Is Deus Ex Still The Best Game Ever?
Part Two: Struggles, Buggles and Reading Huggles

Here continues my attempt to discover if Deus Ex really is the best game ever, like my brain thinks. Part One is here. Today I yet again struggle to get the game working, then struggle to work within the game. But cheer myself up reading some newspapers.

I’m struggling.

I’m struggling with some very buggy issues, and I’m struggling to get the game running again. Somehow.

I’m not sure what happened last night – perhaps some technologically inept mice snuck into my office and moved all the wires around inside my PC – but when I booted up the game this morning, it was running about three times too fast.

Once again I was reading through forum threads dating back to 2010, seemingly the last time there was enough interest in the game for wizards to figure out how to get it running properly. And once again, it was people reporting that solutions weren’t working for them. In the end, having tried every permutation of every option, and indeed edited ini files according to confused instructions from all over, I resorted to wiping the game entirely from my PC and starting over. Just removing and reinstalling via Steam wasn’t enough, it turned out. So I used the software uninstaller, then removed it from Steam, then went through its entry in MyDocs and deleted it there (after backing up saves). A fresh install, and a fresh application of Deus.exe, this time with just the Direct3D 10 patch and none of the texture packages, and it’s working once more. It looks a lot cruddier, but then that was what I was aiming to do in the first place. Now I daren’t ever exit the game again.

Having dropped into the Statue of Liberty’s neck, freed Gunter, and arrested the NSF boss dude, I was back at UNATCO HQ, wandering those incredibly familiar corridors, hacking everyone’s incredibly familiar computer terminals, and added my first augmentation – a dose of extra strength. And was assigned my next mission. Let’s leap ahead…

…To where stuff starts to go a bit wrong. I found the store of green goo the NSF are keeping in Battery Park, just like I was told to, but in order to get to it I used all my tranqs and electro-sleep-stick charges. Coming out from the building, Anna Navarre enthusiastically congratulated me on having been willing to kill… wait, what? I panicked. I killed someone? Who? I retraced my steps, checked every downed guard, and they were all labelled as “unconscious”. Was Anna just assuming I had to kill to do it? Or had I accidentally murdered one of these people I know – from fifteen years of remembering – to be good guys? I’m really hoping the former. Paul would be furious.

Anna then wanted me to go sort out the mess my brother Paul had apparently caused getting a bunch of hostages taken on the metro. But I’d no non-lethal ammo left. And I wasn’t about to start killing the people I know I’ll be siding with any moment now. Sneaking in down through what seemed to be sewer pipes, I found my way to the station, packed with NSF. And they shoot on sight.

Dodging around the tunnels, I eventually stumbled on a grate I could exit without being immediately spotted. Except, I couldn’t exit, because there was a hostage standing in the way. He wouldn’t budge. He wouldn’t talk to me. He wouldn’t acknowledge me at all. If I hit him with a crowbar he just cowered. If I sprayed him with pepper spray he rubbed his eyes, but defiantly stayed on that exact spot. And any of these attempts attracted the attentions of the guards, who shot me to bits.

And it’s here that I had to first be very honest with myself. This isn’t good enough. If a game came out today, and I encountered immovable NPCs bugging out missions made near impossible due to such a massive bias toward lethal ammo, I’d be mocking it as I critiqued it. An already very tough mission being made near impossible due to completely crummy AI.

So what did I do? I had two non-lethal options left in my inventory. Pepper spray, and tear gas. Pepper spray was unlikely to be helpful, but perhaps the gas. I snuck up the tunnels to the roof of the subway terminal, opened a hatch, and threw down a gas bomb. It worked! All the terrorists were incapacitated, and I could speak to the two hostages. Run onto the train as soon as I open the doors, I informed them. Sure, they said. So I opened the doors and they stood there. I tried talking to them again, ushering them, but they wouldn’t move, and the NSF peeps were getting themselves back together. And then shooting. Perhaps it had bugged? I tried again. And again.

Another tack, then. Drop the grenade, cause the ruckus, sneak in and tell the hostages what to do, then slip away. Perhaps that bloody idiot hostage will have moved by then.

And oddly, that worked. Everyone’s frantic running around had left them in positions where I could get out of the tunnel without being spotted, open the train doors, and have them run on board. Hmmmm. Not very impressive.

But then I’m in Hell’s Kitchen, and I’m in a bar, chatting with interesting characters, hacking bank machines, reading superbly written propaganda on the public terminals, learning about little side-quests I could do, getting information on the possible location of the NSF’s generators, and sharing a beer with Paul’s helicopter pilot. And it feels like something so much better than so much else again.

Just reading a dropped newspaper in the street is a worthwhile experience. Although, I must concede, one that requires an awful lot more effort from me than fifteen years ago. When Deus Ex did it in 2000, this wasn’t a means of conveying story that had been miserably stomped into the ground. Games weren’t routinely laughed at for apparently having featured people whose method of keeping a diary was to write an entry, tear it from the book, and then leave it lying on a box in a corridor. My patience for consuming story through paragraph snippets has been chipped away at over the years. It’s tough to not just skip past them and get on with the mission, but each read reminds me how much they add to my understanding of the world.

A quite remarkable amount, actually. By this point in the game, the complexities of the Grey Death have not been addressed by the main plot. What Ambrosia is, why people are dying, and indeed why the NSF might not be big fans of the way UNATCO and government organisations are distributing possible medicine, has so far been communicated through newspapers, terminals and conversation with non-critical NPCs. The game is pretty much assuming you’re going to be reading.

This isn’t helped by my running the game at 2560×1440 with the UI fix running, of course. I have to lean forward and squint. And no, I can’t quit out and relaunch at a more sensible full-screen resolution, can I? It’d probably start going backward or something.


  1. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    I don’t think the game assumes you’re reading and putting the pieces together. I think it very deliberately leaves the “real story” on the periphery while putting the traditional Good Guy Badass FutureCop angle front and center only to slowly (and then abruptly) tear it down. You can do your homework early on and figure out what’s going on, but even if you don’t, the overt story will still pull you in the right direction.

    • Shazbut says:

      Human Revolution did brilliantly with this. Can’t actually think of a single game that does better. Right from the off with the “Patient X” file in the first room, there is so much optional information in the game that you’re encouraged to think and make connections about, which is highly relevant to the world and the plot, whilst not being fundamentally necessary to enjoy the story.

      • Lacero says:

        But it did make me feel that Jensen was a dimwitted fool. A bit.

      • Henson says:

        Oh boy, do I ever disagree with you on this one. Patient X was not only obvious and heavy handed (“Hmm, ‘Patient X’. I wonder who that could be), it’s pretty much irrelevant to the plot of Human Revolution, despite the writer’s insistence on cramming it in anyway. Thank god most of the rest of the game was pretty killer.

