Review by Nogarda
"The freedom of choice in the way you play has never been more open to you"
It has been a long time since we've seen a Deus Ex game, so long in fact human revolution almost seems to promote itself as a new franchise, while feeding off its rich history. Which is right, as there are a lot of new gamers out there compared to when the original launched on PC and eventually came to PS2, so to those of you who have never played any of the previous games buy this now, you need this game in your collection, end of discussion.
There are however long time fans such as myself who love Deus Ex and rather than getting a sequel to the JC Denton story created by Warren Spector, we get a prequel that takes place twenty-five years before the original, when humans are augmenting themselves with advanced limbs which are superior in function. This has caused a rift in the people by the games 2027 cyberpunk noire setting, and has purists ( anti-augmentation) protesting against the big companies such as Sarif Industries the company the main character Adam Jensen works for.
After a daring raid by mercenary special forces, equipped with weaponised augmentations, Adam is thrown through glass and is embedded in a machine, only to be further attacked, and shot in the head by one of the mercenaries, and left for dead.
Sparing the details, Jensen is brought back from the brink of death thanks to augmentation, and now returns as what can only be described as a Robocop version of Neo from The Matrix. This is where the game properly starts, and you can eventually go through the motions as you are introduced to your new equipment one by one, so as not to overwhelm new players to the series.
Deus Ex has always been about freedom of choice in terms of gameplay, and intelligent written story and dialogue. For the most part it nails both, the gameplay is nailed perfectly and is possibly more open and free to tackle as the player sees fit than ever before, and is bordering on faultless except for that one time I found an enemy lodged in a wall. The writing though shows it's intelligence through the science and plausibility of the technology in the game, rather than the dialogue.
What I mean by that is previously the other games spoke sometimes at length with an almost political and ethical debate at times while adding some occasional comic moments, intentional or not via cheesy dialogue. Human Revolution seems to lack this trait, if only for an exempt character I will not speak of, but it does shine a bright golden is this ethical?' spotlight over this sort of subject matter.
When I mentioned freedom of choice in the gameplay earlier, I was not joking, even though we have seen many games try this and fail hard in the time between invisible war and now, the game itself wants to mix both action and stealth. If you want to play this like its Call of Duty with an RPG element thrown in, go ahead, if you also want to play at Solid Snake, or I guess in this case Augmented Snake, the options and gameplay mechanic are there also. Want to skip a fetch quest and get the information you want directly on rare occasion? You can thanks to dialogue options. Don't know the code to the gate, or have sufficient hacking' skills to bypass the lock? In other games you might encounter the fabled invisible wall' in this scenario, not so, grab some barrels and crates, and build yourself a stair case, you can honesty do it, and feel reward and satisfaction when you do get past it. However it's most likely the code is as simple as 0002'; c'est la vie. The freedom of choice in the way you play has never been more open to you, and this is what makes Deus Ex.
Another thing of note is that through the conspiracy story Deus Ex games have always played upon, in your quest to seek out the truth, and seek vengeance against those who have wronged you in some way. There has always been a globetrotting element, in the original you went to a number of major cities working with multiple factions and ultimately you are given a choice.
This is played down somewhat in Human Revolution and is a little disappointing in how there are only two genuine cities to traverse in, yet when you focus on the main storyline you do tend to hop about a bit around these cities into areas you can't get to while in an exploration state, which is indicated by the fact of Jensen isn't wearing his jacket.
But the key thing to note about these two cities are that not only do they feel like miniature sandboxes with multiple tiers and complexities, it is that they are the most highly detailed environments you will have ever explored in videogame history. There is so much detail going on without over powering you with useless inanimate objects it looks exactly like a futuristic pair of cities, with unique visual styles, Detroit and Shanghai can offer.
There is only one flaw with Human Revolution and I cannot go into detail about it. But suffice to say the conclusion to Deus Ex has greatly impacted the world at large Human Revolution is handcuffed by its prequel status, and it can't be blamed for that. I can only hope Human Revolution becomes the financial success it deserves to be, so that Eidos Montreal can use the same engine to build a genuine sequel to the conclusions of Invisible War, or at the very least give us a HD remake of the original, one of the two needs to happen, as Deus Ex is a series that should never die out ever again. If you don't get this game, you don't know what a real game is fact.
+ The most awesomely detailed environments in videogame history.
+ More freedom of choice than ever before.
+ Verbal boss battles as well as classic boss battles.
- Shackled by being a prequel rather than sequel
- You have to learn hacking to get the most out of the game
- Too much hacking, but it's at least fun to do.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 09/09/11
Game Release: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Augmented Edition) (EU, 08/26/11)
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