Deus Ex: The Conspiracy (PS2)
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Additionally, many of the massive PC levels have been carved into multiple parts, for loading and frame rate purposes. While this isn't necessarily a problem at all times, it often means that areas full of windows in the PC version of the game are instead made up of blank walls in the PS2 version, the outdoor area having been designated as a separate level from the indoors.

While the graphics are nothing to sneeze at, they're not the best that have appeared on the platform, either. Due to the nature of both the engine and the levels, the game just isn't going to look like Metal Gear Solid 2. Fortunately, what it lacks in raw graphic appeal, it more than makes up for in customization and gameplay.

Be All That You Can Be

The new models look great.
Character customization in Deus Ex: The Conspiracy comes in two forms: skills and augmentations. The former is broken up into several categories, and as the game progresses, skill points are awarded for accomplishing primary objectives, and for exploring the game world. My personal preference was to build a character adept with small weapons and sniper rifles, who also had strong abilities in lock picking, electronics (the ability to disable electronic keypads with minimal resources), and hacking computers. Other skills include swimming, explosives expertise, medical talents, and more. There is no "right" way to build a character, as any skill one chooses to develop can be counted on to be useful, frequently, throughout the entire game.

If skills are the meat-and-potatoes of Deus Ex gameplay, then augmentations are the gourmet meal. They cost more (in the form of bio-electric energy which you must replenish), but they sure are fun. As your character progresses, he will find two kinds of "augmentation canisters". These canisters contain nanites which can enter J.C.'s body and quite literally reprogram his cells. The first type of augmentation canister contains specific types of augmentation the player can install. You have a limited number of slots in which these canisters can be used, and in most cases you must choose between one of two selections per canister. If you go with "combat strength," increasing your melee abilities, you will have to forgo the augmentation which allows you to lift heavier items.

Ms. Electro-sword, meet Mr. Flamethrower.
The second type of canister contains upgrade technology, which allows you to improve how well your augs work. Most augmentations have up to four levels, though some, such as the flashlight-like vision-enhancement augmentation you start with, cannot be upgraded. By the end of the game, particularly if you have been thorough in your exploration, you will have found enough of both canisters to transform your character from a fairly ordinary secret agent to a near-superhero. He will be able to run like the wind, leap from the tallest buildings, laugh off hails of bullets, and (I'm not making this up) create a remote-controlled floating spy drone using only his mind. Or perhaps he'll have an entirely different set of abilities. The choice is left up to the player.

How's It Play?

Deus Ex's strength on the PC was its gameplay. Happily, this experience has been largely carried over to the PS2. With few exceptions, the player is still granted the same levels of freedom within the game. The game's objectives are extremely unrestricted, and open for personal interpretation and play-style.

As the depth of character customization indicates, the game is built to allow the player to find their own solution to a problem, as frequently as possible. You will rarely find a door that requires lock picking, or a situation that can't be handled via multiple approaches, be it stealth, avoidance, or the more traditional "shoot first, ask questions later" approach.

Next:   More Gameplay, and the Final Word »
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