Product Type: Square Enix Xbox 360 games
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Doing the original Deus Ex some justice
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360)
Member Name: agewills
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360)
Advantages: good immersive game play, interesting story, long
Disadvantages: mediocre graphics
Well, it took me a while but it's probably time I wrote a review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The first point to note, something you might gather from the fact that it's now a few weeks since its launch, is that the game is substantial. In total it took me a healthy 26 hours to complete. Bear in mind, that this was a thorough play through talking to every NPC in the land, searching every nook-and-cranny for hidden goodies and completing every side quest I came across. I'm a little OCD when it comes to things like that. I'd stumble across a locker room and think 'oh great, now I have to open every bloody locker' - just in case there might be a nutrional energy bar hidden inside one of them (and there usually was), but I am NOT so OCD that I have to complete every achievement. In fact I find achievements a pointless waste of my time, so don't expect any mention of them here. Anyway, I'm getting carried away, the point is, it's a nice long game, much unlike the majority of games nowadays which you'd be lucky to make last more than a day. That's the first bonus. Now let me start from the beginning.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is actually the third in a series of the Deus Ex games. All set in the future and all featuring cybernetic implants known as augs (augmentations) and heavy amounts of conspiracy theory and evil dabblings of the illuminating. The name 'Deus Ex' comes from the Latin 'Of God' and gives you an idea of the theme of the game - using augs is playing God and is BAD. Or is it?
The original Deus Ex was highly acclaimed, though I wouldn't recommend playing it now as it would look bloody awful. At the time though, it was thoroughly enjoyable, innovative and good fun. The world was large and you could interact with it in various ways. Cybernetic implants changed the game depending on what you decided to 'pimp' - stealth, agility, strength, hacking, rambo-gun-toting-goodness, it was up to you. Anyone who calls themselves a gamer will have played the original and if they haven't then they either a liar or they're 12.
It is universally agreed that the second Deus Ex game (Invisible War) was awful and an insult to the memory of the first. So the announcement of this new incarnation lead to a lot of mixed feelings with those that cared. But unless you've been asleep for the last few weeks, you'll know that in general the new game did not disappoint. However, that doesn't mean it's game of the year either.
Start from the beginning
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set in the near future, that is, before the original game. You play a young JC Denton, an ex-swat officer who finds himself heading security for a large corporation known as Sarif Industries. Obviously, he gets into a bit of trouble and ends up (against his will) being implanted with augmentations to save his life. The now cybernetically-enhanced Mr Denton is tasked with finding out what the hell happened when the head office building was raided by armed mad men. And this is where the story becomes interesting. There's no denying the story is good and lengthy. It'll have you exploring Detroit and China, as well as other locales. Large expanses open (within limits) to your nosing.
Pimp my Denton
Playing the game, completing side and main quests, you'll slowly unlock XP which allows you to gain 'paraxis' points and thus augmentations. Obviously, in the same vein as the original game, whatever you unlock will change your game. As a simple example, pimping your arms will allow you to lift heavy objects and move them. This will help you find your way into locations you couldn't otherwise reach - moving large wheelie bins out of the way of air vents or positioning boxes to jump over a fence. Things like that. There are all sorts of things to augment. You can make yourself invisible, improve your hacking ability (highly recommended) to get through doors and into safes, improve your arms to enable you to punch through walls. Plenty of fun to be had. If you're not levelling up fast enough you can also buy paraxis kits from L.I.M.B clinics for a rather pricey $5,000 each.
Obviously potential augmentations are limited. You won't be able to unlock everything before the game finishes, so you better choose wisely. Though some upgrades are pretty much essential - especially hacking which is impossible to function without. I can't help but feel that they could have made more of some of the augments, especially social interaction of which there is only one unlock and that's it.
One of the frustrations I had with the game stems from melee combat. You can creep up on someone and give them a nice punch in the face (or other forceful attack) to knock them out and get them out of your way, but for some reason, even chinning someone like that is a drain on your energy. So you can probably punch about two guards before your battery is flat and you'll see 'Not Enough Energy' before getting discovered and shot in the face. I don't really get that. Suddenly, you've got bionic arms, but sorry, you can't use them very much or you'll get drained...what? This seems daft to me.
