Have You Played… Deus Ex: Invisible War?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

We’d remember Deus Ex: Invisible War more fondly if it weren’t named Deus Ex, wouldn’t we? So let’s imagine that.

Released in 2003 by Ion Storm, Invisible War is a flawed but pretty fun FPS action-RPG, where we get to be a swanky cyborg larking about in that grim cyberpunk future.

Invisible War jaunts around the futureglobe, poking at conspiracies with a cyberstick. You can also beat things to death with this cyberstick, or blast them with cyberguns, or I suppose simply sneak past if you don’t like shooting in your FPSs? Invisible War gives you a fair bit of freedom to design a character that suits you, with no fixed classes but a selection of upgradeable ‘biomods’ that will let you run faster, jump higher, hit harder, launch helper drones, and even turn invisible. Heck, you can get through a few bits simply by chatting. It’s big on hub areas, friendly places to explore and soak in the cyberatmosphere.

I did enjoy my approach of mostly sneaking, hacking, and knocking people out.

However, Invisible War has a few major problems. Firstly, as handy as it is to share ammo across all guns (no hoarding for boss battles), it’s balanced poorly and using the big fun guns will quickly leave you unable to shoot anything. Secondly, levels are really quite small, split into segments so you’ll spend a fair while staring at a loading screen. And the AI is pants. And shooting doesn’t have that pleasant a shooty feel.

With those fixed, I think it could’ve been pretty interesting. It’s a shame it never received a sequel, as I’d have liked to see what the devs did next. Sadly, Ion Storm closed a year later, and Invisible War sunk into history.

71 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    I never got around to it, not because it was a bad game, but simply because the incredibly buggy engine (that shut down and rebooted every time a level was loaded, amongst other things) was causing me a massive amount of frustration on every computer I have played it on.

    • Risingson says:

      Yes, this. It also felt claustrophobic and the loading times are still ridiculous.

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      alison says:

      So much this. I love the original Deus Ex – it’s probably my favorite game of all time – and after playing Deus Ex: The Fall and realizing it was a far more entertaining game than Steam reviewers let on, i decided to give this one a try. And i couldn’t. I couldn’t even get past the first level without it crashing to the desktop repeatedly. I tried an insane number of tweaks and driver hacks and patched executables and nothing would fix it. I’ve never bought a game so utterly broken. How this ever got through testing on PC is a complete mystery to me.

      • Distec says:

        Well, if your first play of IW was after The Fall, you need to account that this was released about a decade ago. I imagine there are various issues with modern machines.

        Not that it was some pinnacle of technical excellence at its time. The engine was horrendously optimized and even today the load times take far longer than they should. That said, I don’t recall any show-stopping errors the last time I ran through it on a Win7 machine.

        • Unclepauly says:

          None here either, I’m on the fifth level with zero ctd’s. I even modded it with the widescreen high res mod and some mod that improves teh grafix.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I believe that was to work around a memory leak they couldn’t track down, which is pretty much the last act of desperation for “oh god, everything is broken”. It plays merry hell with anything that cares about the lifespan of the game process, like the Steam overlay, or its hours-played tracking.

      Funny thing is, the way available memory has balooned since then, some adaquately-motivated modder could probably monkey-patch the thing to disable it and just let it leak freely, and it’d run better on modern machines as a result (…then find all the bugs where stuff doesn’t get reinitialized properly on reloads and map transitions that were covered up by the restarts).

      • Borodin says:

        “some adaquately-motivated modder could probably monkey-patch the thing” You clearly have no idea what monkey patching is

    • Muzman says:

      I’ve had a pretty good run on a win 7 machine (despite it never cracking 60fps consistently even today). But when I told this to people they installed it and it wouldn’t run. I tried a new install and got the same result. So how the hell does my other copy run ok?
      What’s different about it is that it was copied holus bolus from its old home on my XP machine. I have scoured the folders and registry for differences and found nothing (although I’m not claiming exhaustion here). The XP copy works, the fresh install does not.
      Throw it in the pile for this game.

      The running copy does run pretty good though. Stable at least.

      • Geebs says:

        Did you do the “disable all but one processor” thing?

        Invisible War and Threef both run well in Wine wrappers, so that’s also an option.

