In a world where bionic replacements and enhancements for the disabled are becoming more and more advanced, and corporate greed and disregard for the welfare of people are becoming more and more prevalent, it’s easy to see the transition to the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. You are Adam Jensen; ex-SWAT, current security chief for a major biotech corporation, and recent recipient of life saving augmentations. The year is 2027, and human augmentation has become the primary dividing controversy between those who feel that augmentation is humanity taking control of human evolution and those who feel that augmentation is an affront to humanity itself.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a world of choice…for the most part. You can choose to run and gun your way through the entire world, you can choose to take the pacifist route and simply disable your enemies as you sneak through the world, or you can combine the two into your own unique style. The biggest deviation from the central tenet of choice, however, comes in the form of boss fights. The unique style you may have spent your time building simply becomes a hitpoint rush; take the boss’ hit points down before yours are taken down. You can do this through non-lethal means, but that doesn’t mean much when the time for the cutscene comes. Your choices, whatever they may have been, will have no bearing on the outcome of that cutscene.
The other complaints are not as central to the core of the game. The voice acting misses the mark on occasion (moreso with Adam Jensen’s monotonous gruff than with others, but it is evident in other characters as well), and facial animations during conversations can be a bit awkward at times. The fact that your takedowns are powered by batteries, and that you use a full battery with each takedown, is a little strange. If I don’t have any battery power, I can’t punch someone in the back of the head? Really? And the loading screens, by the gods, are interminably slow. Transitioning through certain environments can hurt the pacing and momentum of the game. Overall, though, the features are done well enough that they don’t detract from the game once you get used to them (except for those damnable loading screens).
Visually, the game is pure, glorious, unadulterated cyberpunk. Black, gold, and neon permeate the technofuturistic (new word (c) me) environment and its denizens. Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a decidedly dark feel to it, as any dark future story should. You won’t be taking any noon strolls through the park. The story, its environment, and your actions all coalesce into a nearly perfectly envisioned experience of conspiracy and humanity. This is further emphasized by the cinematic nature of the cold open followed by the in-game title screen and credits. This is a story to experience in your own way.
The mechanics are excellent. As a first person shooter, it’s in first person, and it lets you shoot things. Success! In third person cover mode, it’s in third person, and it lets you keep from getting shot. Success! As an RPG, it allows you to customize your character’s progression, strengths, and weaknesses through the use of ability points, resulting in a wide variety of possible character loadouts. Success! As a stealth game, it allows you to complete the game in a fully non-lethal (boss fights excluded) manner. Success! In every mechanic that Deus Ex: Human Revolution utilizes, it finds success.
Which brings me to the hacking mechanic. I absolutely love how hacking is handled in this game. Every hack attempt is like a game of cat and mouse mixed with a bit of tower defense. You have a starting point within the system and have to build links until you reach the system core. Each link you build runs a risk of alerting the system’s security routines to your presence. If security is alerted, a counter-attack is launched, aimed at your starting point. If the counter-attack is successful in corrupting your starting point before you are able to reach the system core, you are booted out of the system and any potential enemies nearby are put on alert. As you are building links, however, you are able to fortify certain points in the system, slowing down the progress of the counter-attack. As you level up your hacking augmentations, you can make the entire hacking process easier (possibly too easy, if you fully level up your hacking stealth), but that’s part of how you decide to play your character. Hacking can help you open up direct paths that are otherwise closed off, while secret passages can sometimes get you to your location via alternate paths.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution definitely solidifies itself in my list of favorite shooters. It also makes its way into my list of favorite titles of the year, though at least one game has edged it out of the top spot. If you played the original Deus Ex, I have no doubt that you will enjoy this prequel. If you haven’t, and you’re going into the Deus Ex series fresh, this will be a wonderful new experience. This is a game to buy. Go ahead, step away from the computer and head to your nearest retailer. Alternatively, open a new tab and navigate to your favorite online retailer. You’ll be glad you did.
|Excellent leveling system|
Good weapon modification
Excellent cinematic feel
|Voice acting and dialogue animations not perfect|
Loading screens are unreasonably long
Boss fights are out of place, hurt sense of choice