Ever since I heard that Eidos was doing a new Deus Ex game, I was excited. In the months leading up to the game’s Tuesday release (last Tuesday, that is), I’ve been following all the news I can get about the game, and [I got a chance to demo it at Comic-Con this year] (link to article). Now that it’s finally out, here’s what I think.
Despite its few shortcomings, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a great game and a worthy successor to the original Deus Ex.
In DXHR, you take control of Adam Jensen, a former cop now in charge of security for the world’s biggest augmentation company, Sarif Industries. After a tragedy causes him to be severely injured, Adam gets all sorts of augmentations put in him, including kick-ass cyber-shades that serve no purpose other than to be awesome (unless you upgrade them.)
- The cover mechanic in DXHR is one of the best I’ve seen in any shooter-style game I’ve played. By right-clicking you go into cover against the wall you’re standing close to or a box or whatever is around that could cause you to take cover, effectively protecting you almost entirely from gunfire. But not all cover is perfect. If you crouch behind an object and enter cover, then the object gets shot at, it will take damage and eventually be destroyed unless it’s part of the scenery. The cover system also provides a quick means to jump from cover to cover or around corners so that you never have to leave if there’s another area available.
- The combat is much improved from the original Deus Ex. It’s fast-paced, intense, and dangerous; in fact, I try to avoid it entirely whenever I can! Whenever a gunfight starts, you need to pay careful attention to what you do since bullets are limited and health goes away fast. Fortunately, Adam’s health regenerates over time, but only when you’re not actively being shot at. While in cover, you can lean above or to the left or right to fire, and you can fire “blindly” from it without leaning out – the targeting reticule changes but remains on-screen while in cover, allowing you to position your shots without excessive risk of being hurt.
- Stealth is made quite a bit easier than the original Deus Ex by the introduction of a radar on your HUD. If it’s upgraded enough you can even see the lines of sight for all the enemies the radar can detect, making avoiding them a matter of patience and timing rather than random chance and player perception.
- The social interactions in DXHR are top-notch. Almost any mission can be resolved socially, but be wary – if you choose the wrong answers it can lead directly to combat. Also, by defusing boss-style enemies with the social system, you gain extra experience.
- DXHR rewards you for trying inventive things. Want to get into a room? Look around for an air duct and you’ll get a “Traveler” experience bonus. Manage to get through a mission undetected and you’ll unlock a “Ghost” experience bonus. While the most direct route to accomplishing your tasks will also reward you, the quick way to finish missions is more often than not going around the challenges and being observant.
Now, onto the bad:
- I really hate to criticize this game with all of its positives, but I think the introduction/prelude before the opening game credits is utter crap. You play as an un-augmented Adam, which means no HUD, no way to see how much ammo you have, no way to see how much health you have, and no way to get a good idea of where your enemies are. It’s the most un-Deus Ex part of the game, and it almost made me want to put the game down right then and there. Fortunately, it’s very short and once you get past it and into the actual game it becomes awesome.
- You can’t customize Adam as much as I’d like at the start of the game. In DXHR, advancements come in the form of Praxis points and are gained either by buying Praxis kits from a specific store, finding a Praxis kit lying around on a mission, or gaining 5000 experience points. A Praxis point can be spend to upgrade an activated augmentation, or 2 points can activate one that hasn’t been yet. When Adam is air-dropped into the first mission, you have no unspent Praxis points and are stuck like that until around halfway through when you find a Praxis kit. Even then, there are only so many augmentations that are useful at any one given time, and a lot of them don’t seem very good at the beginning of the game and only become more so after several hours of gameplay. While there is the freedom to advance however you’d like, you’re restricted because buying any upgrade takes a large investment of time and effort.
- Everything in the game is dark. While I appreciate the black-and-gold color scheme and the way Eidos tried to work it into every major location, they could do with a little bit less darkness in their environments.
With all this said and done, I think Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a fantastic addition to the Deus Ex series, taking cues from modern gaming while still harkening back to its roots of the original.