- Created on 10 October 2011
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 & PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: Out Now
Review Author: Jamie Kimpton
Deus Ex Human revolution drops you straight into the story; you take control of Adam Jenson, security chief for Sarif industries, detective and general misery guts. The year is 2027 and humanity is on the brink of a drastic change with the advent of cybernetic body modifications known as Praxis. The game sets the scene with an on-rails opening segment where you are introduced to the main cast of the game and the overlaying narrative which drives Dues Ex. The opening scene is a slightly lengthy introduction and completely juxtaposes the original Dues Ex which thrust you straight into terrorist laden action.
The opening serves well in introducing the player to the game's overarching themes and concepts, teasing just enough of the social and political landscape that the game resides in and the effect this emerging technology is having. As the game progresses, Jenson becomes embroiled in the world of corporate subterfuge and political strife with hints that something bigger is pulling the strings along the way. It’s a satisfying and interesting narrative which allows the player to explore deeper through their own detective work. Littered throughout the game are newspapers, e-books, P.D.A devices and emails for you to rifle through which help flesh out the games world and story and is all the more satisfying for allowing the player to investigate this through their own actions.
With an immersive environment, copious space to explore and massive amounts of interaction, Deus Ex provides a challenge to even the most experienced gamers. Throughout, Adam Jenson's abilities and weaponry can be tailored to your specific gaming style which in turn impacts your ability to complete levels. In addition the game can follow a number of non-linear paths which make it worth replaying in order to see waht you might have missed the first time.
Human Revolution (HR) takes its time to introduce you to its core mechanics and themes before unleashing you into the wilds of Detroit where the game really begins. It’s after the opening segment that Deus Ex HR really begins to shine. Eidos Montreal has created a perfect dystopia for you to explore. The game revolves around two central city hubs, where the player is free to explore in any way they wish. Whether its running through the dirty streets giving tramps beer for information or crawling through a back alley grate just to see where it leads, you never feel limited in movement in exploration. The icing on the cake of these free-roaming city hubs is the general aesthetics. The world looks like something directly out of blade runner and has a natural dirty industrial concept. The graphics themselves are great and flowing. Even in points of intense action the frame-rate remains steadfast and the graphics stay pristine.
The accompanying sound track sounds as good as any original Hollywood orchestral score and suits the sprawling urban metropolis perfectly. The sound effects especially the weapons, have a very satisfying sound to them from the sexy shot of a silencer to the bombastic blast of a grenade launcher, the sound carries a certain gravitas which is simply empowering. Sadly the voice acting while not terrible is not on the same level as recent accomplishments such as the Mass Effect series.
The games difficulty and cover system may put off some players who are used to the run and gun action stylings of today’s game world. But perseverance and practice will pay off in the long run and the cover system soon will feel natural and clever allowing more freedom of movement then you first realise.
If variety is the spice of life then Deus Ex is the Vindaloo of gaming, not only are you free to approach any given situation, but the more you experiment and explore, the more rewards and extra information you get in return. Deus Ex relishes in multiple paths and open ended levels, giving the player the choice and control rarely seen in other games.
Staying in the variety theme is the weapon and augmentation system, designed with choice and player preference in mind. Wide selections of lethal and non-lethal weapons are available to choose from. Each weapon feels unique and useful even the oft-useless non-lethal weapons have their uses and are most importantly, fun to use. The main issue you will have is fitting them into your inventory, the game will often make you chose between saving your favourite weapons until you finally find some more ammo or ditching them in favour of post-scarcity. Though the inventory management can be frustrating and challenging it never seems unfair and only adds to the experience.
Dues Ex integrates RPG progression seamlessly, using an augmentation system known as praxis the player is given the choice between upgrading a multitude of adjustments and upgrades to Jenson. The variety and execution of these are wonderful as they range from game-mechanic changing augments suck as smart vision allowing Jenson to see though some walls or the social analyser add on which adds statistics and extra conversational options to more practical upgrades such as faster movement or increased armour. Nothing in the upgrades seems wasteful even if they may not be completely practical and that is the fantastic thing about it. The praxis system really puts the choices in the player’s hands allowing them to define Jenson to there own play style.
As smooth as the majority of the game flows there are some minor annoyances which only slightly mar the overall product.
First of these is the sometimes unwieldy hacking interface, the main problem is that hacking itself is designed to be a game of reactions and planning, unfortunately the 360/PS3 game pads are just not quite right for the structure of the mini game. This sometimes results in frustrating hacking attempts and an obscured view of the hacking board adds to the difficulty. It’s a system which just lends itself better to the more traditional mouse/keyboard setup on PC much to the chagrin of console players.
The aforementioned voice acting sometimes lets down the overall presentation and can fairly be described as patchy. Perhaps its being spoiled by games such as Mass Effect which delivers great dialogue and small nuances in the voice acting that are just not as developed in Deus Ex. Some characters, such as Jensons ‘friendly’ voice-in-the-ear at mission command Pritchard and the head CEO David Sarif himself, do a significantly better acting job then the games main protagonist, who rarely deviates from the gruff business monotones you may associate with a B movie action hero.
The last of the minor gripes lay with the ‘bosses’ spread throughout the main campaign. After delightfully giving players such a freedom of choice and approach only to then force them into a very stereotypical boss fight at the end seems a little cheap and especially in the case of the first boss a little cheap. This is because if you have focused on augmenting for stealth and hacking, the run and gun boss fights really can be difficult.
5/5 - Whatever your preferred playing platform Dues Ex is a unique and polished game, there is something for everyone to enjoy whatever your preference in play style. A truly engaging and personal experience for the player and minor faults and irks aside it deserves your attention. As we approach the gaming season it is likely to be overlooked by the un-initiated, just don’t let yourself be one of them.