Every few months myself and various friends will inevitably have the conversation about our favorite game of all time (insert booming voice and thunder) and in my case it has always been Deus Ex. Always. I even have a JC Denton-shaped birth mark that baffled my parents for years.
Anyhoo it always surprises me how many people haven't actually finished or even played it. Generally upon hearing that my said group of friends have not played Deus Ex, my vision becomes hazy and what follows is an unrestrained violent orgy of bloodletting, torture and rape. The red fog usually lifts, often during the 'pulling toenails off with pliers' part and I decide its about time to explain to the survivors why Deus Ex is a beautiful game and why they should love it like I do.
After this I eat their skin.
So for those soon-to-be-skinless of you who haven't played Deus Ex, it's essentially a first-person RPG with a conspiracy focused plot. Conspiracy being in large, concrete letters with big flashing lights. I'll get to the conspiracy part in a jiffy.
Some of my friends like to point out that Deus Ex has odd gameplay mechanics which seem a bit clumsy. These are generally the first to die in the aforementioned bloodletting. However on reflection they do have a point. The gameplay, notably the shooting, can appear somewhat dated when compared to modern games. This is largely due to the heavy skillpoint-based character development which means you can't shoot for sh*t if you're untrained in the relevant weapon skill.
Discussing that could take pages of eye-bleeding text however, so I'll just drop the advice that I give to my dwindling collection of friends: get the pistol, add a laser-sight and enjoy shooting people in the face.
So as I mentioned, conspiracy is what's being served to you in Deus Ex. A layered chocolate cake of conspiracy. Bad food metaphors aside, the intelligent layering of the story is what really draws you into the plot.
The game does have one large encompassing conspiracy, but it is realised through many tiers of discovery. It begins localised to your immediate environment, friends and comrades. As you unravel another layer of the story, your world expands. Now the conspiracy is further reaching and the power players earlier on are revealed to be pawns in a larger design.
Each piece of the plot is earned through your own actions, your own discovery and not just spoon-fed you in one large cinematic where you have no control. By the climax of the game all you've learned, even the small little snippets picked up in some seedy bar or hidden facility, pull together and you understand that everything has led to this point.
Hand in hand with the plot is ambiance. I'm not just speaking of ambiance in game, but out of game too. You know when you've got an awesome book, one that you think about even when you're not reading it and subtly effects your frame of mind? That's what Deus Ex is like. I'm not referring to some tragic obsession with conspiracy theories, but rather the general ambiance of your mindset.
Its difficult to explain, but hopefully you've read at least one good book in your life and understand what I mean.
I could go on, but I'm hoping some of you who read this decide to give the game a try between releases and I'd rather not ruin anything.
Okay one more thing: Walton Simons is fraking BAD ASS.