Deus Ex, Starcraft and Nostalgia.

So, I just got Deus ex on steam. Seeing as everyone harps on about what a brilliant game it is, I reasoned that I'd give it a try. Honestly, I was underwhelmed. The presentation is pretty off, and I don't mean the character models, low quality is to be expected of a game of this age (more on that later, but graphics are one of the few things I will forgive). It's so dark I had to ramp the brightness up to stupid levels just to see what I was doing- and before you start whining about how it's supposed to be dark, no, it isn't. When you can't see a game it means some thing's fucked up. As it stands I had to crank the brightness up to the point where the colours looked retarded just to be able to play the damn thing.

The stealth was a joke. For my first mission I was given a prod, a pistol and a crossbow (as I like to try and play these games tactically). I should have gone with the rifle, as the crossbow requires a pixel perfect shot to take down an enemy without them going apeshit and shooting you to death. Ammo was non existent, meaning that the pistol was useless after taking down three enemies, and the prod... Hah, what a fucking joke that was. Limited ammo on a melee weapon? Okay, I can dig that as it's a one hit kill, but really, four uses and it's gone? That's not a joke, that's just cruel. Plus, it turns out the thing doesn't kill your enemies anyway. It just makes them do a little dance for 20 seconds, then they come up behind you and shoot you in the head. As previously stated, ammo is so scarce you can't do a frontal assault, and to cap it all off the game bugged out and I couldn't select anything but the (now depleted) prod.

I don't think I've ever been so quickly driven to hate by a game. Even Vampire rain managed to hold my interest for at least an hour or two before I gave up. In Deus ex I completed the tutorial (swearing over and over again at the stupid lighting levels), then the moment I start the game proper, I can't do ANYTHING.

I've actually gone back to take another shot at Deus ex four times since I started writing this. I can't actually comprehend just quite how irritating it is. Surely it must be a problem with me. After all, everyone else treats this game like its the fucking messiah or something. You know what? It 'aint. Maybe, back in the day this was a good game, maybe back in the day this was revolutionary and not just a mess, but I have to tell you people, Deus ex has NOT aged well.

It's nothing to be ashamed of, very few games do hold their appeal for more than a few years after their release, but sadly I think this mess is highly overrated, with people's views being coloured by how brilliant it was back when it came out. Nowadays it's honestly just a mess of a first person RPG. I still can't quite believe it, I'm going to give this mission another shot. This time, sod all stealth, I'm just going to go in all guns blazing.

Nope, still shit. Lack of ammo boned me time and time again, and even when I lined up head shots at point blank range half the time I still missed. And yes, I did wait for the reticule to close, I played the tutorial remember? Seriously, you can only find one maybe two bullets per defeated enemy? Not clips, bullets. On the plus side I did manage to figure out how to get around the empty prod bug. You need to throw the prod away, then after a few second of it still being in your hand and on the floor at the same time, you can switch weapons. I got further this time though, but still... what are they playing it? You can't use stealth. You just can't. There's no way of keeping track of your enemies while you're hiding, and if you stick your head out to check they'll see you and start shooting. You can't go into a fire fight because you have no ammo. You can't use the crossbow because unless you are absolutely perfect with your aim it just alerts them...

Anyone still reading this is probably chomping at the bit about how I'm judging this game based on all of ten minutes of game play. But that's not really a point in the game's favour is it? If after ten minutes something has already wound you up to the point of distraction, why would you bother to keep playing? Just in the hope that something better is around the corner? Sorry, but no, it doesn't work that way. If you start something and it's immediately hateful, you stop. Perhaps you give it a few new chances (I gave Nier enough), but it doesn't take long before you start thinking 'It's not going to get better'.

There is one other thing that compounds this though, and that's something I've touched on- age.

Back when it first came out, I was a huge starcraft fan. I completed the entire game, and the expansion pack, I created my own levels and I played online. I lived and breathed starcraft. A year or so ago, I reinstalled it and what do you know? It was awful. I had major difficulty just playing the bloody thing. The RTS genre had made such leaps and bounds that being used to the newer games had utterly destroyed my enjoyment of the older game. It had not aged well.

Such is, I believe the case with Deus Ex. When it came out, it was probably a brilliant game. But now it's just awful and I think heaps of nostalgia are the only thing that keeps people harping on about how excellent it is. Honestly, mass effect 2 beats it hands down in every way.

“You can't say that!” I hear fanboys shouting, “You can't compare an old classic to a recent release!” to which I reply, why the hell not? People tell me it IS a great game, not it WAS a great game, so naturally I assume that when I start playing it's going to blow my socks off and leave me begging for more. But the fact is, and I can't stress this enough, very, very few games age well. Deus ex is not one of them. Telling me I need to judge it on it's own merits is redundant, I can't just forget the last ten years of gaming. If I give you a car from the 1930's and ask you how it drives, you're going to say it drives like a fridge on pram wheels. Asking you to forget eighty years of automotive advancement is not an option- you've driven, or at least been driven in a modern car that handles much better. True, the 1930 Model A ford may have been great in its time, but nowadays a go kart is probably a superior machine.

I didn't play Deus Ex when it first came out, so I don't have the lashings of nostalgia that so many people do when they think of the title. Consequently, all I see is a hodgepodge of poorly executed ideas, that wasn't worth the £7 I spent on it. I'm sure if you played it when it was first released, you may still enjoy it, but my advice to anyone who hasn't played Deus Ex is simple- avoid it. You won't find anything here that hasn't been better realised in a more modern game. It's just lots of smoke and hot air blown by nostalgic gamers. Sorry to be blunt and harsh, but it's the truth- anything Deus ex had going for it has been far out stripped in recent years.

Yahtzee on nostalgia
Nostalgia critic (Made a career out of pointing out how nostalgic stuff is actually technically bad)

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