        • Muzman says:

          Couldn’t say off hand. It was a while ago. That sounds familiar though.
          I don’t remember having to do anything to get the copy moved over from XP to run though. Which is fascinating.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Dorga says:

    I was ten when this came out and I absolutely loved i; I already knew more refined games thanks to my older brother, but this was in italian so i could plau

  3. Gammro says:

    This was actually my first encounter with the Deus Ex games. I almost finished it, as I couldn’t beat the final part as a kid. I have to say I enjoyed it back then.

    Only afterwards I came across the original, which got played even more because it was just so much better.

  4. Scumbag says:

    This game was a valuable lesson to younger me.

    If a game is coming out that is a sequel to something you like / love, don’t get hyped.

  5. Alexander-X says:

    Finished at least two times, loved it. Not as strong and ambitious as the original, still immersive enough. Would play it again.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    Totally agree, Alice. Yes, this game was very much of the Dark Times when console development resulted in terribly compromised PC games (the tiny levels in this; the inexplicable insta-death water in Thief 3). But take way the Immersive Sim legacy and this was still a really interesting game; cool places to explore, distinct ideas, some really nifty sidequests. It’s not perfect but there’s also nothing else quite like it.

  7. naetharu says:

    I recall going and buying a brand new video card just so I could play this the week it came out. It was a pretty wonky game right from the start but it had some beautiful environments.

  8. Sardonic says:

    “We’d remember Deus Ex: Invisible War more fondly if it weren’t named Deus Ex, wouldn’t we? So let’s imagine that.”

    Strongly disagree, I hated the interface, the universal ammo situation, and the level design. The game had potential, but those things kept me from enjoying it, even on its own merits.

  9. MrRoivas says:

    I must firmly disagree. This game was pants.

    Errant Signal has a good video summing up the awful and broken mess that is Invisible War:

  10. JakeOfRavenclaw says:

    A good game that really suffers if you try to play it right after the original DX. I think it’s been long enough now that I might go back to it again. Some random thoughts:

    — While I like Adam Jensen, I was kinda hoping that Invisible War would let us choose the protagonist’s gender again. That’s something I really appreciated about Invisible War.

    — Invisible War is the only major commercially released game I can think of in which it is possible to shoot up a school. (Though you could kill children in the first DX too, I believe). Hard to imagine that flying in a AAA game today (which I’m perfectly okay with, to be honest. Ever more realistic graphics make it a lot harder to stomach that kind of thing, for me at least).

    — The physics in this game are enjoyably wacky. I loved being able to hide corpses by throwing them clear out of the level.

    — While it’s not as good as the first game, I really did enjoy some of the story stuff they did in IW. That hologram dancer in the bars that secretly collects information on everyone has always stuck in my memory, as has the fact that some of the anti-Illuminati characters from the previous DX show up as leaders in the very organizations they once fought against.

    — Has there been a “Have You Played…” for Project Snowblind yet? It was originally conceived as an action-focused DX spin-off, and you can definitely see the Invisible War influences. Not a great game by most standards, but it did features some alternate paths that allowed for sneaky approaches, and the weapons were great (that cluster-bomb shotgun!), and it pulled off some big war sequences pretty well. Worth checking out if you share my fondness for B-tier shooters.

    • JakeOfRavenclaw says:

      Aaaaand that first bit should read “I was kinda hoping that *Mankind Divided* would let us choose the protagonist’s gender again.” Love you, RPS, but your commenting system is a huge piece of shit.

    • zxcasdqwecat says:

      Crysis is a better project snowblind than project snowblind itself

    • LionsPhil says:

      Invisible War tried very, very hard to avoid invulnerable characters, unlike the first game, and many other FPSRPGs. In some regards its really quite refreshing. In other regards it leaves you wondering how, in the no-weapon zones, some guy in a booth is broadcasting a code to stop your crowbar from being able to be swung, and why nobody would abuse this in combat.

      (Way back when in a demo I did manage to get an active spiderbot into a no-weapon zone and got people to tap-dance on it while throwing barrels at their heads to see if I could provoke a fight, but sadly no dice. The original it isn’t.)

      The biggest let-down with doing an everybody-dies playthrough (which I do recommend as a second run, if only to see the game twist and contort to leave you a completable way forward) of the acadamy is that when you confront the local Big Bad who wanted to do the same thing, the protagonist still calls them a monster.

