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Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition

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PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Deus Ex: Revision video shows remastered levels, teases “near future” release">Deus Ex Revision







This new Deus Ex: Revision video is the perfect encapsulation of the heroicly scrappy spirit of the modding community. It's professionally created, contains interesting insights, and features an audio mix that muffles the majority of its narrator's speech. Still, while the words are are bonus, the real treat is a to see the souped up, gorgeously lit recreations at the heart of the game's "re-imagining".



The mod aims to bring a "tightly integrated aesthetic-oriented approach" to the original game, which assuming I'm reading my high-faluting translator correctly means it will make things look better. Okay, so it does go slightly further than that: with a new characters and details to be found. They're also planning a new soundtrack; a brave move considering the quality of the original.



The mod will also act as something of a bundle of some of the best Deus Ex enhancements. "We will be distributing New Vision, HDTP, Shifter, BioMod, improved UI scaling support, the Direct 3D 9 Renderer and a customized version of Kentie s game launcher with Revision," writes Bj rn Ehrby.



Originally planned for a May 12th release, the mod is being delayed by "another development". Despite this, Ehrby says "we still plan to finish production and launch in the near future".
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided trademark filed, hopefully won’t be another mobile game">Deus Ex







We never asked for this reportedly shoddy PC port of the Deus Ex mobile game The Fall. We never asked for this impressive Human Revolution short fan film, but we're glad it got made anyway. We also never asked for this Deus Ex expanded universe thingy, but we'll be glad if it results in another PC game as good as HR. That day may be sooner than we thought, if a recent filed trademark is anything to go by. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is its name, and there is a modicum of evidence to suggest it may be a proper HR sequel, rather than another mobile game. We never asked you to join us after the break.



The trademark details have been collected here by NeoGAF user R sti, and suggest that it relates to "Computer game software", "Printed matter" and "Entertainment services", ie the sort of things that tend to encompass your average Square Enix release. That admittedly sketchy evidence involves the following quote from Eidos Montreal head David Anfossi, taken from an old blog post regarding a future Deus Ex game.



"I want to leave you with a piece of concept art from our next-gen Deus Ex game that shows trans-humanism segregation, which is a backdrop to our vision for the next Deus Ex. It represents a "ghetto-city' voluntarily built in order to separate the classes. The people in this segregated class have reshaped their environment, nostalgic for their ideal of Cyber Renaissance. This dark and dystopian vision sets the tone for things to come in Deus Ex." Trans-human segregation, eh? Sounds a bit like Mankind is Divided.



Let's not get our hopes too far up about this trademark, seeing how the last one resulted in a mobile game, but still: I'd say we're long overdue a proper Human Revolution sequel. And with E3 around the corner, the timing seems about right too.



Thanks, NeoGAF.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Deus Ex: Revision mod building a new future for a classic game">DeusEx-revision-image







It's a testament to the legacy of Deus Ex that so many still see such potential in the classic cyberpunk game. With its Revision mod, a small team of designers at Caustic Creative is working to put its own stamp on the original experience with redesigned music and environment art.



As we can see in the large number of sample screenshots for the project, Revision aims to offer "new level design, aesthetic direction and world-building detail," according to Caustic. It's obvious that the development team is primarily concerned with way it feels to play Deus Ex and has said it won't be altering the original storyline in any way. As project audio director John French puts it in a video explaining the mod's changes to the game's music, the challenge, and attraction of re-imagining Deus Ex is a straightforward one.



"Why do this project?" French says "Why score something that already has a remarkably good soundtrack? Because we wanted to see if we could do it justice. Because it was there. I hope we did things properly. I hope that everyone enjoys the experience that we've built here."



Deus Ex: Revision isn't available just yet, although Caustic Creative lists early-2014 as the projected time period when the team will complete its work. A demo is currently available to download, but it's missing the new soundtrack and doesn't represent the entire mod or the final versions of the new environment art, according to Caustic. You can check out a list the designers have created detailing the progress they are making here.



