Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Available on PS3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac OS X)
ESRB Rating: M
Genre: Action RPG
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Release Date: August 23, 2011 (PS3, Xbox 360, & PC), April 26, 2012 (Mac OS X)
Parent Talk: Deus Ex is rated M for Mature by the ESRB for blood, drug references, intense violence, sexual themes, strong language, and the use of alcohol. While the game doesn’t beat you over the head with any of these, Deus Ex is definitely an adult game.
Versions & DLC: Deus Ex originally released on the PS3, Xbox 360, and PC in a normal and Augmented Edition. The Augmented Edition came with an art book, the game’s soundtrack, a making-of documentary, motion comic, animated storyboard, CGI trailer, and the in-game Explosive Mission Pack and Tactical Enhancement Pack, all in a nifty metal case. The bonus mission The Missing Link was later released as DLC and takes place within the main storyline. The Ultimate Edition releasing on Mac OS X will include all the bonuses of the Augmented Edition as well as the Missing Link DLC pre-loaded.
Review Basis: Completed the main storyline in the Augmented Edition shortly after release on the PS3. Later completed the Missing Link DLC.
Plays Like: Deus Ex plays in a first-person perspective and has a third-person cover mechanic. The myriad of skills available to Jensen drastically alter how you approach each situation, allowing straight FPS shooting, stealth, hacking, conversation, or any combination thereof. With such a variety available of options available, each player’s experience with the game will be unique.
Theme, Setting, and Story: Deus Ex’s story is phenomenal; both engaging and well-written. The story surrounds Adam Jensen and an attack on Sarif Industries, a cybernetics firm, during which a researcher, Megan Reed, is abducted and Jensen is mortally wounded. Jensen is saved by replacing much of his body with biomechanical cybernetics, and after recovering he begins searching for those responsible for the attack and kidnapping. The story has a few twists and turns and overall, is very enjoyable. During his investigation Adam Jensen will travel to a number of cities and locations around the world. These various environments are well constructed and engaging, and it’s a joy to simply walk around and explore Eidos Montreal’s vision of the future. Various newspapers and parts of books can be found and expand on the game’s backstory, giving the player a better image of this future world. The game’s cyberpunk style definitely draws heavily from works like Blade Runner and Robocop (those who care to look can even find Alex Murphy in the Detroit Police Headquarters). Here, corporations rule, governments are technicalities, and the gap between the haves and the have-nots is widening. Deus Ex does a great job of exploring the potential societal issues surrounding robotic prostheses, presenting a world where someone can be faster, stronger, and more capable than before, if they have the money for it. This leads to moral questions that the game explores. Is it right for some people to augment themselves when others cannot, and is one even still human if they are augmented? Such moral questions are interwoven into the story, and add another layer of meaning to your dialogue choices, as you determine Jensen’s moral philosophy as you go.
Soundtrack: The game’s soundtrack matches the tone of the game well. The tracks are mostly ambient, so while they fit well they’re not overly memorable on their own.
Best Part About It: Choice. Want to grab some guns and shoot your way through? Go for it. Want to use stealth to sneak through without taking a life or being detected at all? Have fun. Want to hack (via a very fun hacking minigame) some automated turrets and mechs to clear out the enemies for you? Totally an option. Some situations can be solved entirely through dialogue, as the game allows players to choose Jensen’s verbal responses a la Mass Effect. The game seamlessly allows the player to solve each situation however they see fit and actively rewards each play style; no single approach is favored over the others, with the exception of the boss battles (more on that later). Choice in play and dialogue is facilitated and enhanced by Jensen’s augmentations. These cybernetic upgrades provide numerous skill trees to unlock as you see fit, upgrading Jensen’s various abilities. Different abilities, such as a heightened jump or better hacking may open up more routes through mission maps, other upgrades increase combat ability, and others still, such as cloak or increased awareness of the environment, make stealth easier. The myriad of upgrade choices allows the player to tailor Jensen’s abilities to suit their preferred approach to the game and, again, no single approach is any better than another, it’s all about how you want to play the game.
Most Disappointing Aspect: The boss battles. Each battle is fairly unique, as each boss character has different abilities that present different tactical challenges. While the rest of the game promotes player choice, during the boss battles you’re basically locked in a room and forced to face the boss one-on-one in a shooting match. So while these encounters are fun in and of themselves, there is a stark contrast between them and the rest of the game.
The Missing Link: This DLC side mission was released after the launch of Deus Ex on the PS3, Xbox, and PC, but comes included with the Mac version. The Missing Link (ML) takes place during the main timeline of the game and expands on a part of it. The Missing Link is basically a microcosm of the rest of the game. Jensen is in a new area and his augments are reset, requiring him to upgrade from scratch. This allows the player to stick with their previous style to play, or maybe experiment a bit and try a new play style. The Missing Link requires a bit more backtracking than the rest of the game, but isn’t so bad as to feel boring or repetitive. Overall, the Missing Link is a fine bit of DLC, expanding on the story of the main game and providing a fun new area play through.
The Lowdown: Deus Ex: Human Revolution lives up to the legacy of the original Deus Ex game by providing the player with the tools to approach each situation however they see fit. While the boss battles break up the experience a bit, the rest of the game is very rewarding due to the wide array of choices open to the player. This practically begs for multiple play-throughs since each experience will be unique. The atmosphere and story are gripping, engaging, and cerebral; the experience will stick with you long after you finish your play-through.
Final Score: 9.0/10
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