2Deus Ex: Dex Is Handsome Sidescrolling Cyberpunk

By Nathan Grayson on November 15th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

And you hack things with flying electro dragons!

I feel like we’re entering an exceedingly strange era. Once not very long ago at all, we bellowed, “Enough same-y modern settings and straightforward mechanics! Bring back old-school settings like cyberpunk and gameplay inspired by Deus Ex.” Now we’re drowning in that stuff. Cyberpunk is the neo-retro-even-in-Saints-Row hotness, and single-player games are brimming with choice again. I do wonder, though, when we’ll start tiring of cyberpunk and its associated narrative themes. I kind of already am, to be honest. Don’t get me wrong: Dex, which is essentially sidescrolling Deus Ex with a cyberspace twist, looks very nice. I’ve just been down a lot of neon-lit, rainslick alleys lately, is all. Eventually, they all start to look kind of similar.

Dex has a very nice look to it, if you ask me, and it’s ticking all the boxes. Multi-pathed levels that encourage you to do your own thing? Check. A Neuromancer-inspired story about hacking and transhumanism? Yup. Character progression that allows stealth so quiet that your tip-toes are augmented with their own smaller tip-toes, Rambo-style gun-crobatics, and everything in between? Absolutely.

But what, aside from the perspective switcheroo, makes Dex stand out? Well, hacking certainly sounds interesting. Essentially, it functions as a dual-world mechanic, providing both real and virtual reality versions of each location.

“With Dex, we have two intertwining realities. An obstacle or problem in physical reality can be overcome through cyberspace. On the other hand, if too many ICE (Intrusion Countermeasure Electronics) are encountered in cyberspace, it might be better to return to the physical body and overcome the area’s obstacles by an alternative route. All locations and important gameplay objects (enemies, cameras, turrets, drones…) have a corresponding representation in augmented reality. This twofold division allows for multiple solutions to game problems in a natural and authentic way.”

Neat, huh? Dex is asking for £14,000 on Kickstarter – the cable-cradled womb of all things cyberpunk these days – and it’s making slow but steady progress thus far. If it secures funding, the plan is to launch in June 2014. Will you lend it your digitized electro-authenticated cash, or are you starting to feel a bit cyberpunked out?

, , .

41 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    I’ll be tired of cyberpunk when governments stop trying to do things like privatize the court system.

    • Ansob says:

      And the police. And healthcare.

      Cyberpunk should stay as a fantasy, instead of becoming reality. At least until we get cyberdecks.

      • Premium User Badge

        Harlander says:

        Exactly.

        I’ll let the oligarchs charge me a £3.50 a day oxygen licensing fee if they’d just give me my robot hands

        • Zanchito says:

          Hey! They are on track for that, the first part of the process is well known by now: the police breaks your filthy fleshy hands.

        • Grayman says:

          The Oligarchs support your oxygen charges but the hands are too expensive. Please be sorry.

  2. Trithne says:

    I’m getting tired of Kickstarter, personally. Seems that no-one just makes a game and releases it into the wild anymore, but instead has to put it through a gauntlet of publicity and revenue-raising mechanisms.

    • Ansob says:

      It’s almost as if games cost money to make.

      • Trithne says:

        Indies have been making games before the days of Kickstarter. So many Indies now trying to aim high and be mini-studios, rather than part-time labours of love.

        • frightlever says:

          Kongregate isn’t going anywhere if you only want to play low budget indie platformers.

        • Premium User Badge

          Ninja Dodo says:

          When you make a game on the side it takes forever.

        • Viroso says:

          That’s silly man, you say it’s bad because when they use kickstarter they don’t longer fit some idealistic view of things you have.

          I’m tired of people getting needlessly tired of things. There’s legitimate saturation, like zombies, then there’s “This was new once, but now it isn’t new anymore, everyone stop”.

        • jellydonut says:

          Yeah, god forbid they try to make more ambitious games.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Wait, are you saying you’re surprised that you hear more about games which are heavily publicised than games which aren’t?

      Hmm.

    • Premium User Badge

      Revisor says:

      A year later and you’re still tired of Kickstarter and feel the urge to comment on it?

      I for one am very glad for crowdfunding. It brought DRM-free, Linux support, better two-way communication between the makers and the players and most importantly revived old genre and topic niches as well as brought new things.

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        That some grudge holding! 1 year.
        I don’t know what I ate yesterday for dinner.

      • Trithne says:

        -I- didn’t even remember posting that.

      • Groove says:

        This is incredibly odd. Are you the Government minder that watches us while we sleep?

