DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION REVIEW
Deus Ex is an odd franchise. After 10 years, only 2 previous games; 1 of which was a classic, one which wasn’t, what are we to make of Human Revolution?
Posted by PlayDevil.com Staff on Sep 9, 2011 11:29 (Sep 9, 2011 11:29)
Written by: Ian
Invisible Bore, or real Revolution?
Deus Ex is an odd franchise. After 10 years, only 2 previous games; 1 of which was a classic, one which wasn’t, what are we to make of "Deus Ex: Human Revolution"? It had some pretty poor E3 coverage, and I was worried that potentially this could be further damaging to the original name and brand.
So, despite some early good reviews in print magazines, I still went into the game with some trepidation.
'Human Revolution' is a prequel to the original Deus Ex, but the story works really well. Augmentations are still in the very early stages, and they not only affect the physical appearance of most users, but they are very controversial pieces of technology that are dividing the world’s population over their use. It’s a world of tension, where technology is advancing at an ever increasing pace, but leaving most of the population behind due to the cost and rarity of many devices- leaving everything in a state of flux and turmoil.
Playing as Jensen, who after the prologue becomes augmented himself, you find yourself in the midst of a secret war between mega-corporations, and caught up in the politics of the world. The story is easily the best part of the game, and really had me addicted to the end, whether it was the latest cut-scene, or trying to download more and more emails and documents to give me an insight into the rich and detailed world- this is storytelling at its finest.
Deus Ex is not really a traditional RPG- following more along the lines of Mass Effect and Fallout. It’s an action game, but with a heavy focus on storytelling, different ways to play, and dialogue options. If this has you all excited, then know that Deus Ex is one of the most successful examples of this in modern times. If this bores you, then know that the game doesn’t really do things differently enough, and doesn’t have the quality or quantity of action to win you over.
Certainly, in my opinion, stealth is the only way to go. The controls never felt natural enough, and the gunplay was too awkward and inaccurate (and the ammo too stingy) to play the game as a pure shooter. What is also good is the positive effects of levelling up- they really make you feel more powerful. And quickly you have to make a decision about whether you spec for stealth, combat or hacking.
By the end of the game you can get pretty good at 2 of the 3 types, but there aren’t enough Piraxis points (the game’s level up currency) to fully kit yourself out, and the 2 point cost to start a tree, as opposed to 1 point for an upgrade to an existing one should discourage becoming a jack-of-all-trades type. Some upgrades are definitely more useful than others, though. Speech upgrades let you influence people, and you can even get extra achievement points this way- but are limited to certain points in the game. The upgrade to be able to jump from any height is essential, as I often fell or mis-timed jumps before I got it.
Where other elements, like being able to tag 7 enemies are pretty useless. You can see them on your mini-map anyway, and there are very few points in the game with 7 enemies within radar range anyway. Either way, it’s nice to see a big difference being made- there are too many RPGs now where you barely sense the difference after a level up, whereas this is a streamlined system that really works nicely.
Whilst the storyline will see you going for a goodly length of time, there are certain issues that annoyed me. Loading times are dreadful- death means a painful wait to reload. Boss fights feel like they were an afterthought or dropped in at the last minute- they force you to shoot to kill when for the rest of the game you’re totally unequipped to do so. Mines are way too sensitive. Also, the game tries to make you think it’s not very linear, when in reality it is. There may be multiple ways to complete levels, but rather few ways to go through them, yet pathfinding can be pretty difficult at times and the map can’t be zoomed, and the markers are not always clear when it comes to verticality. It’s not a huge list, but most of the things listed did annoy me quite a bit.