Deus Ex 2: Character Builds

From PlayItHardcore


Though Deus Ex 2 leaves you with far less options to explore than its predecessor, there are still numerous choices to make regarding character configuration as you progress. These will be influenced almost exclusively on how you decide to approach your hardcore run, and making the right choice to begin with is a blessing.

The playstyles we commonly associate with other games on PIH are common to Deus Ex 2 as well. You have your "Standard" playstyle, "Non-lethal" playstyle, "Passive" playstyle, and "Bloodlust" playstyle. You can mix and match any way you wish, though the guides below will be geared solely towards one or the other.

  • NOTE: Unlike Deus Ex 1, you can change your augmentations at any time. Provided you have enough Biomod cannisters in your possession, you can overwrite an existing Biomod with another. This isn't used often, but can prove useful towards the mid- or end- game if you wish to change or modify your tactics. You may, for instance, want to swap out Move Silent for Speed Enhancement when you reach Liberty Isle.

All Builds

Regardless of playstyle, there are some universal items you will want to have that we list here.


  • Pistol: Used as a tool. Configure with Silencer and Glass Destabilzer Weapon Modifications. Lets you silently kill someone if you are alone and disable any glass in the game without triggering any alarms. Even if you are playing Non-lethal or passive, keep this weapon with you for all other purposes.
  • Pistol: Secondary tool. Configure with Silencer and EMP Converter. This will let you silently disable all security lasers in the game with absolutely no fuss. A single shot to the emitter and it dies permanently. If having the shot silenced isn't a concern to you, you can put the Glass Destabilizer and EMP Converter onto a single pistol to save room.
  • Alternative: If you doing a less stealth run and don't mind getting attention now and then, you can put the Glass Destabilizer and the EMP Converter on the same pistol. This gives you the advantage of consolidating inventory space, at the disadvantage of losing your element of surprise or stealth if someone is in earshot.
  • Melee Weapon: Any, your choice. The purpose is to give you the ability to destroy boxes, crates, barriers, et cetera without using ammo.


  • Medkits: Keep a full stack of these on you no matter what.
  • Multitools: Obligatory


  • None

Bloodlust Playstyle

The most dangerous way to play the game, probably. As you are engaging in combat an awful lot, including opponents who may outnumber you and have tactical advantages (like positioning), you'll need to focus a lot on being able to sustain yourself when taking damage and dish out a lot of it yourself, plus be able to handle the various situations that pop up unexpectedly.


  • Shotgun: Modified with refire rate and your choice of Increased Damage or Ammo Scavenger. Extremely useful up-close weapon, capable of taking out just about anytihing you'll face up until the latter stages of the game. Coupled with its smoke grenade ability, it'll free up another slot you otherwise might fill with flashbombs.
  • Sniper Rifle: Modified with Increased Damage and Silencer. You always want to kill from a distance when possible. This enables you to do so, and to do so efficiently.
  • Energy Blade: Your Enhanced Strength makes this extremely lethal, and it will often be your preferred weapon when fighting 1 on 1. If you strike the head, you will instantly dispatch an organic, excluding some like Armored Templar.
  • Mag Rail: Extremely useful for obliterating bots from a distance. Later you can consider swapping this out for the ultimate tool in your reign of destruction:
  • Rocket Launcher: Modified with Ammo Scavenger. The secondary fire makes this the absolutely best killing weapon in the game. You can sit from a position of complete safety and hunt out opponents that are not even in your line of site, completely unable to reach you. You can destroy anything and everything with comfort.
  • Concussion Grenade: Very plentiful throughout the game and very deadly. Always keep them handy and don't be afraid to use them. If you're taking on more than a single opponent or a particularly tough one, this will definitely end the argument in your favor.
  • EMP Grenade: Until you get the mag rail, it will be your only reliable way of disabling bots
  • Concussion Prox Mine: A great way to do a crazy amount of damage without being there.
  • Spiderbombs: Your hidden army. I tend to bust these out when my ammo reserves are getting low.


  • Extra Medkits or Food: If you can get a full supply of Food (50), take that. Otherwise start an extra stack of Medkits. This will give you a huge reserve of health. You can ignore this IF you take the Regneration Biomod. But I'd take it anyway just in case.


  • Spy Drone: The stunning and remote EMP abilities will offer an extra cushion of safety. MAYBE Regeneration.
  • Neural Interface: Cloaking and Hazard Drone are pointless when you are destroying everything.
  • Thermal Masking: You won't need Aggressive Defense when you pack enough firepower to obliterate all.
  • Enhanced Strength: 50% of your kills will be from melee attacks.
  • Move Silent: You never need to run, but sneaking up from behind is very useful.

Non-lethal Playstyle

A more difficult way to play, but very doable. The only real issue you have is that your weapon selection goes down and your ability to kill at range is diminished. It's not actually possible to knock all enemies unconscious, such as Armored Templar, who will die even from EMP damage.


Your choice of weapons for a non-lethal takedown is limited considerably. You have only three weapons you can use directly on opponents, but there will still be others you will want to keep with you for utility purposes.