With the success of the 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution and the announcement of other games within what's being called the Deus Ex: Universe, Revision could be a good reason to revisit how we all got here to begin with.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Possible Deus Ex casting call seeks new members for the Illuminati">deusexuniverse







There sure has been a lot of activity with the Deus Ex franchise lately. After Eidos Montreal announced a new entry in the series, we get another, albeit much more tenuous, piece of information. A recent casting call for a "confidential video game" makes it sounds like the developer is either about to start or has already started shooting motion capture for the next game.



The casting call asks for a Japanese male to play a character in good physical condition who "has a mild Japanese accent, able to range from professional with his superiors, militant when undercover, and smirky when talking to enemies." The shoot would take place in Montreal, Canada, which is of course where the studio in charge of the Deus Ex franchise resides. But what might be the most indicative of this game's true nature is the description of the character's job: "Hiroshi Saito is an Illuminati Shadow Agent. His current assignment is to infiltrate the Augmented Rights Coalition, to replace its leader and to discredit its movement by committing a series of attacks in their names."



The Illuminati are a staple of the Deus Ex series, and the last game in the series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, dealt with the emergence of "Augmented" people. "Augs" were mechanically-enhanced citizens who marked the beginning of that world's transition into cybernetics. Prejudice against Augs was a prevalent theme within the game, as some people feared their capabilities and believed that they violated what humanity's natural evolution. The inclusion of an Augmented Rights Coalition heavily implies that this sequel will pick up where Human Revolution left off with Augmented citizens.



All of this comes off as a big neon sign pointing to plot points for the next Deus Ex game to me. And even though this is the farthest thing from official you can get, I 'm just excited at the prospect of a new one.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to The 15 most brutal mods of all time">15 most brutal mods of all time







Remember when buying a game didn’t feel like a guarantee of seeing the ending? There are still hard games out there, Dark Souls flying the flag most recently, but increasingly, the challenge has dripped out or at least softened, often leading to sadly wasted opportunities. What would Skyrim be like, for instance, if its ice and snow wasn’t simply cosmetic, but actually punished you for going mountain climbing in your underpants?



With a quick mod – Frostfall in this case – you’re forced to dress up warm before facing the elements, and things become much more interesting. That’s just one example, and over the next couple of pages you’ll find plenty more. These aren’t mods that just do something cheap like double your enemy’s hit-points, they’re full rebalances and total conversions. Face their challenge, and they’ll reward you with both a whole new experience and the satisfaction of going above and beyond the call of duty.



Misery

Game: Stalker: Call of Pripyat

Link: ModDB







All those weapons scattered around? Gone. Anomalies? Now more dangerous. Magic mini-map? Forget it. Valuable quest rewards? Good luck. Things you do get: thirsty, and factions who send goons after you if you anger them. On the plus side Pripyat is much more active, with a complete sound overhaul, and new NPCs to meet – who all have to play by the rules too, with no more infinite ammo. If you can survive here, you’ve got a good chance when the actual apocalypse comes.



Project Nevada

Fallout: New Vegas

Link: Nexus Mods







Nevada is a good example of making things more difficult without being openly psychotic. Levelling is slower, players and NPCs get less health, and obvious features are now in, such as armour only being a factor in headshots if the target actually has head protection. It’s also possible to toggle some extra-hardcore options, such as food no longer healing and taking care of hunger/thirst/ sleep on the move. There’s a sack of new content, and an Extra Options mod is also available, offering even more control.



Brutal Doom

Game: Doom

Link: ModDB







Despite what modern ‘old-school’ shooters would have you think, Doom was a relatively sedate experience – fast running speed, yes, but lots of skulking in the dark and going slow. Not any more! Brutal Doom cranks everything up to 11, then yawns and goes right for 25.6. We’re talking extra shrapnel, execution attacks, tougher and faster monsters, metal music, and blood, blood, blood as far as your exploding eyes can see. It’s compatible with just about any level you can throw at it, turning even E1M1 into charnel house devastation. The enemies don’t get it all their own way, as Doomguy now starts with an assault rifle rather than simply a pistol, and a whole arsenal of new guns has been added to the Doom collection – including the BFG’s big brother.







