Developer: Eidos Montreal
Release Date: August 23, 2011 (Steam)
Official Website: http://deusex.com
To me, the original Deus Ex was nothing short of perfection. I remember installing it off the CD-ROM back in 2000. I was skeptical. I didn’t have the Internet back then. I was a kid. Any websites to tell me if the game rocked (or not) were simply out of my sight. I was going in blindly, as I did with a lot of PC games at the time. After playing it for endless hours, days and nights, I took a huge sigh of relief. Fantastic storytelling, unprecedented freedom, and kick-ass visual development basically cemented Deus Ex as one of the greatest PC games I ever played. On top of that, my decision to buy Deus Ex was one of the best gaming decisions I ever made. That being said, Human Revolution had some pretty big shoes to fill; because for me, Deus Ex had some pretty big feet.
As Deus Ex: Human Revolution begins you take control of security chief Adam Jensen, the man responsible for protecting the Detroit headquarters of Sarif Industries. The company is one of the world’s leaders in bio-mechanical engineering, an industry which has paved the way for a whole new world of human possibilities. Augmentations — machines implanted into the human body — have become the forefront of a vast controversy. Some believe that they benefit mankind. Some believe the body should remain pure of any outside tampering. Your boss, owner and head of Sarif Industries David Sarif, naturally believes augmentations are the future, and can save lives that would have otherwise been thought long lost. The man has enemies, and you’re there to make sure nothing goes wrong.
Things do go wrong. Sarif’s research labs are attacked by an unknown group of mercenaries, themselves decked out with augmentations. Adam is tossed aside willy-nilly; nearly everyone is killed in the blatant attack. Yet somehow you survive. Sarif saves you from certain death, replacing most of your body with augmented limbs and other parts, and after a short sabbatical, you are called on once more as terrorists threaten Sarif Industries yet again.
This is where the meat of the game begins. Deus Ex: Human Revolution spares little expense in getting you as immersed into the game as it possibly can. Storyline and plot is lobbed at you from all directions, leaving you struggling to remember names, places, and events. This might seem hectic, and leave you overwhelmed from time to time, but trust me… It all works, and you’ll never be so overwhelmed that you feel like giving up. Human Revolution is a monster of a game, and unlike most shooters, this game is in it for the long run.
Traversing the long, dark alleyways and streets of an overburdened Detroit will give you that “Deus Ex” feel in no time flat. The franchise has a long history of contrasting the struggle between the obscenely rich and the destitute poor — and you’ll find that exact dichotomy in Human Revolution. Areas of Detroit and other locales will go from upstanding, clean and futuristic, to unlivable slums within a block or two of travel. The game is dark, gritty, and filled with both hobos and billionaires. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The levels are all masterfully constructed, giving players the ability to find a path that suits their own unique style of play. My first run through the game was a stealthy hacker — a “can jump from rooftops without dying” kind of guy. This meant having to track down paths that were the least guarded — and when they were, offered the best escape. Trying to resist the urge unsheathe my weapons proved to be difficult, and often the temptation was almost overwhelming. But the game rewards players for sticking to their play style, and there’s nothing more satisfying than running from an enemy patrol, punching through a plastered-up tenement wall, and taking cover behind a fridge. Human Revolution will have you using your brain over and over again.
What’s that? Using your noggin? Thinking?
One of the reasons I love this game so much, is that it’s a shooter that finally embraces the idea of independent thought. The game gives you an objective, teaches you the basics of all of its fundamentals, then leaves you alone. Sure sometimes it will guide you to a particular door, or wall, or ladder, but it does so in such a non-invasive way. As a player, all you have to do is complete the objective. How you do it is left entirely up to you.
Combat is solid, quick, and deadly if you don’t know what you’re doing. In case you haven’t heard, the latest Deus Ex adds a cover system, forcing more combat prone players to hug walls, boxes, and vending machines. At first I didn’t exactly feel it was right. I mean, cover? In Deus Ex? I trudged through it and quickly abandoned my nostalgic clinginess and found that it really added a strong cinematic feel to the game. Gunfights felt like actual gunfights. Now, of course you don’t have to use the cover system, but I would highly recommend you do. You die quickly in this game — very quickly. So I suggest you strategize a little bit before plowing through a lobby full of terrorists.
Like the other Deus Ex titles before it, HR is half role-playing game, half shooter. Completing quests and killing enemies give you experience points, which you can use to power up and strengthen Adam Jensen’s augmentations. These augmentations range from letting you more easily hack computers, see an enemy’s field of vision, and even turn yourself invisible for short periods of time. Although the augmentations and skills Adam has seem pretty numerous, there aren’t actually that many. You start the game with some of them already unlocked and powered on, leaving you with only the crazy-powerful ones available for purchase. There aren’t many things in Deus Ex: Human Revolution to complain about, but the lack of a wide array of augments and things to unlock is definitely among them.
As with other role-playing game, you can collect items and cash from fallen enemies as you explore the world. Items go into your inventory after you pick them up, a large square that’s separated into dozens of little blocks. Each item is a certain amount of blocks, with healing items and grenades only taking up one block, while larger weapons and upgrade kits taking up more. You can flip and rotate items to make sure you get the optimal amount of bag space, which in turn equals out to more firepower and goodies. It’s the same inventory system that was introduced in the original Deus Ex, and I appreciate the comeback. Good stuff.
Another thing taken straight from the “Book of Deus Ex” is the difficulty curve. Now, don’t get me wrong, the game is definitely easier than its predecessors. Way easier. But when compared to other shooters out there, this game is by far the toughest. You better be ready to quick save. A lot. Playing on the easiest difficulty won’t give you the same white knuckles that players playing on the higher difficulties will get, but it’s still challenging. Those that buy games just to breeze through them be warned. Human Revolution is long and hard.
And yes, that’s what she said.
The Bottom Line
I will admit, I walked into Human Revolution the way a nerd walks up to the hottest girl in school. Completely outclassed. I’ve been corrupted. Shooters these days are so dumbed-down and so run-of-the-mill that a blindfolded monkey could beat them within a few hours. There are exceptions, however. Games like Stalker and Fallout are always pushing the boundaries in ways that change the genre for the better. But it’s the Call of Duty and Medal of Honor games out there that have kept me locked behind a concrete wall of pure, unaltered blandness. Deus Ex: Human Revolution shattered that wall, and once again reminded me of what games really can accomplish. For the storyline alone I would recommend people buy this title. It’s the least I can do, considering how much Deus Ex has given me.
Game Play: 10/10
Replay Value: 8/10
- Steam Store page: http://store.steampowered.com/agecheck/app/28050/
- Reviewer playthrough: (None this time, maybe in the future)
- Metascore: 89