What is it about?
Deus Ex is a game about conspiracies *insert the music that plays during Scooby Doo villain mentions here*. You’re a bad-ass hell spawn of Robocop and a Crysis’ Nanosuit warrior but dressed in dashing 90s Matrix sensibilities. You’re an agent for UNATCO, an anti-terror organisation thrown into a world rapt in chaos, epidemics and of course, conspiracy!
Why should I play it now?
Mass Effect, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, Fable. Every game that even exhibits an iota of choice owes its god damned existence to Deus Ex. So yes, you should play it now simply because while the above games exhibit the idea of choice to a degree, no other game does it as well as Deus Ex (perhaps The Witcher, but that’s a post for another time).
How does it hold up today?
In a word, fugly. Yes, the years haven’t been kind to the game. In fact, you might find MGS1 a lot more palpable than a game based on the Unreal Tournament engine. However, there are a few high-def mods around that make it tolerable. If you’re a graphics wh*re, play the superlative Deus Ex: Human Revolution instead. Also, reading skills are a must because there’s a ton of interesting books and emails to be read within the game’s world that add to a story that’s as layered as it gets without getting overtly complicated.
Is it similar to anything else out there?
This is what happens when the story of Half-Life meets the immersion of BioShock draped in what was considered decent tech back in the early 2000s. Bits and pieces of the game have been borrowed by current titles, such as Mass Effect, Fable and of course, Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
What do I need to play this?
A PC! Even a four to five year old machine should be able to do this game justice, even running the high-res mods. Or, if you’re the sort who lives in the post-PC world, you can check it out on the PS2 (called Deus Ex: The Conspiracy , minus the creepy Scooby Doo music, of course). But it is a game best experienced on the PC with the community support.
‘When I played through…’
When I played Deus Ex for the first time, I was simply blown away by the choices present. I was already a fan of stealth because of Thief and this is a game, which actually came close to allowing me to play like Garrett again. This time, I was the hi-tech Garrett! The other factor that caught my eye was the writing. There was a genuine effort to introduce text which would flesh out the world. Remember folks, this is over a decade ago we are talking about.
Is there anything else I should be aware of (ie mods, crazy glitches, contribution to pop culture, Internet meme, etc)?
In spite of being 11 years old, the game is still a tad buggy, with the odd crash or two encountered during a 25-hour playthrough on a fairly mid-range PC. Oh, and if you subscribe to the master PC race legend, you’ll be interested to know that whenever you mention it, someone will install it. True story.
Where do I get it?
A physical copy of the game should set you back Rs 199, if you can find one. Else, Steam and GOG have it for $10 and the download clocks in at around 700 MB. If you’re hunting for a PS2 copy, your best bet is the digital shores of eBay.