Full Combat Rebalance 2

Game: The Witcher 2

Link: RedKit







This streamlines the combat and makes the action closer to how Geralt’s adventure might have played out in the books. He’s more responsive, can automatically parry incoming attacks, begins with his Witcher skills unlocked, and no longer has to spend most fights rolling around like a circus acrobat. But he’s in a tougher world, with monsters now figuring out counterattacks much faster, enemies balanced based on equipment rather than levels, and experience only gained from quests, not combat. Be warned this is a 1.5GB file, not the megabyte Hotfix that’s claimed.



Requiem

Game: Skyrim

Link: Nexus







Elder Scrolls games get ever more streamlined, and further from the classic RPG experience. Requiem drags Skyrim back, kicking and screaming. The world is no longer levelled for your convenience. Bandits deliver one-hit kills from the start. The undead mock arrows, quietly pointing out their lack of internal organs with a quick bonk to your head. Gods hold back their favour from those who displease them. Most importantly, stamina is now practically a curse. Heavy armour and no training can drain it even if you’re standing still, and running out in battle is Very Bad News. Combine this with Frostfall, and Skyrim finally becomes the cold, unforgiving place it claims to be.



Radious

Total War: Shogun 2

Link: TWCenter







Not only is this one of the most comprehensive mods any Total War game has ever seen, its modular nature makes it easy to pick and choose the changes that work best for the experience you want. Together, the campaign AI is reworked, as are the skills and experience systems, diplomacy and technology trees. There are over 100 new units. Campaigns are also longer, providing more time to play with all this, with easier access to the good stuff early on in the name of variety. There’s even a sound module that adds oomph to rifles. Add everything, or only the bits you want. It’s as much of a tactical decision as anything else on the road to conquering Japan.



Game of Thrones

Game: Crusader Kings II

Link: ModDB







Real history doesn’t have enough bite for you? Recast the whole thing with Starks, Lannisters, Freys and the rest and it will. This doesn’t simply swap a few names around, but works with the engine to recreate specific scenarios in the war for the Iron Throne. Individual characters’ traits are pushed into the foreground, especially when duels break out. Wildlings care little about who your daddy was. It’s best to know a fair amount about the world before jumping in, and the scenarios themselves contain spoilers, but you’re absolutely not restricted to just following the story laid down in the books.







Realistic Weapons

Game: Grand Theft Auto IV

Link: GTAGarage







Guess what this one does. A bowling league for Roman? Cars that drive themselves? A character who appears to tell Niko “You have $30,000 in your pocket, you don’t need to goon for assholes” after Act 2? No, of course not. These guns put a little reality back into the cartoon that is GTA. The missions weren’t written with that in mind, obviously, but there’s nothing stopping you from giving it a shot. Worst case: murdering random civilians on the street is much quicker, easier and more satisfying. At least until the cops show up to spoil the fun. Range, accuracy, damage, ammo and fire rate are all covered, though be warned that you shouldn’t expect perfect accuracy from your upgraded hardware. This is GTA after all. Realism is not baked into its combat engine.



The Long War

Game: XCOM: Enemy Unknown

Link: NexusMods







You’re looking at eight soldier classes, many more missions, invaders as focused on upgrades as your own science team, and a much longer path to victory. Research is slow, not least to make early weapon upgrades more useful, while the aliens are constantly getting more powerful. Their ships are better, their terror missions are more regular, and more of them show up for battle. In exchange, you get to field more Interceptors, the council is easier to appease, and the ETs don’t cheat as much.



Ziggy's Mod

Game: Far Cry 3

Link: NexusMods







Ziggy makes Rook Island a more natural place, removing mission requirements for skills, cutting some of the easier ways to earn XP, increasing spawn rates to make the island busier, and throwing away the magic mini-map in favour of a compass. The second island is also unlocked from the start. Smaller changes include randomised ammo from dropped weapons, being able to climb hills that you should realistically be able to, and wingsuit abilities made available earlier to get more out of them.



Terrafirmacraft

Game: Minecraft

Link: Terrafirmacraft







Minecraft has a Survival mode, but it’s not desperately challenging. Terrafirmacraft takes it seriously, with hunger and thirst that must be dealt with at all times, and key elements added such as the need to construct support beams while mining to prevent cave-ins, and a seasonal cycle that determines whether or not trees will produce fruit. Many more features are to be added, but there’s enough here already to make survival about much more than throwing together a Creeper-proof fort.







