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John Walker has published the last instalment of his series of diaries and musings on Deus Ex for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and proceeds to finally give his verdict on the game. As it turns out, the writer isn't convinced Ion Storm's title is absolutely the best game ever, but he is still more than ready to extol the game's virtues, even though it didn't completely line up with his memories:
So yes, the AI is atrocious, the shooting cruddy, the scripting clumsy, the pacing all over the place, some of the worst voice acting I've ever heard (including some that's basically racism), and that bloody ridiculous inventory nonsense. Best Game Ever?
Well, you can take all that, and compare it to the utter thrill of trying to sneak past giant patrolling mechs, then stabbing on your cloak to slide through a group of angry guards, into an air vent, and creeping your way to a secret room bursting with excellent loot. There's knowing that you just thwarted a situation in a way that felt unique to you, carefully picking out guards one by one as you climb down from the rooftop to the basement. Or by crashing through the front door, guns blazing, slaughtering your way up to the roof.
Let alone the way the whole game is a training exercise to help you make your decision at the end. I love it for that. You're being introduced to all these people, these views, these concepts, in order to inform you to be able to make a choice albeit a rather extreme one. And no, it doesn't need Greys, and it gets far, far too convoluted with about 17 baddies and rival factions, almost none of whom eventually have any real influence. But which future you pick for Earth is very likely changed by the experience you've had along the way.
In the end, if I tweak the question to be, (Is this the best game ever of its kind?) then I think the answer has to be yes. But then, there are so few games of its kind, and there are even fewer that are any good.
But let's not evade any longer. Is Deus Ex the Best Game Ever? No, I don't think it is. And I'm surprised to see myself typing that, certain that I'd emerge from this experiment emboldened in my conviction.