and, for a 9-year-old game, it does it very well. Exceptionally, in fact. While the levels dont change, and youll still find yourself at the same last level no matter what you do, the point is the way you do it. Theres always a few ways to go about solving a problem. Lets say theres a group of enemy soldiers in a warehouse. Want to shoot them all personally? go ahead. Want to sneak by them? thats fine too. Want to hack into their computers and rig their turrets to turn on them? even better. Personally, I liked opening up the doors of the warehouse and reprogramming their mechs to turn on them. These are only a few examples of what is possible.
And thats where the RPG part of the game comes in. You can modify JC to your own personal style. Aspects of the gameplay, like using rifles, pistols, melee weapons, lockpicks, etc are modified by stats that you can upgrade with experience. For example, the rifles in the game are originally somewhat inaccurate and have a lot of recoil. with enough experience, though, you can use a sub-machine gun to headshot a guy half-way across the aforementioned warehouse. How does one earn experience? By doing objectives, side-quests, and exploring the area around you. and trust me. theres a lot of exploring and side-questing to do.
And then there are augmentations. These are abilities that you earn throughout the game that give you superhuman abilities. but the problem is, you have to choose how to be augmented. for each part of the body, there are two augmentations available, but you can only use one. youll have to ask yourself: do i want increased melee damage or the ability to lift heavy objects? do i want to be able to run silently or run more quickly? and my favorite, do i want the force field or the cloak? the choice is up to you.
In the end, you can play through this game a few times, and each time do things differently and discover more things that you missed before. all in all, a single run-through of Deus Ex will take about 15 hours, over diverse locations like New York, Paris, and Hong Kong. There are three endings, but the deciding factors of what ending you get are in the last level itself, so whatever you did in the rest of the campaign will have no effect on your final ending. Although this game is old, it is far from inferior. This seems to come from a day when developers went out of their way to make the gamers happy, and to make original games. Eidos did just that.