        • markside says:

          I think I agree. Adam can find out that HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, LEGALLY QUESTIONABLE things were done to him, but then never confronts the individual responsible. He reads on a screen somewhere and shrugs.

          • Crimsoneer says:

            Yeah, this was the issue I had. It’s so painfully obvious who patient X is if you do a little bit of side-reading and talk to a few relevant people – especially with Megan’s “I HAVE A TERRIBLE SECRET TO TELL YOU” moment – but other than that, it’s totally irrelevant and Jensen can’t seem to wrap his head around it. Just made me grumpy.

      • Farsi Murdle says:

        The Patient X thing was hilariously bad. They gave away the “twist” so obviously in literally the first room of the game.

  2. basilisk says:

    Ah, yes. The lack of good non-lethal weaponry is definitely one of the game’s strangest design decisions, considering how obsessed Paul is with the idea. I believe that one of the fan mods (Shifter, maybe?) adds a beefed-up baton that works basically like the blackjack in Thief, which makes things a lot less annoying.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Can’t you just knock guards out with the baton anyway? Playing on whatever the highest difficulty is (realistic?) I don’t remember there being a point where you couldn’t just sneak up behind guards and pop them in the back of the head.

      • SlimShanks says:

        Games journalists have a “unique” way of playing games.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        Yep, the baton has always been a zero-ammo knockout weapon as long as you hit them in the back.

      • basilisk says:

        As far as I remember, it’s not quite reliable unless you’re using a strength aug (and maybe even then). Sometimes they need two hits to go down, which is absolutely not what you want if you’re trying to be stealthy.

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          I may be mistaken, but I think you need to put more points into melee weapons as the enemies get tougher throughout the game. The strength aug may come into play at some point as well. JC is usually so stocked up on tranq darts and taser ammo by then that he’s pretty much a non-lethal Rambo, so it doesn’t come up much.

          • basilisk says:

            That is possible; my memory is far from perfect. But I think that even then the prod needs two to three hits to incapacitate anyone, and the tranq darts don’t give you an instant KO even with a headshot, which still makes the unreliable baton the best choice in most situations.

            I mean, the blackjack in Shifter (which indeed exists and has its base damage raised from 8 to 14, says the internet) wouldn’t exist if everyone was satisfied with the vanilla baton, would it?

          • baozi says:

            If I remember correctly (maybe I don’t), the prod *can* take down a person in one hit, but you need to do it correctly, like with the baton.

          • Premium User Badge

            gritz says:

            The baton is 100% reliable if you hit them in the back. It just doesn’t work on the MiB’s or the big MJ12 cyborgs.

          • frymaster says:

            “I think that even then the prod needs two to three hits to incapacitate anyone”

            one hit to the chest does the trick if they’re unaware; you have to crouch-sneak behind them then stand up and fire in one manoeuvre

      • John Walker says:

        It is true that I had completely forgotten about the baton. But rest assured, since I wrote that piece (yesterday morning) I’ve been batoning them to bits.

        • LionsPhil says:

          If they’re ending up as bits you may be batoning them too hard to remain non-lethal.

        • Unclepauly says:

          It’s almost baffling how you could forget the baton. Melee knockouts are 95% of alot of stealth games.

          • drewski says:

            Well it was 15 years ago man.

            I never realised the baton was non-lethal, or if I did, I don’t remember that. I remember tranqing every m-f-er in the joint and that you stick with the prod. Prod with the prod.

        • drygear says:

          Don’t you feel you’re being unfair by criticizing the game for not having enough resources for your playstyle while having overlooked a tool that doesn’t require any of those resources? I kind of wish you’d update the article because your criticism that you now know is invalid is still on the official record.

    • empty_other says:

      A proper non-lethal or ghosting mechanic should force you to think of alternatives. Force you to take the detour or the dangerous route. And the lethal option should always be the temptation, the easy way and the last option when there is no alternative or when the mission goes wrong.

      If the non-lethal alternative is just a weapon that doesn’t make red pixels on the screen and has slightly less ammo… Congratulation, some kids-shaped pixels haven’t lost their father-shaped pixels.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        If you insist on reducing everything to base mechanics, why even bother with things like story and character?

        • empty_other says:

          If you treat base mechanics as something separate from story and character, your story will suffer from it.

          • Premium User Badge

            gritz says:

            Agreed! Which is why your disassociative “pixelated father” example is so baffling.

    • LTK says:

      Nonlethal should be rare and ineffective compared to lethal. That’s what gives the choice to go stick with nonlethal all of its weight. If, like DX:HR, the nonlethal approach both gives you more experience and has a lower risk of alerting other enemies, what is ever the reason to choose the lethal approach? Allowing the choice of being a murderous lunatic just for the sake of it is utterly boring in comparison. Running out of nonlethal options brings you ever closer to giving in to the temptation of “screw it, I’m just gonna take the sniper rifle and ventilate all of their thalami”. Overcoming that impulse lets you feel good about yourself for sticking to your principles, which makes for a far better game than one where you just do nonlethal takedowns all the time cause it’s easier.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Yes, these.

      • jonahcutter says:

        “…what is ever the reason to choose the lethal approach?”


        Well, in my first HR playthrough I took too long to rescue Malik during the ambush and she was killed. I had been non-lethal up to that point. But after her death, I murdered every Belltower operative I came across, min/maxing be damned. And it was an intensely fun playthrough.

        I’d love to see the next installment of the game give us more surprise, perception-altering, personal-narrative motivations like this. Something that may flip some of our interior switches and have us consider altering our approach at various points throughout the game. Something beyond the rather binary nonlethal = goodguy, lethal = badguy that is the typical default morality. (As well, structuring the progression so the min/maxing impulse doesn’t overtly favor one approach.)

        • blastaz says:

          I had much the same experience. I was mostly non lethal but not obsessive about it. But then when I got to the lab in Shanghai first time round I made a point of murdering absolutely everyone guard and civilian I came across. After the attack on your lab why wouldn’t you?

          Equally when you get ambushed in Montreal by a team of bad men sent to kill you, what is your motivation for going non lethal there. The Jensen whose reaction to that situation is to skulk around in vents choke holding, tasering and tranqing the guards is far more of a psychopath than the one who puts his back to a chair and fires back!

          • kament says:

            I think it makes most sense to avoid engagement altogether, considering how badly he’s outnumbered. Saves time. And lives, incidentally, so perhaps it is technically nonlethal solution.

        • TheApologist says:

          I remember flipping from non-lethal to very lethal in that moment and it was a really fun play through. Similarly, when John is talking about not killing people he knows he is going to side in the original game, I remember loving the original partly because my strategy altered as my suspicions about UNATCO and sympathies with the ‘terrorists’ both grew.

          Replaying with foreknowledge of the plot is inevitably a less involving experience, to my mind…

        • Crimsoneer says:

          This would be a good point, were it not for the fact that the Malik scene is where everyone is practically forced to go lethal. It’s the only part in the game where it feels like a difficult choice, and it’s in fact so difficult it nearly doesn’t feel like a choice.

