Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the third game in the much beloved series and the prequel to the ground-breaking Deus Ex. It has been a long time since the poor Deus Ex: Invisible War was released, it’s been eight long years in fact. Was the wait and hype worth it? Did Eidos Montreal understand the task they were taking on and fully grasp the importance of getting right? I shall answer in two parts. First, I want to look at Deus Ex: Human Revolution as a modern game and compare it to its competition. Then I will look at the game in the context of the series.
As a modern role playing first person shooter the game is quite simply a triumph. There is nothing out there that comes close. The depth of this game is astonishing. If you power game, it is said to take 25 hours, but if you play it like an RPG, DX:HR can last 45 hours. If you have been clever enough to buy it at a discount in one of the pre-order sales you will have paid $1 per hour of game-play or less. How many games offer that kind of value for money for solo play? Thankfully there is no multiplayer in this game. It is just straight solo play. As with any good RPG there is plenty of room for re-playability; in fact it could be argued that not replaying it at least once would mean you were not getting the fullness of the game.
Combat is spot on, in contrast to Invisible War, the game runs quickly and cleanly. There was a patch released soon after release to shorten the long load times when saving or re-loading. Despite the city hubs being huge, there is little need for reload time. Graphically, the game encourages and rewards the player stopping and looking around. Not only is it a beauty to behold, but there are all sorts of rewards for the curious. You will find goodies, hidden areas, passages and even new things to use your hacking skill on. Rest assured this is one of the best games of the last five years.
Deus Ex aficionados will have enough here to sink their teeth into. Gone is the annoying universal ammo from DX: IW. Sadly however there are no “multitools” from the first game to collect and mess with. The augmentations have been streamlined and there are fewer. The same is true of the weapon upgrades. They vary in quality and effectiveness. One frustration is that ammo takes up room in your inventory. So you need to play inventory “tetris” and forever have to move around things to fit everything you need. There is an auto inventory management system which isn’t very good. There is also a frustrating situation where you have to drop a weapon so you can add ammo to your inventory, and then equip the weapon it comes from to load it. For some reason the system does not realize your weapon has the ammo capacity and automatically add it to that weapon. You will spend a great deal of time messing with your inventory as ammo is, even on the easiest setting, fairly scarce for some of the better guns. Thankfully there is a separate inventory for quest items so they do not clog things up.
Hacking is streamlined but can be frustrating at first if you don’t dump all available “praxis” (the software to update your augs) into hacking as soon as you can. The game forces you to hack a bit more than one might have hoped, if you want to go super-soldier and not stealthy nerd. That said by the end of the game, especially if you hack a lot and explore everywhere, you will have points in almost every possible augmentation and be able to do it with ease.
The storyline is first rate. It is more streamlined and linear than in the first game, but all those elements you loved are in there if you play close attention. There is quite a bit of “consequence” based story changes and there is in fact one thing that you do (or don’t do) that will make one fight much harder if you get it wrong. Many people have complained about the boss fights and they have a point. They seem superfluous and frustrating at times. Gamers taking the stealthy/non-lethal route may be annoyed by this (the fights do not affect those wishing going for the no-kill Steam achievement). Choices in weapons, upgrades, and plot can make these fights either very easy or rather hard no matter what setting you have the difficulty on. As with the original Deus Ex, choices make a difference. That said, the ending is a bit disappointing and seems to have been tacked on. Hopefully the storyline in DLC, meant to come out in October, will be affected by one’s final choice in the game. There are hints about the future of the series hidden in the game for those who pay close attention.
As you can tell, the criticisms of the game are minor. Eidos has been careful to keep the console-y elements that so annoy PC users out of the PC game and succeed for the most part. One has to wonder if Eidos was relieved by the decision to release the game in August rather than April. They must have watched the Duke Nukem Forever debacle and fan rage with trepidation. Eidos took a much beloved game, or for people like me their favorite computer game of all time, and made a sequel worthy of the original. DX:HR is an amazing game that I am sure people will return to the game over and over again in the next few years. I am sure forums will be filled with debates over whether it is even better than the original. For me it’s damn good, but not the groundbreaking tour de force of the original. Eidos has succeeded in making a modern game that will please those who never played Deus Ex while retaining enough of what makes DX the much beloved game it is and will always be. Eidos Montreal have sailed the DX ship through Scylla and Charybdis with great success.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is rated M (Mature) by the ESRB for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol. This game can also be found on: Xbox 360 and PS3.Powered by Sidelines