Review by shivermoon
"Wonderful Story, High Difficulty, and Choices Galore"
To start with, I enjoyed the first Deus Ex game greatly, and was part of the general disappointment with Invisible Wars. I had watched the trailers, interviews, read blogs, etc. for Human Revolution, and decided that it seemed as though it would be worth the cost to not only buy it new, but to pay for the extras that came along with an Augmented Edition.
I got home from the store, ripped off the shrink wrap, and began to look through what I'd purchased. A small, but nice, hard cover art book, a dvd with an extra interview, soundtrack, and an online code for a mission pack (Explosive Mission pack through Game Stop). The packaging was nice, embossed, and looks good on a shelf with other collector's editions of movies and games I've gotten over the years.
Putting in the game, I started playing, and 9 hours later surfaced for some air. Playing for multiple hour sessions over the next two days, I have completed my first play through, though I am far from finished with the game. Here are my impressions:
Gameplay and Difficulty- 9/10
I am a much more casual gamer then when I was younger, and the difficulty of this game reminded my of Metal Gear or Splinter Cell. Once you get in the groove of the game, you know how to handle situations and things become much easier. However, the learning curve is fairly steep, you are fairly fragile, and even on the easiest difficulty there is not enough ammo to go in with guns blazing. The game rewards you with exp for being sneaky and non-lethal, and if there is a diplomatic or quiet way of doing things, that is the safest for you in terms of health. This makes it much more of a "thinking man's game", which (for me anyhow) means that I'm more engrossed by the challenge and story then if I could just run through the game.
The control system is tight, though I found the cover system to sometimes not be as responsive as I would like. There are a few control changes compared to the traditional FPS scheme for the 360, but it only takes a short time to get used to these changes.
One complaint I do have about gameplay is boss fights. There are 4 within the game, where the only option seems to be to kill the boss. If I spent the game being sneaky or talking my way through things, I would not be as prepared for how to handle myself in these fights, and my Augs might not be planned such as to live through a stand up fight like that. From the way the first mission can end, I would expect the ability to talk my way out of a fight, but I did find this to be a mild let down in game play.
If you like William Gibson, Richard K. Morgan, or any other sci-fi or cyberpunk authors, you will most likely find the setting and story to be wonderful. There is a certain dirty, grim reality at play in the world, everyone seems to have a very human agenda, and even from the outset, I'm not entirely sure who my allies really are and who is trying to play me. Going through on a second time makes me realize how much my choices impacted the story, so the added twists and turns keep it fresh even on more then one go through.
Though I found the sound direction to be very fitting, the voice acting was well done, and the sound effects clean and what I expected, I was unfortunately disappointed by volume levels. I like background music in my games, and here is seemed to be handled with kid's gloves. I wanted an epic soundtrack to go with an epic story, and it was only average music to go with an above average story.
Given the relative state of graphic capabilities these days, I was a little disappointed with the graphics of the game. The art direction and color choices were fantastic, but some of the animations and close ups were rather wooden, similar in some ways to Fallout 3/New Vegas. Of course, crawling around the cities to fully explore led to a bit of reused textures and interiors, but somehow everything did still manage to keep from getting stale/feel like I was running down the same halls.
Multiple endings, three difficulty levels, and multiple ways to solve every puzzle and mission you go through means that playing through more then once doesn't lead to a feeling of "I've already done this." If anything, at times I felt the amount of choice I had was too great, and I'd have to play through again at least once more to experience what other options I had.
As far as playtime goes, it's sitting on average if you just run through the game without stopping to explore, but if you look through the nooks and crannies, do side missions, etc. You could be looking at 40 hours a play through.
There are a few flaws (graphics, sound and boss battles) but also many wonderful aspects (choice of play style, story, re-playability).
If you like cyberpunk, sci-fi, or spy/espionage genre stories, or enjoy a game that gives you options and challenges you, then it would be worth buying.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 08/29/11
Game Release: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Augmented Edition) (US, 08/23/11)
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