  • Baton: Your universal takedown tool. With Enhanced Strength it is very effective, and when combined with Electrostatic Discharge one can argue it is the best melee weapon in the game.
  • Stun Prod: A slightly longer range than the baton and the ability to neutralize any opponent is useful, though you probably won't make much use of this.
  • Boltcaster: The only way to take down opponents at range, excluding the very limited grenade selection. Coupled with a Silencer and a Refire Rate mod, you can usually tag an opponent twice and then duck out of cover. Very useful when you start dealing with packs of enemies.
  • EMP Grenade: Obligatory.
  • Flashbomb: Extremely useful for enemies that are chasing you or for crowd control, especially if you are waiting for an enemy to collapse from your Boltcaster.


  • No real additional notes are needed here. A standard supply of Medkits and Energy Cells is enough.


  • Regeneration: Your enemies will be surviving longer than on a normal or bloodlust mode, so having some fast, on-demand in-combat health is awesome.
  • Neural Interface: Cloaking and Hazard Drone are pointless in a run like this.
  • Electrostatic Discharge: Electrostatic Discharge coupled with the Baton renders you a Master of the Mechanical, letting you take control of any bot you smack around.
  • Enhanced Strength: Without a strength boost, your Baton attacks won't be very effective unless you catch everybody by surprise.
  • Move Silent: Sneaking around is always useful. Maybe substitute Increased Speed if you want to rush people.

Passive Playstyle

An interesting playstyle in which you attempt to completely avoid all combat. You do not kill, disable or knock unconscious any living being, from humans to Omar. Whether or not robots count in that too is up to you, but I say no, as robots are just machines. This method of play can be extremely challenging - since in DX2 you are running into hostile encounters every step of the way.

As you are trying to avoid combat altogether when playing Passive, your focus is on avoiding detection, fleeing when necessary, avoiding combat whenever possible and in general just being nice. As such, you'll miss out on a lot of rewards and other opportunities in the game, and will definitely have quite the challenge ahead of you in many instances. A challenging way to play, but definitely fun.


Even though the idea of weapons in a passive run seems like an oxymoron, in truth you will need weapons for the duration of the game to be used as utilities. There are simply not enough grenades to truly satisfy a passive run with comfort, and many weapons have functions beyond just harming or disabling opponents.

  • Shotgun: You won't be using this for fighting, but rather for escaping. Since you will have more ammunition available and less grenades, the Smoke grenade feature of the Shotgun is very handy for setting up a blockcade or putting down a smoke wall as you are trying to escape.
  • SMG: The detonate-on-impact Flashbang that this weapon provides is very useful for quick escapes or emergencies. It works on the majority of opponents you will face and will at the very least give you time to escape a hostile situation.
  • Mag Rail: A quintessential weapon if you are trying to be stealthy, as it is the only way to really cripple a security system from completely safety and concealment. When combined with Enhanced Vision, the EMP blast from the Mag Rail is critical.
  • Flashbomb: The ability for these to be thrown long distances and their instant-detonation alternate fire, along with their extremely high success rate and quick action for blinding opponents is just what the doctor ordered. Do not ever pass any of these precious babies up.
  • EMP Grenade: Depending on the level of "passiveness" you are playing by, you may still want to disable bots. If not, you will still want to be able to silently disable turrets and cameras, and this is the only sure-fire way of doing it in one blast without destroying them.


  • Extra Energy Cells: Since you will most likely be relying on higher-drain Biomods such as Cloaking to make passive feasible, you will burn through energy much more quickly than normal. It'll become a precious resource, and keeping an extra stack of Energy Cells will help you keep you out of trouble.
  • Extra Medkits: Being passive means you truly are a Ghandi, and you will not even raise your hand to strike even if being struck. Therefore, it's likely you will suffer a lot of damage from your less civilized opponents, and an extra layer of protection to absorb that damage always helps.
  • A stack of Food: Perhaps not needed if you are skilled at avoiding combat altogether, it serves as a way to patch up minor damage that isn't worth wasting a medkit on.



Ironman PlayStyle

This playstyle assumes you are playing on Realistic difficulty (you take greatly increased damage), and will not reload a savegame upon dying, but start over. Obviously, this is quite challenging, since many enemies use weapons like Shotguns and (late game) Rocket Launchers, which can easily kill you in one hit, or at the very least leave you with a sliver of health left. Healing items are forbidden (no Medpacs or Food), you can only heal from in-world sources (water dispensers, medbots), or via your biomods. You also simulate realistic armament, so you may only have one long-arm (rifle sized), and two compact (pistol or SMG sized) weapons. Melee weapons are limited to one (sword or baton sized), or two (knife or stun-prod sized). You may also have one type of grenades, or two if you use only one knife-sized melee weapon.

This necessitates a very cautious, hit-and-run combat approach, sneaking around, and generally finding ways to defeat (or bypass) your enemies with the least risk to yourself. Lethal or non-lethal have no bearing on your methods, all that matters is efficiency. Whichever works best, will be used, in any specific situation.


