The original Deus Ex, released in 2000 for the PC and brought to the PlayStation 2 last year, garnered a deserved amount of attention when it was released. The unique game, developed by Ion Storm, was an ambitious blending of RPG, shooter, and stealth action elements tied together by a slick story. The sci-fi-themed title took place in a futuristic world where conspiracy theories were real, and secret societies controlled the government. For the upcoming sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Ion Storm is offering up an even more ambitious game, with refined play mechanics, eye-popping visuals, and a deeper story. We've been able to take an exclusive look at the Xbox version of the game--the game is also slated to appear on the PC--and are pleased to report that it appears Ion has managed to tweak and expand on the core elements of the original game without breaking anything.
Send in the clones! The good kind, not the lame Episode II ones.
The game's story is an intricately created tale of conspiracies, power struggles, and religion infused with a healthy dose of paranoia. Sadly, the tightly constructed plot makes talking about it difficult without spoiling the experience. What we can say is that you'll assume the role of Alex D, an operative and a clone of the first game's protagonist, JC Denton. When you begin the game, Alex has just been transferred to a new training installation in Seattle following the rather spectacular destruction of the Chicago facility, which you'll see in the game's opening cinematic. Unfortunately the new digs aren't much safer, and the facility is attacked almost immediately after your arrival. The assault and its aftermath start you on a twisted and intriguing path through the game that will find you interacting with various factions, such as the corporation-like WTO and a radical religious group called the Order. Your road is a rocky one. Groups you encounter will attempt to play you against the others by using your skills. You'll have to decide, at key points during the storyline, which side you should take, and your choices will later influence who trusts you and who's out to get you. The nature of many of the choices presented to you calls to mind the light-side and dark-side character development seen in BioWare's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, although it doesn't appear to be quite as deep.
You'll face some tough choices in the game, so we offer one key piece of advice: Being evil is always the best option.
The game's core structure is pretty standard and stays close to what you'd expect from an action RPG. You'll explore areas and complete assorted objectives in order to advance. Your objectives will include going to specific areas, talking to non-player characters, collecting items, or performing tasks. But, while the game has many RPG elements to it, the handling and presentation are closer to a first-person shooter. You'll see the world around you in a first-person view and interact with it via a cursor that will give you information on whatever object you have it centered on. The slickly designed interface lets you go through your inventory and weapons smoothly, and the inventory system has been changed in terms of how you hold items. You'll now have a set number of slots, which represent two belts you use to hold whatever you come across. Most items will now take up just a single slot, though some items, such as grenades, can be stacked in the same slot. In addition, the ammo system has been streamlined. You'll now have a common ammunition store, and each weapon will draw a different amount from it when used. You'll also find various items, such as binoculars and lock picks, to help you in your exploration.