Nine reasons why Invisible War is better than the original
- Door Number 3 - For all of its depth and open-world conceit,
Deus Ex had the moral ambiguity of a Giuliani campaign ad. MJ12
are the bad guys, you're a good guy, that's the end of it. Invisible
War's factions may be a cliche of technocrat vs. religious zealot,
morphing into more generic order vs. chaos, but at least they're all
viable options. And it milks that ambiguity for all it's worth, which
has the effect of giving the game a wider perspective.
- Hints from Helios - The AI, oh heavens above, the AI.
Enemies in Deus Ex had three animations, and its approach to any
situation was to spastically flicker through them. Yet somehow, any
action taken by the player would immediately alert them to your
location, even if you subsequently moved. For the sequel, the AI still
possesses ESP powers, but only for its supernatural hearing. Other than
that, they're more realistically stupid.
- The Peashooter 9000 - Remember when you picked up a machine
gun in Deus Ex, and felt like you could take take out a few
guards? Me neither. Most of the guns had the heft and lethality of a
gin-soaked papercut, and JC reloaded with glacial speed. Maybe it's
because they didn't mean the game to technically be a "shooter." In that
case, I would suggest that they make the not-shooting parts of the game
less blindingly dull. Which brings us to...
- The Six Gazillion Dollar Man - Augmentations in Deus
Ex would have been a lot more fun if most of them weren't completely
useless, or if you had any real hint as to what they'd do before you
installed them. I think the problem is that they thought "how can we
solve these specific gameplay-related strategies," and not "how can we
make the player feel like an unstoppable ninja cyborg?" Speaking
personally, I tend to forgive holes in the former if the latter is
successful. Invisible War was criticized for its lack of
augmentation options (five slots of three options each), but every
single one of them does something useful.
- Robot Envy - So JC Denton can't aim, when he does aim it
doesn't do much damage, and he never gets the ability to crush someone's
head between his fingers. In that case, what's with the whining jealousy
act from all the other secret agent cyborgs? You can't go thirty seconds
without Hermann or Anna Navarre complaining about being made obsolete,
even though they have big robot limbs and JC can't kick over a cardboard
cutout without dying from the bruises. I suspect they are actually
elaborately mocking him.
- Yeah, but check out the nano-pockets on that trenchcoat - I
understand what they were trying to do with the inventory system in
Deus Ex, but it's still stupid. It was stupid then, it was stupid
when they reused it in System Shock 2, and (if possible) it
reached maximum stupidity in Resident Evil. Look: no-one wants to
geometrically rearrange their entire inventory just so they can carry an
extra can of soda. If I wanted to declutter spaces for fun, I have a
storage room downstairs that needs some attention. Invisible War
just uses 10 multipurpose slots, which is far less realistic, but has
the advantage of freeing up my time for playing the game.
- The fine line between dead and deadpan - I am still
unclear, frankly, on the reasons that voiceovers have almost always been
terrible. It's not like there are technical reasons. Deus Ex was
more inconsistent than anything else, but it still had too many moments
of unconvincing tell-don't-show. JC's film-noir monotone quickly grates,
not to mention the incredibly unsubtle foreign accents.
- Walt Sent Me - Passwords in the original game were a great
opportunity to insert sly references and in-jokes. They were also kind
of a pain to retrieve, so I like that Invisible War just
remembers and types them for you. Likewise, I don't remember the extra
missions in Deus Ex being particularly fun or interesting, but I
think I completed most of them in the sequel--possibly because they were
dense enough that I could accomplish several in one stroke.
- Shmarbucks - The running joke of the warring coffee shops is
not only fitting, given the presence of the WTO, but also resolves
On the other hand, the endings from the first
certainly has Invisible War
beat, perhaps due to the
social theorizing taking place in the latter--the wider perspective
means that they neglected giving the player a personal reward, and aimed
for an ideological one instead.