Special Note:

This walkthrough will present multiple paths as they avail themselves, but will focus on a pacifist approach to play. You can follow this walkthrough and finish the game with only a single kill.

Deus Ex Review ★★★★★

Deus Ex is one of a handful of games that are regularly referenced by gamers as being the pinnacle of gameplay and freedom of choice. Developed under the direction of Warren Spector (Thief, System Shock), Deus Ex advances the evolution of the first-person shooter into the first-person sneaker/RPG.

And what an evolved piece of gameplay it is. Players choose both the path their character takes in the game world and the development path their character chooses as they upgrade their skills and "augmentations." Enhanced strength allows for a surprisingly pacifist approach to conflict -- a strong arm can wield a club to knock out an opponent rather than shoot them outright. Swimming ability avails paths around conflict, and Enhanced Speed provides for a quick escape or an extra long leap to reach an essential item.The complimentary way in which the kind of character the player creates enhances the style of play the gamer prefers is at the heart of the game's appeal.

None of this would make for a superstar game without a powerful sense of place. Deus Ex has a setting that is filled with the age-old intrigue of the Illuminati, and the timeless struggle between those striving for order and those risking the luxury of certainty in exchange for freedom from tyranny. In fact, it is required of the player that a choice be made of which future shall prevail, and the game provides three separate endings to accommodate the player's selection.

But perhaps what keeps Deus Ex unique even to this day is that the hero can actually be motivated by compassion to keep his enemies alive. The player gets to know the front-line grunts, the red shirts of both UNATCO and the NSF, actually growing to like them. Early in the game, the NSF's 'terrorist' conversations can be overheard, fleshing them out as more than cardboard enemies. The stealthy approach is desirable not because the mission artificially ends in failure once an alarm sounds, but because the story provides motivation to protect the NPCs that would otherwise be left dead.

Graphically, the game is considered to be a fair bit behind its time, but if guilty on this point, it is only because the Unreal engine's developers backed the wrong horse in the graphics card race. Originally optimized for 3dfx's Glide API, Deus Ex looked impressively polished for those running Voodoo cards at its release in the summer of 2000. Subsequent patches have allowed the visuals to hold up rather well on the Direct3D API, and ATI's TrueForm technology gives the screenshots seen here a final bit of sheen. The game's excellent audio fits into gameplay as it does in Thief - listen for enemies to protect your cover.

No game is perfect, and perhaps the best criticism against Deus Ex is that the game is actually too long. I recommend stopping after the Hong Kong level, then picking up from there after you're fresh from playing something else, treating the rest of the game as a sequel or add-on. Several questions are repeatedly asked by Deus Ex players, and that's where this walkthrough will come in handy, answering the following common Deus Ex questions:

With these questions addressed, Deus Ex is a game that will stay with you for a long time, and is perhaps the greatest FPS, ever.

- Last Update 01/30/2012