    • aoanla says:

      Yeah, I think Invisible War did do a lot of things which were interesting, including the things you noted (and some improvements over the original DX in, for example, actually recognising the difference between killing and KOing people, for plot and stats purposes). Sadly, the tiny levels, unstable engine and universal ammo all detract rather from the things it did do well.
      (My tuppence on the universal ammo is that it would’ve been acceptable, or even interesting, if they’d had two kinds – “physical” and “energy” – which would’ve let you have, say, a backup weapon using the other ammo type to your favourite weapon, or tradeoffs with really powerful items using both.)

      • JakeOfRavenclaw says:

        Oh yeah, the universal ammo was not a good choice at all. I’m usually pretty reluctant to invoke “consolization” as an explanation for a game’s flaws, but if there was ever a case where the shoe fits, it would be Invisible War. Still, there’s enough genuinely good stuff in there that I can’t get behind writing it off entirely.

  11. Troubletcat says:

    I think if Invisible War hadn’t been named Deus Ex, I never would’ve played it. Everything about the game design is backwards. Obtuse. It looked pretty decent at the time. Aside from that… I don’t think I would’ve cared.

    And as it stands? It took a game 10-year old me stayed up way past his bedtime playing without my parents approval because it was just so damn good and turned it into something that I had to force myself to try and like.

    Fuck Invisible War, I think is what I’m trying to say.

  12. Stardog says:

    This game was the advent of the consolization of PC games. They all jumped over to the Xbox and sucked because of it.

    Big budget, PC-only, single-player games died.

    RIP.

  13. Det. Bullock says:

    Unfortunately yes, at least it was a budget edition that came with a magazine so I didn’t pay full price.

  14. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Yeah fun little game, flawed but undeserving of all the hate it got only for being the next Deus EX title.
    As just some cyberpunk dystopian game it’s not half bad.

  15. ansionnach says:

    I have it and Daikatana on gog as they snook in along with some other undesired games in a package. Might look at them some day, might not.

  16. DingDongDaddio says:

    This game blew me away when I was younger. It was the first game I can remember that pushed the physics engine and let you really have fun with it. I remember spending an hour or more just in the first apartment area because it was too much fun tossing around basketballs and chucking corpses around.

  17. LionsPhil says:

    For all its myriad faults, Invisible War is better than the modern Human Revolution reboots and I will

    LOADING

    fight anyone who says otherwise.

    • Halk says:

      I honestly don’t understand the massive difference in perception between IW and HR.

      For me they were both kind of okay games, but neither of them was great. They are more or less on the same level of quality for me. A level much lower than that of DX of course.

      When people bash IW while praising HR I cannot help suspect that they just really WANT to believe that HR was good.

  18. montorsi says:

    Oh yeah, I remember shoebox simulator.

  19. Muzman says:

    Yes, probably a little too much (which I will actually finish before the new one comes out).

    It’s simultaneously a terrible game with a tragic production and a game I’ve had a good time playing and whose story and themes have stuck with me perhaps more than any other.
    On its small list of plusses has to be that the game was one of the few true sequels in video games. By that I mean it took a lot of lofty themes that had been laid down for it and actually grappled with them, rather than simply being ‘the continuing adventures of..’ and repeating essentially the same stories and plot arcs with bigger stuff.
    It’s true it doesn’t necessarily do a great job of telling this story at times. but it does dare to be bold and controversial in its conclusions to all the archetypal and speculative politics the series engages in.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Yes; it took a difficult place to continue from, and made a serious effort to actually do so, and build narratively upon the consequences and scope for new choices.

  20. ariston says:

    DE:IW didn’t deserve all the flak it got. First off, there are worthier targets out there. Second, it was a shooter with brains at a time when shooters with brains were hard to come by, and even if the shooter mechanics weren’t perfect (Fallout, anyone?), the AI dodgy, and the levels cramped, it had an intriguing story and some nice set pieces. I found it to be pretty involving, and I enjoyed both of my play-throughs.

    • Paul B says:

      Well no other than Kieron Gillen gave it 92% in PC Gamer Magazine, so it can’t be all bad:
      link to rockpapershotgun.com

    • LionsPhil says:

      It shipped badly broken, still is, stabbed through its core with bad design decisions and the impact of awful technology.

      Remember that Deus Ex 1 is often mocked for its boxy architecture. DX2 has parts where DX1 maps are remade—and they are more spartan and simplified than the original (Maggie Chow’s apartment, in particular). They are carved up and made smaller. DX’s Liberty Island starting point has to be chopped up by ridiculous ice walls to fit within the sequel’s limitations, and the plot has to bend to handwave how this happened.

