Review by godpyre

"Augment your gameplay with Deus Ex: HR, an action RPG that you won't want to end."

In the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, humanity has come to a cross roads between self imposed technological advancement and natural order. The year is 2027, corporations have become more powerful than any government paving the way for physical augmentations to make humans more powerful through artificial limbs, think faster with technological implants, and control social interactions by way of a pheromone releasing modification. These leaps in human evolution are at the forefront of the debate asking, do we have the right to control our own evolution?

You play as Adam Jensen, Security Chief for Sarif Industries, one of the leading corporations in human augmentation, and you are in the middle of the war for the future of humanity. Will you allow transhumanism to thrive unchecked by greedy corporations or clear the path for humans to regain control of their humanity?

Story:

“It's not the end of the world, but you can see it from here.” One of the taglines for Deus Ex: Human Revolution introduces the player into a world rife with chaos as corporate espionage, political strife, and existential debates on the manufacture of human evolution permeate through the game's framework. Sarif Industries is about to reveal an incredible discovery until they are ruthlessly attacked by a group of augmented mercenaries who murder the leading scientists and Adam Jensen in the process. Well, unsuccessfully murder, as Adam Jensen is saved by augmentations bestowed upon him by Sarif Industries.

After months of recovery Adam Jensen is reinstated in his role as Security Chief at S.I. and he wants to know who was behind the attack and why. The story has you traveling the world from Detroit to Montreal as well as China in search of answers while at the same time raising philosophical questions as to the purpose and need of human augmentation. I found it riveting as I played James Bond Adam Jensen in a global espionage thriller filled with intrigue, double crosses, and immersive dialogue that fleshed out a believable world that I didn't want to leave due in no small part to the amazing game play.

Game Play:

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a First-Person/Third-Person hybrid action RPG with an emphasis on variable game play. For the most part you play the game in first person as you explore the world, talk to non-playable characters, and engage in gun-based combat. There is a cover mechanic in which when you press the cover button, the view changes to third person as Adam sticks to any applicable cover ala ‘Gears of War' giving you a greater vantage point from which to assess a situation and plan your course of action. This mechanic is both seamless and easy to use as well as allows those that aren't completely comfortable playing in the first person to complete any combat scenario from the third person perspective, as there is always ample cover. The game also pans out to the third person view when you take down opponents showing you the action in a quick, cut scene-like format that allows you to witness his cool, efficient actions in all their glory.

The game itself allows a player to tackle objectives in three ways; combat, stealth, and a mixture of the two, stealth-combat. I played the game twice and still feel like I haven't seen everything it has to offer due to the excellent level design and emphasis on variety in terms of how you want to approach a given situation. There are multiple ways to infiltrate a compound whether you go balls to the wall with an all out combat approach, navigate silently through air ducts avoiding enemy contact, or hack defense systems and have robots or turrets do the fighting for you. The sheer amount of variety in this game is staggering and I loved that I never felt forced to take one way over another though the game does give you slightly more experience points for a non-lethal approach.

In terms of experience points, each time you gain a certain number of them, you gain a Praxis Point, which is then used to gain abilities/augments. For the most part the abilities are both cool and useful like seeing through walls, sprinting faster, and picking up heavy objects. These augment choices are well rounded in terms of the users game play style. You want to focus on combat, get the aim stabilizing augment, stealth-walk and run silently, social-pheromone releasing modification etc. The game does a great job of not limiting you and allowing you to create your own version of Adam Jensen with a variety of choices that can't be maxed out in a single play through, so choose wisely. One suggestion is to focus on hacking because there is a lot of it.

The hacking mini-game in Deus Ex: HR is implemented when you want to hack a computer, door, or safe for access. It is a cornerstone to the game but at the same time can be slightly avoided due to the availability of access codes located on fallen enemies or hidden throughout levels in the form of emails, eBooks, and pocket secretaries. The mini-game has you start at a random point of entry on a map full of nodes and your goal location as well as a competing server. The objective is to reach your goal undetected, but each node you acquire as you close in on your destination has a percentage chance of alerting the server to your presence. As soon as the server notices your intrusion you have a limited amount of time until you are booted out of the system and an alarm sounds off alerting enemies. It's a tense and fun mini-game that I kept doing even when I already acquired a password or pass code by some other means. It also helps that hacking nets you a decent amount of experience points every time you are successful, so it's a great way to level up.

Another great way to level up is by tackling the various side quests spread throughout the game. These missions, although optional, compliment the story and are as lengthy as the individual main quests themselves. In fact, the game's pacing is excellent, there is always something to do and rarely does it ever slow down or introduce a tedious fetch quest. I finished my first play through of about 40+ hours and started over instantly because I wanted more. Not to say that Deus Ex: Human Revolution lacks in content, its just that there is so much going on and so many ways to accomplish a scenario I wanted to see what I could differently.

Presentation:

Deus Ex: HR is a beautiful game when it comes to level design and art design for the world in general. There is an abundance of gold and black that gives the design a sleek look and is used throughout in the world as well as the menus. Locations vary from clean business buildings to dirty, trash filled slums giving it a real world feel. I wish the same attention to detail was given to the character design, which feels slightly dated, but is a small grievance compared to the overall beautiful package. Another minor gripe is the use of CG cut scenes that look subdued and not as attractive as the in game engine.

The music and sound design is phenomenal. Gunshots and explosions carry the depth and feel associated with them. The voice acting overall is very strong and immersive, especially when Adam Jensen visits China where a lot of its occupants are speaking in Chinese. The music is top notch and deserves praise in following in-game cues, becoming more intense and up beat as the action ramps up and vice versa.

Final Comments:

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a beautiful game, intelligently made and full of variety. The level design allows you to play how you want in an immersive world with a strong story to keep you engaged. Side quests are peppered through out in such a way that correspond with the main story and feel just as important as main story quests, as well as net you good amounts of experience. I cannot recommend Deus Ex: HR enough, it's a great introduction into the fall season of games, and an engaging game that you won't want to end.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 09/12/11

Game Release: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (US, 08/23/11)


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