        • UnholySmoke says:

          This, definitely. I have no time for ‘this is a game where you try to do it all without killing anyone’. Sure, aim for non-lethal where you can if that’s your thing but if I was a futurecop stuck in a secret evil facility, with no stun guns and a big shotgun? Course I’m shooting my way out and worrying about the consequences afterwards. I’m certainly not reloading, and certainly not complaining about the degree to which the world has been stocking me up with non-lethal options so far.

          And yes, it goes double if they’ve earned their own murderation by killing my foxy pilot.

      • kament says:

        Actually, its a lot easier and faster to shoot your opposition dead, both in DX and HR (except at the start of DX all your options are crap, lethal or nonlethal – unless you’ve invested heavily in ranged or melee skills). Takedowns imply stealth. Stealth takes time and patience.

      • baozi says:

        Agree – if everything can be solved non-lethally, especially too easily*, that’s the opposite of a good thing, I think. That just makes it a self-imposed player goal, especially if you factor in achievements. If you get spotted or have to resort to lethal force because you goofed, they just make it more likely that you’ll just reload instead of going on with the mission and feeling a bit bad afterwards. If, instead, you get into situations where remaining non-lethal is extremely hard and lethal force suddenly seems very attractive, that’s much more interesting.

        *Like in Dishonored, where your enemies are completely at your mercy like ants, and the whole thing feels a bit disingenuous because if you really wanted to and got bored, you could just dispose of them quickly (a good reason for character specialization preventing demigods, I think).

        • amblingalong says:

          My biggest problem with DX:HR was the nonlethal/lethal dichotomy and how it tied into XP. The game rewarded you more for being nonlethal (which already is an issue for me in terms of player agency), but then 90% of the fun toys/augs you had were geared towards the lethal playstyle. Stealth is fun in it’s own right, but it got very repetitive (cover, cloak, knockout, rinse, repeat) vs. lethal options which were much more entertaining and diverse.

          More broadly, it killed me that you were rewarded with EXP for redundant/repetitive choices; hacking consoles to doors you’d already found a way around, exploring an air vent to get around enemies you’d already killed, winning a conversation to convince someone to give you an item you’d already stolen, etc. My biggest hope for the new game is that they either eliminate EXP entirely in favor of Praxis pickups, or rework it so you get EXP for accomplishing mission goals/reaching new areas, regardless of how you do it.

          After that comes eliminating third person cover in favor of the dynamic Far Cry 4-style system (no cover at all is OK too, but I really like dynamic first person cover). Thank god they’ve at least proven they’re able to address the boss fight issue.

          • amblingalong says:

            Note: I realize that someone will inevitably post something like “well, screw EXP, just play how you want anyways,” but as a matter of game design players will trend towards doing what they’re rewarded for, even if they have less fun in the long run. For me, at least, just knowing I could get slightly more XP for backtracking and crawling into a redundant vent is a powerful lure- call it a cognitive bias, but it’s there.

      • Windypundit says:

        I’m sorry, but being a “murderous lunatic” is half the reason I play these games. I do non-lethal enough in real life. Sure, I’ll try to play it stealthy and careful, but if something goes wrong, I go loud. If that means I leave a thousand dead bodies behind me, well, I’m saving the world, right?

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          Yeah, I’m with you.
          I try to be stealthy, but if it all goes wrong (and it will, because I don’t have the skills or patience) then I’ll happily go round and shoot everyone right in the pixels.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Running out of nonlethal options brings you ever closer to giving in to the temptation of “screw it, I’m just gonna take the sniper rifle and ventilate all of their thalami”.

        No, it makes non-lethal walkthrough boring and tedious. Like it was in original Dishonored where your non-lethal tools were very limited. Fortunately, Arkane fixed this stuff in DLCs.

        • LionsPhil says:

          What? Nonlethal in Dishonored is incredibly easy. Corvo is the hugmaster. He will hug everyone until they fall asleep in his big, strong arms.

  3. Marclev says:

    Oh come on, to be fair, if you ran out of non-lethal options in real life because you’d used up your supply of stuff, and all you had left was lethal, and you needed to complete a mission in Deus Ex, you’d struggle too! I don’t see how that’s the games fault, also remember it’s an RPG, you’re very weak in the beginning so need to be very conservative with your prod sticks / tranq darts / whatever as you may not get a refill for a while.

    The AI was remarked on as being poor at the time as well, this was 2001 not 1990 after all. I distinctly remember reviews at the time commenting that the only reason they let the AI off was because the rest of the game was so awesome.

    And I still love all the news papers and things. You can completely skip them and the game’s still great, but they add to the feeling that this is a real world that keeps on ticking away with or without you. For things like torn off diary pages that just happen to have a door code scribbled on them well, a bit of suspension of disbelief was required for that back then as well, but for some reason it all seemed to fit together so well.

    Strange thing is though, I’m able to boot up the game on a relatively modern Win 7 x64 PC from steam and it runs without fuss (and the graphics aren’t _that_ bad, I mean it’s not a 2.5D game, so the polygons do scale, they just haven’t got as much detail as you’d be used to these days).

    • jonfitt says:

      Oh come on, the “in real life argument” never holds water when discussing games, and especially here. What police force doesn’t have a supply of equipment that officers can just go and requisition for free?
      You can imagine the conversation in the back of the SWAT van:
      “Those don’t look like beanbag rounds”
      “Don’t you recall we busted that drug warehouse yesterday?”
      “Well I used all the beanbag rounds I had on my person, and I don’t have any cash to buy more. So these are some incendiary shells I found in a dumpster”

      • Marclev says:

        While that is a good point, and it’s been a long time since I played, doesn’t the armoury guy supply you with an ammo refill after the mission? If you opted for non-lethal, he gives you a choice of what you want and some extra non-lethal ammo, and if you played as Rambo (which due to the game getting confused unfortunately it thought John did), he tells you off and takes a moral stand against giving you anything lethal or something like that.

        I don’t remember having to buy ammo at any rate at UNATCO (and the in-game narrative somewhat justifies the small amount he gives you by it being the future and the world being a hell hole, so all supplies are scarce, at least that’s the way I remember it from the newspaper articles).

        My point was more that you had to be very conservative with your ammunition as it could be quite challenging to come by anything other than the pistol ammo, especially at the start (and you also missed a lot due to the RPG stuff). I remember on repeated playthroughs having some stupid amount of ammo by the end because I hoarded everything being too afraid of running out.

        • jonfitt says:

          That’s true. I believe you’re right that he does give you your chosen ammo for free, just not a lot of it. You only buy weapons and ammo from random people hanging around on street corners :)
          You could argue that it’s the future and the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition only has an allotment of 10 bullets each, I guess!