    • Niko says:

      I’m getting tired so r… zzz…

  3. ZombieRiot says:

    I won’t even begin tiring of cyberpunk settings before more games do it in a satisfying way and use it as more than just a backdrop. Besides, I don’t even remember that many cyberpunk titles lately…but then again, my memory is suffering some bit rot.

    • Low Life says:

      How could anyone even get tired of cyberpunk? Just look at this stuff: http://rekall.tumblr.com/

      Cyberpunk is what makes life worth living.

    • Stardreamer says:

      Yeah, it’s nothing like the WWII games were a few years back, or Zombie games are now. We’ve, what, a handful of titles? And I’d agree we haven’t yet seen a really good authentic example of the genre.

      Personally I’m getting a bit tired of arty-gimmicky 2D platformers, a new one of which seems to appear on a weekly basis.

    • Shodex says:

      This, I’ll be tired when something finally manages to hold a candle to Ghost in the Shell, Blade Runner, or the original Deus Ex. Until then, I wait with childish excitement.

  4. Spoon Of Doom says:

    I do wonder, though, when we’ll start tiring of cyberpunk and its associated narrative themes.

    I do not believe this is possible, because cyberpunk is the king of all settings.

    But on a more serious note, I get where you’re coming from, even if I don’t feel the same way. On the other hand, I was sure I was burned out on Zombies forever, but then along came Telltale’s The Walking Dead, and I loved it. Project Zomboid is pretty cool as well, and Day Z was an interesting experience. The point being, even in the most milked setting in existence, there can always be good and surprising games. I think the problem is more that the soulless shovelware chases The Next Big Thing, be it fantasy, WW2, modern military, or now cyberpunk, and wraps their samey games up in it, which skews the perception somewhat so that it might look like the setting or genre is “done”.

    • Premium User Badge

      Solgarmr says:

      Exactly, I’m tired of poor executions of the cyberpunk setting. I won’t care if the setting has been blood milked like the zombie thing now, a good game is a good game no matter the background setting. If every cyberpunk game would play on the same trans-humanist theme of when do you stop being human . . .or any other theme for that matter. I guess I could get tired if I wouldn’t see any variations of said theme.

    • Groove says:

      On a related note, play Android: Netrunner. It’s the (corrupt, dystopian) buisness.

  5. Aberaham says:

    “All these cyberpunk games are the same,” followed by several articles about indie pixel art garbage.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I think there are worse settings to drown in than cyberpunk. As someone who never really liked zombies, but always liked cyberpunk, I’d be very okay with a couple of years of cyberpunk games.

  7. Niko says:

    One can easily tire of exploitative “fantasy” cyberpunk, but there are some great literary examples like Charles Stross’ Accelerando.

  8. Kollega says:

    As someone who doesn’t like cyberpunk, I do have to say that I’m getting tired of it. But the more important question is: where’s dieselpunk in modern gaming? Planes and submarines, inventors and detectives, Art Deco and Streamline Moderne… where’s all of that? The only three (recent) dieselpunk games I can remember are Bioshock, Skullgirls, and Penny Arcade Adventures. And that’s not a lot.

    • Premium User Badge

      Foosnark says:

      Sine Mora, a bit.

    • SillyWizard says:

      There’s a dieselpunk F2P tactics game which has okay gameplay but requires you to cough up pretty regularly to get the most out of it. Let’s see, what’s it called…ah, here it is. Iron Grip: Marauders. The same company that makes it has a couple of other dieselpunk games in the same setting, I believe.

      Yeah it looks like they’ve covered the FPS angle, as well as RTS and TBS. All in the same setting. Pretty ambitious team! The quality from game to game seems to vary.

      Anyway, I played a bit of Iron Grip: Marauders. I liked it well enough, but I don’t have the stomach for games which constantly nickel and dime me, so it didn’t last long.

      Also: InSomnia.

    • The Random One says:

      We haven’t even had a lot of steampunk games, which is a more famous and earlier setting… Games take a long time to catch up I guess.

  9. baozi says:

    Wait, we’re drowning in games with gameplay inspired by Deus Ex?

  10. Jexiah8bit says:

    Tired of cyberpunk? Must be kidding, since there has been maybe one truly good cyberpunk game come out a year. That isn’t saturation to me. And as for tiny indie takes on it, those shouldn’t count towards saturation.

    • HPLoveshack says:

      One per year? I’m struggling to think of more than one ever that’s really, truly good or any more than a handful that are even memorable. Deus Ex is the only one I can think of that’s proper good. There are a few others I’m fond of like original Syndicate and the snes Shadowrun but I wouldn’t put those in the same sentence as Deus Ex. Recently there’s been… DXHR and Gemini Rue, both of which were fun but neither of which is setting any new standards.

  11. thekelvingreen says:

    This looks like a souped-up Amiga game. As such, I love it already.