Weapons for this playstyle are selected based on how efficient they are at eliminating the enemy, preferably before said enemy can respond at all. Lethal/non-lethal has no bearing on the selection, whichever works best will be used.

  • Sniper Rifle: A no-brainer. This will be your best friend, during the entire playthrough, since it's scoped fire will insta-kill almost any organic enemy, and has insane range. Later in the game you might want to switch this out for an Assassin Pistol (you get it in Trier), for the purpose of ammo-conservation, but you will sacrifice some of the alpha-strike power in exchange. Your call. MODS: 1) Silencer(mandatory), 2) Ammo Scavenger(efficiency), or Increased Damage(alpha-strike). if you switch to Assassin Pistol, which is already efficient on ammo consumption, you can just ignore Ammo Scavenger, and consider Refire Rate (unlike the Sniper Rifle, some enemies might need a double-tap to the head, using this).
  • Boltcaster: This is your utility weapon, used for environment manipulation. To this end, the mods are Glass Destabilizer, and EMP converter. This allows you to bypass security grids, and break into alarm-wired glass, in one weapon. Since it has no silencer, it's a little louder then strictly desired, but the idea is that you don't use this in actual combat. The reason you use a Boltcaster and not a Pistol, is because Boltcaster is naturally quieter then a Pistol, without needing a silencer to make it that way. This frees both upgrade slots for utility purposes.
  • SMG: Finally, this is your weapon of choice when shit hits the fan, and you have no choice but to fight it out directly. It's extreme rate of fire means that Increased Damage mod doesn't affect it much, so you're free to put on an EMP converter and Ammo Scavenger on it. This makes it an universal weapon, and the Scavenger counteracts the ammo-usage of EMP shots. It's secondary-fire Flash grenades are an added bonus.
  • Combat Knife: For breaking boxes and various miscellaneous objects.
  • Stun Prod: For melee work against organic enemies. It's perma-stun effect while draining enemy health is very useful to keep them from shooting at you while being incapacitated., and at Realistic difficulty, it doesn't take long (enemies take more damage too). You can switch this out for a Toxin Blade (can be found early on), which has the same perma-stun effect, but it isn't as reliable, in my experience. On the bright side, it uses no ammo. On another bright side, since it's a variant of a Combat Knife, you don't need a second melee weapon, and can pack another type of grenade instead.
  • Concussion Grenade: Nothing fancy here, a good old frag grenade for crowd control, equally effective against organics and robots. They're plentiful, useful, and reliable. If you have room for another grenade type (see above), your call.


  • Energy Cells: An absolute necessity. Since most of your healing will come from biomods, and you have no option to use medpacs or food, you'll need a lot of energy. Also, the Cloak and Spy Drones are quite a big energy hog. Don't be afraid to have two or even three stacks of 10 of these, in your inventory. Given that you're banned from using meds or food, you can easily dedicate most of your inventory to these.
  • Multitools: Mandatory. Not that you have much else to put in inventory anyway, given this playstyle's restriction.


  • Spy Drone: Your All-In-One area denial tool. I can't sing enough praises to this biomod, since it has so many applications. At level 3, you can scout out the area, disable/incapacitate anything you want, all without ever exposing yourself. It's energy-hungry nature is almost the only thing keeping it from being overpowered. Make sure you hoard plenty of Energy Cells. Alternatively, Regeneration if you want to sacrifice utility for quiet movement, but you'll need to compensate by different mod setup below.
  • Cloak: Your Get-Out-Of-Jail free card. Got jumped by some thugs? Press F3 to vanish from sight, before they can get off a shot, then run off to find some cover and engage. Need to sneak past rocket-launcher wielding Templars? Need to get to a better position unseen? Or maybe just worried about that sniper on the scaffolding taking a shot at you, before you can get close enough to incapacitate him? Cloak lets you dictate the terms of engagement. Make sure to upgrade to level 3 as soon as possible, to save on energy usage. Also, since you won't be using the Move Silent mod, Cloak is the only thing you have regarding stealth.
  • Aggressive Defense Drone: That extra layer of safety never hurts. Alternatively, Thermal Masking, if you want absolute guarantee that nothing will be able to see you as you move around. Also, TM is mandatory if you go for Bot Domination.
  • Biotox Attack Drone: Incapacitate enemies without using ammo, or losing your Cloak. What's not to like? Alternatively, Enhanced Strength if you opt for Energy Blade for your melee weapon, for that one-hit-kill potential. Only go for Bot Domination if you went Regeneration instead of Spy Drone.
  • Health Leech Drone: Your healing ability. Alternatively, you can go for Regeneration, and pick Move Silent in this slot, but that also pulls a whole different setup of mods (see above).

Standard PlayStyle

With a Standard playstyle in DX2, we assume that you will more or less pick one side to follow for the majority of the game, be it the Order, the WTO, Templar, et cetera. This is probably the easiest way to play the game, as you have less combat to deal with in general, don't have to focus on taking everyone out and are taking fewer risks.

Return to Deus Ex 2: Invisible War.