For one, the game acknowledged the little things you did. Hanging out in the women's bathroom, leaving Gunther in his cell at liberty island, killing the first terrorist guy, etc.
Yes, it was cool when you could use the vending machines in Duke3d also, but that doesn't make a game great.
As for the superficial choices, yeah, they're pretty superficial... but you don't realize that until after you've beaten the game. When I had to make the choice between killing the french guy or killing that russian chick (too tired to recall her name), that felt meaningful. It also felt meaningful when I had to stay and fight with Paul or abandon him. Neither of these choices drastically changed the game but they sure felt important when I had to make them.
And that bothered me. Finding out those choices were a gimmick made the game feel hollow to me. Anti-climactic and disappointing.
Deus Ex also allowed for a lot of emergent gameplay.
To take a lot of damage and quickly skip past a lot of enemies isn't exactly unique. You can do it in any game that offers a roof or ledge where enemies can't follow you. It's like the gameplay equivalent of running past a bunch of enemies, something any speedrun will take advantage of. This isn't really a good example since you can just call rocket jumping in quake 1 "emergent gameplay"
But I understand what you're saying. Deus Ex offered you gameplay choices, at a time when that wasn't very common in gaming. But for me, the mere presence of choices means little, if you're choosing between mediocre gunplay, mediocre stealthplay, mediocre hacking minigames, etc. What that amounts to for me is a mediocre experience, albeit one of my choosing. I'd venture further to say that, since you know that you can either blast your way through a mission or stealth your way through, the availablity of choice detracts from the game experience. Where is the tension and suspense of a proper stealth game when you know that if you fuck up, you can switch some augs and just fight your way through? A game like Beyond good and Evil does a much better job of making stealth co-exist with action.
In the end, the gunfights weren't as thrilling as Half Life, the sneaking wasn't as well done as thief, the world wasn't as immersive or intense as the Shock games, the choices/RPG elements weren't as meaningful as Fallout, and story, well the story sucked. Is Deus Ex better than Crysis? Sure, why not, but neither of them are anything special.
Ken Levine, now there's
a man who knows how to make a fantastic game.This comment was edited on Aug 25, 2009, 19:33.