Deus Ex: Still Going

I seem to have gotten stuck in that vicious cycle of slow progress, where low frequency of accomplishment reduces my motivation to play, which makes me play less, which reduces the frequency of accomplishment. I’ve tried to break out of this somewhat this weekend, but it’s clear that I’m only a fraction of the way through the story. I’m still in war-torn New York City when it’s clear that there are chapters to come set in Paris and Hong Kong.

It’s my own fault, of course. I keep going back to old saves to do things differently, to maximize my gain and minimize my loss. I could probably breeze through these chapters more quickly if I simply stopped caring about the cost. But if I did, I’d still miss half the story. When I go back, a large part of what I do is find special encounters that I missed. There are whole areas full of talkative NPCs that you can just pass by if you’re not diligent. Sometimes you’re told about them in advance, but even then, it’s a coin-toss whether you find them before or after your primary mission objective. (If there’s one complaint I can level at this game, it’s that supposedly-hidden secret entrances are usually not significantly harder to find than the main entrances to the public places where you get hints about them.)

When the NPCs are functioning as plot-dispensers instead of hint-dispensers, they give a certain amount of additional context to the situation. I compared the beginning of the game to Final Fantasy IV before, in that it made it clear that the player character is working on the side of evil, but frankly, the enemies aren’t winning any popularity contests on the streets. Some people agree with the NSF’s 1National Secessionist Forces, formerly the Northwest Secessionist Forces. Despite knowing this, I briefly wonder every time they’re mentioned why the National Science Foundation is so angry with us. Did UNATCO not properly cite the relevant papers on nanomachine enhancement technology or something? goals but hate the NSF anyway: apparently when an organization declares war on the United States government, it attracts the sort of recruit who just wants an excuse to shoot at people. The story seems to want you to lose your sympathy with them as you go along, perhaps to give the player better and better outs for using violence as the difficulty increases. Me, I’m still sticking to nonlethal force, if only because it seems like a shame to stop now. I keep finding ammo caches and being disappointed that they’re not lockpicks.

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1. National Secessionist Forces, formerly the Northwest Secessionist Forces. Despite knowing this, I briefly wonder every time they’re mentioned why the National Science Foundation is so angry with us. Did UNATCO not properly cite the relevant papers on nanomachine enhancement technology or something?

1 Comment so far

  1. Jason Dyer on 8 Aug 2010

    Even if you weren’t dawdling you’d have a hard time making this one by the deadline. I confess when I got to the endings I didn’t make any moral choice at all, just picked the one that was simplest so I could finish the thing.

    I started out nonlethal and gradually shifted to stealth sniper as things got more complicated. I have heard it is possible to go beat the game with a minimum of kills (only on one? two? boss fights?).

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