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Why I don't write reviews
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Finkbug
Maine
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August 24, 2010 - 1:14 am
Member Since: August 9, 2010
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A goof for old FFC folk. Formatting's lost but no matter. Don't remember if I posted this back when; if so my apologies.
Chicago has been destroyed by terrorists. Not bombed: reduced to dust. Disassembled.
They were after you.
Welcome to Invisible War, the sequel to 2000's role playing/shooter hybrid Deus Ex. Invisible War (hereafter IW) has inherited much of the good and all the bad from its predecessor. This is a first person perspective (FPS or 'shooter') game without explicit puzzles. There is plenty of violence and occasional quick reactions are required. Fair warning.
This review is based on the unpatched and patched PC version (see below). The game was codeveloped on and simultaneously released for the XBOX console. Because hardware configuration affects everything from visual quality to performance to bugs, a few notes on the system used: the game was played to completion with XP PRO SP1, 512 RAM, Athlon 1800XP processor, Sound Blaster Live! Value with both 2.1 & 5.1 speakers, and an ATI Radeon 9700Pro with current drivers.
Cellphone blackout?
It is still early in the 21st century and twenty years after the Collapse, the total failure of communications and government that was the cataclysmic end of Deus Ex. Humanity has held on, as humanity does, and at game start there are several organized groups vying for position. For power. The World Trade Organization—the WTO—maintains a combination of trading concerns and exclusive closed (nearly) self-sufficient arcologies. Open markets as salvation and the key to rebuilding the world. The Order has absorbed the pre-Collapse religions and promotes personal growth over the profit motive. The Omar are radically altered group-minded black market survivalists. There are wheels within wheels and hidden powers nested within the obvious.
OK. Time to fess up. I asked Jen to let me write this review. It's months late. Many months late. She's been a doll about the whole thing while no doubt privately gnashing her teeth. The above is what I initially wrote. There were several other versions with much more, complete reviews with final ratings from indifferent to great. Simply put, I can't decide. All that follows is my entirely visceral take on the game. Not worth the wait, either. Sorry Old Rooster!
Dammit. I so wanted to love this game. And, dammit, I almost did. IW is one third unique and wonderful, one third inherited problems, and one third pithed by consolitis.
After the truly gripping opening movie, Alex D (male or female, with choice of melanin) along with his or her (from now on his, as I played male) classmates has been evacuated to the Tarsus Training Academy in Seattle. The movie talks about this site being secret, which makes no sense given there are literally signs on it. The Tarsus Academy functions as a basic tutorial and one much better integrated and immersive than those in most games, particularly given the building is shaking under attack, explosions going off as the player learns how to open footlockers and doors.
At this point, stop, close the game, and install the patch. It is an enormous improvement in everything from visuals to weapons to controls.
Take a moment to look out the window of the starting room and wait. Realtime shadows from passing helicopters play across the buildings outside. This is a gorgeous game. Mostly. The engine will be used again in Thief 3.
Deus Ex was the story of a naif slowly finding his enormous power and peeling back or smashing through the webs of politics, fear, and history. While not the most compelling character in gaming history, the essential blankness of JC fit very well. In IW it is a more limited version of the same with a lot more coffee and a lead with whom no one could possibly identify. Once or twice he mentions having had family lost in Chicago. That's it. Alex D is a cipher in an overly flexible game, and that's the crux of the problem: every situation--every moment--in IW can be solved in multiple ways with the result that they're all a bit silly. Rather than having multiple paths through the game, each with difficulties and cakewalks every room (and it is a game of rooms, not vistas) has a duct entry and a conversation entry and a combat entry. It's a test where there are always three or more equally valid answers to every question: sounds great but puts the illusion of choice to the fire. Skills have been removed and the biomod

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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xtal
planet
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August 24, 2010 - 4:20 pm
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Well, until it got cut off it was quite enjoyable.

 

I've missed the "why I don't [...] anymore" moment in there.  [Image Can Not Be Found]

If being wrong's a crime I'm serving forever

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Spike
Memphis
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August 25, 2010 - 12:43 am
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xtal said:

Well, until it got cut off it was quite enjoyable.

 

I've missed the "why I don't [...] anymore" moment in there.  [Image Can Not Be Found]


 

Probably because he gets up a good head of steam and then wheezes to a stop a few towns short of his destination.  Or runs off the rails, er, I mean the right-hand margin.  [Image Can Not Be Found]

"…you just keep on trying 'til you run out of cake."

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Scout
Portland, Oregon
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August 25, 2010 - 11:31 am
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I like the point about multiple pathing. I think it's most effective in IW when it's still a novelty (if that is even possible) and you sorta stumble upon an alternative way to move forward. Eventually though you KNOW there will be conversation/sneak/combat modes forward at every obstacle.

"Oh a door...where is that venilation shaft?" (looks up) "Aha"

It was fun in a sort of mindless game puttering time killling better than washing dishes way though.

I get bogged down writing reviews. It quickly becomes work, trying to get everything down in a coherent manner.  I think you have a  perfectly good draft here though Finkbug. Why don't you dash off a quick polish and post it?

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Finkbug
Maine
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August 26, 2010 - 2:14 pm
Member Since: August 9, 2010
Forum Posts: 468
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Spike said:

Probably because he gets up a good head of steam and then wheezes to a stop a few towns short of his destination.  Or runs off the rails, er, I mean the right-hand margin.  [Image Can Not Be Found]


Got me pegged. [Image Can Not Be Found] Stranded in Youngstown or Eugene every time.
 

The joke about Deus Ex was it's a first person duct crawler, and that was true, but IW took it to ludicrous extremes. I remember the spot where I cracked up: there's a two foot long duct which serves no purpose other than to pass the player to the other side of an easily disabled security beam. Someone ought to do a popup balloon youtube video of the game.

 

Heck if I know why the margin flaked. The forum software here seems to be a bit, ahem, tired and emotional.

grooowrrrr! [menace menace] rrrrowwwr!

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