Product Type: Square Enix Xbox 360 games
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Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360)
Member Name: Stunt 101
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360)
Advantages: Freedom of choice in how you approach levels, engaging story with good voice-work, pretty visuals.
Disadvantages: Horrible boss fights.
There's certainly some surprises thrown your way throughout the game, and the story here is really engaging. It's helped by the good voice-work, which thankfully doesn't lean towards the corny side of sci-fi. The idea of choice is pretty heavy here, though the course of the game isn't changed by making different choices. I did think, however, the idea of the ending was kind of lame. You basically have to go out of your way, in a facility full of enemies which can easily kill you, and find several key characters who will basically give you the prospects to one of four endings which you then choose from after the final fight. A timely save can mean you will be able to watch all four endings, by the way. I just think that it would have been more exciting if the ending was completely affected by your actions throughout the game, but it's nice that there is choice at all.
But choices simply don't stop at how you interact with people. Throughout the game you will enter dialogue with people and you can either be a gentleman or give them a taste of attitude. Sometimes, it can save your bacon in a situation with hostages, which you will encounter in the first mission of the game. But each level also has a choice on how you proceed through the mission and it boils down to two ideas - stealth or guns-blazing. You can take the simpler route, and simply shoot anything which is guarding the perimeter, or you can take the complex, but arguably more interesting, route and try to sneak your way into the mission site.
The latter option is not actually as difficult as you'd think. The idea is make sure you stay out of sight - and if force is necessary, make sure you knock them out, rather than use the game's aggressive takedown moves. In the first mission, you can decide whether you want to ride with a weapon, or a much stealthier option of a stun gun or tranquilizer gun. These will prove useful in keeping tactical, but you can also pick up firearms from dazed guards, which is probably an idea (the reason for which I'll explain later). Using the level around you is also key - finding vents which can take you to an objective, rather than trekking through an area with guards, cameras or turrets is definitely useful.
The more explosive option is valid too. Guns are powerful, and making mush of enemies is easily done. You can find a variety of weapons - pistols, revolvers, sub-machine guns, shotguns and even rocket launchers. Even if you follow the stealthy option, picking up these weapons is a useful idea, as there are a few scenarios where simply being sneaky isn't possible. And of course, it's nice to have a backup plan if you happen to get caught. The thing about Human Revolution is that one tactic isn't valid to progressing the story over the other - no matter what you do you won't fail Deus Ex. A couple of objectives require stealth, but most of the time, the game does not penalise you for going in guns blazing.
Deus Ex progresses much like an RPG does. You are situated one city at the time - in the case of Human Revolution: Detroit, Tokyo, Montreal and Singapore, granted with a 2027 cyberpunk theme. You can feel the difference of the cities though - Detroit shows a gloomy, dark landscape with tall grey buildings and hidden alleyways, while Tokyo has bright clubs and tiny markets spread across the place. You do return to a couple of the cities in each game, and some side missions can be replayed when you return back. However, it is usually a good idea to clear any side missions before moving on to the next area, as you may find they become locked if you don't.
Speaking of side missions, these are almost indistinguishable from main campaign missions. The difference comes in length, as while main missions take a good hour at least to complete, side missions probably take half that. Still, there's plenty of sneaking/shooting, character interaction and versatile objects to be completed. The game also should come with an extra mission, if you bought a brand new copy. If not, then you can download this off Xbox Live for 240msp. The mission revisits some old characters and ties in to the next story mission. It has been known to cause anomalies/glitches in the story however, so be wary of that.
Completing missions and objectives will earn you XP. These build up to give you Praxis points, though you can also buy these Praxis points for about 5000 credits. You use these points to unlock and upgrade your augmentations. There are all kinds of upgrades for you to choose here. Some give major perks to stealth, whether it's the ability to see enemies through walls, move without making any sound or hack higher-level objects. There's also a cool parachute you can unlock, which means you can jump off a building of any height and take zero damage. There are other abilities too, such as thicker armour so damage is less potent (and trust me, even on normal difficult, you can die extremely quick on this game), more impressive speech abilities and more. It's hard to choose, mainly because there are so many options, but also because you probably won't be able to unlock more than half of these even on a playthrough with all missions complete.
Probably the sore spot of Human Revolution is the game's boss fights. Though somewhat infrequent (there are about 4 of them I believe) these completely throw off the idea of choice. This is why you acquire any weaponry you can before these - if you take a sneaky route and don't, you'll find yourself completely unequipped for the fight. They can either be frustrating or mind-numbingly easy, as if you are ill-equipped it becomes a game of run and hope your puny weapons will deal with them, or your over-powered grenade launchers will end the fight in seconds. They feel completely out of place, throwing the ideas of choice and freedom outside the window. You could go through the whole mission being pacifist and not killing anyone, only to be forced to kill the boss at the end of the mission. The game would have been better without them.
The problem with the last games is that the huge setting potential has somewhat been held back due to lacking technology, especially the first game. However, with 360 hardware Human Revolution looks amazing. Levels are immaculately detailed, characters are well designed and the takedowns are flashy and exciting. The only downer is that the facial animation is pretty lacklustre, with mouths moving either too slow or too fast for their dialogue, but overall this game is very pretty. This synchronises well with the music, with an epic sci-fi score causing some 80s nostalgia for good reason. And as mentioned, the voice-acting is good, with some terrific work making characters more enduring to attach to.
Human Revolution stands out as one of the best RPGs to be released in a while. The freedom of choice into how you explore levels is great, the setting is fully realised, and the story keeps you engaged. It's definitely worth sucking in about 30 hours with, and with one DLC pack released already clocking in another 5 hours, there's plenty of value for your buck in this game. If you're a fan of the previous games, RPGs, or the idea of a cyberpunk setting, then this should be tantalising prospect for you.
Summary: One of the best RPGs in recent years.