February 5, 2004

High Praise for Deus Ex: Invisible War

by Andrew Stern · , 9:13 am

Charles Herold of the NYTimes gives an unusually positive review of the recently released Deus Ex sequel, an action/role-playing hybrid science fiction game, which “wants every player to have a unique experience.”

Invisible War is a wildly ambitious game, a serious attempt to shape the video game into something far grander and more complex than it has been until now. It is largely successful. The story, which is filled with compelling details and takes several ingenious twists, has many clever ideas.

He goes on to describe some its flaws, such as occasionally low-believablity AI, but overall the review is glowing. (Positive but more tempered reviews from gamer-oriented sites can be found here and here, for example.)

Note one of the designers of this game is Warren Spector, whose keynote speech at GDC last year “Sequels and Adaptations: Design Innovation in a Risk-Averse Environment” generated some serious controversy (read this and then scroll up for Spector’s response).

With this Deus Ex sequel, has Spector now proven his point?

3 Responses to “High Praise for Deus Ex: Invisible War

  1. michael Says:

    It’s interesting that the main point of criticism in the review is the lack of emotion, flat characters, and generally weak AI.

    A game of ideas, Invisible War lacks real feeling, and the characters with whom you interact rarely have even rudimentary personalities.

    The game’s artificial intelligence is also weak.

    You’d almost think that someone should be doing work in adding complex emotions to games, creating frameworks for building complex, rich characters and interactive plots, and in general, doing design and technology research in expressive AI (1 2 3).

  2. Walter Says:

    “With this Deus Ex sequel, has Spector now proven his point?”

    I dunno, I think Spector’s had a decent amount of control over how his games turn out, while his speech struck me as directed towards studios under comparatively draconian constraints.

    Not to mention, the appeal of the Deus Ex franchise was pretty much predicated on innovation, innovation in giving the player greater freedom, or a deeper agency, if you will.

  3. andrew Says:

    Here is a new interview with Spector about Deus Ex and other projects.

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