      • amblingalong says:

        “So these are some incendiary shells I found in a dumpster”

        I take it you’re not American, given that you find that scenario absurd?

        • LionsPhil says:

          Are you telling me Borderlands 2 is realistic?

        • guygodbois00 says:

          I take it you’re not American either, given that you use the word “absurd” in sentence?

        • jonfitt says:

          I take it you’re not American because you think people would throw away good ammunition instead of STOCKPILING IT IN CASE THE GOVERNMENT TRIES TO TAKE IT AWAY!

  4. Horg says:

    Anna will congratulate you for being a killer if she killed any of the NSF forces in the court yard. Apparently the scripting isn’t set up to let her know it wasn’t you, only that there are corpses and you probably did it. I don’t think Paul chides you for anything Anna kills though. You can clear the court yard in a non lethal manner if you are careful. It’s hard to sneak in that section and hard to dart the NSF without them running off into Anna.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    Anna mentions you killed everyone because there are two ways to enter that fort: By sneaking around via the back entrance or by storming the front. If you non-lethally storm the front the game still triggers the “lethal responses”.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I believe this is correct. It’s one of the more disappointing triggers, much how how rescuing Paul is dependent on how you exit the ‘Ton. I’ll be surprised if mods don’t exist to make them more precise.

      • amblingalong says:

        I’d actually argue the Paul bit is the single most brilliant part of the game; most games would give you a PRESS X TO SAVE PAUL, PRESS Y TO ESCAPE prompt, but Deus Ex just does it thoughtfully; run away, knowing he’ll be left behind to face the incoming forces, or take them out before they kill him. I loved that part.

        • Philotic Symmetrist says:

          If I recall correctly (and I think this is the same point that LionsPhil is making) the problem is that if you stick around, take out all the incoming forces, thus saving him, but leave via the window then it counts as just leaving via the window in the first place. It took the situation away from ‘Press X to Escape, Press Y to Save Paul’ towards a more organic ‘to run away: run away; to save Paul: do the thing which is required for Paul to be saved’ then ended up with ‘use this door to Escape, use that door to Save Paul’. I think for this reason I ‘failed’ to save Paul when I first played through Deus Ex.

          • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

            Ah! This makes so much sense! I never realises you could save Paul because I always killed the incoming baddies but left by the window. Was only on like my 4th play through that he magically survived, astounding me once again. The way the rest of the game reacts to characters surviving and dying still hasn’t been bettered, I’d argue.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Yes, that. It’s a really unfortunate script trigger, but presumably one modders could change to “did you kill all the attackers?”

            (Another funny quirk of that situation is that Paul is invulnerable, as part of making sure you can’t kill essential characters. Which means you can “save” him by hiding in the cupboard while he wipes out the force that’s supposed to assassinate him.)

          • basilisk says:

            Dear Gentleman (and a Taffer), Alpha Protocol might like to have a word with you.

          • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

            Ooh good call basilisk. I never did finish that gane

          • basilisk says:

            You very much should; while Deus Ex gave us a mere *promise* of story reactivity achieved mostly with smoke, mirrors and several ingenious (if quite trivial) script triggers, Alpha Protocol picks up the baton and runs with it far beyond the horizon.

            It’s a bit of a chore to play, but the sheer volume of possible permutations of the story and dialogue is mind-blowing.

          • guygodbois00 says:

            Can you play Alpha Protocol non-lethal all the way? (genuine question)
            And, are the bugs straightened out by now?

          • basilisk says:

            You can, with the exception of the horribly unbalanced boss fights (which can be resolved in a non-lethal manner, but you need to deal some heavy damage first). Even if you go the non-lethal route, make sure to invest some skill points in pistols, because the boss fights are frustratingly hard in melee.

            I never found the game particularly buggy. It’s extremely clunky and very rough around the edges, but I have encountered maybe two or three serious bugs across three playthroughs (on two different machines).

    • Zwebbie says:

      There is a third way to enter the castle! You can stack crates and climb over the walls. To this day I don’t know if that was intended to be possible, but that’s the charm of Deus Ex for you.

  6. Asrafil says:

    I remember the subway hostages. I was stuck there, not knowing how to take all the NSF guys out. From a vent in the roof I could shoot tranq darts to a few of them, but 1 or 2 stayed out of sight. So I had the strange idea of trying a flare dart with the garbage bin, and surprise, it caught fire!
    Then all of the NSF guys were below me, looking at the spontaneous combusting trash and I shot tranq dart to each one. Situation solved! I felt really smart; and from there on out I knew I was playing something special.

  7. 2late2die says:

    More than ever now I wish somebody, well I guess Eidos Montreal, would redo the original. Kind of like the remastered games we’ve been seeing recently, a la Grim Fandango, Homeworld, etc. Of course the way the do it has to be closer to Homeworld than anything else. So not just cleaning up textures and properly implementing modern resolutions and UI scaling, but also updating textures, models and environments.

    In fact, if I can dream for a second, I’d love to see it done in a new engine (say the one they’re using for Mankind Divided) with everything but the soundtrack redone from pretty much scratch (and the soundtrack hopefully resampled at higher bitrate from original recordings). For purists there could be the “original” version with all new graphics, but everything else staying the same – UI, movement, combat, AI (sans the bugs of course). Personally though I wouldn’t mind tweaks to gameplay elements as well. E.g. movement – I think even without jumping enhancements JC should be able to climb onto a waist-high block; combat – more stealth options; AI, destructive environments, etc. Of course those types of changes would require extensive work, but like I said, a man can dream :)

    And here’s the thing, I think that game would sell like hotcakes, especially if they were to price it at ~$40.

    • Sweetz says:

      Homeworld remake makes sense because 15 years later, there’s still almost nothing out there that tries to duplicate an expand upon it’s exact type of gameplay.

      Grim Fandango remake (or at least mild updating) makes sense because it’s a brilliantly told and executed story that’s still worth experiencing – though *playing*, not so much…

      If you’re doing a ground up content remake, then the only thing you’re preserving is story and general settings – and I don’t think there’s anything so great or special about Deus Ex’s story that the effort that would go into a remake wouldn’t be better spent on an original game.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Grim Fandango remake makes sense because old CD copies didn’t install/work properly on modern PCs without mods. And the game wasn’t available through digital channels. And now we have PS4/Vita versions as well.

