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Video Game / Dex

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Dex is a Cyberpunk Metroidvania/Role-Playing Game hybrid, developed by Dreadlocks. It was funded on Kickstarter by the end of 2013, left Steam Early Access and entered general sale on May 8th, 2015.

The story follows Dex, an augmented woman in The City of Harbor Prime, who got on the wrong side of the Complex, a combined authority of the city's largest corporations. They send assassins after her, and she only escapes due to guidance from enigmatic Raycast, the leader of city's hackers seeking to wrest control back from the corporations.

The game follows a nonlinear approach in both gameplay and storytelling. It frequently providing multiple ways of resolving quests and allows the player to develop Dex in any way they see fit. Conversation skills, hacking/augmented reality, melee and ranged combat and even lock picking can all be upgraded for different gameplay experience.

Dex provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Girl: Dex. Even at the beginning of the game, before augmentations and leveling, she's fully capable of taking several street thugs or police officers on her own.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Kether, an AI developed by the Complex that would allow them to put all of Cyberspace under their control. During the final testing stages, it went rogue and escaped into Cyberspace, but was subdued by a counter-program GSV that keeps it in a deadlock to this day.
    Decker: We were this close to an anarchistís Eden. An AI seeing everything, loyal to nothing. It wouldnít have been programmers dealing with Kether; it would have been politicians. How do you blackmail an AI if it donít have no body doing the desiring, no family to be protecting? How do you bribe? We were this close to shaking up the entire system from the top down. Anything would have been possible.
  • Animal Motifs: Birds for Dex. She calls herself "little bird" in one of her monologues, her cyberspace avatar in original edition is a stylised bird's head, and, from behind, the hem of her longcoat seems like a bird's tail.
  • Artificial Human: The cloned-from-a-natural-human type: Dex is one of modified clones of the head of the Complex, a person known as The Crow.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Enemies will completely ignore a hacked gun turret plinking them to death, even if they do have a firearm themselves they could use to destroy the turret.
  • Badass Longcoat: Dex always goes around dressed in one, unless the Extra Outfits Downloadable Content / Enhanced Edition is being played.
  • Big Bad: Doctor Hammond serves in this role but he's actually just The Dragon for the Complex and the Crow.
  • Body Horror: Raycast's real body.
  • Book Ends: If you choose the corporate ending, Dex will end the game with a variation of the same monologue she begins the game with, with the scale shifted from one city to the whole world.
  • The Chosen One: There's an urban legend about the Kether's seed, a human who received a copy of the rogue AI Kether's consciousness into their brain, and who will be able to break its standstill with GSV. And then there's Dex who for some reason can access Cyberspace with no equipment at all. You can easily connect the lines here, and indeed, in the end it gets subverted. Dex really is a Kether's seed, a seed, one of many. Or, more accurately, one of the clones made by the Complex in order to create a human breed that would be able to be constantly connected to Cyberspace without any mechanical devices, and thus, controllable from there. The only special thing about her is that she's the first discovered clone that fulfills all of the Complex's criteria for her kind. By no virtue of her own - she's just the first lucky success from many tries.
  • Collection Sidequest: Collecting antiques for Hank the weapon shop owner. There's not many of them but yes, some of these can be Permanently Missable.
  • The Computer Is a Lying Bastard: The "Mitchell, the Chief Security Officer" quest can say that Dex was "broadcasting his crazed rampage", but the option in the hack is undone, so it didn't actually happen.
  • Cool Old Guy:
    • Decker
    • Richmond
    • Soto: Master of parkour and meditation.
  • Critical Hit: These can be scored in ranged combat, either through luck or by hitting specific areas. Shooting enemies in the head is a particularly reliable way to score one.
  • Cybernetics Will Eat Your Soul: The idea is scoffed at by Dr. Niles, who does most of the augmentations for Dex and has a bionic eye himself:
    Dr. Niles: Or are you worried about being less you? You don't need a philosopher to tell you that you're more than a physical body. Soul, consciousness, destiny, call it whatever you will. But why would that "essence" be any worse off if you made your body better? You give it power! Jump higher, run faster, deduce quicker and kick ass harder...
  • Cyberspace: Present, and it's used not just for hacking, but also for the actual augmented reality combat. The main limit on its use is the Focus bar, which drained by viruses and whose depletion will lead to Dex's health being drained away instead, as a result of over-exhaustion.
  • Cyborg: Dex is not one from the beginning of the game; that metal thing on the back of her head is a necklace. Dex's new friends are freaked out that she can access cyberspace without hardware. There's nothing stopping her from getting further cybernetic augmentations throughout the game, with the limit of 9 augmentations in any playthrough.
  • Cyberspace: Present, and Dexís abilities at manipulating it are a significant part of gameplay process.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Inverted. Dex can free-aim with a mouse reticule when sheís using guns. The enemies have no problems with firing diagonally too. However, you can't aim perfectly vertical, forcing you to position yourself accordingly for diagonal aim.
  • Dialogue Tree: Used during the conversations with all characters, and more important decisions have explanation tags like [threaten] or [complete mission].
  • Do Not Run with a Gun: Played straight in the original edition - neither Dex, nor other characters in the game can move around or jump with their gun drawn. Being hit in melee will also force either her or the enemy to put their gun away. In the Enhanced Edition you can walk, but not run or jump while aiming.
  • Elite Mooks: Clone sentries in the underwater level. They are not the toughest enemies overall, but have very good offensive capabilities. There are several types of them with varying combat tools, all Colour-Coded for Your Convenience
  • Fetch Quest: Some of the secondary quests fall into this.
  • Fragile Speedster: Dex in the beginning. Depending on how you level, augment and equip her, by the end she grows into either a Glass Cannon or a Lightning Bruiser.
