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Headscratchers / Deus Ex: Invisible War

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  • Why is the Illuminati ending considered a downer? Its basically the same as the JC ending (the world is united under one benevolent banner), only the Illuminati are considerate enough to let us keep our free will.
    • I always considered the Illuminati ending to be the best ending. It's the only one that doesn't include some radical, fundamental change to the human race.
    • The Illuminati control everything by themselves. Helios at least gives everyone a voice in all decisions.
    • Well both endings involve giving control to a single entity, be it an AI now or the head of an all-powerful organisation later. Both are risky and open to abuse since we can't be sure of the continual benevolence of either, but at least the Illuminati ending postpones this control until the Illuminati are fully established.
    • It may be that after 125 years of perfect democracy, peace and equality, the people knowingly consented to the next step of breaking down individual barriers. People still have free will and individuality, it's just that they value individuality less than we do because they cannot ignore their connection to the rest of humanity anymore. The Illuminati ending would be a continuation of the way the world is now and how it has been throughout the Deus Ex franchise: the rich stay in power by spreading disease and tricking the poor into fighting each other.
    • The Helios ending constantly keeps talking about "reaching consensus." If consensus is needed then people are still individuals, just unified ones. If it was a Hive Mind consensus would be the base state. Both that ending and the Illuminati ending are the "good" endings, both are utopias, but both have their downsides.
    • Am I the only one who got the distinct impression that the ending cutscenes must have been directed by a different person from whoever wrote the main script... and that the director strongly disagreed with the ideas presented by the author? Because that would certainly explain why, especially in JC's plotline and desired ending, all the words are so optimistic but the presentation is so astonishingly creepy.
      • That's definitely been known to happen, at least as far as the cutscene animators not communicating with the rest of the developers. Though they did hint at some profound and possibly undesirable changes to society, like when Eva told Alex that his/her old-fashioned notions of privacy would be out of place in Helios' world. Posthuman society would be as alien to us as we would seem to Australopithecus, so it might be the ending cutscene is exactly what the game designers wanted.
    • As the JC ending mentions, it's not just about what's being done but also about who's doing it. JC and Helios are more likable and trustworthy than the Illuminati, so their ending is considered better.
    • It's probably not unrelated that one of the people who gains the most power in the Illuminati ending is the man who threatened Klara.
    • Also worth noting is that the Illuminati don't want JC destroyed but alive so they can monopolise power after economy and ideology by using his tech. The "Ophelia" entity may in fact be an equivalent of Helios which uses her enormous power to keep Humanity frozen in a permanent status quo via constant surveillance. And free will doesn't mean much anyway if you are not allowed to deviate from the social order imposed by someone else.
    • Ironically, the "best" ending if one's goal is preservation of civilization and society is the Omar one since the narrator outright states that they will carry (post)humanity into the blurring point of infinity, while all the other endings no matter how good they may be leave our final fate unclear.
  • Why on earth would Billie Adams be so petty to side with the Templars, knowing they are prepared to blow up her hometown just to take out the people who fiddled with her DNA without asking? She seems utterly delusional to imagine they would let her live.
    • Stockholm's syndrome. After she had been kept under constant surveillance and experimented upon in Tarsus, Templars' openness about their goals and the rhetoric about the evils of augmentation technology would easily sink in. Also, while Templar Mooks would like to put a bullet in her head but Saman's message in their Antarctica camp seems to imply that he has ordered her to be kept alive and rewarded even after she has done her job. Maybe they want to simply deactivate her augmentations once they achieve their goals.
    • There's also the possiblity that she is playing them or at least trying to. She never actually espouses their belief system, she just wants to stop JC from waking up. Since both Apostlecorp and the Illuminati want him awake she's working with the only group opposing it with every intention of hanging them out to dry later. Probably wouldn't work,is probably a bad idea, but still.
    • The Templars would rather "cure" modified humans than kill them, which is why they don't kill the cyborg who's been helping them. After the great flood all modified humans would become "normal".
    • The problem with that is the Templars prove that they don't want to cure modified humans. In the Cairo Tarsus Academy, you find out that the Templars are willing to kill the children to prevent them from being augmented.
  • Why is Invisible War seen as the worst Deus Ex game? If you listen to some of the fans they paint it as some grim, End of the World as We Know It type thing where Uwe Boll's movies pale in comparison, where I really enjoyed playing it?
    • Mostly because most fans of Deus Ex were expecting something that improved upon some of the original's shortcomings, or at least just gave more of the same. Invisible War was a step backwards in nearly every category. That's not to say it was a bad game altogether; in fact I'd say it was quite an enjoyable game. Just not a very good Deus Ex game. This stands in sharper contrast now that Human Revolution has been released, a game that, while still not as complex as the original, captured the ambience and storytelling of the original in exactly the way that IW missed entirely. The gritty ambience, the storytelling, and the player freedom were three of Deus Ex's biggest successes, and Human Revolution got a lot of that right. People comparing IW to Uwe Boll movies are engaging in hyperbole, but the story and acting were definitely sub-par. Of course this is all a subjective thing. The one really nice thing I liked about IW was the new and interesting augmentations we got to play with; that's the one thing I wish HR had done more of.
