I have just finished Dex, so here is my review. First of all, I would like to mention that I do recommend the game, but I must confess that I bought it a few days ago with a 50% discount (so, it costed me 10 bucks instead of 20). At full price, I really don't think that I would have recommended it.
Now, I must start by making some unoriginal statements, that I am far from being the first one to make.
- Overall, the story, dialogues, and NPCs, are good.
- Similarly, the atmosphere is great, and all the backgrounds encountered during the course of the adventure are striking. The art style really immerses the player into this dystopian world wich consists mainly (but not only) of the city of Harbor Prime, and the music is fascinating.
- The XP system is basic, but fine (it works), and the RPG feeling (multiple endings included) is real.
- The gameplay is not as fun or as smooth as it could have been (or as one could have hoped it would be), mainly because hand-to-hand combat (which is in my opinion the best fighting option in this game) is not really enthralling. Moreover, gunfights are soooooo boring, and the hacking part is also rather tedious (the hacking mini-game in Sly 4, which was similar in many ways, was far better IMHO).
- The controls are far from perfect (in particular if you use the gamepad), and unfortunately the buttons on the gamepad cannot be remapped (although it is claimed to be the case -that's wrong-), while this would be reaaally useful.
- I found that the graphics for the different characters are not all as pretty as the ones for the background, which is a shame IMHO. Similarly, the animations are toooooo clunky (look at Dex while she moves stealthily on her knees, or while she climbs a ladder, and you will know what I am talking about).
All in all, Dex is a rather enjoyable experience. The small budget feeling sometimes bursts in (considering what the game lacks, or what could have been highly improved), but what the games does well is a real pleasure for the player. It has a few remaining bugs here and there, but nothing game breaking (at least, for me -maybe I was lucky, though-).
I did have some save issues, but each time I just had to load a slightly older temporary save (the game makes temporary saves fairly regularly) in order to deal with it. A lot of players criticize the save system (which, indeed, may not be the best one around), but you actually just have to get used to it. Once you are aware of the way it works, you can easily turn it to your advantage (to put it differently, just learn how to play Dex as it is; it's not so hard). Similarly, I did not have any crash during the game (I played for about 20 hours to finish the game and see the three endings, since I like to take my time when playing), but, again, maybe I was just lucky. However, it's true that some choices made during the game may lead to inconsistent situations. Here are two personal examples (with spoilers inside!):
****** SPOILER ALERT ******
1) Towards the end of the game, I chose to betray Raycast, and to reveal its true identity to Hammond (to be honest, I did not believe in Raycast anymore). Then, Hammond's answer was that they would get rid of Raycast. Then I immediately tried to check on Raycast, and it seemed that he has actually been killed or disabled, because I was not able to talk to him or to interact with him. However, when I broke into the mainframe, the virtual face of Raycast appeared in one corner of my screen, in order to "support" me... How was he able to do that? No idea!
2) When I was in the "White Room" (the last room of the game), I tried to use the map of Harbor Prime, in order to see if I was able to use it or not (yes, I sometimes have strange ideas)... And, indeed, I was able to. So, while I was on board of an orbital space station, I was able to teleport to the Earth (and then had no ways to make the trip back to the station)... Interesting notion!
****** END OF SPOILER ALERT ******
Besides, while reading some reviews, I saw several reviewers saying that they sometimes got lost during the quests, and that there were not sufficient clues in the quests in order to be sure about where to go or what to do next. I usually easily get lost in games, but it never happened to me while I was playing Dex. So I guess that either these players are trolling, or they did not read the dialogues carefully enough.
I also saw some reviewers saying that the combat system was penalizing, but I personally found that the game was rather easy (the combo endurance+melee+nanite blood infusion is unstoppable, and I did not even have to use my guns once during the game, except when I tried them to see how they worked).
Finally, some people compare Dex to Flashback (the 1992 game), but I cannot agree. I already did not agree when I hadn't even played the game (just by looking at gameplay vids), and I still do not agree now. Dex is an open-world cyberpunk action-RPG, with lots of choices (especially during the dialogues) and customization options, in which the action part is played as a 2D platformer. It has a real hand-to-hand combat system (as imperfect as it can be), you can sneak past enemies, and you can use different types of guns. The platformer part is rather smooth, and you can make mistakes that are not always lethal. Flashback, on the contrary, is a sci-fi (not specifically cyberpunk, just sci-fi) adventure platformer, where the progression is fully linear, with few dialogues, no choices, no customization, no RPG elements, few NPCs, only one gun, no real hand-to-hand combat (you can simply use your gun to hit an enemy when he's close to you). Moreover, the platformer part is highly rigid, and any unnecessary move can quickly mean death. Actually, Flashback is IMHO closer to a puzzle-game than to an action-platformer during these phases. I can see why someone might find some similarity between the art style in Flashback and some (but not all, far from this) of the backgrounds in Dex, but that's about all I can see.
For me, Dex is closer to games like Shadowrun (both the 1993 SNES game and the 1994 Genesis game), or -obviously- Deus Ex. Actually, I see it as a blend between these two Shadowrun games (without the Shadowrun-specific features, of course), but where the action part takes the form of a platformer. The adventure and story parts are similar to the 1993 SNES game, while the RPG part is similar to the 1994 Genesis game. Undoubtedly, some features are very, very, very Shadowrun-y (electrical hands, dermal cyber-armor, nanite blood infusion, artificial limbs, mirrorshades implants, respirator, retinal targeting implant, etc.). But even when considering Dex this way, the low-budget constraint casts a shadow -again- (no no-cyber armors, few guns, no grenades, etc.). I also have tried the three endings, and one of them is really cheap (the Singularity ending), another one is slightly better but still too short ("Rule the Complex"), and the third one is just okay ("Destroy the Complex"). This is why, unfortunately, I keep on thinking that Dex is highly overpriced: 10 bucks would have been perfect (making it a 5 bucks deal during the Steam sales, which can attract indecisive gamers), but 20 is way too much. To summarize my advice: I definitely encourage you to buy and try Dex, but wait for a 50% -or more- discount (as I did). Cheers!