      Getting it heavily discounted, years later, seeing the immersive sim continue to be the rare outlying gem, seeing the godawful prequels, puts it in a better light, and it is worth muddling through in my opinion. But it absolutely deserved the roasting it got on release, for people buying it new, and for dropping the ball so hard.

  21. Infinitron says:

    Besides all the obvious flaws, what sticks out about this game is its storyline and setting, that were condescendingly childish in an Ultima IX: Ascension kind of way.

    No, a Deus Ex game should NOT start in an academy with a jock and a bimbo stereotype, and its world should not have organizations called “The Order” and “The WTO”. It’s like Conspiracy Theories 4 Kidz or something.

    • Chiron says:

      In all fairness, the original was Conspiracy Theories: For angry teens.

      I mean they even managed to wrangle fucking Roswell in to the mish mash of various conspiracies

    • Muzman says:

      You do start one with a gruff hardman supersoldier in a trench coat and sunnies at night though (with a crochety police captain boss and some German and Eastern european ‘old school’ authoritarian types) .
      Hardly genre busting stuff.

      And while unification of religion seems a bit far fetched these days, I thought the enclave system made a lot of sense as an idea of how our world with its technology recovers from a global economic collapse. Networked city states, in other words. Interesting at least.
      The whole Illuminati balderdash is pretty hard to swallow in the first place. But we give it a pass.
      (in general I think the whole ‘grand conspiracy’ … thing is a massive millstone around the neck of this series’ stories that should have been dropped at the first opportunity. Or at least thoroughly deconstructed).

      • Infinitron says:

        Stereotypes aren’t a problem. The problem is that they were the wrong stereotypes.

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:

      This right here.

      You can talk up all the game’s obvious flaws, but the thing that stands out the most is the obnoxious tone of the writing. It gels poorly with the claustrophobic level design to feel like the stakes are as low as humanly possible.

  22. Unclepauly says:

    There’s a few mods that get rid of the annoying problems with the game. One is a mod that improves the way ammo works. There’s another mod that improves teh graphics and adds support for widescreen resolutions. I think there’s a mod that improves the AI as well, and finally, a mod that connects the areas so you don’t have to load every few blocks. Also install it to an SSD so the loads you still have to sit through are over in 2 seconds.

    • Warped655 says:

      Could you point me in the direction of these mods? All I could find was a HD texture mod.

      I played the first level of the game and quit. Maybe if I get some fixes to the gameplay I’ll be able to enjoy it and complete it.

  23. Chiron says:

    Awful game, dull setup, even worse gameplay, with “hidden areas” just a millimetre away from the standard route and a loading screen every other step.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Gnarl says:

    Still my favourite of the three, possibly because I came to it first. The greater sci-finess of it, like trying to run with universal ammo and have the most consistent relationship be with a pop singer’s AI, is probably the lasting appeal.

    I’d take the Nameless mod over all three though.

  25. E_FD says:

    One of the few things I considered a big step up about this game over the original was that you could kill ANYONE you met face to face. No arbitrarily invincible characters.

    They did a fair amount of awkwardly sidestepping this by having major plot characters talk to you via holoprojections or in weapon-restricted locations, but it was still fun to discover that you could kill some fairly important recurring characters early on, and the story would accommodate it.

  26. Mansen says:

    Never again – Arguably one of the worst engines I have ever had the misfortune to fiddle with. Even with a modern machine, you’ll be entirely unable to get basic things like widescreen, or high resolution texture packs.

    Oh and the savegame loading is SO slow, even on aforementioned modern machines.

  27. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I played it when it was new, and I really liked it. Its problems didn’t really bother me, and I enjoyed to explore its cyberpunk world and talk to its characters. I even replayed it years later, and still liked it.

  28. Sin Vega says:

    This one was a lot better than the outraged liked to make out at the time, but yeah, definitely had its problems.

    It’s the weakest in the series, but oddly it did feature by far the best subplot in the entire series, and one of my favourite from any game. NG Resonance, the pop mega-star, who had kiosks dotted around the world where she could have in-depth conversations with her fans. Raised and played with some really interesting questions and themes, both technological and social/ethical. And it had a few laughs, too.

