playboy.com / digital culture / software / deus
One annoyance is the game's
insistence that you earn "skill points." This typical feature of
role-playing games is incorporated into most of the weapons you can
use throughout Deus Ex. For instance, the more skill points you have
for using a particular weapon, the better your aim will be. But why
hobble a player's own actual ability to master a weapon? Like Ion
an already troubled FPS that also has a skill point system, Deus
Ex's feels like a geeky gimmick.
An extremely good element of Deus Ex is its intuitive user
interface. Despite the multitude of weapons, tools and other things
you'll need to collect to complete your mission objectives,
accessing them is quick and easy. Using items and interacting with
other characters in Deus Ex's world is also very simple, which
obviously helps to immerse the player further into the game.
"Immersive" is an apt word to
describe Deus Ex's environment, which includes locations in Hong
Kong, New York and Paris. These and other settings are beautifully
rendered, tempting you to spend your time sightseeing rather than
attending to the pesky end-of-the-world business at hand. The
lighting effects are especially atmospheric, particularly in the
neon-soaked streets of Hong Kong.
Deus Ex takes on several disparate gaming elements and manages to
pull off the whole affair decently enough. Yet playing it is like
watching the first, longer edit of a movie. You wish a few things
would have been sacrificed to make the final product a more focused
and more satisfying gaming experience.
Freelance writer Howard Wen has also covered videogames for
Salon, Wired and the O'Reilly Network.