Truth be told, I have not really played any of the Deus Ex games for a reasonable amount of time. That all changed when I put Deus Ex: Human Revolution into my PS3. At that moment I was transported into a magical world filled with gnomes, pirates, lions, and… wait no. Actually none of those things are really in this game, per se. A keen eye may spot them along with several other silly Easter Eggs strewn along in the game.
The game starts with the main protagonist Adam Jensen being summoned by the CEO of Serif Industries, which is a company that produces augmentations for humans. Think cybernetics-like arms, legs, eyes, and even mental enhancements. Seemingly they are used mostly for soldiers but they offer these augments for people who need them for medical reasons. Unfortunately as you find out along the way these augments do not always stick. The human body often rejects the implants and they must take preventative medicines to keep them alive. Once Adam gets to the CEO’s office, alerts start going off and stuff gets wacky. You are asked to go see what’s going on since you are in charge of security. As you start going through hallways the tutorial begins to give you tips on how the game works and you experience your first encounters with the enemy. They are obviously no match for you at this point. Adam ventures deeper to find bodies lying on the ground as well as broken walls and fire everywhere. Suddenly a fully Augmented bad-ass grabs you by the throat and tosses you through some very thick glass. You ultimately get your ass beaten to death. Luckily for you, Adam is saved by becoming pretty much fully augmented. He becomes almost 80% cybernetic I would guess. Then flash forward to six months later and the game actually begins. Adam’s first mission is to confront an anti Augmentation group that has taken hostages. That’s when the real action starts. Firefights, stealth, hacking, all the fun stuff you’d want ensues as you take on this first mission. Upon finishing it you realize there is much more going on than you could even imagine. The game really begins to open up at that point.
The gameplay really emphasizes stealth. If you aren’t sneaky for a good bit of the game you will die. If you are smart you can survive most encounters. I was able to do quite well with my tried and true method I used in the Metal Gear Solid games. This method is to generally stay hidden until they find you, then shoot everyone in the face. If I divide and conquer I can get through most anything, unless of course there’s a giant robot. Screw those things! The gun play is pretty smooth and responsive. As you progress, you can find and purchase weapon upgrades to make your weapons bad-ass. Be smart with the upgrades, as some ammo is more scarce than others. As you sneak around enemies you can do the typical shoot them in the back deal or perform one of two take-downs. One take down will stun them and make very small amount of noise. The second one will instantly kill them in a most bad-ass way. The thing that makes me scratch my head is how “loud” it apparently is to kill them. Seems like if no one is around and you get a large blade shot into your back, yeah you might make a sound, but not enough to alert the entire area! Another thing that bothers me is that doing these take-downs uses up a battery charge. I can understand maybe the kill ones using a battery charge as you’re shooting out these crazy cyber blades from your arms, but the stun ones simply don’t make sense when you’re just punching them in the neck or something.
The game has some great RPG elements. As you continue your techno-espionage adventure you will get experience points. When you reach a certain amount of points you will be rewarded a Praxis kit. These kits are used to upgrade one of several augments. There are lot of fun augments too. You can give Adam cloaking abilities, increased radar information, better accuracy, enhanced strength, the ability to punch through weakened walls, and so on. You have a lot of options when upgrading Adam. There is also the Typhoon to upgrade, which is an augment that is pretty much a weapon that will shoot these explosive ball bearings in a 360 degree radius around you pretty much killing anything around you. It’s quite a potent weapon that comes in handy. My favorite augments are the ones that make hacking into computer consoles much easier. Hacking is honestly my favorite part of the game. When you begin to hack into a console you have to capture nodes on a screen. There is a chance you wont be detected, in which case things are very easy, but where is the challenge in that? When you are detected it’s a race against time. If they trace it back to the origin point then you will be locked out. If the console is hooked up to an alarm you may find trouble looking for you. There are things to help you while hacking. Any nodes you capture you can fortify which makes it hard for your attempt to fail. You can also unlock extra experience and credits from capturing some nodes. Eventually in your hacking exploits you will receive two types of viruses. Stop Viruses stop the counter attack on you for a small amount of time. Nuke Viruses help you capture a node without detection. Here’s a great video I found giving you a better explanation of how hacking works.
If you’re an Oblivion fan, you will no doubt enjoy hacking into every door you see that’s linked with a console. Of course once you are inside there are often more things to hack like personal computers and safes. Throughout missions, hacking will come in handy for disabling cameras, unlocking doors, taking control of robots, and turning turrets against the enemy. The last two are quite entertaining, I assure you. With the heavy lifting augment you can even pick up the turret and move it around to a better spot for it to unleash hell upon the enemies. If you are afraid of hacking, fear not. You can often find PDAs and such on fallen enemies that have passcodes on them. The game gives you plenty of options on how to do things.
The game isn’t all about hallways and missions though. As the story unfolds you get access to city hubs of varying size. These hubs seem to feel relatively alive. They are filled with police, punks, and prostitutes. Those are the three P’s of any successful game. The game then gets an open world feel and you are pretty free in what you want to do. Of course if you want to go around blasting people you will suffer consequences. Heck, I found out that throwing dumpsters around in an abandoned alley was against the law as I was gunned down by the police. In these hubs you can also buy weapons, ammo, upgrade kits, and even Praxis kits from the LIMB places. There’s also information to be gained through conversation. They give you multiple approaches to talking with people. There’s really no morality meter or anything, but some ways of handling people work better. You can get an Augment that will allow you to be more mindful of your conversation choices as well, helping you detect lies or what sort of personality they may have.
The graphics are pretty good. Sometimes you meet someone with a jacked up face or crazy big shoulders that don’t really mesh with the look, but the backgrounds are pretty detailed. The world itself makes you feel you are there. The haze in the sky and the neon lights give you a sense of a dystopian world where crime runs rampant. Fine details in apartments and offices give the world a little bit more life. Being that you can interact and move/carry/throw a multitude of objects, sometimes the interaction of items feels limited but it doesn’t distract from the fun. The music really pulls you in. It’s a very ambient sound that reminds me of EVE online. While you wouldn’t be able to pick it out from other soundtracks, it still does its job and fits the game perfectly. The voice acting can be very hit and miss. Sometimes it’s spot on but most of the time it feels wacky, confused, or out of place. It doesn’t really sync up to the lips either.
One last issue I had which was probably pretty rare is an auto-save death loop. Basically I was in the police station and had just upgraded to my heavy lifting augment. I figured I’d try it out and lift the vending machine. Apparently as I tossed it back to its spot, the police became angry and began shooting me. I turned to the exit and left. There was a quick loading screen and the game auto saved. Outside I guess the police had heard gun fire and gunned me down quickly. I got the game over screen. I clicked load last save. Well, when I loaded, It was right outside the police station and the cops were still angry so I died again. Luckily you can access the save BEFORE that one with a little menu digging.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
|Pros||Great graphics. Great ambient soundtrack. Really good stealth action. Intriguing story. Augmenting is pretty neat. HACKING IS A BLAST!|
|Cons||Sloppy voice acting. Auto-save death loop is possible.|
|Verdict||Ultimately the game brings nothing really new to the genre, but its still a very enjoyable experience. If you like espionage set in a sci-fi dystopian world filled with cyber punks then this game is a must have. If you just like stealth action then this game is definitely something to consider. Oh, did I mention that the Hacking mini game is fun!|