  29. ikazrima says:

    I played this first, then after several years later played the original.

    It CTD all the time when progressing to the next scene, but I thought that was because I was running the game way below the requirement specs and using 3D Analyzer.

    Nevertheless, I finished and enjoyed for what it is. And it surprised me that Deus Ex was multiple times better.

  30. Oduglingen says:

    Never played it, but I do listen to the soundtrack from time to time which I can’t say about many games I’ve never played. Favourite track: [youtube link to youtube.com

    • Amazon_warrior says:

      It wasn’t just me that did that, then? Although now you’ve reminded me that I love that soundtrack and I seem to have lost it in one of my multifarious drive/PC changes. :(

  31. Snargelfargen says:

    Bugs and horrendous loading times aside, (loading was especially atrocious on an XBOX) the game started out pretty well. Gradually it degraded, as quest hubs became more formulaic and assets were stripped down, right up to the final level which took a location from the original Deus Ex and managed somehow how to make it look crappier in every way.

    It’s a study in a game studio’s dwindling funds, crunch time and the crushed dreams of developers.

  32. CelticPixel says:

    I played this before the original Deus Ex and didn’t follow gaming news at the time so didn’t have any preconceptions going in, and I thought it was brilliant. It was the first game I ever played where you had to make big decisions without really being sure who the good and bad guys were and that was a revelatory experience for me in games at the time.

  33. poliovaccine says:

    Not at all surprised by this assessment. Gamers are some of the most vitriolic, presumptuous, demanding, entitled, irritable, and dyspeptic “fans” in any industry. Gamers are always throwing stuff at devs and publishers like, “These bugs are unacceptable! You idiots should have delayed release if the damn thing wasn’t ready for the masses!” followed immediately after by, “What?? DELAY IN RELEASE?!? You child-beating, Nazi-sympathizing cannibals have just lost MY business!” And, tapping into that surging underground ocean of stored and celled power/impotent hate more than any other element of gaming, is the notion of preconception…

    Gamers’ preconceptions have both unfairly doomed “actually pretty worthy” games, as well as having wrongly lionized some “highly anticipated” garbage. Generally, the sense of pride is so strong in the more sophomoric pockets of the gaming community (which are also, of course, the more vocal) that people won’t really be ready to admit their mistakes of judgment either until a number of years has gone by, or someone in prominence (a reviewer, say, who can be lambasted for a gamer’s own misjudgments by proxy, to spare that gamer the pain of self-examination) has made the same admissions first.

    Great case in point: Half Life 2 was unquestionably (by penalty of catapult…) the “greatest FPS of past present or future” – that is, until the recent RPS article revisiting the now-aged game, which gives rise to a comments section full of people who’ve also, simultaneously, had this very same revelation just about the same time today! It takes the first one to say “The emperor has no clothes,” but that first one needs to carry some weight/bear some prominence in the gaming community for their assertion to be even momentarily considered (rather than simply getting them burned at the stake for blasphemy). Then, after that first little hairline crack starts tracing thru the structure…. the deluge. The illusion crumbles. Turns out Half Life 2 isn’t the best FPS game ever… it was just the best one ever in 2004. There, now that wasn’t so bad, was it? With the truth out in the light like that, doesn’t all that rabid praise, and all that mindless defense, start to seem just a little bit silly?

    DX:IW absolutely suffered by the expectations upon it. It also suffered from trying to please people in their expectations of a big sequel – when in truth, people are always full of “oh, wouldn’t it be cool ifs!” but, for one thing, those aren’t always very roundly considered for how they’d affect gameplay overall, and for another thing, quite frankly, a surprising amount of times, *people don’t really KNOW what they want.* Sometimes you can sorely disappoint people by giving them precisely what they asked for – with no less and no more.

    I’m glad to see Invisible War getting some of its tar-and-feathers scrubbed off, albeit it being essentially a posthumous honor. And I’m glad to see Half Life 2 zealotry readjusted in the light of reality, and the new day, so that other games can start to really draw *useful* lessons from such fare, rather than blinding themselves to potential improvements behind the glare of the nostalgia-plated chrome, which will just keep happening so long as they keep buffing it.

