Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review
Change doesn’t come without pain.
The third entry in the Deus Ex series has been a long time coming, but the wait is finally over. It would be hard not to have heard about Human Revolution in some manner before now. With all the videos, developer diaries, screenshots and previews it would also be hard not to be excited for this game. But did Eidos Montreal show us all they had to offer in the previews? The straight answer is no. Deus Ex: Human Revolution stuns you visually, gets you addicted to the gameplay and sucks you into an intriguing world that is dealing with issues that might not be too far off from our own.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has you take control of Adam Jensen, ex S.W.A.T and current head of security at the biotech firm Sarif Industries. Through some unfortunate events, Jensen ends up decked out with a load of controversial ‘Augmentations’. Jensen wasn’t given the choice to be augmented, or not, as he was unconscious and dying at the time. This set of new parts is what allows Jensen to upgrade his skills and abilities. I like this take on things as it’s a bit more reasonable than your character just arbitrarily getting better at one skill or another once in a while. So, Jensen is a cyborg, that’s cool right? Maybe. In 2027, society has yet to fully accept augmented humans. Some people are all for it, others completely against it. Some are just scared. This sets up the majority of the story as Sarif is about to go public with a new technology but the protesters are out in full force.
Human Revolution plays like a first person action game but is an RPG at heart. The areas are open and missions are non-linear. As you complete objectives and take down enemies you will earn experience and loot bodies and containers for gear. The most important of these being Praxis points. Praxis points are pieces of software that let you upgrade your abilities and augmentations. These can be found during missions, awarded for completing certain missions and are also awarded for accumulating XP.
The upgrades you apply not only determine the abilities of your character but how you complete each mission. Every objective in Human Revolution offers a number of ways to complete it. Do you want to toughen yourself up and fill your arsenal with heavy weapons so you can walk in the front door guns blazing? Maybe you want to crank up your stealth attributes and sneak in, taking out all of the enemies in silent, serial killer fashion. Maybe you like to level the playing field by hacking the turrets to take out any enemies in range. There are always a number of options. The best part about this is that you can mix and match strategies. The game never forces you to choose one and stick with it. Very rarely are you forced down one set path.
For instance, once I was presented with a hangar with two huge sentry bots. These bots, I knew, had really big guns and I was playing a character who was heavy into stealth so I knew I couldn’t take them head on. I spotted a control room high up at the far end of the room. I spent quite a while sneaking over there and just as I was about to declare victory of these stupid robots, I hacked the computer and realized my hacking skill wasn’t good enough to be able to disable robots; time to improvise. I found a rocket launcher but didn’t have enough room in my inventory and didn’t want to drop anything so I skipped that. I snuck around some more and found a stash of EMP grenades. After more sneaking around, diving behind boxes and throwing grenades those robots were down. There is always another option in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you just have to look for it.
The story of Human Revolution is quite gripping and one of my favorite in any game yet. I won’t give anything away, but it plays out quite differently depending on the choices you make. The simplest choice can have far reaching effects that may not be obvious until much later in the game. The missions are intense and the settings are varied in a way that gets you hooked. I often found myself saying “I’ll just do this one more objective, then go to bed”, three or four times a night. Hacking became an obsession; I had to hack that panel and I had to complete it faster than the last one. The hacking mini-game is the best hacking/lockpicking system in any game, hands down.
Clocking in at somewhere over 20 hours, this game is no pushover. Not to mention that when I’m done writing this, I’m going back to start a new playthrough and make some different choices. The only small flaw I could find was the load times. They were sort of long, but installing the game brings them way down.
There are no multiplayer modes in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I think multiplayer would be out of place in this game, but some sort of co-op mode would have been fantastic.
There are plenty of secret achievements in Human Revolutino that are based on, I assume, story choices. For a real challenge try Pacifist. Complete the entire game without killing anyone. Seriously, walk past all those big guns and try not to fire them at anyone for 20 hours or so. Happy hunting.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one of most well crafted games you’ll ever play. The detail that went into every little thing is astounding. From the detailed environments, to the voice acting, to the hacking system, I just couldn’t put it down. Eidos Montreal has put other studios on notice; action games should have length and depth, not just a high body count. Or maybe it should be ‘your RPG should have more explosions and cyborg ninjas’. I can’t decide.