I have to be honest, I really didn’t know much about Deus Ex from Square Enix other than it was some sort of a shooter crossed with an RPG. A few people made comments to me about how much they were enjoying Deus Ex: Human Revolution so I instantly became excited to get my hands on a copy. Over the course of the past four years, the team at Eidos Montreal has been building a prequel to one of the most critically acclaimed PC games of all time. It seems as if their efforts are about to pay off. As gamers, we’ve become use to categorizing games into genres typically based on how they play. Deus Ex: Human Revolution breaks out of this mold and shows us something new because how you play is determined solely by the individual. Two players can experience totally different things simply because they choose to do different things. For one player, Deus Ex: Human Revolution may be a straight up stealth game, while for another, it may be a duck-and-cover shooter. Clearly mixing these genres is no easy task, but Deus Ex: Human Revolution does it and does it well.
As for the story, you play a security officer by the name of Adam Jensen who unwittingly becomes mechanically enhanced, ala RoboCop, after a brutal terrorist attack leaves him for dead and kidnap his scientist partner. The world reminds me so much of something out of Bladerunner within its inspired landscapes and themes. The Deus Ex game world is extremely robust and allows you to visit various world locations – despite the fact you will spend most of your time in Detroit and Shanghai. Let’s get this out there right away; Human Revolution isn’t your typical action shooting despite what the game’s opening might lead you to believe. Yes, there’s a lot of opportune moments to get the big guns out and start gunning away at your robotic enemies; but this only scratches the surface of what the game really offers. You see, this game prides itself in giving players the choice to tackle various objectives how they see fit and it’s within this structure that the game really shows it’s brilliance rather than just mindless killing. You’re not locked into predetermined classes or routines and are always given the option to switch up your approach on the fly. The RPG role associated with the Deus Ex is a little different from what gamers might expect because although you level up your character and gain XP, the system relies primarily on upgrading skills rather than increasing your statistics.
While personal play style has the most direct impact on how you approach the game, how you develop your augmentations also has a lot to do with it. No matter what you do it is impossible to unlock every single augmentation skill in the game. According to the developers, even a great player can only unlock up to 75 percent of them in a single play through. This means that certain areas may be available to you, and certain skills, such as hacking, may be more or less difficult all depending on how you develop your character. Those who spend the time searching high and low are rewarded both with weapons and story bits. It seems that the plot of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is much more complex and the only way to really know what’s going on is to spend the time talking to people, searching out eBooks and hacking your way into various personal computers to read e-mail. E-mail can sometimes contain useful passwords granting you access to other systems, but it is mostly to divulge more story and then grand conspiracy behind the plot.
Hacking a system is handled through a minigame that balances risk and reward. You have to make your way down a virtual circuit and complete the end point before the system’s security software boots you out. If you’re fast enough you can even claim bonus goodies. Increasing your hacking augmentation makes it less likely that you’ll be noticed by the security software, but the rest of the minigame remains the same.Like many other games, Deus Ex features some impressive boss battles where you’ll have to get your hands dirty and make use of all the nifty toys you’ve collected along the way. There is no doubt about it that the boss fights are truly rewarding, however I won’t give way any spoilers. I will give you this, the real boss fights aren’t the ones where you use your big weapons, but rather your big brain.There are a few areas that rather left a sour taste in my mouth. One huge issue was the reoccurring problem of running out of energy. Basically during your stealth kills, your suit runs on energy. After one deadly takedown you will find yourself searching for more juice before you can attack another unknowing victim. This became a very aggravating issue while playing the game. What kind of stealth game doesn’t let you take down baddies like the true deadly weapon you were meant to be? There are also a variety of weapons through the game with their own uses but ammo can be scarce and regardless of what way you play severe firepower will be required when you reach any of the game’s bosses. This is a poor choice for the game and can be a nasty sticking point if you are unprepared. Forcing the players into combat feels like a cheap move at the player, but your encounters are not enough to ruin the experience since its only a tiny portion of the game. The gunplay, however, is robust and very works well. There are a variety of weapon upgrades that you’ll find in the game which allows for a certain degree of customization which helps it from feeling like a standard shooter.
Human Revolution is the game you have been looking for that strays from the everyday shooter; and that’s a good thing. Make no mistake though, this game requires commitment offering a long and deep single player experience that seems to be so rare these days. The main story is a good twenty hours long depending on your play style and how long you spend exploring and completing side missions. I should note that there is no co-op or multiplayer modes. Because of this it would seem that there would be a risk that the gameplay would get stale over a long period of time but this isn’t the case. The variety of gameplay and natural progression you feel as you work your way through the game upgrading and customizing your character through levels lends a sense of accomplishment and reward. When you find yourself sneaking past lasers and security cameras with invisible camouflage, hacking Level 5 terminals to set gun turrets on your enemies before jumping four floors down a missile shaft to take out multiple guards at once, you feel empowered. It’s not just because the game has put you in the boots of a super soldier, but because you had a hand in everything your character did. Other games may boast the same traits but Dues Ex constantly gets it right where others fail. Ultimately that is what makes this game stand out as a winner and a worthy title for your library.