Friday, December 02, 2005

Bringing Closure to Two Years of Hate

Two years already? ... two years. On December 2nd, 2003 Deus Ex: Invisible War was released - and I was there on the day of release to get it. Sure, there was a demo a couple of weeks prior, but I had already decided I didn't want to spoil the beginning ... see, I was such a big Deus Ex fan that I *knew* it would be great.

Only it wasn't. In fact, not only was it a mediocre game, and a *huge* disappointment to fans of the original, it was also a complete pig in terms of performance. Not only that, it showed too many hallmarks of being designed 'console first' including some settings that explicitly said 'for XBox, if used on PC change this to X' but hadn't been changed.

I hated this game, oh how I hated it ... from playing this sad excuse for a Deus Ex game - which crawled and stuttered on my brand new laptop with a 3.2GHz processor and a 128MB nVidia 5220 card, as well as my slightly older desktop - came my first gaming resolution: if there is a demo, play it! I had gotten complacent based on successfully skipping available demos for Jedi Academy and others.

But that was two years ago, and I have a new computer. I decided that it was time to confront this old ghost once again. First I took a look at GameRankings and for some reason the average score for this game is >80%. That I don't get ... but anyway ...

I was also surprised that it was on 2 CD's ... have I become so used to 4 CD installs that 2 CD's seems svelte? It installed quickly, and I patched it up to 1.2 ... which too a surprisingly long time.

But what surprised me most were the graphics and performance - the graphics didn't look that great, and the game breezed as if I was playing an old game. Sure, I have an nVidia 7800GT with 256MB, but still ... So I cranked the setting little by little, until everything was maxed out - and it still didn't look all that great. I'm not expecting Half-Life 2 or F.E.A.R. here, this game didn't stand up to my maxed out No One Lives Forever 2!

Finally, the gameplay. It isn't as bad as I remembered - I still don't think it is 80% material, but I not longer hate it for wasting my $50 and representing an insult to the legacy of Deus Ex. So I can let go of the hate, but remember the lessons - a great game doesn't mean a great sequel, and always, ALWAYS play demos when they are available.

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