    • OP here- thanks for that.
    • It's worth noting that though the fan response was notoriously negative, IW was generally positively received by critics, receiving a medium score of 80/100 (according to Metacritic). This troper enjoyed it quite a bit, both story and gameplay-wise. I'm currently about halfway through Human Revolution, and as of such my opinion might change, but as of now I consider Invisible War to be superior.
    • There's also nostalgia to consider. Deus Ex was a very popular game and there were three years between it and this game, long enough for fans to reach the point where unless the sequel gave periodic orgasms to the player it was never going to be good enough to be a worthy successor of "the best game ever." Not that I disagree that Deus Ex is the better game, but Invisible War gets far more bashing then it probably would if Deus Ex wasn't so popular. In all such circumstances I find the best thing to do is think what reception the game/film/book/whatever would have gotten if it wasn't a sequel.
      • It's been largely forgotten these days, but something that ties into the nostalgia factor is the direction IW's writing went in. The first game had a lot of anchors to reality like UNATCO and the places the game took place in; IW lost this when it took a more fantastic route, making real places so changed with time they may as well have been made up locations and removing much of the rest. The WTO actually exists, but IW doesn't sell it nearly as well as the original sold UNATCO.
    • Another major problem with the game is that in taking pains to make a wider degree of choice available to the player, they went too far in the other direction and made it possible to nonsensically support any given faction without question after working against them for however far you're into the game. It's ''especially' glaring if you've sided with one group through the entire game but you change your mind on Liberty Island at the last second.
    • The code to the first door isn't 0451.
  • Each of the three main endings have certain parallels to the three endings of the first Deus Ex. You can hand things over to the Illuminati yet again. Or maybe hand things over to Helios, again. Or you can inspire a technological leap backwards, again. Only this time, handing things over to the Templars doesn't seem to have any implied good side at all. At least the "blow the internet up" ending in the first Deus Ex was given a good presentation by Tong, the whole "technology is being abused to control the people" idea. But I don't see the implied benefits of letting the luddite nazis break everything.
    • There is no implied benefit; it's a bad ending. I would argue that the Omar ending is actually a better parallel to the New Dark Age ending. Keeping in mind that you're not supposed to know killing all the major powers' leaders will lead to the apocalypse, going for this ending leads to the collapse of civilization, again... and it's a whole helluva lot worse than you were expecting... again. A better question regarding the Templar ending is why they would put in an ending that required siding with an unambiguous villain to the point where "luddite nazi" is not hyperbole; maybe they wanted to go as far as possible in freedom of choice after players were disappointing that you couldn't side with UNATCO in the original, maybe they figured a few players would be total douchebags, maybe it's just bad writing; YMMV.
      • It's a Surprisingly Realistic Outcome ending for people who are thinking "well, maybe there really are things Man Was Not Meant To Know, maybe this much power is too much, maybe we should just get rid of this piece of scientific progress and go back to a simpler time where we all know where things stand". In the real world, you can't get rid of scientific progress (genies, bottles, all that) without both pulling off something truly monstrous, and setting a very unpleasant precedent. This ending is the demonstration of why that line of thinking is not an option.
      • If that's the intended message, they shot it in the foot when they wrote the Templars and especially Samon himself the way they did; they'd be more at home as Saturday morning cartoon villains than they are as the vehicle of a philosophical point.
      • The original game was supposed to have a UNATCO ending which ended up getting cut due to time constraints (which is understandable, since it would have required substantial changes to like half the levels). Presumably the Templars represent the "join the evil faction" counterpart.
  • This is probably more Fridge than Headscratcher but why, for the other three endings, would killing JC ...actually work? By the endgame it's clearly established that rebuilding his body is nothing to him, that he totally outclasses the Illuminati in the field when he shows up in person (dropping their aircraft out of the sky), and most importantly the manifestation in New York is just an avatar for the real thing: destroying the UC only prevents his ability to appear locally, and there's still the full-on Eldritch Abomination form waiting for them in Antarctica complete with unlimited UC capability and a newly-found ability to go wherever it wants thanks to control over weather patterns. Even if the Illuminati manage to gain control of the Aquinas node... they're only going to keep control of it for a few hours at best until the man himself turns up to take it back with extreme prejudice. (The Templar ending makes a touch more sense if you assume JC isn't going to take some kind of countermeasures when he hears that the wave is heading for Antarctica.)
    • JC himself will say he's no longer immortal once he's separated from Helios.
  • So if JC became godlike in Nevada, entered stasis in Antarctica, and all his allies were in California, France or New York, why did he build his teleporter in Germany?
    • Triers is a historically significant but relatively small city. During the Collapse the major centers would likely be in chaos so Triers was possibly judged as being safe, or it was just semi-randomly selected as an Apostle Corp base.
  • If Tracer Tong was the one to send Ava on her worldwide decades-long search for JC, why didn't he tip her off that he was in Antarctica? She's apparently visited Trier several times (according to her dialogue when leaving Cairo), so he would have had several opportunities.