        • 2late2die says:

          Erm, did you miss the first, or the second part of this story? :) Yeah, it’s possible to install it, unlike GF, but damn if it’s not a huge hassle to actually get it to run properly. And let’s face it, chances are, by the time Windows 11 comes around, and even in Windows 10 (has anyone tested it?), it might not even be possible to run it at all. For my money, it is one of the games we absolutely must preserve for future generations. Because maybe not tomorrow, or maybe not next year, but someday, somebody will come around to the idea that nobody has ever done an expansive, cyberpunk-style conspiracy-based first-person RPG with rich quests, multiple solutions, deep characters and branching story before and they’ll be all like “ooooh look at our amazing game”. And then we must be able to say “been there done that, move along!” :D

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      I think the reason we don’t have many games that ape Deus Ex, let alone a straight remake, are because it is just impossible to capture all the branching narratives, environmental design, simulation level object interactions, etc in a modern engine. You’d need GTA V levels of budget and talent to do it justice. Just think, a modern HD upgrade of the DuClare’s mansion would basically be Gone Home. Now imagine replicating that level of detail across all those levels, plus all the content created that people just won’t see and hear on a single play through. It is the dream game really, but sadly one I doubt we will ever see. Deus Ex is as good as it is because of its engine limitations, not despite.

    • KenTWOu says:

      You’re asking a new game with enormous level of complexity, but setting $40 price for it. Yeah, a man can dream :)

      • 2late2die says:

        Well to be fair, high level of complexity yes, but not a lot of it is “new” complexity. All the writing has been done, dialogue, sounds and music recorded, quests worked out, layout done, etc., etc., etc. That stuff takes up a lot of time and work and they won’t have to do it. And if you think a $60 would make it a more realistic proposition sure – I’d still buy it, probably twice over :)

        I do realize it’s a bit of a pipe dream, but here’s the thing, before Gearbox bought the rights for it, anyone suggesting the kind of a remake they ended up making was also accused of pipe dreaming, and yet we now live in a world where that’s a reality. So why not this? Yes it’s a bigger investment than Homeworld because it’s a bigger game, but that’s not a reason, that’s an excuse.

        • KenTWOu says:

          But that stuff was made for an old engine, it could be obsolete when you will try to recreate/port the game on a modern one from Mankind Divided. Besides, you’re asking updating textures, models and environments. Just this stuff alone will create tons of troubles, because of the way modern games work.
          You know, in modern games (including DXHR) most of the level objects aren’t movable, because they baked them into environments, so all shadows and lights are precalculated. It allows them to create highly detailed realistic locations with beautiful indirect lighting and minimal performance impact.
          Meanwhile Deus Ex was made using old school simulation approach. When most of the objects were interactive, pickable and movable. At least you can pick up a chair or a houseplant and throw it. I’m pretty sure, it’s not possible to create a modern game with realistic aesthetics, high graphical fidelity and keep the same level of interactivity at the same time. Everything will be prebaked, so the game will be less interactive and immersive. Even highly systemic Dishonored with stylized visuals and atrocious texture resolutions was like that.

  8. fish99 says:

    Playing the game you personally already think is the best game ever isn’t going to tell you whether it’s the best game ever, it’s just going to reinforce your opinion. You need to play the games other people think are the best (and ideally when they were released not years later) and then you can make some meaningful comparisons.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      It’s a good thing everyone agrees that Deus Ex is the best game ever, then.

    • Damien Stark says:

      Except no, if you read the article above which you’re commenting on, you’d see that he’s already beginning to doubt.

      John is already finding things that he admits would have him harshly critiquing the game if it came out today. That strikes me as valuable perspective.

      We’re all aware that “best game ever” comes from subjective experiences, but I don’t think people realize how much of their enjoyment (not just in games, but books, movies, music, even real life events and activities) are driven by expectations.

      If a friend tells you “hey this game is the best ever!” then you go into it with really high expectations, and likely start to question his judgement every time you find an imperfection. Meanwhile, you’ll often find that most of your favorite games, movies, experiences are things you went into without any real expectations.

  9. frymaster says:

    I never had an issue with ammo, but to be fair I’m one of those _really_ _plodding_ people who took many, many hours to clear out the terrorists patrolling around the statue, then many more hours ascending through it…, exploring absolutely every room on the way

  10. kud13 says:

    John, I wrote this in the last post, several times: ditch the Steam version. GOG version of vanilla is running perfectly, on a clean install, on my 8 core CPU without speeding up.

    • cylentstorm says:

      Yep–GOG ftw, once again.

    • Continuity says:

      Whilst this may be perfectly true I actually haven’t had any problem running it vanilla on steam, aside from the no widescreen thing, which you get used to pretty quick.

  11. padger says:

    I have to admit: I have zero-inclination to replay this. I think I finished it twice. It’s pretty good, but there’s too much else to get through without going back.

    Would play again: System Shock 1. I know, such a hipster.

    • Damien Stark says:

      [Internet hug for you]

      I adored System Shock 1. It still baffles me that so many people gush about SS2 without mentioning the first one.

  12. Asurmen says:


  13. markside says:

    Stay our of ‘Ton, bro. Bad shit going down.

  14. nillenille says:

    I don’t know if it fixes anything, but for those who’ve tried everything: Here’s another alternative Deus Ex renderer: link to

  15. protorp says:

    Sooo, reading or Reading in the title of this article? Either way, I’m now imaging a cyberpunk game / film / novel set in the Thames valley…

  16. cylentstorm says:

    Yes, Deus Ex was awesome–for its time, which I’m afraid is long gone. That isn’t to say that one should not give it a shot–at least once, just to find out what all the talk was about. Granted, the game has not aged well and likely won’t carry the same impact that it did 15 years ago, but hey–people still play Quake, for fuck’s sake.

    Ignoring its many innovations and pioneering design, and taken upon its own merits within the context of modern gaming, Deus Ex–masterpiece of yesteryear–is a fugly, super-clunky fps-rpg hybrid with voice-acting and a script that would embarrass most B-list porno cast members. In other words: rough.

    That said, I still admire the game, and would LOVE to see a reboot–if done properly, of course.

    • Marclev says:

      “voice-acting and a script that would embarrass most B-list porno cast members.”

      A bomb!

      • cylentstorm says:

        Too much?

        • kament says:

          What a shame

          • cylentstorm says:

            Shame? There’s no shame in aging. It’s just that my shiny chromed memories of the original (with or without mods) tend to lose some of their lustre over the years (especially when faced with refined mechanics and spiffier bells and whistles.) Deus Ex set a bar for cyberpunk games and few (if any) of it’s mutated offspring have managed to surpass it in terms of scope or vision.

            That being said, I love Human Revolution, and can’t wait to check out Mankind Divided.

    • SominiTheCommenter says:

      “would LOVE to see a reboot”
      Well, there’s a sequel called Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines, and Invisible War isn’t too shabby too.

      • Farsi Murdle says:

        Bloodlines is a very different kind of game. It has pre-scripted solutions to quests (in the vein of its traditional RPG forebears), whereas Deus Ex’s hallmark is solving problems using available tools (as with all games in the Looking Glass tradition).

        Both good FPS-RPG hybrids, but different.

    • Farsi Murdle says:

      Ignoring its many innovations and pioneering design, and taken upon its own merits within the context of modern gaming,

      Given that modern gaming is literally shit in a cup, I’ll keep on playing Deus Ex then.

