A Physics with Astrophysics graduate and level designer specializing in the Source engine. You can contact me here or by yelling really loud.

Deus Ex

Deus Ex

Disclaimer: the first part of this was written months and months ago in a fit of rage:

Disclaimer 2: Spoilers follow:

So due to Eidos’ frankly terrible game design, I have a choice between continuing (and failing) to attempt to kill this third boss and eventually gouging out my eyes and recreating a scene from Event Horizon, or restarting the game and playing the last 15+ hours from the start because my save pair only extends back an hour (a length of time that in most games, is enough to save from any fatal mistake)

Little did I know there’d be a choice four hours before the consequences that screw you over. Four hours… Really Eidos? You really want to separate a choice with it’s consequences by four hours of gameplay so that any chance of reloading a save to make the other choice is gone?

Penny Arcade have summed it up nicely (Link to that)
The bosses in Deus Ex can all tank well over fifty direct shots to the chest, on top of that, the only way to tackle them is pretty much a head on fire fight with minimal cover and absolutely zero stealthing options. Which makes them like a completely separate game.

Through out the entire game I’ve been outfitting myself for stealth, playing how I enjoy it, and the game has actually been rewarding me for it, a lot. I get bonus points for making headshots, I get bonus points for non-lethal kils, the enemies don’t know where I made my shot from because I use a silencer on my pistol (other than the revolver, the only weapon I’d choose to use, but ammo is sparse) allowing me to get another few kills in before the guards have any clue where I am.

Playing stealthily is an amazingly rewarding and effective way to play the game. I never ever have to engage the enemy in a head on firefight, so I don’t have any of the damage reduction augs, or the typhoon (human-grenade) aug, or have any grenades stockpiled, so when it comes to the boss fights I find myself criminally underpowered.

Fortunately for me the first boss glitched out and stood still allowing me to pump shotgun shells into him whenever he was reloading.

Then the second boss was wiping the floor with me time after time until I realised I could just run in a circle around the room and as long as I kept up with her, she’d also run in a circle and never actually attack me. So I just shot her in the back (close range with a shotgun) but the 40 shots I had at the start of the fight weren’t enough: I had to break the cycle and grab some ammo from the side. If I’d dedicated more of my inventory to shotgun ammo, I could easily have killed her without taking any damage because of the poor design, Still though, 50 shots in the back when the rest of the game I’m taking out over a third of enemies with headshots is more than just a bit stupid.

I’m now at the third of these terrible boss fights and I’ve not found any glitches or exploitable patterns. Even if I had the typhoon aug or damage reduction augs they’d be no good here because of a choice I mistakenly made over four hours of play earlier. I have no augs to use. My vision is VERY blurred, I have no indication of how much ammo I have in my gun causing me to have a great opportunity to shoot but having to reload as soon as I start firing. I have no indication of what my health is. And on top of all this, the guy is a grenade-happy invisible man with some kind of plasma gun which deals one hit kills.

Currently I’ve spent the most frustrating 3+ hours trying to kill this guy, usually dying before I’ve got 20 clean shots in and he can probably tank 80 or more.

So I have two choices:

Replay the game from the very beginning and make sure to take the other choice, buy the typhoon aug and stock up on frag grenades.

Or continue to destroy my soul in this hopeless battle.

The fact that I haven’t included giving up on the game all together tells you how good the rest of the game is. If it was anything other than -excellent- I’d have given up on it. I’ve done that with several games in the past. The final (I assume) boss in GoW was after a long cut scene and with uninspiring game play and a poor story: what’s the point? Indiana Jones and the something or other on Wii. For some reason Indi is in a warehouse with Nazis climbing up ladders to get to him and the only way you can stop them is by bashing them off the ladders with a grand piano held by a crane. Cool huh? Well no. As soon as any Nazi gets to the top of a ladder (there are four) he shoots you and it’s game over. This would be fine if it weren’t for one simple fact: Indi has a gun. The inability to shoot back. The stupid and pointless limitation of not being able to shoot back (or pre-emptively) combined with the frustratingly fiddly piano controls got me very frustrated and I gave up (in fits of cursing).

I’d really like to get past this boss and finish the story, but having to start all over again remove so much motivation that I’ll probably have to wait well over a month before I can play again. Which makes me sad.

If the boss fights could be removed from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I would easily go down as Game of the Year for me, however, they can’t. That relegates it to the worst experience in gaming I’ve had all year. (That’s saying something because I played the piss-poor Dead Space PC port this year. I imagine everyone at Visceral Games does their development actually using an Xbox, because there is no way they’ve ever used or probably even seen a mouse.)

— Everything that follows was written today after completing the game —

Now I’ve finished replaying all of Deus Ex on a harder difficulty setting, I made proper use of quicksaves, allowing my (now three) cyclic save method to extend back hours and hours. But with the hindsight I’d made the ‘correct’ choices anyway.

I can honestly say it’s been a lot more fun to play this time, especially as I decided to omit the boss fights by changing the difficulty down from hard to easy when they started and using the typhoon blast. It’s lovely this way.

Great game, great story, terrible ending, terrible boss fights. I highly recommend it, just make sure you’re aware of the totally out of place boss fights.


  1. vfig Said,

    May 2, 2012 @ 12:19 pm



    The consequences that would occur hours after certain decisions was something I really, really liked about DX:HR. That Wayne would get fired if you talked your way past him, and blame you for it, and then try to take you out. That killing Zeke or letting him go would affect your much later dealings with Isaias. And yes, that choosing to accept or reject the biochip upgrade would critically affect your abilities at a later point.

    Now, I’m not defending the Namir boss fight at all. It’s pretty clear that Eidos Montreal shirked their responsibility in testing those fights against varied play styles and loadouts—and just as importantly, the lack of foreknowledge that separates players from testers.

    But imagine if the biochip effects had instead occurred during a more normal level. It would still hamper you significantly—removing the radar, invisibility, takedown ability and so on—but would not be crippling, whichever play style you preferred.

    It seems that the developers have learnt their lesson. They have apologised for the boss fights, but more significantly were careful not to make the same mistake in the Missing Link add-on. There, the climactic encounter is difficult indeed—but it does not use bullet sponge bosses, nor limit play styles. Instead it builds the difficulty by layering existing elements atop each other.

  2. Tim 'YM' Johnson Said,

    May 2, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    I like the choices that come back much later (Though to be honest I missed each that you mention) the problem with the biochip choice though is that it’s not a story element only, it’s an insane difficulty switch. With no obvious choice either all the other choices have moral decisions that enable you to glean possible consequences.
    Leaving someone to the mercy of thugs is likely to get them into trouble, twisting someone’s arm into breaking the rules of their job is likely to get them into trouble also, but upgrading your faulty biochip for a new one? The possible consequences are in no way clear.
    Yes, you’re totally right, if it was turned off during a normal level it would have been totally fine, really great in fact. Or perhaps it could have been used in a cutscene to enable an antagonist to capture/escape from Jensen. Exactly the same mechanism could have been used in many exciting and interesting ways but coupling it with their already terrible boss fights was just about the worst thing they could have done with it.

  3. Tim 'YM' Johnson Said,

    May 2, 2012 @ 12:40 pm

    In other news I wish I could figure out how to get proper paragraph indentation and line spacing for these comments!

  4. vfig Said,

    May 2, 2012 @ 12:47 pm

    You’ve got css rules for .postentry and .postentry p — just add those same rules to #commentlist p

  5. Tim 'YM' Johnson Said,

    May 2, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

    Readability ++

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