How I like to play Deus Ex

Deus Ex, for me, has always been something that I loved. Waaaaay back in the annals of time, back when my Playstation 2 was my primary games machine I played the original Deus Ex. And I played it… badly.

Back then, I was a rampant cheater. I cheated my way through every game I could. And I loved it; games weren’t about the challenge, they were about having cheap fun. And I enjoyed blasting through whilst being invunerable, or completely invisible all the time. Perhaps it led to my current laziness. It would certainly explain a lot.

But that was the first and only time that I ever played through the original Deus Ex, the whole way. Since then, I’ve done as many have, and played the first level over and over again. It’s a yearly ritual that must be observed by certain members of society, like Easter, Christmas and the dreaded annual Cleaning of the Heat Sink.

And since I stopped using cheats, I stopped playing the way I did then. Granted, I did play in a manner unlike any other person playing Deus Ex; berserk charges with the Dragon Tooth Sword. But now I play all sneaky-sneaky, with non-lethal takedowns.

It was slow-going, and sometimes I hated myself for choosing it, and sometimes it just plain didn’t work – I’d leave an area, dragging myself by my one barely-functioning arm, leaving a trail of blood from my shattered limbs. Often, the reason why I quit was because I couldn’t face the sheer amount of energy that it took to play through the levels. It was totally exhausting. And I loved it. There was no game like it. None at all.

I aimed to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution in the same way. I’d seen the trailers, and I’d chosen the stealth/social route. And I aimed to be non-lethal throughout it too. Not, because of the achievement that I later discovered, but because I’d always played it that way.

It started well. I worked my way to about the halfway point in the game, and apart from a single guy I’d killed in the prologue to test the shooting, I hadn’t killed a single person. I ghosted from one area to another, taking down criminals with arm-wrenches, neck blows and just plain-old punches. I was the silent predator. I was the shadow in the night. I was the mother-fucking Batman.

And then those invisible bastards showed up. The first time I tried to get through them, it went badly. They noticed me early on, and I spent fifteen minutes in a vent, desperately trying to tranq enough of them so that I could get through. But those invisible bastards just kept shooting me whenever I popped my head out.

I wasn’t Batman any more. I was too pissed off to be Batman any more.

I’d put some points into hacking earlier, and revenge was best served cold. I reloaded, snuck into the room adjacent and hacked the console. I had control of their robot, and I turned it on them. I watched through the cameras as their previously loyal robot tore into them, blowing them apart. It soon relented to the sustained assault of their weapons, but it had felt… glorious.

I was unleashed. And it felt good.

I could use the pistol that I had been patiently upgrading throughout the game, and I did. Those invisible bastards troubled me no longer.

And that was the end of my non-lethal playthrough. It was just too much. Although I stayed stealthy and used non-lethal takedowns when I could, I had more options now. The game got a lot easier.

Of course, not everything was as good. The much maligned boss battles were a pain. At least, until I realised what worked. And mines worked.

My final battle with the snake-dude went something like this:

  1. Throw EMP mine.
  2. Throw frag mine.
  3. Throw frag mine.
  4. Throw frag mine.
  5. Win LIKE A BAWS.

And that was it. Whilst I’d struggled against the first boss, now I had an obvious routine. Which was ironic, because so did they. I didn’t view them as much of a problem, once I had my technique down. They were just an annoying break in the middle of the game, like an unusually-interactive loading screen. They advanced the plot… but that was about it. They weren’t fun, they weren’t clever, and they weren’t Deus Ex. They really dropped the ball with the bosses.

But apart from that and the constant golden-filter over my screen, I really enjoyed the game. I played it from beginning to end and had fun the whole way through. I might have lost my morals, but I gained something else, something very important. A psychotic viewpoint towards life.

Next, full on Batman playthrough. Oh fuck yes.