Synergies Mod

Game: Torchlight II

Link: Synergies Mod







This adds a new act to the game, over a hundred monsters, new rare bosses, a new class – the Necromancer – more and tougher monsters and the gear to take them on. There are also endgame raids to add challenge once the world is saved yet again, and more on the way – including two new classes (Paladin and Warlock). It’s the top-ranked Torchlight II mod on Steam Workshop, and easily the most popular. Be aware that it’s still in development, and has a few rough edges.



Civilization Nights

Game: Civilization V

Link: Steam Workshop







While Brave New World has officially given Civ V a big shake up, for many players Nights remains its most popular add-on. It’s a comprehensive upgrade, adding new buildings, wonders, technologies and units, with a heavy focus on policies and making the AI better. The single biggest change is how it calculates happiness, citizens adding cheer simply by existing, but the slow march of war and other miseries detracting from the good times. Annexed a city? Don’t expect too many ticker-tape parades. Yet keeping happiness up is crucial, as it’s also the core of a strong military. This rebalancing completely changes how you play, while the other additions offer plenty of scope for new tactics and even more carefully designed civilisations.



Ultimate Difficulty Mod

Game: Dishonored

Link: TTLG Forums







This makes Dishonored’s enemies more attentive, faster and able to hear a pin drop from the other side of the map. When you get into a fight, it quickly becomes an all-out street war. The biggest change is to Dishonored’s second most abusable ability: the Lean (Blink of course being #1). Corvo can no longer sit behind scenery, lean out into an enemy’s face and be politely ignored. He’s now much more likely to be spotted – especially in ghost runs, where his advantages are now limited to the Outsider’s gifts rather than the Overseers’ continued lack of a local Specsavers.



Hardcore

Game: Deus Ex

Link: ModDB







New augmentations! Altered AI! Randomised inventories! Also a few time-savers: instead of separate keys and multitools for instance, a special keyring has both, while upgrades are used automatically if necessary. Difficulty also changes the balance considerably, from the standard game to ‘Realistic’ mode where you only get nine inventory slots, to ‘Unrealistic’, which makes JC Denton the cyborg killing machine he’s meant to be, but at the cost of facing opponents who warrant it. In this mode he gets double-jumping powers, and automatically gobbles health items when he gets badly wounded. Good luck though, I still got nowhere.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Deus Ex: Universe announced, is an “expanding and connected game world” that includes a new PC game">Deus Ex Universe







Eidos Montreal, sensing how much people love Deus Ex, and how disappointed people are when a Deus Ex announcement turns out to be an iPhone game, have revealed Deus Ex: Universe. Rather than one single game, it's a giant web of media spin-offs that "will include PC and console games". In fact, part of the announcement post confirms the existence of a proper Human Revolution follow-up, planned for PC and next-gen boxes.



"The concept behind Deus Ex: Universe is to create an ongoing, expanding and connected game world built across a generation of core games," writes Eidos Montreal head David Anfossi. "It’s a commitment on our part to deliver meaningful content that expands the franchise on a regular basis and to deliver a deep conspiracy that will span several connected Deus Ex games, creating a more immersive and richer experience than ever before. Deus Ex: Universe will include PC and console games, but also additional Deus Ex games and experiences available in other media such as tablets, smartphones, books, graphic novels, etc... You might have seen the name pop up recently in the press – well this is what it’s all about.



"I’m pleased to confirm that we are already into production of the starting point for Deus Ex: Universe with a new game for PC and next-generation consoles," Anfossi continues. "We’re very excited about it at the studio and I wanted to let you know that most of the team behind Deus Ex: Human Revolution is already working hard on this new game. It took us four years to learn how to create a unique Deus Ex experience with Human Revolution and it was important for me to keep this knowledge within the franchise."



Transmedia gubbins aside, here's what we should all be focusing on: New Deus Ex game! I suspect this is a thing that some people have asked for.



There's nothing firm to go on just yet, not even a name. Instead, we have a single piece of concept art, depicting "a 'ghetto-city' voluntarily built in order to separate the classes."







"The people in this segregated class have reshaped their environment, nostalgic for their ideal of Cyber Renaissance," Anfossi writes. "This dark and dystopian vision sets the tone for things to come in Deus Ex."



