Theo Andrews ‘26 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Deus Ex is one of the best video games of all time. It was released on June 23, 2000 on the PC. The game’s ability to predict future phenomena without even knowing it has astounded players and fans alike for more than twenty years. In addition to the prophetic story lines present in the game, the gameplay is lauded for the freedom it grants to its players to complete each and every level in the game. Lastly, is the music; almost every piece of its soundtrack perfectly matches the atmosphere of the areas where they are played. Particular standouts are the themes for UNATCO, Hong Kong, Versalife, and the main theme itself. There are more than one Deus Ex game, it has one sequel Deus Ex: Invisible War and two prequels Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. However this article will be solely focusing on the original Deus Ex and what makes it so great.
The story of Deus Ex has some of the best video game writing ever. In the game, a virus has ravaged the world. You play as JC Denton, a government agent sent to make sure terrorist organizations do not make the situation worse or take advantage of it. However, as the game goes on, facts about the virus itself and where it may have come from trickle down to JC Denton, and in turn, the player themself. It is revealed that the virus was manufactured in China and spread around the world by the secret cabal of Majestic 12, and that the organization of UNATCO—which Denton works for—was only able to operate in America after a false-flag terrorist attack on the Statue of Liberty. Additionally, if players look at the skyline of Manhattan from Liberty Island in the game, they will not see the World Trade Center. This is due to there not being enough storage in the game files for the models of each skyscraper. This game came out a year before 9/11 and twenty years before COVID, and yet it somehow managed to predict the two respective conspiracy theories that surrounded each event. There is a reason as to why this game’s storyline is still praised to this day, and who knows what else this game might predict?
Deus Ex is known as an immersive simulator, or an immersive sim for short. That means that the player has many options when it comes to completing a level, aside from the obvious route the game will give the player. To elaborate further, imagine someone is trying to open a locked door. In an immersive sim that person has multiple options. They could find a lockpick in a closet somewhere, or they could break down the door instead if they were strong enough. That is what an immersive sim is, multiple different paths that lead to various outcomes within a level. Deus Ex does that perfectly, encouraging the player to explore and consider that there is more than one way to solve the problem at hand. So few games are considered immersive sims, which makes Deus Ex stand out even more amongst its fellow critically acclaimed games.
There is one final piece to the three-part-puzzle of Deus Ex which has yet to be discussed, that being the amazing soundtrack. While Deus Ex’s sequel and its two prequels have good soundtrack pieces, they all pale in comparison to the original. Each soundtrack piece sets the tone perfectly, whether it be mystery, combat, excitement, or a reveal. If the story keeps you going and the gameplay makes it fun, then the music would be what makes it a complete experience. Encapsulating each level and moment in under five minutes with each piece. Since the tracks loop, they become real earworms. Unfortunately, none of the tracks are officially released on Spotify. But there are good covers of the iconic pieces on Spotify such as the main theme and UNATCO’s theme.
Deus Ex is simply amazing, one of the best video games of all time. Almost every part of it is perfect. The best part? It is only $10 on the platform Steam—when on sale, is usually only a single dollar. It will be the best dollar spent on a video game. The game’s first level is a litmus test, and perfectly tells the player how the rest of the game will play out. So there is no need to play half of it to see if it is the right game for you. It is a gaming experience like no other, just ignore the shoddy graphics and sometimes hilariously bad voice acting.