      • Dominus_Anulorum says:

        Oh come on, its not all bad. There are some good games out there :)

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means. Unless your local games shop has really been selling you poo in a mug and calling it a game.

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      Right, because the voice acting and scripting in modern gaming is so groundbreaking.

  17. Farsi Murdle says:

    I don’t understand how you got stuck in the vents. There’s like half a dozen grates, and they’re not all watched by NSF at all times.

    I don’t blame you for not thinking of the baton though. Games nowadays seem to prefer the Press A To Automatically Cinematically Takedown This Enemy With No Skill Required approach, so the concept of actually using a melee weapon ourselves — and having to aim it correctly even — has become foreign to us.

    • kament says:

      That is unlikely, considering games nowadays still require you to aim. A lot.

      And maybe it’s me, but I don’t remember any difficulties aiming a weapon – it was when that gave me trouble and not how.

      • ww says:

        For certain games, and in certain situations, yes. Otherwise, not so much.
        Farsi was referring to DXHR’s awful and stupid “press key for automatic takedown” followed by a shitty third-person animation which makes no sense whatsoever as opposed to actually sneaking up behind a moving NPC when other NPCs can’t see and batoning on the base of the neck. It’s quite clearly designed such that the prod has scarce ammo (but is easier to use) whereas the baton requires at least some semblance of forethought and planning to use.

        • Contrafibularity says:

          It’s one of my main gripes with HR, they butchered stealth and non-lethal all but completely by removing the baton and leaning in favour of making it a third person cover shooter. Watching the first takedown animation was traumatic enough, but the game forces stealth or non-lethal players to use takedowns all the fucking time, since it’s pretty much the only non-lethal tool at your disposal besides the stun gun. After the tenth or so takedown I just resorted to closing my eyes and muting the volume, and I’m not even kidding.

          I also find it hilarious that roughly half the takedown animations look like Adam is gleefully breaking someone’s spine or neck, which, apart from the fact that there shouldn’t be “takedowns” or third-person animation at all, meant that it took real effort not to fiercely hate the character I was playing with a vengeance.

          • kament says:

            non-lethal players to use takedowns all the fucking time, since it’s pretty much the only non-lethal tool at your disposal besides the stun gun

            They are not. And they require either items that are much more scarce than ammo for tranq rifle and stun gun, or at least twenty seconds (up to fifty at the base level) between each activation. I can assure you that sniping away with tranq rifle is much more practical – you can’t take out a sharpshooter on the other side of a hangar with a melee attack of any kind anyway, can you? – and takedowns are actually and I’d say obviously designed as a last resort.

        • kament says:

          My point is, the difference between (immersion-breaking and in a couple of cases game-breaking, granted) instant takedowns and batoning them in the base of a skull actually boils down to aiming in the last second. And it’s just not what stealth is about, because however stupid takedowns in HR are, you still absolutely have to “sneak behind a moving NPC when other NPCs can’t see” before pressing X to win. Like I said, it’s when (observing the guards and planning approach) that gave me trouble and not how (knocking them out).

  18. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    if I remember correctly. it’s not actually whether or not you kill or tranq the NSF with the vaccine by the docks that causes the game to think you went in guns blazing or not. It’s how you exit the area, how you complete the mission. Literally what areas you walk into. I seem to recall that if you find the Ambrosia in the basement and leave, that’s fine, but going upstairs and into the courtyard AT ALL causes Anna and the UNATCO troops to go into combat mode, and that changes it.

    Give me a minute, let me find the answer online, I recall some of the details…

    Hmm, I found this: “NOTE: If you’re going the non-lethal route, do not pick up bodies of unconscious NSF terrorists inside Castle Clinton (including the secret tunnels). The game will treat any body you picked up as dead, which will mean negative comments in UNATCO HQ later on. ”

    That’s apparently disputed, but here’s something that might help”
    link to

  19. gummybearsliveonthemoon says:

    A little bit more info: apparently the consensus is that UNATCO kills count as YOUR kills.
    link to

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Having just got past that mission on a current re-run, I can confirm this. Anyone Anna or the UNATCO troopers kill on that missions counts as being killed by you for dialogue purposes. Was a little miffed when I found that out, actually.

  20. Sweetz says:

    The answer to the title question is resolutely “No”. Seems there’s still a lot of blind nostalgia for the game judging by the first article’s comments. I was among those singing it’s praises when it was current, but I replayed when Human Revolution came out and the mechanical clunkiness of its gameplay, which was always there, is a lot less forgivable now.

    I personally find there’s only one game from the 90s-to-early-2000s game that I can play today and still enjoy nearly as much as I did back then: Homeworld – and that’s probably just because there’s been almost no iteration on it’s specific gameplay formula.

    • Chiller says:

      And to present the opposite side, the answer to the title question is resolutely “Yes”. This is a game which I’ve been playing almost every year since it came out, and with mods such as New Vision and good community support, it’s very easy to run properly on new systems. Plus there are some nice mods out there, including some which alter the base game balance in a wide range of ways but let the story intact, so it’s possible to experience it in whatever way you like best.

    • Farsi Murdle says:

      The most common criticism levelled at Deus Ex is that it’s “clunky”. And no one, ever, has explained what that means.

      Also, some of us have kept replaying the game over the past 15 years. The “rose-tinted glasses” argument doesn’t work.

      • KenTWOu says:

        For example, if a dead enemy has objects in his inventory you can’t take, because they don’t fit in your overfull inventory, you can’t take and move his dead body. If you drop an item from your inventory, nearby enemies register that as sound event even when they didn’t hear your own loud footsteps there. Enemies don’t detect you when you bump into them from behind. When you’re dealing with terminals and computers enemies can’t kill you, cameras can’t spot you either. Throwing a gas grenade is super awkward, because when you’re trying to finish off enemies after that, gas grenade stops working for a moment, and they’re starting to shoot at you. They even could kill you making a lethal headshot on highest difficulties. The same thing with the riot prod, its stun effect ends the moment you shoot the enemy. Save system doesn’t remember you crouch position. Deus Ex is full of clunky things like these which make Deus Ex stealth both frustrating and laughable.

        • Asurmen says:

          Pretty sure I can remember being killed while using a terminal and spotted by a camera.

          • KenTWOu says:

            Well, I’m 100% sure (like ‘I have savegame files’ sure) people, turrets and robots stop shooting at you, when you get to login window of security and computer terminals. And surveillance cameras don’t raise the alarm after that, even if they spot you before you opened a terminal, and will ignore you completely if you wait a little bit. Also security terminals have opening animation, it makes using of this exploit a little bit harder.

  21. masterstuffing says:

    With the older games like thief and deus ex the speed problem can generally be fixed in task manager under processes left click on the .exe file and set affinity to just one cpu. Idk you probably tried that.