'Cyber Renaissance' may be the most Deus Ex phrase I've ever heard, so it's definitely off to a good start.



Thanks, OXM.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Deus Ex: Nihilum mod released, offering 10 hours of cyberpunk adventure">Deus Ex Nihilum







Since the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you'd almost be forgiven for uninstalling the original Deus Ex. After all, it's been 13 years, surely you've wrung every single drop of entertainment from its old Unreal Engine. Wrong! With the "alternate continuity" mod Deus Ex: Nihilum, there's another 10 hours of cyberpunk adventuring to be had. The Lesson? Never uninstall Deus Ex.



Here's the set-up:



"In 2049, unsavory conditions are rampant throughout the world. As soon as it becomes clear that a terrorist attack in Shenzhen, China, was carried out by perpetrators with ties to international groups and that Hong Kong may be their next target - the United Nations Anti-Terrorist Coalition (UNATCO) dispatches their first nano-augmented agent, Mad Ingram, into the city to prevent the situation from escalating any further."



The upshot of this is a new campaign, lasting around 7-13 hours. Creator 'FastGamerr' notes that Nihilum isn't designed to revolutionise its base game. "In many regards I've also tried to make it feel like an expansion pack to the original game, i.e. trying to follow the original's spirit in elements like story, gameplay and dialogue. The plot can be interpreted as a shadow parallel to the original game's story - following similar events through a different lens."



Which means it's not as wildly divergent as something like The Nameless Mod. Still, it's a handy new excuse to experience the dark and oppressive world of the first Deus Ex. As if anybody needed one.



You can download Deus Ex: Nihilum from ModDB.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Dishonored designer’s grim book, ‘Big Jack is Dead’ is free today">Harvey Smith - Headshot





With games including Dishonored and Deus Ex under his belt, Arkane Studios' Harvey Smith knows a thing or four hundred about storytelling. In April he published his first novel, Big Jack is Dead, and if you download it before tomorrow, you can enjoy it for free (the link goes to the US store and will not work outside the US, but you can download the book from the Amazon store in your region).

The story revolves around Jack Hickman, an "antisocial software exec" who finds out during the middle of a corporate meeting that his father has killed himself. Although it's primarily a work of fiction, parts of Harvey Smith's Southern Gothic novel are pulled almost directly from Smith's own tumultuous personal history, including his own father's suicide and the overdose of Smith's mother on drugs.

Don't have a Kindle? No problem, just download the Kindle app for iOS and Android or use Amazon's Cloud Reader.
PC Gamer
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title="Permanent Link to Warren Spector takes on review aggregator Metacritic as a model that should be “irrelevant”">Warren Spector's Deus Ex







In a column at GamesIndustry International Monday, game designer Warren Spector railed against the overwhelming power of Metacritic as a cultural arbiter of game quality. Spector’s past work includes classic game franchises like Deus Ex and Thief, so his thoughts on the industry tend to be well-respected, though sometimes controversial.



Spector’s column raised serious questions about games’ artistic success and whether that success can be measured by combining every “8 out of 10,” “two thumbs up,” and “four stars” published by the gaming press.



“Metacritic, at best, rewards games that are conventional and well understood by players and critics alike,” Spector wrote. “New and challenging things are, by their very nature, disruptive and easily misunderstood. Aggregation of opinion, at best, offers hope and guidance to people whose goal is to maximize profitability but little to people whose priorities lie elsewhere.”



Spector is hardly the first to raise questions about Metacritic, but he might be the most high-profile developer to do so publicly. Last month, Kotaku’s lengthy discussion on the review aggregator’s failings brought the issue to greater awareness. Before that, a study presented at the Games Developers Conference 2013 revealed some of the different ways that average Metacritic scores can be weighted and manipulated.



“When we put our faith in Metacritic as an impartial, scientific measure of quality, we should probably ask ourselves whether the crowd—the crowd of journalists as well as players—is really wise or just mediocre, incapable of recognizing and rewarding the new and different,” Spector wrote.



Spector’s concerns about Metacritic’s effect on development, and the utility of review scores in general, can be found in full here.
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