This is where gaming peaked. At the threshold of the new millennium.
Don't let its old graphics put you off! I honestly don't even mind the low-poly models or the 16-bit textures. I believe that dystopic worlds somehow work better in an outdated look. It unconsciously pushes you to use your fantasy and imagine the finer details. Immersion!
I admit. I was way too young to actually understand what I was playing at the time in 2000. And I only managed to fully appreciate it decades later. This was the game that planted the seed of my love for cyberpunk. Even though I had no idea what was going on, I was drawn to Deus Ex.
The story is captivating, full of mystery and conspiracies and with the right amount of edgy. You have the classic Matrix trenchcoats, modern-day philosopher quotes, snobby artistic references, and questionable voice acting. But hey, I love my things imperfect. And it's funny, a great and much-needed contrast to the overly serious world. Where the old Deus Ex is still ahead even today, is the way you can approach your missions. The game doesn't carry you on its back using a markers like you're an idiot, it doesn't suffocate with you hints. Instead, you can stop for a while and just think: "What if I try to do this?" And Jesus Christ, the game is actually ready for alternative solutions and plays out a realistic scenario based on your decisions. Some of them have serious implications on future missions. Why haven't we seen more of this out-of-the-box readiness in more games since then? It should be a staple of this industry! Kingdom Come: Deliverance got close to something like that, but Deus Ex still does it the best.
Deus Ex's biggest pain nowadays is the gunplay. It's just not up to today's standards and gun accuracy relies heavily on the RPG system. It can get a little frustrating, especially early in the game before you can level up your skills a bit. And before you get augmented.
But shooting is not why you should play Deus Ex. You play it for the experience, great world-building, fantastic atmosphere and heavy themes that feel pretty relevant in 2021. You play it to see where games should have gone, but ultimately never have. Either way, Deus Ex is a game that leaves a lasting impression on everyone who gives it a chance.