Pimp my gun
Weapons can be pimped too. Of course, the game heavily rewards stealth and if you can sneak your way through an enemy base or locale without being seen or setting off an alarm you'll get a special 'ghost' bonus and extra XP. There's also an achievement for completing the game without killing anyone (damn, I promised not to mention achievements) but it's much more fun to snap a few necks and pop a few caps.
There are a nice healthy selection of weapons throughout the game, the bigger and meaner they are the more room they take up in your inventory - which is limited. At first this isn't an issue, but after a couple of hours you soon realise you'll either need to be very choosy about your weapons or use paraxis points to expand your inventory and the amount of stuff you can carry. I made the mistake of buying and attaching a silencer to my assault rifle early in the game, then couldn't find ammo for it for ages and didn't want to drop it and lose the silencer as a result. So the weapon of choice usualy ends up being the 10mm pistol. There are plenty of lovely attachments to buy and find, silencers, laser sights, ammo capacity upgrades, reload speed improvements, cooling systems, it all depends on what you're using.
I spent a great deal of time with the tranquiliser gun, shoot enemies and watching them drop unconcious then creeping up to their fallen bodies and shooting them in the face with a silenced pistol to make sure they didn't come back to haunt me later - bit harsh, but effective.
Otherwise there are plasma rifles, heavy machine guns, laser guns, carbines, stun guns and of course the swords built into your cybernetic arms.
Sneaky, sneaky, vent creepy
Deus Ex is all about finding the hidden paths to your objective. If you play the game as it should be played you'll be sneaking quitely past guards, dodging cameras and waddling about in air vents. New paths can be discovered and investigated depending on your abilities. As I said before punching through walls or lifting heavy objects will help you find new paths to rooms or areas. Similarly, hacking will get you through doors you couldn't otherwise open. Good old investigation might just turn up a password on a 'pocket secretary' littered about the land or on a guards corpse whcih will let you access a computer panel and turn off the cameras, robots and turrets in an area - or better still, turn them against their comrades. But mostly it's all about the sneaking. Despite the quality, I couldn't help but think that this game was made in the 90's as I found myself creeping through yet another air vent. It's air vent after air vent, which is very old hat and to be honest a bit boring. Yet it is part of the Deus Ex style so I'm not sure how they'd do it differently.
There's the usual cover system which has been done to death in games ever since Gears of War. Hide behind objects, go into third person view and see your surroundings. Fire blindly around corners if necessary or pop out for a good clean shot. It's done well, but it's not original by any means.
Mediocre graphics, immersive story
In 2011, especially on PC, you'd expect good graphics. I can't help but feel that Deus Ex: Human Revolution looks dated and a bit naff in places. I'm not saying the graphics are awful, just mediocre. Apart from the cut scenes which are rather spiffing, it does feel like this game was built half-arsed in the graphics department to simply cater to the consoles without much effort or thought. The story and gameplay is immersive enough to make this forgiveable. One friend commented before launch that the graphics looked awful, but on playing it he said he didn't notice because he was so wrapped up in the story. I am inclined to agree, but it's still a niggle for a modern game, especially with beautiful games like Battlefield 3 on the way shortly and the visually stunning Dead Island just launched.
There are some features which verge on innovative or extremely welcome which will make me remember this game fondly. The first of which is the cloak - not a new thing in gaming - invisibility, but the fact that you can go invisible and shoot people while invisible is different to the majority of games out there and a very welcome feature. Of course the cloak doesn't last long but it's very handy for short periods of gunplay or sneaking (with it activated you can also walk straight through laser fields).
The ability to punch through walls is a nice touch, but it only applies to specific areas of wall, not every wall you come across for obvious (but boring) game convention reasons.
One augmentation allows you to jump from any height and 'glide' to earth sorrounded by a yellow glow of power and awesomeness. Again, a nice feature, though not very subtle.
In the end, it's a good, thoroughly enjoyable, immersive game that did the original justice but could have been better.
Summary: It did the original justice, but wasn't innovative or beautiful enough to be game of the year