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atari yars
Written by  :  Joel Segerbäck (656)
Written on  :  May 30, 2008
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars3.86 Stars

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful

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A good looking, though not perfect, port of an excellent PC game

The Good

There are some major changes in the PlayStation 2 port, the first thing you'll notice is the different GUI and inventory system. It's easy to use and works great with the PS2 controller, though the change that every weapon uses one weapon slot, divided into weapon types might be questionable, since that makes part of the game a whole lot easier than the PC version. Now you can have the sniper rifle, GEP, assault rifle and assault shotgun all at once, and all melee weapons are stacked into one slot, meaning you can pick up every single one of them. Of course there are a lot of positive things about this, it makes the inventory very easy to handle with the controller. There is also a great system of marking items for fast selection, which you can then scroll through using the up/down arrows on the digital pad. The character models has got an much needed improvement, which you might not see at first, but when you return to the PC version you quickly notice the difference. The motion captured animation of the characters is excellent, including quite detailed eyes, and thief style dead/unconscious bodies which collapse realistically when you throw them around (the bodies in the PC version where not animated at all and where stiff as boards). The AI has also got itself some improvement, enemies can see you when you expect them to see you most of the time, and allies help you out a bit more than in the PC version. We shouldn't forget the music either, every track in the game has been re-recorded and remixed, all lo-fi sampled strings have been replaced with real orchestra instruments. You often end up watching the main menu for minutes just to hear the fantastic new rendition of the Deus Ex theme, the introduction and ending scenes have been remade as great looking FMV's, almost comparable to the ones seen in Deus Ex: Invisible War. They have made the use of nanokeys automated, so you only have to click on a door to unlock it, if you have the key, instead of putting your weapon down to use the keyring, which I think is a good thing.

In many ways this is a fantastic port, but it also got some annoying flaws ...

The Bad

There are some things in the port that really annoys me, the thing that annoys me the most is the extreme slowdowns you encounter in several parts of the game, often when they are least wanted, such as when you get into a firefight with several bots and soldiers at once. Parts of a level when you are boarding a big freighter are almost unplayable, and the last level got increasingly slower the more objectives I completed. Sometimes the lag can make you miss enemies you are trying to shoot, though the auto-aiming feature usually makes sure you hit even if your crosshair jumps inches at a time in the worst slowdowns. On a few occasions I encountered an horrible bug that made the game exit and jump to the main menu when I tried to save, making all progress since the last save go lost. This only happened twice in all the times I saved, but I really recommend you to save often to make sure you don't loose to much if a save at a critical time fails. They have changed the augmentation system slightly, so that you can install augmentations any time you like when you've found an canister, while this is generally a good thing, some in-game help and the manual still claim that you have to use a medbot to install them. There are also some differences in the way the Data Vault and computer use works, the great feature from the PC version, where you could go to the Data Vault and read all previous communication with NPC's has been removed, making it hard at times to remember what you are supposed to do. There isn't as much information stored in your "Notes" either (and the feature to edit notes or add your own has been removed, though I can understand why, with the lack of a keyboard). When you find passwords or keycodes they are stored and automatically entered when you use the a computer or keypad which you have the codes for. While this saves you the inconvenience of having to memorize codes, or check your data vault for passwords every time you want to use a computer, this also takes away the possibility to guess a lot of codes and eventually finding out the right one by chance. Now you either have the code or have to hack or use multitools to bypass security computers or keypads. Due to the memory limitations of the PS2 all levels have been remade and split up into several parts with loading times (much longer than those you encountered in the PC version by the way) between them. While they have done a great job most of the time, often with results which are visually indistinguishable from their PC counterparts, or even better looking in a few occasions, they have removed many of the different ways to get past obstacles, usually only leaving a couple of the most obvious ones. The streets of New York has got the worst treatment in my opinion, but also parts of Hong Kong, where it feels like you are running through doom style claustrophobic corridors rather than real city streets. The lack of a multiplayer mode is also a bit sad, though it wasn't completely necessary. But since the multiplayer patch had been released for the PC version by the time this port was released, one would think they could have included it in this version as well.

To be perfectly honest though, I think most of the flaws are minor ones. Except for the slowdowns and the save game bug (which both are really annoying), you get used to the other differences and appreciate the fantastic story instead.

The Bottom Line

Deus Ex on PC was a fantastic FPS/RPG hybrid with an fascinating storyline, and the PlayStation 2 port has managed to keep almost all of the things that made the original game great, while improving the graphics and music a lot. It is far from flawless though, but it still a great PlayStation 2 game, well worth the time and money you invest in it. I will end with an advice: SAVE OFTEN!

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