‘Deus Ex: Human Revolution’ is series redux
Eleven years after the release of the first “Deus Ex” game, we have a fitting addition to the series. “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” is a game set 25 years before the first title, as the main character Adam Jensen is working for Sarif Industries.
The story revolves around a growing division of ethics over the topic of human augmentation with mechanical implants and the political strife between the biotech corporations and the anti-augmentation organizations. At the outset of the game, Jensen is injured and must receive augmentations in order to survive. Forcing augmentations on him puts him in a unique position to understand both sides of the conflict.
The game is built around letting the player choose their own play style. The developers describe the game as divided between combat, stealth, hacking, and exploration. The player’s actions dictate how their experience will be. It is entirely possible to complete the game without killing anyone other than in the scripted boss fights.
The game provides the player with both lethal and non-lethal means of completing his objective. Often, the player will have to look around and find secret paths that may lead to any easier way through an area infested with hostiles. Playing through the game will not be exactly the same for every person. Dialog scenes have many choices leading to different consequences and even how you complete a mission will determine different parameters for how the rest of the game plays out.
The game is an RPG and like all RPGs it has a skill system but it skips the traditional leveling system with a system based on “praxis points,” which are essentially skill points. Every time you get enough experience to level up you gain a single point which you can use to spend on any of the augmentations Jensen has. Praxis points can be found through the game in secret areas and, given enough money, you can choose to buy them to further enhance your character. The skills available are geared towards different play-styles.
There are skills available for those that want to shoot everything on sight, as well as skills available to help you sneak around without getting caught. Some skills are available entirely to help you find alternative methods of completing a mission. A good example is a skill that lets you punch through walls, with this skill, you will be able to go through certain areas that would normally be inaccessible to someone without the skill. The skill system seems to be pretty balanced and lets you make your own decisions on what skills you want without hindering you too much. The only skills that are probably required to fully enjoy the game are the hacking skills; so much of the game world is hidden behind locked doors that it becomes a hindrance to actually find keys to unlock them all. Hacking is truly an essential part of the game and those skills should be upgraded early on.
The production of the game is on par with PC RPG heavyweights such as “Mass Effect,” “Fallout,” and “Fable.” A consistency in art direction is apparent through out the entire game and the sound design brings a subtle but noticeable atmosphere to the game regions. The game uses a gold and black palette to enhance the futuristic feel of the game and some areas of the game feel like “Blade Runner” in design.
The game begins in Detroit, a gang run city with police on constant patrol with the only wealth displayed in the giant skyscrapers owned by the giant biotech corporations. Throughout the story the game takes you to China and Montreal both cities following the art direction that was in Detroit but with architectural changes to reflect the aspects of the city needed to convey the story. Sound in the game is a mixture of city sounds and subtle musical hints.
Walking through cities, conversations, the sound of business, and the ambiance of the music combine to create an atmosphere that sets the mood and fits the setting. Voice acting is above average with my only complaint in the lip synching of the 3D models. The game has a very old look to the lip synching which may annoy some players but the rest of the game more than makes up for the small nitpicky downfalls.
Overall the game is well worth the retail price for just about anyone. The genre blending works well and will entertain more than just RPG fans.