  22. Dominus_Anulorum says:

    I always cringe a little when people start discussing Deus Ex. It seems to be one of those games where people just really cannot have a rational discussion. Some people will claim it has aged poorly, others will get upset and start listing all the reasons why Deus Ex is the best game of all time, and then another group will talk about how crappy modern gaming is and how it has digressed over the years. Why do we need to be so antagonistic? Some people like modern games and some don’t. Some people love Deus Ex and others do not. What’s the big deal?

    Note: I am not saying RPS has this tendency necessarily. Discussion tends to be pretty calm. This is more from personal experience elsewhere.

    • Harlander says:

      Well, those things still happen here, just at a more civil pitch. That’s an improvement, I guess.

    • kament says:

      Well, people tend to get a little excited when it comes to serious business. And Deus Ex, being an icon of gaming and all that (overrated or not is irrelevant), certainly is serious business.

    • Zekiel says:

      Isn’t this just because people value different things in games? And unfortunately we (myself included) don’t tend to announce what they particularly value; sometimes we don’t even realise that others don’t value them.

      So for some they value atmosphere – which might make them claim Bioshock is the best game ever. Others value freedom and having lots to do, so would value something like Skyrim or Fallout New Vegas. Others will value the actual responsiveness of gameplay (I don’t know what to list as an example here that won’t get shot down!).

      So if you like responsiveness and lots of options you’ll love Deus Ex. If you like trying “game” the system you’ll probably think it is unparalleled. But conversely if you want a slick shooter with good production values then you’ll probably be less keen on it. And I don’t mean that pejoratively – I think that’s a reasonable position to take. (e.g. Call of Juarez Gunslinger is a lovely game which has next to no freedom or choice, but is hugely fun)

      • Damien Stark says:

        That’s definitely part of it, but even if you try to approach it from that perspective – “Hey Deus Ex may be a bit clunky, but I value the story and the level design enough to overlook that clunkiness” – you get the people who love it jumping in to say “no you’re wrong it’s not even clunky”, like “Farsi Murdle” above.

  23. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    John, I’m going to have bit of a grumble now.

    If running the game becomes a chore again, could you please, please dismiss it with a short “running the game was a pain in the ass again, but I got it working”?
    Especially considering that you spent the ENTIRE last instalment describing your technical endevours.

    Because you, in my opinion, spent far, far too much time and too many words this time describing your technical hurdles.
    I want to read about you playing the game and how that feels, problems regarding getting the damn thing to run should not have taken up so much space.
    I do understand that you are caught in a bit of a dilemma in keeping the frequency of new instalments up; do you stay quiet and delay new articles because the goblins keep breaking your computer or do you instead try to give us new articles despite the fact that you barely got to play.

    So in the future, this goes to all RPS nodes:
    if you’re having problems getting the game to run, don’t wast words complaining about it.
    Tell us quickly that you got it running with this or that patch and some utility or other, and leave it at that.
    Ini files are just as dreary to read about as they are to edit.

    But you know, apart from that:
    Use the baton, John. The baton is your non-lethal friend.
    And keep the Deus Ex articles coming, I love reading about you actually playing it.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Excessive difficulties getting something to run ARE an important factor in how playing (or trying to play) makes you feel. Additionally, of course, he’s far from the only person having problems like that, and it’s always nice to have another place to find a solution. I had these EXACT problems about a fortnight ago, and had this article existed then I’d have solved them quite a bit quicker.

      I can’t help wondering why you’re bothered about it, honestly. Were the two minutes you spent reading through the “technically difficulties, please wait” part of the article really that overwhelmingly precious?

      • Premium User Badge

        Earl-Grey says:

        I had a big, steaming mug of tea and two buns covered in a thick layer of apricot and peach jam prepared as I sat down to reminisce about Deus Ex with John.

        And what do I get?

        I furiously sprayed every drop of tea across my dual monitor setup and smeared delicious jam all over the wall as I dropkicked the buns across the room in a fit of apocalyptic rage. I demand Deus Ex nostalgia, not ini files!

        On reflection it seems my original post makes it seem like a slightly bigger annoyance than it was, apologies.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          You gave me the first really great giggle of the day, this is good.

        • Zekiel says:

          Now I really wish I had some buns with apricot jam.

          (Also that was a very amusing response.)

      • Premium User Badge

        Earl-Grey says:

        Also I had very little trouble getting Deus Ex to run on both my Windows machine and my Maplleputer.

        • Premium User Badge

          Earl-Grey says:

          I wish there was an edit function around here.
          So I don’t see the problem. It really isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            You assumed that because you didn’t have trouble with something on two machines, it’s easy on all machines. This is not quite so good.

          • Premium User Badge

            Earl-Grey says:

            Shit, again I come of as an arse.
            Well, it was a bit of a hassle.

            Maybe reading about it triggered some unflattering loss of empathy?
            And combine that with a penchant for rambling on about whatever tangential peeve might be the irritation du jour, and you have …well, what I’m already knee deep in.

            I’ve fiddled so much with getting old shit working that the last thing I want to read about is others doing the same.
            Because it is truly the most dreary non-work related activity I do on a computer, and boy have I done a lot of it.
            So I must say that I do think that a short, precise description of how one got the game running would be better than a longer anecdote about how much of a hassle it is.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            You aren’t coming across as an arse, don’t worry about it. <3

            I do honestly see your point. Hopefully we'll be hearing more about how the actual game goes in the next instalment. Just wanted to make it clear that if you have an easy time getting it running it pretty much means you're lucky.(or you bought from GOG. Mine's an original disc)

            Didn't mean to come off as attacking you or anything, honest.

      • Premium User Badge

        gritz says:

        It’s important, but it’s not any fun to read about.

  24. rabbit says:

    A solution for every instance *I*’ve ever had of games running too fast like that is just to run fraps, not recording, in the background. Boot up fraps, have it limit to 30 / 60fps, play the game. And there ya have it.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      That’s the kind of awkward genius I love so much in pc anything. Like how anytime I play Xenonauts I have to run it once in fullscreen mode, then quit, then run it again in a window if I want it to recognize the correct resolution.

      • rabbit says:

        Ha! Very good!I think a lot of it will come from — now, I don’t know how old you are – I’m just 23 – but that’s plenty old enough to remember a time when it was hit and miss if a game would run on your computer at all. No obvious reasons why, no easy ability to report or check online for fixes, just ‘oh – this one doesn’t work. Maybe in 4 years when I get my next computer I’ll be able to play it.’
        And so we’ve had to develop the ability to try _every_ possible solution and then a couple of impossible solutions, just in case

        I wonder will that be lost in a generation or two.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          I’m 26 myself, but you pretty much hit the nail on the head. Whether buying or building, I’ve never had a rig work right first time, and I’ve had plenty of situations where games have failed to work with no apparent cause and the most baffling things have fixed it. Right now I’m on a fairly rusty old laptop with one of those abysmal integrated intel graphics things after my gaming rig bit the dust, so you can well imagine I’m having plenty of situations like that, heh.

