Review by Ron2079

"A very good thinking man's action game."

"Deus Ex: Human Revolution" is a prequel to the legendary Ion Storm-game "Deus Ex". No knowledge of that game or its sequel "Deus Ex: Invisible War" is required to play this game.

The game

”Deus Ex: Human Revolution” could best be described as a first-person stealth-action-rpg. Most of the game time is spent on avoiding or disposing of enemies and exploring environments.

How the game is played is largely dependent on the player's own preferences. Sneaking around and taking enemies down silently is highly encouraged through large amounts of experience points offered by playing this way. It's also a lot of fun due to a highly functional cover system, enabling you to observe your surroundings with ease through third person and jump from cover to cover. Widely differing paths are also there for the player to find and utilize, meaning that the most straightforward path is not always the easiest.

However, for those who prefer to shoot their way through areas, several upgradable and punchy weapons are available. The cover system is also useful here and iron sights are available(though not as useful as in many other games featuring them). Separating DE:HR from most fps-games is the high difficulty; full-auto strafe-and-run tactics should instantly be thrown out of the window, as the highly accurate and aggressive enemies murder the protagonist in a few hits, so sticking to cover is essential as is using the environments to your advantage. Ammo is also scarce in the beginning. The combat might seem overwhelming at first but players shouldn't be afraid to fight it out once in a while. I personally found certain situations to be easier and more fun through combat.

For both stealth and combat, special melee attacks called ”takedowns” are available through the press of a button. There are both lethal and non-lethal varieties and both take enemies down instantly, though their use is limited due their consumption of energy cells.

The game also includes free-roaming rpg-elements in two hub-areas, Detroit and Hengsha. These places offer plenty of exploration, talking with NPCs, shops and side-quests, which are often divided into multiple parts and offer several ways to complete them.

Experience points are offered by completing objectives, taking out enemies (non-lethal means gather more exp.), exploring hidden routes and passing through areas without being spotted, among other things.

Exp. points are used to access special skills called ”augmentations”. These abilities offer aid in exploration, stealth, combat and hacking, which is used to enable access to computers and doors by means of a complex mini-game that is one of the better ones of its type. There is also an augmentation for social encounters encountered in a handful of spots throughout the game.

No augmentation is absolutely a must to complete the game and some are not really worth getting. Most of them are helpful and essential for certain tactics but players shouldn't go about ruining their experience in order to gather as many exp. points as possible, achieved by constantly remaining hidden from enemies and taking them out non-lethally, as this defeats the game's purpose of allowing the player to play the game the way they want to play it. You certainly don't need every augmentation to complete the game.

I personally found the game to be most enjoyable by experimenting with the different styles of play the game offers, rather than sticking with one. Not many games offer such variety of playstyles and there lies the greatest strength of Human Revolution.

The story

I won't get into much depth here. The year is 2027. The player is Adam Jensen, security chief for Sarif Industries, who gets badly injured in the beginning and turned into robocop. Jensen goes out his way to find the people who attacked him and his colleagues and is soon faced with a conspiracy of some scale. In the background of the story is the constant political and ethical struggle between people who resist human augmentation and those who don't.

The story does have its hiccups especially near the end and about certain characters but the interesting themes, believable world and a better main character than you might expect make it work quite well. I should point out, however, that it's not the easiest story to follow. You really need to pay attention to what's going on to make sense of it. It's pretty good overall.

The Good

- Many different playstyles, all of which work.
- Good level design that offers freedom to utilize these playstyles.
- Very addictive (prepare for long play-sessions)
- Encourages experimentation and creative thinking.
- Extremely cool visual style found in the environments, menus and characters.
- Good main character (also has one of the toughest voices in gaming history).
- Interesting themes and world.
- Cool music throughout.
- Plenty of replay value.
- Interesting conversation system.
- Ability to save anywhere.
- A good length of 20-40 hours (my first time took 35-40 hours)
- Breathtaking vistas.

The Bad(mostly common gripes)

- Mediocre boss fights.
- Many indoor environments look similar.
- Certain elements of the story feel lacking.
- Lengthy loading times.
- Energy cell-system could perhaps be better.
- Facial animations not up to par of this generation.
- Despite the well-made mini-game, a bit less hacking wouldn't have hurt.
- The level design doesn't hold as many secrets as the first Deus Ex.

Final Words

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a solid, ambitious game that for once rewards patience and creative thinking. It is somewhat hard to see this achieving similar glory to that of the original Deus Ex but that applies to most games of this generation.

The game has its share of flaws but as a whole it's more than the sum of its parts. The slow, methodical pace and demanding game mechanics might turn off some players but for those wanting something different from the norm this game comes highly recommended.

Buy it.

9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/11

Game Release: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Augmented Edition) (EU, 08/26/11)


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