    I’m a huge Thief fan, have been since The Dark Project, which was my first FPS before even Half Life. I love TDP, I love The Metal Age, I absolutely CHERISH Deadly Shadows, and The Dark Mod was like mana from heaven when I first discovered it (by googling for a new stealth game to give me my Thief-fix, no less! talk about a good find!)…. but yknow what? I actually REALLY LIKE the 2014 Square Enix reboot! I love the tactile feeling of movement, I love the environments, and I didn’t really recognize many of the big complaints about it – or if I did, I wondered why those same issues, to the same or even greater degrees, weren’t so much as mentioned in titles which were more universally well-loved at the same time. I only wondered so much, though, because bias explains a lot. And eventually I saw the early-info interview which quotes a number of troubling things about the reboot from a Square Enix rep, which made people understandably wary of the project from then on. But I’d never been exposed to the hype – or the counter-hype – before actually playing the game. And as a Thief fan, I found plenty to like! It seems like Thief 2014 was unfairly cut down, while Thief 3 was great for its time and well-loved then because of that, and yet the affection it receives from fans is out of proportion with how it’s aged. This from me, someone who actually saved up to buy a new gfx card when I took home my copy of Thief 3 and found my machine couldn’t run it! Sure, I could have returned it and found something else to play, but playing Thief games or games like them was the whole point of playing games at all, to me. I’m saying, I quite love that franchise. And I don’t understand when I see people say the only folks who’ll enjoy the 2014 reboot are those who never played the earlier games… I just can’t wrap my head around that notion.

    While I’m annoying people here, I’ll mention I even like Watch Dogs quite a bit. The story’s not great and the protagonist is a shmuck, but try and assert to me that the bulk of any game heroes are at all different and your assertion will fall on deaf, or at least unsympathetic, ears. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you can’t tell me Aiden Pearce is a jerk with no fashion sense and cheesy dialogue, but then tell me that MAX PAYNE is an example to follow! But Watch Dogs is another one which seemed a victim of its own hype – people anticipated something different than what they got, and while what they got seems like a damned fun game to me, it also wasn’t failing to meet any of my (preconceived) expectations. I think a similar thing happened with Dead Island – an enjoyable enough RPG-lite zombie romp thru a tropical open world, but the trailers made people think it was some kind of Walking Dead level drama… which wasn’t the case, and so they bashed it for being too arcadey and so forth – when in fact, as an arcadey type of action game, it’s one of the best in recent years. I saw it once compared loosely to Fallout 3 with zombies, and I favor that comparison. But if you’re looking for a “The Last of Us” style tearjerker in it, yeah, obviously it’ll let you down.

    I’m sure there are more I could think of, games which fell victim to hype or fans’ expectations being off the mark moreso than the actual gameplay. But for now, I’ve already reminded myself of enough awesome games that I’m off to go play! I think I’ll boot up some Watch Dogs multiplayer in fact. RPS posted a “Have You Played..?” about Watch Dogs, basically being slightly apologetic for a harsh evaluation of it, on the merits of its multiplayer function being actually quite good. I think that’s also where you’ll find the “hacking moments” people were envisioning before the game came out – and the lack or simplicity of which seemed to disappoint after launch. People complain that hacking is just a single button held down, but if it wasn’t, you couldn’t very well target the traffic lights or road blockers while driving and being chased by police. And if hacking was any more complex, i.e. some kind of minigame, honestly it would be too much for how much you’d be doing it in this game. An example of people not really knowing what they want.

    I tend to avoid hype in general if I am actually interested in a game… can you imagine if Metal Gear Solid V turned out to be a letdown? My god, the heartbreak, the tragedy, the wasted paper spent on magazine pages! And you’ll notice, while the consensus is clearly that it’s a great game, that its greatness was basically *already decided* by the time the reviews appeared. On the off-chance it was a letdown after launch, I tried not to let myself get too excited before the first actual review. Look at all the crap Fallout 4 had people pre-ordering, based purely on hype! And oh, how’d the actual game turn out, by the way? Not bad, sure, quite good even… but I think it’s obvious people felt they’d gone a little overboard with the hype orgy.

    It must be so annoying to be someone like the devs on Invisible War or Watch Dogs, knowing you’ve made a perfectly good game with things in it people want, as well as originality, and yet also knowing that your game isn’t getting as popular as you’d expected because people have ruined it for *themselves.*

    Liking games like Invisible War is like hanging out with the “dorky” girl in your class who you’re supposed to make fun of with everyone else, but in fact she’s actually more interesting and fun to hang out with than your so-called friends, and it turns out she’s actually really foxy when she takes off her glasses and lets her hair down..! Especially her multiplayer and time challenge modes, whoo baby….!

