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.