History has shown us that fall brings with it the release of the big-name kick-ass titles and with the launch of Deus Ex: Human Revolution this week, I’m here to tell you that fall has officially arrived early. I’ve not played the previous Deus Ex games and really didn’t know too much about this title beforehand so was pleasantly surprised to find it was an Action RPG with game-play elements that reminded me of Mass Effect meets Splinter Cell meets Fallout 3 with a strong story diving deep into human morality.
The year is 2027 and corporations have essentially replaced government as we know it. Science and Technology advances now allow humans to augment themselves with enhanced body parts bringing medicine and evolution to an unimaginable level. Humans with these enhancements require an expensive drug to trick their body into accepting the augmentations leading many to a road of addiction and pain. Obviously there are various parties who want this technology governed or abolished completely and that’s where you come in.
You are Adam Jensen, an ex-SWAT Officer turned Private Security Captain for Sarif Industries – one of the leading manufactures and researchers in augmentation technology – who has clearly watched The Matrix one too many times. While defending against an attack on Sarif headquarters, Jensen is killed and then rebuilt and brought back to life with augmentations that would make even Robocop jealous. The remainder of the game is spent tracking down those who attacked Sarif and learning their motives, as well as locating several scientists that have been missing since the assault.
The graphics, art-style, cut-scenes, voice acting and soundtrack are all beautiful – you can tell that much time and attention was put into creating such a believable and wonderfully immersive world. But while the frame-rate is smooth and there is no texture popping or tearing, the load times are pretty ridiculous on the console versions of the game, even when installed to the hard drive. This is truly unfortunate because it really breaks you out of the experience when you wait 30 plus seconds every time you die. This probably wouldn’t be an issue but Jensen is pretty squishy and the four boss battles are pretty difficult so I died more often than I’d like to admit with my play-through.
Deus Ex took me roughly 29 hours to complete the game and all of the side-quests that I could find on the middle difficulty setting. Jensen will explore several large unconnected cities while enhancing his skills in Stealth, Combat, Hacking and Social Conversations. You’ll have access to a nice selection of upgradeable weapons to allow you to either run in guns blazing or to snipe from a distance behind cover. Smarter players will utilize Jensen’s stealth augmentation to sneak around and take out foes with stun guns and non-lethal augmented take-downs so as to not alarm reinforcements. What’s great is that there are a ton of ways to complete every single task in the game. Do you sneak into the basement through the sewers and air ducts or do you take the front door and convince the guard to let you in? There is great replay value here so you can try them all out.
With the replay value comes some pretty crazy achievements to unlock as well including playing through the entire game without triggering an alarm or even worse, not killing a single enemy. Seriously, those are freaking crazy! I couldn’t even make it through the first mission without killing an enemy. It takes lots of patience and skill.
Gamers who enjoy exploration will be rewarded in Deus Ex as searching every nook and cranny will yield you better items and gear, and more importantly information and meta data about the game world. It’s important to have all of 411 if you’re going to convince those you enter in conversation with to side with you. You may also find pocket secretaries that contain crucial passwords so that you don’t have to waste your time in the sometimes-stressful hacking mini-game. Everything is controlled with computers, so if you need to get through a door, check someone else’s email, or disable alarms, automated turrets or robots, you’re going to need to become proficient at hacking.
The choices you make in your conversations will determine how some story events will play out for you, but in the end, you’re presented with one of four greatly different endings based not off of your actions in the game, but rather in your final likely-difficult moral decision.
The game designers implemented a clever mechanic to replace the classic RPG leveling up system. When Jensen was revived, he was rebuilt with plenty of great augmentations including the ability to stealth, see through walls, track enemy position, jump and land great distances, execute foes with blades that extract from his arms, and all kinds of other amazing shit! Because Jensen was in such a frail state after his revival, not all of the augmentations could be enabled right away as his body may reject them. As you gain experience for being sneaky, having a silver tongue and killing baddies, you’ll earn Praxis Points that act as a way for Jensen to enable select augmentations at your discretion.
I might be a bit vulgar here, but Deus Ex: Human Revolution fucking rocked, right from the very beginning. Being a prequel to the remaining games in the series, you can hop right into this bad boy without any knowledge of the I.P. Just sitting here thinking about the game brings a smile to my face because of the clear attention that was put into creating such an immersive world that draws you in and really gets you thinking the entire way through. This is easily a Game of the Year contender in my books and I absolutely recommend this to Action RPG fans.
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Release Date: August 23, 2011
For Commentated Game-play – Click Here!
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**This title was provided to me free of charge from the publisher to review for you.