  34. malkav11 says:

    I liked Invisible War better than Deus Ex, at the time. In hindsight, the original game was far more ambitious and densely packed full of easily missed content in a way that seems doomed to go unreplicated by today’s more expensive, budget conscious development processes. But it was also punishingly difficult if you didn’t know how to approach it, and especially if you weren’t particularly good at shooters, and the character development never felt especially rewarding to me. Invisible War was much more approachable and the systems felt much more “RPG” to me, between the augmentations and the weapon modding you could do (both of which were in Deus Ex, of course, but they were more granular and felt less meaningful as upgrades). And while the universal ammo certainly had flaws, it also meant that I wasn’t avoiding using the fun weapons just because they rarely gave me ammo for them and there was no point in carrying them around until I got some.

  35. freeze says:

    I enjoyed this game and have replayed it a few times, probably because it just gets easier and you can complete the game using just a baton. I think the story is great and at least on par with the first one.

    I don’t know what went wrong exactly with this one but they seemed to dumb it down a lot, I assume for console version (was there one?). I usually play as the female character which has the least realistic face in gaming history!

    Towards the end of the game you can use cloak and walk past all boss fights and pick the same ending every time; benevolent AI turns everyone into democratic borg :)

    • BisonHero says:

      The console version was the primary version, in the sense that the memory limitations of the original Xbox are why all of the levels in Invisible War are tiny and load screens are everywhere, and probably also the reason why even the “outside” areas feel like corridors, because the devs probably wanted to avoid a long draw distance given they were already hitting hardware limitations. Deus Ex 1 was a PC game first and foremost, and later got a console port, but that was right around the time that many PC shooter devs started making console FPS games instead because that’s where the money was, so Invisible War ended up being an Xbox game.

  36. waltC says:

    I loathed DE:IW with a passion bordering on malice and mayhem…;) It was a console port–and man did it ever stink on the PC. (It was a huge bugfest–not to mention the awful console UI on top of that.) The only reason the original game has stood the test of time as well as it has (with the help of a few mods) is precisely because it wasn’t what IW was: it was never a horrid little console port. That was a long time ago and I think my chief angst came because of the fact that it was so different from the first game–and the differences were all about accommodating that lesser creature: the slimy, gooey game console.

  37. PancakeWizard says:

    For all the reports of it being a buggy mess, I actually had serious issues with Deus Ex that I just kind of powered through because the game was fun. The reviews and the box art were enough for me to decide to give IW a miss.

  38. BisonHero says:

    Even if Invisible War were not named Deus Ex and were a game made by some other random company, because of the cyberpunk aesthetic and player ability customization, it would compare unfavourably to Deus Ex 1; that first game just has better level design that actually feels close to a real place, better player customization, better alternate solutions for a variety of quests and missions. Even if Deus Ex 1 never existed, then Invisible War compares poorly to other sci-fi stealth games on consoles; both Metal Gear Solid 2 and Splinter Cell came out 1-2 years before Invisible War, and had better level design, better AI, and better visuals. It’s just laughable how bad of a game Invisible War is, where all of its “outside, downtown metropolitan areas” look suspiciously like inside corridors because the memory limitations were so bad. It’s an abysmal game in just about any context, whether it were related to the Deus Ex series or not.

  39. twaitsfan says:

    Yeah, I played it, and it sucked.

    An endless stream of recommendations; Invisible War, really? Have you played Daikatana?

  40. kosch says:

    This is how I found out about the band KidneyThieves who did the music for the in-game pop-star (NG-Resonance) and the lead singer of the band, Free Dominguez supplied the voice over work for the character NG-Resonance.

    Aaah Taxicab Messiah golden days!

    • Distec says:

      It’s actually pretty good, even though I’ve long since stopped listening to Garbage-esque music.

  41. gbrading says:

    I wish I could say more positive stuff about Invisible War, but there isn’t much. I think the storyline was relatively interesting as were the characters, and the factions involved in the game. However, playing it was a real chore. The environments felt tiny, the universal ammo pool was stupid, the inventory was clunky, and it just didn’t feel like a DX game, despite being arguably the most morally ambiguous of them all (there were no “bad guys” in the game).