by Christopher Park
previewed on PC
Brave enough for another go...
After the fallout of the Ion Storm-developed Deus Ex: The Invisible War, it’s hard to understand why Eidos would want to take another stab at the franchise. A series, to the eyes of many, that has only one great game to its name. Well, their bravery’s worthy of admiration, or they’re just out of their minds. It is an uphill battle for Eidos Montreal with Deus Ex 3 and it is hard to figure just how they will appease the existing fanbase with the wide range of changes in store. Currently, it’s hard to tell how this game will turn out, but it’s easy to fall into skepticism considering what has been confirmed already.
First, a regenerative health system. The same thing most shooters today utilize in some capacity. This is very, very questionable, considering the Deus Ex series is known for its genre-blending of open-ended RPG mechanics and arguably weaker shooter elements. It seems that this change is indicative of what direction Eidos Montreal is going with this latest installment. Heavier on the immediate shooting action and less on statistics. To further support this view, your aim with your gun will not be influenced by your statistics at all. All shots will be registered and calculated by your own innate ability or inability to point and shoot.
It is obvious there’s a more action bent with this installment, but whether that is entirely good or bad is still up in the air. Perhaps the action will feel satisfying and right and while it is a shame that the RPG aspect has fallen to the wayside, much like how BioShock thrashed most of System Shock 2’s RPG system, it might just work as a great action game, but that would also mean you’d lose a lot of what made Deus Ex so special in the first place.
However, some elements remain and some of the problems with Deus Ex: Invisible War have been rectified. Multiple ammo types are back, instead of the universal ammo used in the previous installment. And you still do attain experience and plug them into different augmentations and all the weaponry in the game.
Augmentations, a kind of buff, have also been increased in the types that will be available. They’ll be divided into four categories: Stealth, Technology, Combat and Social. With 20 augments available in the final game, there is hope that the number of different approaches and character permutations will remain intact. Visually, these augmentations will be immediately noticeable, because of the mechanical and outwordly nature of it, instead of the nanomachine method of the augments in Deus Ex.
Some good signs as well
Sounds like a step backwards for augments, doesn’t it? Why would want them to be physically noticeable? Well, that is because Deus Ex 3 is a prequel. You’ll not be playing as one of the Dentons. Instead, you will take on the role of Adam Jensen, a man who, for the most part, is unremarkable. Working as a private security guard for a technology firm specializing in augmentations, a black-ops attack wipes out many working at the firm and it’s up to you figure out why the hell that just happened. Eidos promises that the narrative will play a prominent role and while there is not much insight yet on the amount of choices and noticeable consequences your decisions will bring, it sounds like a solid premise. Another plus is that Sheldon Pacotti, the principal writer for the series, is involved in some capacity with Eidos on Deus Ex 3. So, while the gameplay details remain extremely controversial, the plot details that have been doled out sound promising.
Graphically there’s not much go on besides what was shown in PC Zone’s 200th issue. Eidos Montreal has said that they are aiming for a blend of Blade Runner-esque cyberpunk with Renaissance sensibilities, which sounds ridiculously confusing and potentially awesome. Hard to really imagine how the game will end up looking with art direction as crazy as that, but it sounds different - a good different. The concept art available does help a little bit with understanding what exactly Eidos Montreal is trying to convey to us, but until more in-game screenshots and real-time footage surface, all there is to say is: "Well, that sounds neat."
Wait and see
Eidos Montreal still has a long, long way to go if they hope to calm the brewing storm of dedicated Deus Ex fans. The changes presented above could easily drive a Deus Ex fanatic up a wall, accusing Eidos Montreal of blasphemy. The kind of gameplay changes and total table-turning tweaks can easily deemphasize all the role-playing, but again, let us just wait and see. Deus Ex 3 is not close to completion, so until there’s more information to chew on, "kind of skeptical" seems to be a good chair to sit on.