Review by Perfect Light
"An outstanding surprise that came out of nowhere!"
I've never played either Deus Ex game. I've read a bit about the stories but I wasn't a PC gamer as a kid so I was never exposed to these games. However, Human Revolution caught my attention from the start and when I realized it was a prequel, I knew this game had to be in my collection. I will say, without a doubt, it is hands-down the best game I've played all year.
I suppose it's best to start off with the game's weak points, but Deus Ex's graphics won't be winning any awards. Perhaps this is because I am playing on a console, as I'm given to understand that the PC version looks incredible with DirectX. That's not to say the the game's graphics are bad, because they're not. The lip syncing needs some work and the faces look really bad compared to other games released around the same time. After coming off of LA Noire earlier in the year, it may be a bit unfair to say the faces look bad, but I have a feeling I would think this even without playing Team Bondi's crime thriller. As I said before, nothing is terrible, but it's not the best I've seen all year.
The most striking and memorable voice is, of course, that of leading man Adam Jensen. Voiced by the man behind Splinter Cell Conviction's Andriy Kobin, Elias Toufexis brings a badass quality to Jensen that makes the game so much fun to play. Rarely do I care about a video game protagonist, but Jensen seems like a real person, a man out to find the people who left him for dead. Francis Pritchard is Jensen's co-workers and desk jockey and while they aren't exactly friends there seems to be a mutual respect between the two. They work together despite being at odds most of the time, and that becomes evident near the end of the first city. Finally, the third most memorable character is David Sarif, owner of the company Jensen works for. He is a friendly enough boss, but it's hard not to get the feeling that he'd hiding something...
Eidos Montreal have managed to create an interesting and compelling story that will keep you guessing at every twist and turn. You start out as the head of security for Sarif Industries, a company involved in scientific research and development. When the building is brought under attack and Adam is left for dead, he finds himself strapped with the augmentations used to save his life. In a world where "augs" are often discriminated against, Adam is conflicted as he finds himself better able to do his job but under constant fire from the public. Six months after the attack, Jensen is back on his feet and hunting the group that attacked his employers. You first scour the streets of Detroit for information, eventually taking your investigation to other cities in search of the men who left you bleeding and on the verge of death.
This is what you really care about, right? Because if the gameplay sucks, everything else is about as important as Velma on Scooby-Doo. Fear not, because when the devs say you can play however you want, they really mean it. The gunplay is tight and well-done and the guns all feel really good to use. However, if you're like me the only guns you'll be using are the Stun Gun and the Tranquilizer Rifle because no kills is so much fun! It's possible to go through the ENTIRE game without killing a single enemy, aside from the game's four bosses. Not many games can boast that, and it's so much fun to figure out how to go through a room without alerting anyone. Ammo is pretty limited, so you have to make your shots count.
Let's get into the augmentations. You have an augmentation tree and you can use Praxis points to activate various augs. You can acquire these points by finding rare cases in the world or buying them at LIMB clinics. You also gain a point after a certain amount of EXP is gained. Stealthing through a level will give you much more EXP than simply killing everyone, however there are less pure combat augmentations so the system balances itself nicely.
The third aspect of the game is hacking, a very unique mini-game in which you have to move from one node to another, capturing them each on your way to the final green orb which unlocks the device. It's hard to explain in simple text, but it's not complicated and before long you'll be hacking like a pro. The system is the best in any game I've played, setting aside the usual repetitiveness of other games. In Deux Ex, you'll have to be quick and think on your feet if you want to be any good at hacking.
The final aspect of this game is the social interactions. With a certain aug, you can read and track the emotions and states of the people you're talking to. Using this information, you can choose the best form of response. It's much more complicated than other social systems and the complexity is one of its strengths. It does away with the black-and-white responses of Mass Effect and reduces the confusion of LA Noire. You're also not forced into responding in one way all the time, you can change from being a nice guy or a hardass, depending on your mood or to whom you're speaking. It really adds a nice sense of realism to the game.
Deus Ex Human Revolution is a masterfully-crafted and polished game with enough content to keep the disc spinning for months. If you're on the fence, don't be afraid to give it a try.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/26/11
Game Release: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (US, 08/23/11)
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