Monday, August 29, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - More than Human

Score: 8.75/10
Deus Ex: Human Revolution

PS3-Xbox 360-PC
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: August 23, 2011

  • Various methods to progress through each room
  • Takedowns that never get old
  • Slew of choices personalize the experience
  • Whether the combat or stealth approach, the result is satisfying
  • Customization to tailor the character for your own playstyle

  • For a game offering variety, stealth is encouraged
  • Boss battles seem an inconvenience more than an experience
  • Very long load times
  • Enemy AI is questionable

The original Deus Ex was released in 2000 on the PC and received critical acclaim. No other shooter could combine RPG and adventure experiences and meld them into gameplay. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is no different, as the large amount of choice and gameplay elements meld together to make an enjoyable and personal experience.

Robot in Disguise

Acting as a prequel to the first Deus Ex, you are Adam Jensen; security lead at Seraph industries that works in cybernetic augmentations. The latest discovery is cut short as a terrorist attack puts you in intensive care and gives you cybernetic enhancements of your own. With your new abilities, you must uncover the truth behind the attack. While the story starts slow enough, it soon hooks you in as you delve deeper into the chaos. Having not played the first Deus Ex, there were moments missed that original fans are sure to find entertaining, but nothing story wise is too dependent upon playing the first game to piece together.

The world itself is an interesting one of conflict. There are the pro-cybernetic crowds against anti-cybernetic crowds, mixing political and social conflict. It is a world alive with scandal, chaos, and corruption, each ensnaring the characters in the game.You always feel like there is something deeper going on behind each mission you take up or character you interact with.

Visually the game, while not a benchmark in pushing detail, is enjoyable. The overall futuristic ambiance is alive as a slew of dark and yellow tones through the game greet you, amplified by a synthetic soundtrack. Though some character models and textures look a bit rougher than the typical game and Jensen's dialogue reminds you of Christian Bale's Batman, it's nothing to detract from the overall impression. The only part to truly distract you are the rough character animations that look much less alive than the world that surrounds them.

Silent in the Shadows

The gameplay in Deus Ex is a complex one, as it mixes a plethora of game types together into one cohesion. The main idea is a first person shooter, but as you take cover behind walls it shifts into a third person view. Then there are interrogations to sway conversation to your liking, and a RPG leveling system. It's like someone took Fallout, sandwiched it between Gears of War, sprinkled LA Noire on top, and stuck it in a blender. While different at first, you soon get the hang of the transitions.

Most of the time you will be asked to move from point A to point B, but it's up to you to choose how to go about it. You can go in guns blazing with the third person cover system and shoot the place to high hell. Those inclined to keep it quiet can stealth their way in, picking off guards one by one. There are even those who choose to mix both together.

This is where Deus Ex shines; choice not only in social interaction, but choice in gameplay. The variety in paths and abilities really personalizes the experience for the player. Countless times after I cleared a room, I stumbled upon a vent or explosive barrel or hackable terminal that I did not initially notice and thought, that would be a clever way to get past them. This factor encourages you to try different tactics and methods to fit whatever situation is thrown your way. The majority of the time, if something is blocking your path there is always another way to approach it.

We Can Rebuild Him...

There are benefits to being a totally awesome cyborg, and these are what you will be pumping upgrades into to better improve your abilities. As you progress you are awarded XP which warrants you a Praxis Point. These can be spent on varying abilities to suit your play style.

If you are more the combat hardened character, there are some abilities to boost your overall armor and reduce recoil. The stealth-savvy will enjoy the short term cloaking and ability to run without making noise. Even the hackers have ability trees that make it easier to hack doors and even gain the ability to turn sentry turrets against their fellow man.

Though limited in provision, Praxis points can be bought or kits can be found which allow you to spend a decent amount without overpowering your character. You will be strong, but never a one-man army.

Conversation Starter

Most missions and side missions will only be acquired through conversation. As you traverse the hub world you will run into many colorful characters that could use assistance. Some missions are placed in your path, while others are found only by those looking for a quest. The only downside is that you cannot truly "backtrack" and must finish these side missions before continuing the main story.

As stated before, along the main game you will encounter "interrogation" or persuasion pieces. These can alter the outcome of a situation in your favor. In one case you need to convince a hostage to be released. Talking rationally gets the job done 90% of the time, and I found that if I approached each conversation as if it were actually taking place in the real world, the outcome was in my favor. It's a smart, well done aspect of the game that can let you avoid fights all together.


Despite the great positives the game provides, there are some negatives that hold it back from greatness. The AI in this game is pretty stupid when it comes to investigating a noise. If I was ever caught, there was always somewhere I could go that the AI could not. I am not talking about on top of a crane or something out of reach, I am talking about walking into another room 5 feet from their position where I have been pelting them with bullets.

The boss battles in the game end up lacking any real enjoyment. Most of them require the run and gun strategy, and most could be spammed by the Typhoon ability for a quick victory. In a game offering choice and diversity, these encounters felt forceful in tactics.

Though the hardest difficulty provides some challenge, the long load times really put a hamper on things when you die. We are talking a good 30 seconds or so of waiting before hopping back into the action. Though a patch is en route for PC to address this issue, consoles suffer the worst. In an age where load times are masked by slow opening doors or slow moving elevators, it just feels like a huge inconvenience.


If you can wait out the dragging load times and challenge yourself to go through the game stealthily, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a blast to play. It is one of those games that you can pick up, stare at the clock, and realize you spent an hour deciphering that one room correctly. If you are debating what to pick it up for, PC is the best experience for it all around. It is a solid standout of a title, and a nice end to the summer gaming drought.

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