Stealth, choice, action, role-playing elements and powerful plots all create an amazing experience in the latest installment of the Dues Ex game series – Deus Ex: Human Revolution on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 (regular and augmented editions).. In this authentic one-player gaming world, there are normal humans and humans with unique abilities (a.k.a. “augmented”. The power struggle between these two new races involve company conspiracies, secret orders, nanotechnology, technology exploitation, electronic communication, social undercurrents, and, most importantly, the power of choice.
“How often have we chased the dream of progress, only to see that dream perverted?”
Shoot or stealth. Ruthless or merciful. Each decision has consequences in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, published by Square Enix, and developed by Eidos Montreal. The open-ended plot contains incredible personal touches among these choices that ultimately yield four different endings. The journey can also enthrall players with progressive character development based on player decisions. For example, violent decisions increase violent tendencies.
Experience/praxis points also factor into decision making. Investigate the story as well as the surroundings thoroughly. Searches can be time consuming, but are worthwhile and logical in most instances. Standard crouches and jumps help players access special areas.
The character at the center of these decisions is Adam Jensen. This ex-SWAT commander survives now as a transformed being after an exciting opening sequence. Veteran theatrical actor Elias Toufexis voices this main protagonist, with a raspy, Clint Eastwood-like tone. Jensen can now deal with any threat, but, as the player, wants to investigate this mysterious web surrounding the possible augmentation of humanity.
His boss, David Sarif, voiced by Stephen Shellen, head of Sarif Industries, uses Jensen for security amid protesting parties who want “augmented” technologies eliminated. Jensen’s ex-girlfriend, Megan Reed, also works at Sarif along with cyber-security leader Frank Pritchard who is often at odds with Jensen and helicopter pilot Faridah Malik.
Outside Sarif Industries are two main groups: The Humanity Front, founded by Bill Taggart, and the Tyrants, lead by Jaron Namir and joined by Lawrence Barrett. Other notable characters include the slender stealthy Yelena, news reporter Eliza, and the founder of augmentation, Hugh Darrow who struggles with his creation throughout the story. Smoother facial movements and animations would improve the interactions, which include dialogue choices using specific controller buttons..
Players enter this futuristic world through the first person perspective in this nonlinear, one player game. The plot is full of violence, blood, drug/alcohol references, profanity, suggested sexual themes, and suggestive dialogue, but has deeper meaning behind each element without confusing or overwhelming players.
An eye for detail yields great benefits while each situation allows varying strategies except for the boss fights. Stealth elements usually involve learning guard patterns and executing special takedowns, which do not have to be lethal (remember, choice is king here). The stealth cover system switch from first person perspective to third person so players can see betters. Players can even see figures through walls and their vision ranges.
Jensen has various long and short-range firearms, grenades and special powers. Practical actions like moving bodies and picking them up for shield use are relatively intuitive. Unlockable augmentations can even turn baddies against themselves. Ammunition can be scarce at times, so stealth and melee attacks must be used in player strategies at some point.
The hacking elements open a special mini game that varies in each situation. Interrogation and conversation play big roles here. Players can talk their way out of situations or even make them easier (e.g. the police department scenario). Jensen can kill anyone, but always has other options.
The epic urban settings add that extra element to players who pay attention or research the names. Language subtitles often accompany international settings and the details are lavishly rich using black and gold base colors. Labs, nightclubs, and building interiors have great detail with enough distinguishing color and shadowing contrasts to distinguish many usable/accessible items from supplementary items. Completed side missions yield additional results while revealing overlooked items or avenues. There is always something to see here.
Players benefit more from nonlethal strategies as the progressive upgrades compliment player actions. The game has a great upgrade cache that is completely selectable, so player can enjoy even more freedom. Players must abandon the nonlethal strategy during the boss fights that contain the basic strategy of brute force. Learn the enemy’s pattern and wear them down. There is no standard life bar display here, so the more brutal, the better.
This game would generate high interest even without the potential importance of each decision. Players only reap benefits for paying more attention to characters and noticing special environmental items, which developers showcase beautifully. Pop culture references (e.g. Blade Runner, RoboCop) and special easter eggs (e.g. QR codes on Sarif Industries boxes) delight while in-game messages (e.g. preorder bonuses) detract from this involving gaming experience that easily reaches double-digit hours and above into “work week” hour territory.
Record all codes, passwords, and usernames for saving time and extra advantages. The “Augmented Edition” includes a making-ofdocumentary, animated storyboard, art book, motion-comic, E3 trailer, and game soundtrack by Michael McCann plus additional in-game cash, mission, and weapons. The Explosive Mission Pack or the Tactical Enhancement Packs are preorder bonuses. The “Collector’s Edition” includes everything in the Augmented Edition plus an Adam Jensen figure.
Copyright © Michael Siebenaler