Deus Ex: Invisible War Xbox Official Website
Developed by ION Storm
Released - Out Now
Price : £39.99
It's not often that we review a sequel to a true PC game classic but that's exactly what we have here. Deus Ex was in a class of it's own in that it allowed you to play the game exactly as you wanted to play it. If you wanted to take the all guns blazing approach you could and similarly if you wanted to be more cautious and use stealth then the game was equally receptive. The game also had a number of twists and your actions would determine what happened in the game and affect the ending. In short then it was a memorable experience that sadly no game has equalled since. Finally though the sequel is here and this review will look at the Xbox version of Deus Ex: Invisible War.
Last time around you played as J.C. Denton but this time you play as Alex D. (and you can be either male or female). As with any RPG (which is what Deus Ex really is after all) your initial task is to create your character and you'll pick one of six portraits, three male and three female, for your character. Then it's off to begin the game which starts with a terrorist attack of Chicago that completely annihilates the city. Alex. D. is a graduate of the Tarsus Academies' primary and secondary school system and has been selected for a full scholarship to the Security Operations Residency program. However things are not what they seem and almost immediately it's obvious that the plot is going to take many twists and turns before reaching its conclusion.
Just like in the original game what gives your character his/her unique abilities are the various biomods that you can install. Biomods are implants that offer unique and special abilities and it's always wise to install those biomods that will allow you to play the game the way that you wish. Fancy playing through the game with stealth as your main method of getting things done? If so then you'll want such biomods as Cloak (which renders you invisible to humans and animals) and Move Silent (reduces the noise of your movement). However you want to play the game, there are biomods that will make your life easier if you use them correctly. There are also various 'black-market' biomods that you can obtain during the game which can further increase your abilities. You'll also find that there are many weapons and items that you can use to your advantage throughout the game. Energy cells, multitools, consumables and a range of weapons are all there for the taking and to use as you see fit. You can even fit a range of weapon modifications to certain weapons to further increase their usefulness. Much of all this will be familiar to players of Deus Ex but there some differences to keep things feeling fresh.
There are some areas where Deus Ex: Invisible War could have been improved on though. Personally I think the HUD (heads up display) is a little obtrusive but I suppose that's just a matter of opinion. I was disappointed not to see a stealth meter to indicate just how well you are hidden from the sight of your enemies. For a game where using stealth is always a favourable option this is really a bit of a let down. The quality of the enemy AI is also rather poor. The game has four difficulty levels (easy/normal/hard and realistic) and only on realistic does it really offer a serious challenge. It's all too easy to take down a number of enemies, in most situations, and this is not what you'd expect from such a highly anticipated game. Still the problems with the game can easily be overlooked and they are easily outweighed by the good points.
Graphically Deus Ex: Invisible War looks good and has a distinctive look about it. If you've read any of the reviews of the PC version of the game (as the US version came out last year) you'll know that the game is very demanding and struggles to run smoothly on even the best specification PCs out there. Bearing this in mind I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the game on the Xbox. Sure the frame rate does dip from time to time but it's nothing catastrophic and it certainly didn't spoil my enjoyment of the game. What might irritate though is the loading times which are typically around 30 seconds and whilst these are not the worst loading times for a Xbox game (see Morrowind for that) they certainly can test your patience. There are also a few graphical glitches to be found in the game however they are minor and only put a small dent in the presentation of the game.
Now of course all of this counts for nothing if the game is not subtitled but you'll be pleased to learn that ION Storm have not only included an option to enable subtitles but have also included some captions for environmental sounds (such as the PA announcements in the initial phase of the game). Not all of these sounds are captioned but I was certainly pleased with what was there and deaf gamers should definitely be able to enjoy the game. The tutorial messages are also shown in text and you can read them at your leisure as the game pauses to give you time to read them. The subtitles themselves are great and are quite large and very easy to see on a small TV, even when sat a good distance away. During the game pressing the white button will allow you to access the goals/notes and images so in effect you can always check up on what's happened and what needs to be done. You can also save the game whenever you want to so you'll never have to backtrack should you run into difficulty (providing you save frequently of course).
The six million dollar question with Deus Ex: Invisible War is does it manage to equal the original game? In truth I don't think it does but in fairness to the developers that was always going to be a tall order as it's thought of as a legend and is many gamers favourite PC title of all time. Deus Ex: Invisible War should really be assessed on how good a game it is and not how it compares to the original Deus Ex and when looking at it in this way it's certainly an enjoyable game that offers something different from what you usually experience on a console. Whilst the game isn't that long (around 15-18 hours tops) there are multiple ways of going about things and it definitely begs playing through a couple of times to see all of the alternatives. It may not be a classic but it's still a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience.
Game Rating: 8.4/10
The long awaited sequel to Deus Ex is finally with us and Deus Ex: Invisible War, whilst probably not living up to the elevated expectations of many fans of the original game, is certainly an enjoyable game that should definitely be on any Xbox gamers wish list.
No problems for deaf gamers. ION Storm have done a good job of making the game deaf gamer friendly.