By Brian Liu
Sometimes, I think that the only reason that games exist is so that gamers can be jerks.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution certainly gives you that option – at some point, developer Eidos Montreal decided it was necessary to make clear that knocking out random civilians didn’t count towards any achievements.
Even so, however you decide to play it, DE: HR is a great game, if not quite a revolutionary one.
Welcome To The Revolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes place in the near future, in a world divided on the mechanical augmentation for humans. Gamers take the role of Adam Jensen, an ex-cop and head of security for Sarif Industries, a company on the forefront of said augmentation controversy. I’ll leave the plot summary here – although the story does get a tad predictable, especially for those who’ve gone through the first two games.
Fans of the original Deus Ex will recognize both the setting and the open-ended design of Human Revolution – there are multiple paths to the same objective. Gamers can hack nearby turrets and robots to clear a path, sneak through vents and cloak to avoid guards, go in guns blazing, or find some other way around. The developers encourage a bloodless playthrough (more experience points are given for simply knocking out guards, and achievements are given for a pacifist run), but it’s more of a suggestion than anything. I went through the game twice – once as a hacking melee ninja, and once as an avenging angel of death.
Unfortunately, certain skills simply have to be taken. For example, I couldn’t imagine getting through the game without taking any hacking skills, considering the amount of locked crates, doors, and computers lying around. Other skills seem to completely break the game (one augmentation in particular makes every boss fight a cakewalk). On hard difficulty, armour is a necessity (or expect frequent reloads).
Still, there’s enough diversity here that I didn’t particularly mind – especially when the game provides you with moments such as this. Pacifist gamers, be warned though, lest situations such as this happen.
Black and yellow, black and yellow
Graphics-wise, DE: HR runs on a modified version of the Crystal Dynamics engine, last seen in Tomb Raider: Underworld. Frame rates were smooth for me, although high-end settings may cause even faster machines to chug and occasionally freeze.
The colour palette looks like it was taken from a Wiz Khalifa song, which is either horribly wrong or highly futuristic, depending on your point of view.
As for bugs, I suffered through a few crashes to desktop on my first playthrough, and during my second, at least one quest was completely broken (most likely because I killed a minor quest character).
Aside from those, and the occasional clipping and hit detection bug, Deus Ex is fairly polished and playable. Long load times were initially a concern – but Eidos Montreal fixed the problem within the first week of release.
In the end, Human Revolution was especially hard to assign a score for. If this had been the second game in the series, all the way back in 2003, no doubt I would be raving and ranting about this game. Instead, DE: HR feels like a newer version of Mass Effect or Oblivion, mixed with more stealth elements a la Thief or Metal Gear Solid.
My initial playthrough took around 25 hours; a second playthrough (albeit on a lower difficulty level) took less than 12. The boss fights, in particular, were extremely underwhelming – if you know what you’re doing, the final boss can be killed in four seconds.
Ultimately, for me, the final score went down to replay value, along with a ridiculously disappointing final level (that alone knocked down the score half a point).
Even with those flaws, I still can’t give Deus Ex any less than an 8/10. Ultimately, DE: HR is a highly-polished game that’s tremendously fun.
Open game world
Great little touches
Highly disappointing boss fights
Limited to no replayability
Occasional immersion-breaking bugs
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Recommendation: Buy it! (But only if you’re a fan of the original, or love action-RPGs. For the rest of us, wait until the price goes down)
A Deus Ex History Lesson
SquareEnix? What the hell?
That was the reaction of most fans of the Deus Ex series when the Japanese developer announced that it was publishing Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Certainly, that’s not what Warren Spector had in mind when the legendary developer (Thief, System Shock) released Deus Ex in 2000.
The original Deus Ex was (rightly) praised as ahead of its time; unfortunately, so was the programming. Memory leaks and game-stopping bugs were the norm as even high-end machines struggled to run the game properly – when I reinstalled Deus Ex last year, a full decade after the game was released, I still encountered occasional crashes due to lack of memory (full disclosure: my laptop has an i7 processor, Geforce GTS 360M, and 4 GB ram).
Still, for those who finish DE: Human Revolution, or are waiting for it to drop in price, the original is well worth the price of admission (give the graphics a few tweaks – start with the excellent Shifter mod).
The second game in the series, Invisible War, was more polarizing, stripping down the role-playing elements and playing more like a first-person shooter.
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