In this cerebral cyberpunk thriller you will become one with the machine as Deus Ex makes it highly anticipated returned in "Human Revolution."
'Deus Ex: Human Revolution' is an interesting hybrid shooter/stealth adventure that borrows from various outlets of sci-fi lore. Bursting with options and a dark cryptic narrative, expect to be slowly introduced to its world of corporate structure and hyper violence. 'Human Revolution' is one of those games that begs for your attention; a game that needs to be fully absorbed if it's going to reach its full potential. Thankfully, Eidos Montreals' ambitious, yet streamlined blending of game mechanics helps achieve this. For a quick comparison the 'Mass Effect' series comes to mind, although 'Deus Ex' is more confined then the scope of playing the saviour of the entire galaxy. Alternatively it's merit in stealth based gameplay also calls out to the 'Metal Gear Solid' or 'Splinter Cell' series as comparable titles. So if a blended mixture of cyberpunk hacking, stealthy sneaking and gun blasting merc killing sounds right. Boy, do we have a game for you.
Into the "not too distant" future
'Deus Ex: HR' is set in 2027. The not too distant future where the controversial field of human enhancement drives humanities greed. Its a world filled with corporate barbarity with each enterprise looking to develop the next best thing. This brings about the Clandestine Wars as companies unrighteously thieve and hack their way to the top. With all this evil comes the good, and rightfully where your character comes in. To protect the research of the Detroit-based tech firm 'Sarif Industries' you play Adam Jensen, ex-SWAT officer turned head of security. After the events in the beginning of the game Adam finds himself under the operational blade to receive some of Sarif's top-notch human enhancements. This is when 'Deus Ex: HR' starts to get intresting as you uncover who was behind the mysterious black-op attack.
'Deus Ex: HR' is filled with supporting characters who help deepen the intrigue of the plot. Starting with the head of “Sarif Industries” is David Sarif and your short-lived love interest, Doctor Megan Reed, you will circumstantially come in contract with pilot Faridah Malik and computer wizard Frank Pritchard who help you uncover the truth behind the attack on 'Sarif Industries.' The main prose is fairly straight forward, but it is kept in line with a good amount of suspense. Additionally, you can take on a few side-missions that can earn you some valuable XP and Gamerpoints/Trophies. However, most of them feel like time wasters. Still the extra content is welcomed and best yet, you can typically accomplish them while you're on a main campaign mission.
The power of choice
One of the highpoints in 'Deus Ex:HR' is the amount of choice presented to the player. Choice is abundant in almost every situation including how you handle conversations or combat. Using lethal or non-lethal force, long range or short-range weapons in combat is all given the player along with the ability to approach each situation in multiple ways. Killing or knocking out enemies, using stealth instead of straight up gun-blazing are all options you will consider as you limberly take on each challenge. The approach to dialog isn't as dynamic, but it is still good in comparison to other action role-playing games. I especially enjoyed the ability to challenge someone who has said something negative about you, open new branching lines of dialog or guiltlessly skip it all and get right to the killing. The choice is yours in all aspects of 'Deus Ex:HR,' which is an accomplishment all its own.
Give me Deus Ex
All the action plays out like your typical shooter. You aim, shoot and interact with objects like you've done in the past. For the most part 'Deus Ex: HR' is fairly solid. However it feels slightly floaty in regards to your movement; most noticeable when you are crouching. When crouched (or in stealth mode) you float along the ground like a hovercraft. It's not uncommon for a game to control like this, but it can be used to glide right by people too easily. Although, Eidos combats this an ultra-aware A.I., some stealth situations can be super easy.
Stealth isn't the only option, but its the one you will likely choose 80% of the time. The main reason, bullets really hurt, with one or two shots to kill your player. This hyper sense of realism is a nice touch, although it pushes the player a little too hard in the direction of sneaking rather than shooting. That being said, 'Deus Ex:HR' is more difficult then most action games, even with three variations of difficulty (Tell Me a Story, Give Me a Challenge and Give Me Deus Ex) so don't be too surprised if you're repeatedly loading your last checkpoint save. For a heads-up, things get slightly easier than they are in your first few bouts simply because you are not all augmented up. Once you have your implants Jensen is a whole lot tougher, so don't let the initial gun fights frazzle you. Things get easier, just not of a heck of a lot.
Holy augmentation Jensen!
Speaking of upgrading, the whole augmentation system is fairly deep. Your body is broken down into six areas (cranium, torso, arm, back, skin, eye and leg) with the ability to be upgraded several times. The upgrades range from social skills like the Social Enhancer (analyze people and persuade them) to the body enhancements like the Icarus landing system (fall from any height without fear of injury) and so on. Each upgrade will benefit your game and are worth investing in. The ability to upgrade comes in the form of Praxis points that can be unlocked by levelling up or purchasing. It's very important to keep upgrading your character as it changes how the game plays. Depending on your addiction to unlocking each security locked door or becoming a masterful wall punching juggernaut, the choice for diversity is here.
Not another terminal!
Embracing its "cyberpunk" roots is a hacking mini-game. This mini-game pops up when you attempt to cracking the code on anything electronic like security computers or electronically locked doors. There is only one mini-game that has some slight variations with the objective of being faster than the computer. Sadly, the hacking mini-game comes off as being more tedious than fun, and even if you get a few moments of suspenseful enthusiasm, other games have done this type of thing better with more diversification. Hacking augmentation is one way to beat down the beast and another is to find/purchase items to help you “crack the code.” Unfortunately there is no way around hacking so expect to live with the experience.
No tan lines here... said the neon glow
Lastly I should touch base on the production. For the most part 'Deus Ex:HR' is a cohesive first-person shooter with a little extra attention paid to fine details. The slight neon glow in a darkened vision of the future might be borrowed from science fiction lore, but it's not saturated to the point that 'Deus Ex:HR' doesn't have its own unique feel. While the graphics do their job, Jensen and his mellow tone doesn't always fit the bill. However its simply a matter of opinion with the defence that the augmentations made him monotone. Aside from Jensen the voice-work is fairly consistent except for a few hiccups, but none that detract from the gameplay. All-in-all, Eidos Montreal did an excellent job updating/adapting a ten year old game to the new platforms.
Gamers looking for an extra additive of choice in their shooters will want to check out 'Deus Ex: Human Revolution.' Heavily based on stealth, customization and narrative, 'Human Revolution' will likely captivate you in its futuristic crime nior. While it might not live on like the original, Eidos Montreal has triumphantly revived the series.