Review by JKPSP

"Fortunately no Deus Ex Machina in this narrative."

NO OTHER game of this generation can be given the accolade of the richest, most rewarding and downright enjoyable experience than this brilliant and succinct entry into the Deus Ex franchise.

Human Revolution takes place in 2027; the world sits on the brink of a cyber-punk renaissance with top player in the transhumanism industry - Sarif Industries ready to make a monumental announcement. You assume the role of employee, security chief Adam Jensen.

After an attack on Sarif HQ in Detroit, a truly complicated... if not convoluted story of conspiracy begins, involving news corporations, private military companies, terrorist cells and other companies. The introduction is beleaguered, a slow and simple on-rails chapter that's as interesting as a soggy tea-bag, but it works at getting players used to the mechanics.

The visuals and audio will not frustrate many, the graphics are superb with a lovely and intuitive futuristic pallet of black, orange and gold, environments are designed with an inspired architecture, similar to other cyber-punk fiction; the two story city of Heng Sha is breath-taking. Add to this an electronica soundtrack, that actually creates a sense of foreboding conspiracy and you're left with immersion in a game world at its finest.

As an RPG this game masterfully captures what it means to allow players control over their game accordingly, be it Stealth or Action, both options are always available, this also plays well with the core mechanic of Jensen's augmentations, tailoring them specifically to your style of play. You're never constrained and when you are its simply a matter of rethinking your strategies, once figured out its damn satisfying, it even promises “a perfect mix of action and role-play!” on the box and it sure as hell delivers.

As any good RPG there are plenty of things to do to fill your time, the rich lifelike streets of Detroit and Heng Sha offer side-missions, chatty denizens, and plenty to find in terms of PDA's, computers and televisions all of which expand the zeitgeist, reminding you that the events in the game are relevant and are on-going issues, similar to real people and real concerns. As was said, the narrative initiates with the announcement by Sarif, creating a credible and believable future, one with the troubles and issues that one wouldn't be surprised to actually witness; a central theme is that of the Pro-Aug and Anti-Aug debate.

Augmentations; the core foundation of the gameplay offer the player directions and paths to follow, it is up to the player to develop what skills they wish to pursue, and in all likelihood perfect during their play-through, the upgrade tree allows this flexibility from punching through walls, landing safely from heights, neural upgrades and conversational skills, of particular mention actually gets persuasion right, in its logical execution. The stealth engine is obvious, hiding bodies, taking cover etc. the action engine is just as brilliant with solid gun play, upgrades and an obligatory cover-system.

As I said, I gave up on the game during my third week of playing because I had created a stealth-orientated Jensen, and had barely any offensive weaponry, I think I just had the tranquilizer gun and health-packs... Ergo this raises a point that's likely to raise discussion. The game just didn't make it obvious (read: explicit) that at one stage or another I was going to have to get nitty-gritty and blow a bastard to smithereens. I am sure there was a workaround, but I was too impatient, since replaying I managed to kill him in a much more concise manner. Admittedly by spamming grenades at his face… Smooth.

It's just tragically antithetical of what the game stands for, that of Stealth or Action, forced stupidity or rather plot devices should never impede on player choices, the option to sneak around and silently dispatch the boss wasn't there. Hence why the lack of an option to quickly re-order Jensen's augmentations is confounding (it's recommended to do as much looting as you can to potentially upgrade every facet of Jensen).

However, the level of personalisation of this experience is nothing short of cinematic, in one scenario I had to access an apartment to get to a sensitive computer, between me and the goal were eight guards and one breakable wall, I opted for the stealth option. In about ten seconds I had six on the floor; the last two met the flash of a stun grenade, which allowed me to perform a double take down, all between seconds of using four tranquiliser darts, two take downs and using my cloaking device. It was satisfying to watch a plan come together in mere seconds, not too dissimilar to something in an action film.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is not just a great game, it's an auspicious title that will stand the test of time, the issues it raises are timely and may well one day have to be answered for real and that's the unnerving message it leaves in its wake.

At thirty hours plus, it's a long game, although it could be said that the third and final chapter of the game comes up short, with rumours one city was entirely cut from the game! But these shortcomings are easily overlooked when you consider the humble beginnings of the conclusion

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 02/15/12

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

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