Developers: Eidos Montreal
Publishers: Squar Enix
Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: Out Now
After a decade of Deus Ex game releases, Stephen Balbirnie examines what the latest in the series has to offer.
The game’s setting is 2027, where contemporary fears about the future have been realised; multinational corporations are more powerful than countries, private military contractors have replaced most armies and police forces, global warming has devastated the environment and terrorism is a societal norm. The key conflict in this cyber-punk dystopia however, is between purist humans and ‘Augs’ – humans who have been enhanced through revolutionary bio-mechanical technology.
One such ‘Aug’ is the game’s protagonist Adam Jensen, the security chief of Sarif industries, who becomes augmented as a result of the terrorist attack which kills his girlfriend. The game’s plot follows Jensen’s efforts to unmask the perpetrators as he unravels a web of corporate espionage, crime syndicates, terrorism and corruption.
Deus Ex plays like a combination of a first-person shooter, detective thriller, stealth action game and an RPG. While this may sound convoluted, it actually works quite well as it gives the player the freedom to choose from a variety of approaches to tackle a given situation. For example, when you need to access a building you can try bribing your way in, persuading a guard or sneaking in through an air vent. All options are valid solutions but the choices you make throughout the game affect the development of the plot and other characters’ perceptions of you. Even as small a detail as walking into the ladies’ toilets will affect character responses.
Attention to such small details contributes to the game’s immersive experience. Whether wandering the derelict streets of Detroit or exploring the sprawling two-tier Chinese metropolis of Heng Sha, the game’s central hubs feel like real breathing cities. It’s possible to read newspapers, e-books and even people’s emails if you hack into their computers. There’s plenty of scope to advance the game’s sub-plots by accepting side quests. Exploration is facilitated by upgrading Adam’s augmentations, enabling him to jump security fences, punch through concrete walls or use pheromones to convince people to do what he wants.
Deus Ex’s only real weak points are the disappointingly linear locations outside the main hubs which feature arbitrary boss battles that don’t gel with the rest of the game.
As a whole, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an enthralling game featuring a novel hacking system and conversational dynamics as well as an emphasis on choice that will ensure replayability.