In 2000, Deus Ex seemed to pick up
just about every PC accolade under the sun, including a BAFTA for outstanding
interactive media. Since then millions of nanotech minded gamers have anxiously
awaited its sequel DeusEx: Invisible War, portraying the aftermath
of what transpired in the original title. Probably the most ambitious addition
to DX:Invisable War is that of object physics. Like the first game many
things can be picked up, moved or thrown, but this time around items roll,
impact with other objects, drop, bounce and have their own level of damage
tolerance. The manipulation of objects is very much part of the game. Without
giving too much away: early on I found myself having to protect a number
scientists in a research facility from infiltrating terrorists. With little
doubt as to which areas the angry mercs were going to be pouring in from
a blockade miscellaneous objects was in order to slow down their progress.
OK, as it happens they had little trouble kicking it down, but not before
the scientist in the location had got out of harms way and my character
could open up with electro-tipped 9mm fun.
Cool Object Manipulation
No EAX Support
As you would expect, the controls
are mouse-view and cursor driven by default. No problems with this at all,
but perhaps the most infuriating thing for me in the whole of DX:IW was
the insistent running everywhere. If your character prefers a more cautious
stealth approach you are forced to hold down the "walk" key for long periods
to avoid alerting everything in the immediate area to your presence. Surely
a toggle option, or walk by default would have been a more appropriate
default for a game such as DX: Invisible War. As it happens there was no
way of correcting this, either in the options or the ini file with the
The visuals as you would expect
a very nice indeed. If you are fortunate to be able to crank it up to 1600x1200
some of the decors and model textures are very nice indeed. Explosions,
Fire, Smoke and Gas look particularly good. The shadow effects which adjust
to object manipulation e.g. nudging a hanging lamp were ok, but didnt really
do it for me. I found these slowed the game down if anything and perhaps
a waste. This brings me to another downside to DX:IW - the performance.
While the more recent patches have improved performance you still need
a very notable graphics card to meet the demands of the game. I experienced
20-30 frame rates at top resolution with a 256Mb Ati Radeon 9800XT, but
I cannot see anything less than a card with 128Mb on board allowing for
anything more than a standard 640x480 gaming experience. This is a shame
because this level of resolution certainly doesnt play out the game as
it should and considering there are better rendered games on the market
that run great on lower spec machines one wonders if Eidos didnt get the
graphic engine quite right before release.
OK, so to the game. Firstly let
me say, story wise its very nicely done - no complaints here. There are
many more branches in the tale this time and at least five completely different
endings. Its very possible there are more if you have the time to dig deep
enough. The game picks up 20 years after the last game ended. Unfortunately
for some DX:IW assumes you chose a particular ending in DX1, which wasn’t
the one I chose incidentally. While this might be a little confusing if
you're playing the games back to back, it doesnt detract from the games
story in any way. The lack of EAX hardware support does hit the game slightly.
The sound is fine and dialogue nicely depicted, but the 3D positional sound
is somewhat of a disappointment. Considering DX1 had fantastic sound, it's
puzzling why the developers took a backward step here and its unlikely
anyone will feel as immersed in the games atmosphere as they were in the
first game. That said, some of the in game music is actually quite good.
The thumping mid twenty-first century dance music in the Seattle nightclub
and other bars is pretty cool indeed.
Its hard not to recommend DX:IW
to anyone who enjoyed the original Deus Ex. It continues the story nicely
and has excelled in a number of areas, particularly the integrated object
manipulation physics and multiple number of branches in the storyline.
There are annoyances however such as the enforced auto-run feature, limited
3D sound and if only completed once through one perspective it might actually
seem a fairly short game. In a nutshell though, if you have the spec go
get Deus Ex: Invisible War, you wont be disappointed.