JC Denton brought the world down in 2052, in what has become known as “The Great Collapse”. By disabling the Aquinas router which handled all electronic communication, JC destroyed all centralization, nation-states and any sort of national or international organization. Two decades have passed and the world is still recovering.
Cities have rebuilt, creating new sanctuaries safe from the chaos outside. Only a select few live on these upper levels and arcologies, most of which are run by the WTO. Commercialism, consumption and other capitalistic pursuits are encouraged by the WTO, yet the WTO is under threat from a religious group known as the Order. Combining the various faiths of the world, the Order preaches a return to simpler times, with more resources being used by those who need them, rather than those who can afford them.
The player is put in the shoes of Alex, a trainee of the Tarsus Academy, the most prestigious private school in the post-Collapse world. Top graduates are given nanotechnological biomodifications, and prestigious security and covert ops jobs at various corporate entities. And then one day, the entire city of Chicago is destroyed for the sake of one Tarsus academy.
The game starts in Seattle, where the player has been transferred to a different academy just in time to save him from the Chicago disaster. Yet, almost immediately, this academy is under attack as well, though not as violent as the one perpetrated against Chicago. With the academy destroyed and the player freed from its controlling influence, he must now choose his path through the world, aligning with the WTO or the Order while trying to discover the truth behind the attacks.
As with its predecessor, Deus Ex: Invisible War is chock full of conspiracies, plot twists, betrayals and secret manipulation. Adventure, roleplaying and action are still part of the game, though many aspects have been streamlined. The cumbersome inventory is cleaned up, and the concept of skills has been removed. The skills, though they provided depth to Deus Ex, won’t be missed. It’s nice to be able to properly aim a sniper rifle like a real covert ops agent should.
It’s also nice being given the choice of being able to choose which side’s agenda to follow on any particular item. This allows the player to select a path that suits his own personal moral tastes, curiosity and even material desires. To give a minor spoiler, at one point in the game the player will be faced with the decision of killing a scientist, or letting him live and getting a very powerful and useful prototype weapon. One faction is determined to slay this creator of evil devices, another simply wants to make sure that the weapon is patented and regulated.