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A closer look at Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Posted August 28, 2011

If you live in London and don’t know what Deus Ex: Human Revolution is then I’ll be damned. Square Enix’s marketing went on overload as freezines, papers, TV and more fell defenceless against the onslaught of rigorous Deus Ex advertisement.

I can’t blame them for putting money where their mouth is. Deus Ex has received favourable reviews across the board. I really enjoyed it but there were a few niggles that ruined the immersion for me. Number one was the confusing choice to force players into boss battles while at the same time encouraging them to tackle the game as they saw fit.

Players who prioritized their augment upgrades to hacking and stealth – aka nearly everyone I know – struggled to cope with being thrown into a combat heavy situation after constantly avoiding one. It was after the second boss battle that I began to abandon any hope of snaking a path through air ducts and started to grab a gun and swallow my pride.

Other irritations were about aesthetics. Sure, it’s easy to be fooled by the delicious CG artwork and pre-rendered trailers being thrown our way by Square Enix’s glorious and relentless PR machine, but it’s important to make sure this stuff is slightly representative of the game itself. The Xbox 360 version of the game was full of old-looking textures, abysmal lip sync and a large amount of lazy – and sometimes non-existent – animations that ruined any sort of immersion the game tried its best to uphold. Which is a shame really because it does a damn good job at that.

The last thing? Well, it’s more of a personal issue than an overall one. I just felt there were a few things that they missed opportunities with to round off the world. While there was plenty spoken about how augmentations had ruined lives, there was little of that shoved in your face. A lot of the world needed explaining via e-mails and constant check of the Daily Picus, and not through all the TVs that pumped short bites of news on the main story but little else. Also, Jensen’s initial struggle with his transformation was completely ignored, leaving only hints of a broken mirror in his apartment to fill in the gap. It’s a human story that I think could have been more interesting given players the option to.

I did enjoy it though. It has so much to offer and replayability. I’m on my second playthrough on the hardest difficulty using no lethal weapons (apart from boss battles) and trying to sneak my way through the majority of the game. I’ve already noticed a change at the start regarding my actions. Taking too long to get in the helicopter with Serif to respond to an attack on a lab causes several hostages to die automatically. Which was a bit annoying because it meant I missed out on a side quest.

Overall though, it’s a fantastic game that must be played. I have no idea who I’m going to do this 100% stealth and no alarm playthrough without killing anyone on the hardest difficulty but I’m going to give it a go.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Him downstairs permalink
    August 28, 2011 3:39 pm

    “While there was plenty spoken about how augmentations had ruined lives, there was little of that shoved in your face.”

    I’m only a couple of hours in, but I hope the story is balanced in this respect. I’m hoping for a story that remains morally ambiguous. I want to see characters who, even at the end, genuinely believe that augmentations can be a great thing. It’s one of the few things that irked me about BioShock: ultimately, it isn’t transhumanism that’s inherently bad, but the human condition that, in these worlds, makes people abuse it.

    In other words, I don’t want it to be shoved in my face that ‘transhumanism is BAD’, because then I’d find myself just arguing with the game. ;-)

  2. August 29, 2011 8:24 pm

    Ahh, and I was just talking to a friend earlier about this game! He liked it a lot. I don’t think I’ve read any negative reviews yet! Yours is refreshing to see amidst the 9s and 10s.

    I have this.. thing against Square Enix ever since FFXI. Long story.. too long, really. But Just Cause 2 wasn’t bad, and the new Lara Croft game looks amazing so far. I may give Deus Ex a go someday. :)

  3. September 1, 2011 2:40 am

    Most of my friends have already picked this game up, and none of them have anything bad to say about it. Things like that make me doubt games because I feel like people get way too wrapped up in hype to pay attention to what they’re actually experiencing. I’m glad to finally read an article that critiques the game, while still giving it a good review. Now that I know what to expect, I may actually look into it. Up until just now, I’ve only been told “It’s just so good. Trust me, you need to play it.”

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