Dex

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Dex Game Poster Image
Cyberpunk role-playing game is a bleak, dull ride.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Help others when you can, though this often involves violence. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Everyone you meet is a haunted soldier for a different cause. Corruption abounds. 

Ease of Play

Controls aren't too tricky, but it's very challenging until you unlock more abilities. 

Violence

Punches, gunfire, murder. Not a lot of blood, but there's a lot of hurting others.

Sex

Clubs with lewd dancing, occasional nudity, characters who heavily imply they're prostitutes.

Language

Frequent use of "s--t"; crude, coarse language.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drugs frequently referenced, used by characters; wine purchased and used for health restoration.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dex is a downloadable dystopian cyberpunk fantasy game, set in the future after many bad things have happened and most of society has broken down. As such, the picture of the remaining mankind isn't pretty. There's occasional nudity and suggestive content, with some characters suggesting they're prostitutes, as well as coarse language and profanity. There's also frequent drug and alcohol use both referenced and shown by characters, along with a steady degree of violence. Though there isn't a lot of blood shown, there's plenty of gunfire, murder, and punching within gameplay.

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What's it about?

Set in the future, DEX focuses on sentient artificial intelligences that are pooling their resources to overtake the human race. You play an ordinary, unsuspecting woman who reluctantly discovers she has the ability to astrally project herself into the AI realm. This gives her the power to manipulate computers, uncover people's secrets, and potentially control parts of the world typically unable to even be touched by mankind. You struggle with choices over personal sacrifice and happiness in that pursuit, as well as with many branching paths with no shortage of other people to affect or leave for dead. Along the way are lots of battles, conversations, and choices to make.

Is it any good?

There's a significant lack of progress in the story, even though there's plenty to do. Everywhere you go, you end up feeling as though you're doing the same things over and over in front of a different background. Though this could be said of many games, this is especially true of Dex. You head to one area, talk to people to gain quests, fight enemies in between, and hope this repeating thread of actions advances the plot. This is basically all there is for you to do in this sprawling world. That's great if you don't mind a lack of variety and exploring but not so great if you're excited to tick items off your cyberpunk to-do list. It makes for a lot of guesswork that can be tedious. 

It isn't all bad, though -- it's just hard to keep quality up when it's spread so widely across such a large canvas. But the game is at its best not when you have lots of enemies thrown at you (although this gets more enjoyable the stronger you are and as you gain new abilities and weapons) but in the quiet moments where you discover somewhere interesting to poke your head around, as well as reading things left in the world to better inform your decisions and why you're doing what you're doing. There are roadblocks to going all-in on this game (bugs such as combat being displayed behind cut scenes of people talking, saves not properly working, and the like), and there's some fun to be had, but on the whole Dex is a lot of work for not a lot of gain. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how you would survive without modern technology and most luxuries. What would life be like? How might it be better? Worse?

  • If there were parts of yourself you could digitally or mechanically supplement and improve, would you do it? What might the consequences be?

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