Over at the Vintage Game Club, we've started talking about Deus Ex. I've been playing it like mad this past week, trying to finish it before discussion started. Turns out the game is too massive, and I've started a second game before finishing my first.
I need to mention, right now, that Deus Ex is only $10 on Steam, and it is worth EVERY PENNY.
Deus Ex is a wonderful blend of genres - first person shooter, role-playing game, Thief-like stealth - set in a cyberpunk near-future. The game is all about player choice - you can choose plenty of different paths through missions, bypassing entire portions of maps (and enemies) altogether if you can figure out how to do so. Your character is customized by both skills and augmentations, which are based on either achievements or items, respectively. Near the end of the game, your character could be seeing through walls and having bullets bounce off him.
The storyline is a basic, but very enjoyable, tale of corporate espionage and the fight for personal freedom. What's amazing is that - in the opening sequence of the game - everything is laid out in the open for the player to understand. You know who's pulling the strings right from the beginning, and you get to pay close attention to how these characters go about stabbing you and your interests in the back. It's true that you don't get the gasp-inducing plot twist this way, but I find it far more enjoyable.
It's definitely a violent game, but you don't have to play it that way. My initial play-through, I'm a sneaky ninja who knocks out innocents with a baton and one-hit-kills the bad guys, striking from the shadows and insuring no suffering. This actually affects some of the characters in the game, at least early on. My second time through, I'm playing rather brutally, and it's very difficult for me to do. Forcing myself to give into a predatory instinct and start acting like James Bond. The real one, that Daniel Craig plays perfectly.
It's still an enjoyable experience, though, because I'm finding a lot of things happen differently in the game, when you play the game differently. That's not a common occurrence in video games, especially as of late.