  • Gay Option: She can sleep with female prostitutes if she chooses.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: Dex is proficient at this, and can defeat even gun-wielding armored soldiers when upgraded. Itís never as fast as just shooting them, though. Notably, these are her only available melee weapons.
  • Grid Inventory: In the original, Dex has a rather large one, covering 56 slots, with multiple items of the same type fitting into one slot, and quest-specific items marked in red to prevent the player from accidentally throwing them out. And unlike Deus Ex, ammo clips take up slots like any other item. Averted in the Enhanced Version, where your inventory is divided into categories that let you hold unlimited amounts of any item.
  • Guns Are Useless: Averted. Shooting someone from even a basic pistol kills them in seconds, as opposed to longer and fairer melee. Bullets will run out, however, and new clips cost money, so Dexíll often have to fight with her fists regardless. Likewise, Dex can be killed quite swiftly by the gun-wielding enemies, too, especially in the early game.
  • Hammerspace: See Grid Inventory above. Itís just not feasible to carry all of the items Dex can have beneath just a longcoat, especially when you take her unimpeded acrobatics into account.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Armagear enforcers, clad in full-body black armour, are this compared to many regular thugs Dex will frequently face.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Food and the E-Drinks will heal Dex a little when consumed.
  • Intrepid Reporter: A.J.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: Armoured enforcers and huge street thugs are immune to takedowns due to armoured carapace protecting their vitals in the former case and the sheer size difference in the latter preventing Dex from doing her chokehold on them.
  • Laser Sight: One of the available gun upgrades.
  • Life Meter: All enemies have a red bar displaying their health below their sprite, and thereís also a percentage just to the right doing the same.
  • Loony Fan: One of the optional quests has you dealing with one, Camilla, who is stalking a washed-up celebrity, Barbara.
  • Manipulative Bastard:
    • Raycast. A downplayed example, however - his motives are unarguably benevolent, and his circumstances make his tendency to lie and manipulate understandable, if not forgivable.
    • Lily, the mistress of the Aphrodite brothel, is also this sans any redeeming circumstances.
    • Dex herself can engage into it on one occasion during the operation to bring down GSV-2, she can manipulate one of the scientists on the project into attempting to kill the chief security officer to get her key card and progress further. Depending on actions you did or did not do beforehand, there are several ways it can end.
  • Mega-Corp: It's a cyberpunk setting, so of course you have several of these running around. The Complex is one notch higher in the food chain, veering into Nebulous Evil Organisation territory.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr.Niles, big time. There's a decidedly unfunny joke that he plans on molesting Dex when she's under with Decker intervening to stop him. Dex is understandably hostile to him from that point on despite her need for his help.
  • Multiple Endings: 3 in total. However only 2 of these can be accessed at a time, depending on a choice you make earlier.
  • Nanomachines: The key component of the Nanite Blood Infusion implant, given the name.
  • No-Sell: The Euroforce BattleRig of the Enhanced Edition or Extra Outfits Downloadable Content, makes Dex Immune to Bullets when blocking, which renders some enemies utterly unable to damage a blocking Dex. Such as Armagear enforcers, who don't have a heavy attack to break through her block are capable of only regular melee, which regular blocking utterly stops, and guns, which use bullets.
  • Off-Model: A lot of the animations are jarringly low on frames.
  • Optional Sexual Encounter: Available for Dex whenever she visits the Aphrodite brothel.
  • Optional Stealth: Itís there, also the viability can be questionable.
  • Psycho for Hire: Connor from the "Good cop, Cyber Cop" is this. A former Rabid Cop, he left the force and went freelance so he could freely indulge into his violent tendencies. He's not fully one-dimensional however, which you can witness for yourself if you go for non-lethal resolution of his quest.
  • Random Drop: Enemies have a chance to drop items on defeat, such as money, or consumables.
  • Ray Gun: You can nab a working prototype of one in Redmond-Watts facility.
  • Regenerating Health: The "Nanite Blood Infusion" implant. 10 Hit Points recovered every few seconds:
    Enables automatic health regeneration over time.
  • Regenerating Shields, Static Health: There's a version of that with Focus, which is used by Dex during active hacking, and which is drained by virus attacks. When it runs out, it will simply regenerate in the physical world. Should you stay in the Cyberspace without any Focus, however, you'll begin to suffer actual damage, which has to be healed properly.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Mitchell, the head of security at Redmond-Watts is one, crossed with Psycho for Hire as he snapped during his tour and went on a killing spree at POWs. You can hack his office monitors to replay security camera footage of that, which renders him near-catatonic.
  • Shock and Awe: Thereís the electricity damage inflicted by certain weapons/attacks, and Dex can be augmented with Electrostatic Conductors to make her immune to electrical damage.
  • Transhuman: Dex is a result of a program to create a new breed of humans. However, people at the head of the program have different ideas on the purpose behind development of these new humans.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Very helpful in evading gunfire.
  • Unproblematic Prostitution: Thoroughly averted. Aphrodite's brothel turns out to keep its male prostitutes addicted to the drug "Exalta" in order to keep them going. The one independent prostitute, Charlene at the top of the Chinese Quarter is implied to be an ex-employee but is still addicted to Exalta.
  • Useless Spleen: Averted to a ridiculous degree. One of optional quests has you helping a downtrodden family of mother and son, where the mother is dying from a disease and needs a spleen transplant to stay alive. Dex can suggest using the son's spleen for transplantation, but that's treated as the dumb idea it is. Removing a vital organ from him will cause him to die, leaving the mother without anyone to take care of her. And no, this is not a con on their part.
  • Weak Turret Gun: There are some ceiling-mounted turrets that go down quite quickly, but hit hard in return.