Conspiracy and emergent gameplay combine in this epic series

Home Arts and Entertainment Conspiracy and emergent gameplay combine in this epic series

Deus Ex

By Eidos/Square Enix

Genre: First-person RPG

Since 2000, there’s been one series of RPG with the deepest, most politically charged story, the most diverse means of game play, and the most intense high technology on display. That series is Deus Ex, named after the Latin term “Deus ex machina,” or ‘god from the machine.’ This series explores groups of people aiming to, indeed, become gods through the power of machines, and they will go to any lengths to secure those lofty ends.

The saga of Deus Ex begins in 2000, when Texas-based Ion Storm developed the interactive tale of JC Denton, nano-augmented (tiny machines float in his bloodstream doing his bidding in various ways) agent working for UNATCO (the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition) out of Liberty Island in the year 2052. JC and his brother, Paul, work to thwart the aims of the National Secessionist Forces, the NSF, who seek to hijack a shipment of Ambrosia, the cure to the deadly plague Grey Death which afflicts most of the world. The NSF claim they want to distribute it to all civilians and that UNATCO and the US government at large reserve the cure for the financially elite.

Eventually, JC discovers the sordid truth behind his beloved organization, and begins a globe-spanning quest for justice and the safety of the known world…

Which leads into the sequel, two years later. JC had decided the world had gotten too centralized in its communication, its leaders hungry for power, with no over-arching goals. So he merged with the Artificial Intelligence that would see the world its own cold, barren plaything, to give it some human perspective. He switched off the device that governed worldwide communications, and destroyed the facility out of which corrupt industrialist Bob Page would base his own global empire. These three actions represent the three endings of the first game.

The world that Alex D, nano-augmented student of Tarsus Academy finds himself in 20 years after the events of the first game, is a result of all of those decisions by JC at once; a world teetering on the brink between carefully coddled and preserved enclaves and total and destitute poverty. The forces of the WTO, the refurbished World Trade Organization, and the Order, made up of remnants of all the world’s religions simultaneously, clash daily in a power struggle that threatens to topple the balance.

After a devastating “nanite-detonator” attack on Alex’s native Chicago by a splinter group of the Order, the Knights Templar, reduces the great city to nothing at all, Alex is flown to the Seattle Tarsus Academy, where his ‘training’ is accelerated; he’s given his first bio-modifications, and set loose to choose his own affiliations, much as JC did (or at least, had the illusion of doing) back in the first game.

All this, however, is just the future of what awaits extreme bio-modification, a process begun in 2027 and chronicled in the most recently released Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Adam Jensen is a security specialist for the technology firm Sarif Industries, but even his skills are thwarted by the events six months before the game really begins…

Jensen is severely injured in an assault by heavily augmented assassins, and is himself forcibly augmented in order that he may survive and find answers behind the assault. His modifications, unlike the nano-augmented JC and Alex, are mechanical in nature: people he contacts and works with are visibly disturbed by the extent of his modifications – indeed, this early in the storyline of Deus Ex, a strange form of segregation between the unaugmented and augmented exists – but still, they come in very handy in his work. They can also be enhanced with experience gained through game play, exploration, non-lethally taking down enemies, and other methods.

Through his travels in downtown Detroit, where Sarif is based, and Hengsha Island in Shanghai, China, Adam searches for clues behind the deadly assault, and finds more than he bargained for, as with our other protagonists…

All in all, an excellent series, and one very much worth your attention! Five out of five for all three games!