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Reviewed: Deus Ex: Invisible War
Author: Michael Ahlf       Date: January 4th, 2004
Page: 2

The first round of simplifications made in DX:IW's setup is the inventory. Instead of a set number of blocks, and time spent shifting items around, you simply have twelve slots for items of any size to go into. Stackable items, like multitools, can all exist in one slot -- but if you want to carry every weapon in the game, expect to have to dump some puzzle-solving resources.

The weapon mod system is likewise reduced. Where before it added range, stability, and recoil dampening, now it adds specific effects like EMP damage or glass elimination. And there are weapon mods all over the place; before the game was done, I had six weapons, all fully modified (each gun can only take two mods).

As for the RPG-style character advancement... experience points are gone. Instead, old skills are rolled into the biomodification system. At first I didn't like this, but then I took another look. The biomodification system has only five slots, and three possible skills. The old system had two choices each. Effectively, they've made the character more customizable as well as making the player take some hard choices about how to advance, which is why I like. Oh, and don't worry if you decide to change -- scrounge around, and there are enough biomod canisters to retrain at least half your mods fully.

Gone too is the "pause and wait" aiming system, where being able to hit correctly while strafing was less than certain, and the weapon mastery side of advancement. The reasoning? Your character has Special Ops training. For him to not know these guns is silly.

But that's the mechanical part of the engine. The real, fun part of the engine comes in character interaction, and there are characters all over the place to mess with. There's the Order, a world universal church. The World Trade Organization, which has become its own form of world government dedicated to a smooth-running economy. There's the two coffee chains Pequod's and Queequeg's butting heads. There's the Knights Templar, determined to eliminate all biomodification, and their arch-enemies, the Omar, who hand out the black-market biomod canisters you may want to acquire. Then there's NG Resonance, who may be just a hologram representation of a prissy, stuck-up pop star... or may be more.

Right in the first level, you can make alliances, enemies, and start causing different factions to see you negatively -- OR, alternatively, you can switch sides, playing each off each other. Instead of multiple paths through one level, this means multiple paths through the entire game, ending with a choice of four endings that can be pretty grim and gruesome.

Graphically and musically, the game is solid. The music is very reminiscent of the old Deus Ex, and the graphics are powered by the Havok engine (from Max Payne). The lighting system is especially well done, though it requires a higher-power PC to run; the new 1.1 patch enables turning off shadows for lower-end PCs. 

Bottom line: This is NOT just an extension of the first game - but it retains the good qualities. Grab it and enjoy.

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Added:  Sunday, January 04, 2004
Reviewer:  Michael Ahlf
Page: 2/3

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