Playing a “game” game / Deus Ex Invisible War

Originally posted at GameSpot on June 30, 2008

It’s hard for me to start a new game these days. With everything else going on in my life – not to mention other games I need to finish as it is – who has the time? However, being in a marriage means that you have a help mate, your other half – someone who can bring clarity to any stressful situation.

Enter my wife, and the conversation we had this past Saturday night ( June 28 ):

“I don’t know what to play.”

“Just pick something. . .but no Lord of the Rings”

(Laughs) “Okay, no Lord of the Rings. But what then?”

“Play a ‘game’ game.”

“What? What’s a ‘game’ game?”

“You know, one with a story – a ‘game’ game.”

“Alright. . .I have a few of those still to go. I’ll play Deus Ex: Invisible War.”

“Okay.”

And just like that, my indecision was confronted and conquered by the only woman I know who will actually sit down and watch me play something – as long as it’s good. Is that love or what?

So, here I am at the Invisible War. The original Deus Ex was one of the greatest games I’ve ever played, because it was unlike I had ever played before. The story, gameplay, and atmosphere were all first-rate.

This is my second attempt at getting into the game, and this time I’m going to stick with it. It’s set twenty years after the original, with the aptly named “Collapse” isolating world into pockets of have and have-nots when it comes to the most advanced technology.

JC Denton (my old character) seems to have disappeared along with his brother Paul, and the current WTO government portrays him as the man responsible for the current state of affairs. While this is true, I can tell some rhetoric is already ringing with that familiar conspiracy/propaganda feel…

Still, I find myself “siding” with the authorities so far in the game. I use that term loosely, because it seems as if you can play both sides of the fence without there being any penalties from the other. This suites me fine, because my goal is to see all the endings, not just one. That is something I liked about the original – you could save the game at one critical moment, and then simply re-load to see what would happen if you chose a different path.

I know some people look for high replay value in everything and see this as a defect, but I like the fact that I don’t have to go through the thing again just to see a different two-minute ending.

I might have a little more time to play tonight – heading down to Lower Seattle in search of “The Order,” the ying to the WTO’s yang. We’ll see what happens!

Post tenebras lux