Deus Ex: Invisible War: Afterthoughts Thursday 6th of June 2019

I don't really have a format for my "Afterthoughts" series yet; I'm still exploring how I'm going to write the content for this blog. What I can say is that what I am presenting below on Deus Ex: Invisible War is not what I was originally going to write. And such is my disdain for how this game went, I’m not going to bother with screenshots or other media either.

Two questions:

  1. Is Invisible War a bad game?
  2. Is Invisible War a bad Deus Ex game?

Oddly enough, the answer to the first question is actually No, and I had intended on writing something more positive with screenshots etc. I can't reach back far enough in the mists of time to know why I never properly played this game when buying it on DVD when first released. The memory I do have does not correlate with anything I saw in my recent play through, so I simply don't know. However, my initial conclusion on finally being able to play the game was that it really wasn't that bad. Not destined to be a classic or ground-breaking, but not bad.

The answer to the second question is a resounding Yes. Actually, I suppose the questions should have been broke down even more, but as a sequel to one of the best video games ever produced Invisible War fails on pretty much every level. Perhaps this is partly to do with the time the game was written, as it had to support both the PC and the obviously far inferior consoles - I remember Thief 3 (from the same era) had similar problems, although in fairness I did enjoy playing (and replaying) it. Remember Shalebridge!

Here are a few items from my ranting on differences

  • Tiny levels, with further insult to injury by having them split into multiple sections with loading sequences
  • A complete dumbing down of pretty much every mechanic
  • A crap inventory system
  • A severely curtailed augmentation system
  • No skills
  • No per-region damage (remember how in Deus Ex you could break both your legs and only be able to crawl until you heal?)
  • A lazy ammunition system
  • NO LOCKPICKS (merged with mutlitools)
  • Not much in the way of hidden areas or reasons to explore. There were all sorts of things to discovered in Deus Ex (sunken boats on Liberty, etc.) but I only found a smattering of obviously hidden-ish areas in Invisible War
  • ... the list goes on and on

As I said originally, if it was a stand alone game, it potentially wouldn't be so bad, but as a sequel to DEUS EX, wheesh... it sucked.

However, I tried to give it its just deserts, and to be perfectly frank I was enjoying the game.

Until I met JC Denton.

From that point it started going downhill for me rapidly. JC didn't sound like JC, didn't look like JC and of course for story reasons it ignored whichever ending of the original game you went with for its own choice. And I didn't like what JC wanted of me.

This was then compounded by the fact that most of the enemy NPC's from this point on were soldiers wearing power armour. I'd spent the entire preceeding game sneaking around and tranquilising every hostile that breathed and now I was powerless. Can't tranquilise someone wearing power armour! So the game said a giant "F##K YOU" to my play style and forced me to become a (not very good) murderbeast. From this that point it was pretty much game over and I was just going through the motions.

I truly hate games that let me play my way until the end when they suddenly force something completely different on me.

And then, the final kick to the balls - Liberty Island. Invisible War ends where Deus Ex began, on Liberty Island. And the differences between the two games couldn't be more apparent. Invisible War's Liberty Island is a fraction of the size of the original whilst purporting to be the exact same area. The Statue herself is laughable. I felt oddly depressed going through the ruins of UNATCO HQ, although I'm pretty that area was the right scale. And I did have one final good moment when I found the delivery note for a Skull gun.

(I might edit this post to add some comparison screenshots. Even as a fan of Deus Ex the differences are glaring and insulting)

Just like the original Deus Ex, Invisible War offers multiple endings. But I was so utterly depressed by the game that I rushed through it as fast as I could just to finish it. I didn’t even finish exploring the island and up to that point I prided myself on exploring everywhere I could. I have not played any of the other endings either.

I'm glad I finally got the chance to play this game, but it's unlikely I've ever going to go back to it.

I really hope they develop the final prequel. Guess I’ll have to reinstall Steam as it’s the only way I can play Human Revolution or Mankind Divided. Or maybe I should install Deus Ex again and give the GMDX mod a try!

This post was first published Thursday 6th of June 2019 and was last modified Thursday 6th of June 2019 at 16:50:06.

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