[REVIEW] Deus Ex: Human Revolution

19 09 2011

Deus Ex Human Revolution

Deus Ex Human Revolution is a stunning RPG game. An excellent story of conspiracy, intrigue and competition between those who are different sets the backdrop for this prequel to the original Deus Ex.

Set in the year 2027, the human augmentation technology had just started to take off. Just like any chapter in human history, when there is a change, there are those who embrace it and there are those who resist it. Our protagonist, Adam Jensen, worked as the Chief of Security for Sarif Industries, a corporation that manufactured human augmententation implants ostensibly to better the future of the mankind. Not everyone agreed with what they did, naturally. Organizations like the Purity First went to extreme measures to stop the production of such implants as they considered insertion of robotic parts into human flesh a sacrilege against nature.

The story began with a mysterious assault on Sarif Industries’ research labs killing everyone in the labs barring a mere few including Adam, who was asked by his boss, David Sarif, to investigate the commotions in the said labs. Having been mortally wounded by a heavily augmented mercenary, he was resurrected through surgeries that inserted multiple augmentation implants in his body. So he went on a long journey to discover the motive for the attack and ultimately he would have to make tough moral choices as not everything was as black and white as they seemed.

Like its predessors, the storyline is extremely thought provoking. It deals with many moral issues that have analogies found in our world. Quite often, there is not an absolutely correct or incorrect answer. There are usually multiple solutions to the same mission and choosing one over another, however morally ambiguous, will often give you a different reward (or more or less of the same reward) and a different reaction from the quest NPC. Your interaction with certain NPCs will sometimes change how other related NPCs will react towards you later on down the track, but these are few and far inbetween.

Some of the RPG elements that were present in the original Deus Ex have been replaced or removed. For example, the ability to upgrade your weapon skills has been replaced by the ability to add multiple weapon mods to one particular weapon. This does add variations to weapon customization, but some people might not like this as this means they will have to carry the same gun throughout the game due to the weapon mods being in limited supply. Your augmentation tree has been overhauled as well. There are many more options to choose from. Depending on your playstyle, there are some extremely useful ones like Hacking: Capture, which enables you hack higher level devices and Stealth Enhancer,  which lets you cloak yourself and dance right past unsuspecting guards. Regardeless of how you play, there are arguably some ‘fillers’ in the augmentation tree. They are only situationally applicable and even when such a situation is present, their usefulness is marginal.

Your playstyle largely determines how you will experience the game and which augments you will place emphasis on. You can hack your way through an area, or slip past everything stealthily or you can just budge into a room gunblazing. Usually you’d use a mixture of the above tactics. Overall, you receive more experience for stealth and exploration than brute force, but one has to admit that there is certain sanguine satisfaction to be gained from killing every man and his dog. You will not be able to maximize the augmentation tree with the available experience points in the game (believe me, I tried), so some degree of discretion is needed when investing your praxis points, which are gained every 5000 XP and from praxis kits found in some well-hidden locations in the game.

The game is extremely good looking, even on the X360. Normally, X360 games like Mafia 2 and Final Fantasy XIII reduce the graphic quality of ingame models when they are at a distance from you and sometimes this blurriness can give you a bad headache. Not so in Deus Ex. The graphics are crisp the whole way through. The view of Detroit from Sarif Industries’ elevator is breathtaking. There are, however, some downsides. Facial expressions of characters quite often don’t match the sentiment they are trying to express, e.g., an angry tone is accompanied by a blank expression. The lip-syncing needs a lot of work as well. There is also the long loading time. It’s not the worst I have seen (looking at you, Duke Nukem), but it’s still a fair wait, which really tests your patience. I guess this can’t really be helped with the X360 being already a few years behind the PC in processing power.

The game has some good music scores that don’t intrude on your gameplay. One interesting Easter egg to note is that there are radios strewn about throughout the various locations in the game. If you wait around for the talkback host to finish talking, the music from the original Deus Ex will eventually start playing. Really bring back the good old days. Way to pay homage!

There is nothing too challenging or frustrating with its list of achievements. Although most are story-related but missable (due to its nature of having multiple alternatives to most missions), you will one way or another pick up at least a few during your first playthrough without knowing what they are. They are otherwise easy to obtain. There are certain ones like Foxiest of the Hounds (no alarms) and Pacifist (no kills) that require you to be thorough and doubly careful with what you do, so you should definitely find a guide to help you with these two.

Overall, a great game in its own right, but still below the standard set by the original Deus Ex. A strong Game of the Year competitor.

Gameplay: 10/10

Graphics: 9/10

Sound: 9/10

Achievements 8/10

Overall: 9/10




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