So, rather than hit you with the common “Deus Ex Human Revolution looks alright doesn’t it?” type thing we took the time to sit down and finish the game on it’s hardest difficulty to ensure we could bring you informed, accurate and complete opinions on this huge game.
Before we jump in I would also add that the original Deus Ex is one of my favourite games ever and I’ve had the pleasure, nay honour, to play it through a number of times. So having spent many an hour with the original (and, yes, played the less popular sequel) how did my play through of Human Revolution stack up?
Well, you’ll be unsuprised to hear it was a blast, but not only that it was engaging, exciting, enthralling and tense. All the things I demand of Deus Ex.
There are so many good things to say about it that it’s hard to know where to start. So, somewhat counter-intuitively perhaps, I’m going to start with the negatives.
Erm… hmmmm… wait for it… give me a second… nope… no… sorry… I’ve got nothing.
Eidos Montreal have delivered a blinder. They took the experience of the hallowed original and not only faithfully transplanted it with loving care into a shiny new engine, but also “augmeted” it in a considerable number of ways.
There were moments playing this game where I truly felt I was back in the original, all the micro-panics, quick retreats and rethinks were there alongside fresh new twists in the form of a renewed hacking mini-game, increased weapon selection & customisation, wider skill set to choose from, interesting encounter / dialog mechanic and a more varied set of locations and environments. Another big area of improvement for me is the environmental destruction engine which has taken the interactivity to a new level, whilst you can’t blow holes in every wall you can certainly blow most doors off their hinges, rip through specific walls with mines & grenades (or your suitably augmented fist!) and use the environment against your opponents, be that by throwing exploding barrels or heavy furniture at them or by gassing or shocking them using nearby water or gas valves. Combine this with Deus Ex’s famous “vents” and the ability to move large object around and you often have 4 or 5 realistic options for overcoming each obstacle. A favourite pass-time of mine became picking up turrets themselves and moving them around, the amount of fun you can have with this game engine is bordering on the frightening!
In addition to the exploration and re-arrangement of the environment, one must also contend with the opposition, in this case a fairly strong, if a little predictable, AI. This really shines when working out how to deal with rooms containing multiple AI. On the harder difficulty this requires split-second timing and more than the odd skipped heart-beat. But again, the joy of working with, or rather gainst, this is considerable. Manipulating opponents by use of cover, doors and noise can be as much of a thrill as it is a challenge and yet there are times when even a hardened Deus Exer must duck and run for cover and / or stealth their way through a crowded room or onrushing heavy troops. Particularly impressive in this release are sight-lines. You certainly feel that unless you are fully in cover you will be seen and the enemy will sometimes spot you through pretty small gaps, so caution is, as ever, strongly advised.
When we talk about the opposition in Deus Ex we can’t fail to discuss “take-downs”, perhaps my favourite introduction into Deus Ex is the “Double Takedown” which is as effective when correctly used as it is awesome looking. Within all stages of the game you are often met with pairs of opponents, these can prove surprisingly tricky to negotiate “sophisticatedly” unless you have chosen to take advantage of this double take-down offered by the Reflex skill. Deus Ex is not, of course, limited to those who enjoy stealth & hacking, but also welcomes those who favour a more direct approach. Weapon handling is excellent across the board, be that using an assualt rifle, grenade, rocket launcher or even a plasma rifle. The ballistics feel realistic and the weapons themselves powerful and effective, which all leads to a strong shooter experience for any who enjoy shooting from either cover, or, indeed, the hip.
But the game is not all about dealing with armed foes, and the other areas of the game have clearly been given just as much tlc as the combat. In addition to a fantastic story populated by richly realised characters who are affected to greater or lesser degrees by our each of our decisions we are also treated to a range of environments each individual and full of local flavour. The way these two elements are interwoven as the game unfolds is another great credit ot both the franchise and the developers.
But what of Adam himself? Well he is as multi-faceted and dynamic as the rest of the game, with a real opportunity to customise him to your play style and learn to use his abilities, skills and strengths to your advantage over the whole course of the game, without ever giving you a sense that you have mastered every option he provides. This bodes very well for anyone who is considering multiple play-throughs, which I would encourage. Every player should certainly consider one “full stealth” and one “direct attack” play-through. The game really does offer a completely different feel under each of these styles and so is certainly worth exploring from both angles.
I have, in the past, been accused of being overly glowing in my praise for a game, so I am glad that I can raise one final, and perhaps trivial, niggle. Boss fights. Now there are only really a very few of these, but they are a little, how should I put it… uninspired? No, that is too harsh. They are perfectly playable, but as the bosses can’t really be “stealthed” you must be prepared to deal with them directly, regardless of your preferred play style for the rest of your play-through. Having said that, once you’ve mastered the approach to defeating each one they can actually be rather enjoyable. So chin up, knuckle down and give ‘um hell!
So, yes, it’s a game you should definately play, and yes, you will enjoy it, a lot. The real question should probably be how many times will you play it? Once? Twice? or More? Well, my personal recommendation to you is to play it at least twice, as above, but I would then invite you to play a third time as well, to really enjoy mixing and matching the two distinct styles and using the best one to deal with each situation you encounter, thus mastering the game and giving you that great sense of smugness that comes from dominating the opposition fully in each area the game presents. There really is nothing better…
Graphics 4/5 â€“ Superb. Yes they’re not absolutely cutting edge, but surely functional futurism has never looked so good. With genuine wow moments (Take the opportunity to look up every now and then, and / or admire the light coming through the blind in your apartment) it certainly adds to the overall experience.
Sound 4/5 â€“ A fantastically Blade Runner esque soundtrack does great things to help plunge you into this dystopian universe, and all the other audio is certainly strong enough to keep you under for the duration.
Gameplay 5/5 â€“ Certainly the game’s strong point the flexibility of both the game’s engine and environment design make multi-play throughs far more “recommended” than simply being “possible”.
Longevity 5/5 – Yup, you guessed it with gameplay this sharp it would be a travesty not to play it at least twice, non?
Overall 4.5 out of 5
With a collosal weight on it’s shoulders, Deus Ex: Human Revolution not only delivers but does so repeatedly, like an OCD postman that’s fallen in love with you, it just keeps delivering, over and over and over again.