I game at work. Big shock, right? Only when there's really nothing going on though. Today I was revising the original System Shock. I've never beaten it but maybe I will this time. It's amazing. I get back to my room and I'm still hungry for more System Shock. I don't want to start over so I figure I'll fire up System Shock 2 and beat it again. I couldn't get the disc ripped properly so I downloaded it off bittorrent. It's cool, I bought the game ages ago, I just want to play it without having the disc in Iraq. But what I got wasn't the game, just a single executable that won't run. Awesome. So after I find another download and get that started I start to look at alternatives. Games that are often compared favorably to System Shock 2. I know! I'll try Deus Ex. Again.
I've owned Deus Ex for a long time. I probably even paid full price for it. I've never finished Deus Ex. Whereas System Shock deals with being a space hacker fighting cyborgs and mutants, Deus Ex puts you in the shoes of some superhuman CIA agent uncovering every conspiracy theory known to man. The games play relatively similar except that one of these games is fucking awesome and the other game fucking sucks. I finished the one that's fucking awesome.
Here's the myriad of problems I've found with Deus Ex:
- The first fucking level. It might be the worst opening level to a game ever. It's huge, it's intricate, and you're thrown in there with little explanation why.
- The graphics. I'm not a graphics whore. I'm playing System Shock enthusiastically and it's basically Doom era graphics, or worse. Deus Ex might be the ugliest Unreal engine game ever made. The model textures all look like they're rendered too big and the models themselves are incredibly blocky and poorly animated.
- It's SO FUCKING HARD. There's never enough health packs, there's never enough ammo, and there's never enough energy to make use of all you're wiz-bang high tech gadgetry. There is a lot of neat shit in the Deus Ex environments that I would love to see more of, if I weren't always being shot at or spotted by a camera, or crawling around in the dark because I don't even have enough energy for my flashlight, which since I'm a cyborg guy IS MY HEAD. I need more batteries for my goddamned head!
So keeping these in mind since my last attempt to play through Deus Ex, I fired up the installer. Installs fine, patches fine, throw in the Shifter mod (which claims to take the Suck out of Deus Ex), fire it up. I fix my resolution (which maxes at 1024x768, what the fuck), fix the color depth (which requires the whole game to restart), and quit out. It quits with an error. Oh well, whatever. Back to desktop, which is noticably lighter. Like the gamma setting within the game is now stuck in the real world. Awesome. Start it up again. Name my duder (Hank Rearden), pick my skills (Advanced Rifle, Trained Lockpick), start the game. Crash to desktop. What the fuck. Do it again, another crash, fuck you Deus Ex. Uninstall.
Take a breather. Maybe the Shifter mod is doing it. Google the mod, find a newer version, find an enhanced OpenGL renderer. Awesome. Install Deus Ex, patch, start it. I do everything I did last time up to the crash to desktop except this time everything is working. Quit out, install Shifter and the renderer, start up again. It's working! Thank god.
I've played the first level a hundred times so I'm in no mood for sightseeing. I'm killing every NSF trooper that looks at me. I get to the upper base of the statue and I'm trying to disarm a gas grenade and it blows up in my face. Awesome. Chug a medkit, start up the stairs to the duder I'm there to kill and I get a communique from HQ. Hermann is still in the basement. Goddamnit. Go all the way down, kill some duders, break out Hermann. Back up the stairs, I'm spotted by a camera and now I'm being riddled with bullets by a turret. Run up some stairs out of its' range and it's back to getting to that duder I'm killing. Another communique, I'm not paying attention, I get to the top of a staircase and I'm greeted by two NSF agents. I backpedal down the stairs and one of them gets off a lucky shot and brains me and I'm dead. I haven't quicksaved since Hermann. Fuck this fucking game.
And that's that. I'm done with Deus Ex again.(Crossposted on my blog)