Monday, 26 October 2015

Deus Ex Nostalgia



I am a creature of nostalgia. I like delving into things from times past, to remember good moments and see how far I’ve come since the way back when. For example, I recently dug up poetry I wrote as a teenager. Admittedly, I immediately wanted to burn all traces of them off the Internet, then travel back in time and give my teenage self the mother of all ass-whuppings for what he did, but nonetheless, it is...somewhat...pleasing to know that my writing skills have greatly improved since then.

One of the biggest nostalgia trips I go on is with video games. I still hold possession of my Nintendo 64, the first console I owned. Slowly but surely, I’m acquiring what PC games I had in my youth on Steam, just for that added piece of mind of knowing they’ll always be there.

For added bit of contextual nostalgia, I shall refer readers to a blog entry from 2012 when I listed my (as of 2012) top ten favourite video games. I may revisit this list soon, as a few changes need to be made, but one remains the same. The Big Kahuna. Numero Uno.

Ladies and gentlemen, Deus Ex.

I never thought this game could get better. I thought it simply impossible. Then a bunch of awesome people called Caustic Creative came along and gave us Deus Ex: Revision. The world as I knew it inverted itself and the game I thought I knew like the back of my hand changed dramatically.

Before I proceed any further, in spite of the fact that Deus Ex has been around for fifteen years now, I am going to issue a spoiler warning. I am going to discuss aspects of the game’s plot/later missions. I don’t know how spoiler-ish people will think these are, but the warning’s here anyway. Do with it what you will.

Rather than being a reboot, reimagining or what have you, Deus Ex: Revision is a fan-created mod for Deus Ex. Free on Steam to download, incidentally. In a nutshell, it’s a massive environment overhaul. All of the locations have been revamped – in some cases expanded, such as Hell’s Kitchen in New York City and the Wan Chai Market in Hong Kong. The gameplay itself is the same, the game is largely the same. It just...it looks SO MUCH PRETTIER! Multiple squeal-gasms were had as I played what felt almost akin to a new game. In places there are new enemies, guys with sniper rifles or some such who weren’t there before, or impertinent security bots that I really wasn’t expecting. But you know what, I didn’t give a frak. Because it look so godsdamned pretty. Moreover, the unexpected additions made the game so much more thrilling. I will now cite the specific, possibly spoiler-ific, instance where my nerves were on the verge of being shredded.

The abandoned gas station west of Vandenberg. Your objective is to rescue Tiffany Savage, the daughter of Doctor Gary Savage, who is a critical ally at this point in the game. Now whether Tiffany lives or dies doesn’t affect the game all that much, except in dialogue. Doctor Savage acknowledges you tried to save her and you don’t rewarded. If you save her, a shiny augmentation upgrade canister is yours for the taking.

Anyway.

Save Tiffany. That’s the mission. Of course, my first hurdle here is “Oh gods, oh gods, the layout of the gas station is totally different.” Fortunately for me, it turns out that Tiffany was in the same building as before. Just the buildings are a bit different, as are the Majestic-12 troops on guard duty. Things were going well. I was getting past all these new guards, taking them down nice and quiet-like. Avoiding the MJ12 commando who would give the whole game up if I tried to take him down, lethal or non-lethal.

So I’m going in the usual way – climb up to the roof of the gas station itself, then across to the garage building where they’re holding Tiffany. In Deus Ex it’s an easy jump across, then down through the hatch in the ceiling, kill the MiB and MJ12 trooper inside, job done, take out everyone else and Tiffany’s safe and sound.

Not so easy in Revision. The garage is now firmly out of jumping range. There are, however, a pair of sturdy cables stretching across from building to building that you can walk across. Simple, right? NO. There’s an MJ12 guard down below. Standing right up against the gas station. No way to jump down and stun him quietly without alerting the others.

This is where borderline nerve-shredding occurs. It’s a mixture of “oh crap this is going to take a couple of tries to get right” and “oh my gods this is so frakkin’ cool I love this game all over again!”

Deus Ex: Revision is pure, absolute joy. The same core game. Dialogue, character interactions. But with amped-up action and amped-up locales. I got lost in Hell’s Kitchen. Lost. In Hell’s Kitchen. Shouldn’t be possible. But it is. Paris, a city I despised in my first playthrough of the original so many Moons ago, now stands as a beautiful beacon, a rich environment I want to explore again and again. Much as I will do with Hong Kong and New York City.

But the real spine-tingler came at the end. Naturally, I completed all three possible endings – the New Dark Age, Illuminati and merging with the Helios AI. Now this is where I have to say a massive, huge SPOILER ALERT because I thought this was so frakkin’ cool to discover on my own. So please, exercise caution when scrolling down. As it is going to be a picture, I’ll do a sort of summation now. First off, Caustic Creative, my hats off to you. You beautiful bastards. I love you all. Keep up the good work, I look forward to your future projects. Secondly, everyone else, especially Deus Ex fans, get Deus Ex: Revision. Right now. Right. Frakkin’. Now. You’re still sitting there, reading this? For the love of the gods, go! NOW!

Okay. To the spine-tingling spoiler.

In a minute.

I want to make sure no one scrolls to the picture by accident.

Really.

I’m that nice of a guy.

Honestly.

Really nice.

Almost tediously so.

Okay, you get the picture now.

Speaking of pictures...


It’s a simple thing. A detail. But it’s in the details, isn’t it? The beauty, the sublimity of it all. I think you get the point now. Deus Ex: Revision is amazing, it has revitalised a classic and is just so beautiful. I’m going to have so much fun replaying this in years to come.

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