I’m going to keep this relatively short because I have only spent around 15 hours playing the game, and I’m really not that far into it. So far, however I can tell you that the game is great. The setting is great, the story is interesting and I love the game play. Or rather, I love the sandbox like feel to most missions. I have never played the original Deus Ex so I can’t really comment whether or not this modern remake lives up to the legacy. But some very credible sources say that it does.
I could probably write two thousand words about my initial impressions, but the link above pretty much says it all. I might as well just copy and paste the entire thing into a blockquote segment and write “THIS!” below. I agree with everything Shamus says about this game. It looks great, it feels great and I’m having a blast with it. So instead, lets talk about One of the things that continues to amaze me as I play is the incredible attention to detail.
Let me give you some examples. One of the terminals you can hack in the game contains a 419 Scam email:
Does this email have any relevance to the plot? No. Does it have any impact on the game? No, of course not. But they put it in anyway, because they knew it will make us smile. Little details like this make the game world feel real. It is not a sterile “level” that is to be cleared – it is actual place, inhabited by actual characters.
There are lots of little touches that make me think that the designers and developers had lots of fun with the game. And it is not just the usual video-game references. The game is loaded with familiar IT-geek/code monkey themed humor. Let me show you a few examples. It is both amusing and realistic to actually encounter a desk with a computer password written on a sticky note:
It was equally fun to to see the infamous CRT bridge – one of the oldest internet memes, which I suspect dates back to the ancient BBS times:
These subtle little nods toward internet culture will probably sail over most mainstream gamers’ heads. But Edios added subtle little things to keep them amused as well. This poster of a future Final Fantasy game is a perfect example:
I also found this gem – a Look of Disapproval spray paint can:
I appreciate this, because some designer actually took the time to create this custom logo and slap it on select cans in the game. It is a nice touch. On the other hand, it is an internet meme.
Which brings me to my question of the day: what do you think about internet memes appearing in video games (or other media)? Do you like when games reference them? Or do you think it is a bit corny?
Personally I am of the opinion that game makers should strive to create original content that could expire memes. Great games tend to do that effortlessly (look at the memetic payload of most Valve games). To me that is the natural order of things. You create something fun and amusing, and then the internet appropriates it, runs away with it and beats it into the ground via repetition.
Going the other way around seems backwards. You are taking something that has been dragged all over the internet, chewed up, digested, regurgitated and remixed to death and then you put it into your original content. Why? It is nothing more than desperate pandering. Especially if the game makes an effort to ensure you notice it. Trying to call attention to a reference of and overplayed internet joke is just pathetic.
Deus Ex does keep it relatively subtle though. The CRT bridge is something you could potentially find in an IT office – especially during a big move and equipment reshuffling. Finding a can with a meme sticker is also not unrealistic. So I didn’t actually mind this that much. Especially since the game does seem to be generating some memetic remixes via it’s original work as well. Jensen’s glasses seem to be especially liked by the internets:
What is your take on the game so far? Did you like it? Did you hate it? How does it stack up to the original? No spoilers please, both for my sake and for sake of the other readers who may not have finished it yet.