I just finished playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DEHR) which was sent to us for review courtesy of Square Enix. The game is published by Square Enix through Eidos Montreal and was released in the latter part of August. It is a prequel to earlier Deus Ex series games released in June 2000 and December 2003. In a short unboxing video I provide at the end of this article I summarize the origins of this game. You can also take a look at the launch trailer to see some graphics in action right below after the break. Right out of the box, the game controls may seem a bit deplorable, but that can be adjusted to individual preferences within the settings screen. The graphics and artwork in the game are impressive while not being it’s focal strengths. The true gem of the game lies within the storyline and choice/consequence factors.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution brings us to a future world in the year 2027 where human robotic augmentation (technological modifications to the body) which are sold and operated by huge corporations have become a lifestyle for billions of humans. Humanity is torn between those who love and trust human augmentation and those who are either human purists who resist such changes and advocate against it, or those who just do not have the money to afford such advancements. The governments and local police have no real influence on what these companies can and cannot do. In the game you play a character by the name of Adam Jensen who is a security chief for Sarif Industries, one of the largest augmentation corporations. In the beginning of the game you start out as a normal human being without any augmentations, but after a short period of gameplay you are given these augments which give you tools and abilities that help you in nearly every aspect of the game. These augmentations include various advantages such as: limited invisibility, ability to breathe in poisonous air, and x-ray vision. The initial event that takes place in the game is the catalyst for why Adam Jensen gets his augments and leads him onto a quest to investigate a global conspiracy throughout the course of the game’s storyline.
There is a linear storyline within the game with a few side quests along the way. The side quests allow you to level up your augment tools and collect experience points. While some side quests contribute to the underlying linear story and have multiple outcomes that tie in to the greater storyline in unexpected ways, there are also quests that are simply intended for leveling. We recommend doing all of them as they are handed to you because you can never go back and do them later once you travel to other global locations. In some ways, the game has similarities to games like the those of the Mass Effect series where there are choices and subsequent consequences throughout.
The leveling system involves things called Praxis points which can be purchased and earned through the game in missions. There are also very few locations in the game where you may stumble on a few laying around. These Praxis points allow you to unlock and upgrade augmentation abilities and help to shape the gameplay, and, at some points are absolutely necessary to finish certain missions. Be wise with your choices on upgrading your abilities, as there is a wide selection as you progress through the game, and we recommend saving Praxis points during times when you do not know what to upgrade. As the game progresses you will find yourself in a position where a few Praxis points in the bank would allow you to upgrade an ability which you need at that moment and did not foresee.
There are many ways to play the game. You can either be super stealthy, go through missions loudly while killing everything sight, or a healthy mix between the two. This game features a plethora of different enemies including, but not limited to: gang thugs, rival corporate security, turrets, robots, and heavy mechs. The human enemies can be augmented themselves which results in even more difficult battles. Depending on difficulty setting, those enemies could be very hard to defeat or even bypass on the first try; be aware of your save points as you can save at nearly any point of the game with the exception of while you are under attack. There are 4 major boss battles during which all weapons are a “go” and stealth plays little to no role in your success at all. You are able to attack an enemy during level walkthroughs and knock them out with sneak attacks, but if you kill them with that same stealth or make the slightest bit of noise then you are easily picked up on by nearby enemies. In my opinion, one good point is the health regeneration. The regeneration is automatic once you are away from imminent threats, and there are also instant health tools such as medicine and painkillers throughout play. The only thing that you need to regenerate with certain energy bars while playing is the consumption levels of your power reliant augments. The story progresses not only through the mission conclusions and cut-scenes, but also through information that is acquired through hacking many computer terminals littered throughout the game and many interactions between pedestrians. We recommend trying to talk to civilians on your way through levels as they may say something that will get you thinking about certain situations.
There were a few things that I did not like, one of which was the inventory menu management that must be upgraded in size through the use of Praxis points in order to hold more weapons and items. This makes items take up more space than they actually should due to their given created size and really limits what users can hold on their person throughout the game. This is crucial, as some weapons and items are vital in certain areas. Unless you make sure you have several different save points you may find yourself playing through a certain level without the weapon/item you need to succeed and that may affect you later. The ability to customize and upgrade weapons is a big plus in my opinion, even when ammunition repeatedly gets used so quickly that you are shuffling around for more before you can make progress. There are places where you can buy weapons and items, instead of relying on picking them up, but those locations of purchase are very few and hard to find as they are not indicated on the mapping system. Speaking of the map, in my opinion it needs a major overhaul as there are many aspects that could use improvement. There could have been a directional arrow that would lead you to your destination; instead you get a timing way-point system that can be faulty during use due to inaccuracies caused by the placement of walls or buildings you could not just walk through.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution offers a great storyline, diverse choices of how the games ends, different modes of play-through, power of negotiation, expansive weapon customizations, and plenty more with few bad points. The game is currently available for the the Xbox 360, PS3, PC, and for online streaming though OnLive. If you are into action/adventure and role-playing games featuring a storyline with depth then you will enjoy Deus Ex: Human Revolution. We hope to be able to avoid another decade-long wait and to see more titles introduced into the Deus Ex series in the near future.