Genre: FPS, RPG, Action, Stealth | Players: 1, Multi | Developer: Ion Storm
The always dystopian future is one where a plague called the Gray Death ravages the population. The vaccine is in short supply and is rationed for those deemed valuable to society and leaving everyone else to suffer. This causes resentment and an explosive growth of terror groups. To combat them all the United Nations expands it's influence, forming the United Nations Anti Terror Coalition (UNATCO). Players control new agent JC Denton (I see what you did there Ion Storm) as he navigates his missions.
The whole game is full of choices in interaction, character customization and accomplishing objectives. Talking to NPC's gives several dialogue options before Bioware made it cool and each can have a lasting effect on gameplay i.e. being a dick to someone will make them less inclined to help you or flat out killing them will change the story somewhat if they were meant to be in the plot later. Players can customize JC with earned skill points to enhance abilities like weapons proficiency and with nano-augmentations to different parts of the body. There are 18 total with 9 body slots so players must choose wisely as choosing one will make another unavailable. There are multiple ways to complete mission objectives as well. They can be done stealthily with lock-picking and hacking or with guns blazing and explosions. Or be nice and just bribe someone to help you. There is multiplayer though it is a bit tacked on as it wasn't originally intended to be there.
The dark, gritty plot is full of interesting conspiracies, secret agendas and political struggles and changes somewhat based on player choices though a basic story thread is followed. Just how you get there changes based on how players interact with the different factions.
Interesting narrative, complex gameplay and very high replayability for all the choices, dialogue and sub-plots that are sure to be missed on just one playthrough make this very deserving of it's numerous Game of the Year awards.
Buyer's Guide:Available on PC and as a PS2 port under the title Deus Ex: The Conspiracy. Also recently added to the Playstation Network. Available on Steam for $9.99.
4½ I wear my sunglasses at night out of 5