          I was being sincere though, those sorts of weird little fix anecdotes are really interesting to me. I’d love to see a discussion of different people’s oddest bugs and/or fixes.

          • rabbit says:

            I knew you were being sincere :) And yep — you’re speaking to someone who had an intel extreme 4000 or something like that as his _only_ graphics card for probably 7 or 8 years.

    • Ravey says:

      The DX10 renderer should limit the framerate by default, but you need to close the game after the first run so the DX10 settings are saved in the ini file (just delete deusex.ini to start from scratch).

  25. Michael Anson says:

    For those of you who either have never played Deus Ex or just do not want to work on getting the game to run, allow me to recommend this fantastic LP of the game by Bobbin Threadbare: link to

    That LP not only covers every aspect of playing the game, including secrets and potential sequence breaking, it also covers parts of the game lore and the influences, inspirations, and lore of each game section in a segment at the end of each video, drawing from interviews from some of the devs, the Deus Ex bible, and extensive research. The information he provides goes a long way to displaying the sheer amount of care and craftsmanship that went into the game.

    • ww says:

      “Hey you! Don’t play the best game ever made, instead, watch a recording of someone playing it so you’ll never experience any of it yourself!”

      • Michael Anson says:

        Congratulations on entirely missing the point. The LP’s draw is in the lectures at the end of each video that take up between a quarter and a third of the play time. But then, you seem the kind of person that isn’t interested in the pursuit of knowledge, or furthering your appreciation of an excellent game by understanding all of the contexts surrounding it.

  26. ShadyGuy says:

    While playing Pillars of Eternity I realized I’m having problems with this as well. The numerous books that you can find in every bookcase that give stories, history and details of the gameworld stay unread or glanced over nowadays while in the past I used to devour every snippet of lore in a game. It’s a shame that i don’t have the patience for it anymore cause I recognize people have put a lot of work in this.

    • ShadyGuy says:

      Oops. I gues my citation didn’t work as I intended. I tried responding to this snippet of text from the article:

      My patience for consuming story through paragraph snippets has been chipped away at over the years. It’s tough to not just skip past them and get on with the mission, but each read reminds me how much they add to my understanding of the world.

  27. gbrading says:

    I must confess that the only way I’m able to play the game non-lethal is by cheating: God mode and then run around using the baton to whip everyone into unconsciousness. I adore Deus Ex but the act of playing it (shooting, moving, etc.) leaves a lot to be desired.

    • Contrafibularity says:

      …but why would you ruin it for yourself? Between augs, sneaking and leaning, the prod, baton, pepperspray, gas/emp grenades, hacking etc. there’s absolutely no need for cheats ever, unless you’re a really really impatient sort. DX has a really ENORMOUS possibility space and it’s up to the player to collapse that into how they choose to play. If you’re cheating you will miss out on the “immersive sim” aspect of DX almost entirely.

      I feel the opposite: most games fail because they have virtually no agency and everything is spelled out for the player. There’s no discovery, no freedom, no achievement, no fun when a game literally just tells you where to go and what to do, usually because there’s only one or maybe two ways of doing things.

  28. Contrafibularity says:

    I never had trouble with the subway level on any of my six or so playthroughs, barring a reload from savegame when things went horribly south and everyone starts shooting the first time I played (lesson learned). There are multiple entrances/exits from the vents, and this being a “hostage situation” tells the player to be very careful and mindful of everything (and obviously don’t go in through the boobytrapped stairway unless you just want everyone dead). It’s certainly not among the best designed bits of the game, but if you’re sneaky enough and know to explore the vent exits to get a picture of where all the NPCs are it’s certainly doable. I don’t understand how you’ve used up all your prod ammo up till this point since it’s scarce, unless maybe you felt the need to knock out almost every single NSF previously, which doesn’t make sense from a replaying standpoint since the only thing you’re doing is delivering them to a UNATCO torture dungeon to be slowly and painfully killed by a bunch of James Steele-esque psychos. Granted, there is absolutely ZERO room for error in the subway level, but if you’ve managed your resources and snuck past rather than prodded at least some enemies you should be able to use a gas grenade, prod and baton to pacify all the NSF without any deaths.

    Coming out from the building, Anna Navarre enthusiastically congratulated me on having been willing to kill… wait, what? I panicked. I killed someone? Who? I retraced my steps, checked every downed guard, and they were all labelled as “unconscious”. Was Anna just assuming I had to kill to do it?

    No this is either intended as such (Navarre assuming) or quite probably a bug or omission; as far as I’m aware, the game script unfortunately registers rendering people unconscious as “deaths”, unlike say Thief, so you’ll have to rely on headcanon for this.

    I look forward to the next article, though my last replay two years ago was very much a different and less problematic experience than you’ve had, to the point where I didn’t have any trouble reinstalling or using New Vision or setting widescreen resolutions, at all, and the dialogue cutting is something I’m just now hearing about (presumably because I simply set the game to use one core?). I still think the game looks and sounds very nice, the gameplay, atmosphere, world design and dialogue is just so strong, and the plot works so well, I couldn’t even care about the graphics if I wanted to.

  29. Quantomas says:

    It is a bit of a pity that you try your replay with the vanilla while the REVISION mod is just around the corner. They have embarked already on their final playtest before release. Maybe you could instead ask them for a copy?

    Besides, the GOG version is DRM free and perfectly stable on most machines. In contrast the Steam client may interfere with the install.

  30. Continuity says:

    Its true that there are some buggy spots in Deus Ex, but you have to remember this is before the days where games routinely got patches, usually a game would only get a patch if it was horribly broken on release, and not always even then.

  31. Fontan says:

    I started playing through Deus Ex for the first time, after getting it in the last cyberpunk sale on Steam, just before this series started and I’m reading along slowly as I’m not able to go through it as fast as John is. I’ve had a different experience from you at this point. I’m using only the D3D 10 fix as well.

    At first, Anne did congratulate me on killing, which I didn’t. Then I replayed it and never went up top, where a fight trigered between Anne and the NSF inside the Castle. That was what caused her to congratulate me on killing people, so she just hesitantly congratulated me on completing the mission.

    As for the subway, first of all I never did run out of ammo as I use the baton almost exclusively to knock out enemies. And I had better luck with the hostages as I could exit the grate behind them, talk to them and they immediately ran to the subway once I opened the door.

    I believe this may change on different playthroughs as I’m sure there are a lot of systems at play, but so far my reaction to the game has been nothing more than “damn, why didn’t I play this before!” and I’ll certainly keep going. Not going to read the rest of the entries until I do, though, as I managed to avoid spoilers for over a decade and don’t want to face them just as I decided to play.