So this past week I’ve been playing Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War. I don’t know if it was my subconscious memory (Deus Ex 3‘s teaser trailer was recently released back in November or December) triggering a newfound interest in the games or just coincidence that made me think about playing them again.
Deus Ex start screen
Deus Ex: Invisible War start screen
Anyway, I wanted to remember why I liked the first game so much and why I was disappointed with the second. Upon playing them again, I fully remembered both these things but I was also struck by how complex the story was in both of the games. The problem with the second game is not limited to the general dumbing down of the RPG elements that made the first game so great (see [A] below). I think I saw hints of a deep, deep story, just as in the first, that they only superficially were able to convey, making references to the first game without explaining what those references meant. They didn’t go deep enough to elaborate the complexity of how everything is connected and how the previous generation’s actions profoundly affect the situations the current generation found itself in. (Many characters in the second game are either descended from characters in the first or are in fact the same people from the first game.)