Deus Ex: Human Revolution
I used to be heavily invested in the “Metal Gear” series and enjoyed the heck out of it, mainly because I liked sneaking around and coming at enemy troops from different angles. “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” reminds me a lot of said game, as I have the ability to be as sneaky or as destructive as I want to be. The player will take on the role of Adam Jensen, who works as a security specialist for a very popular biotechnology corporation. Things seem normal at the start, but like in most games with a plotline, everything isn’t what it seems.
The main menu allows the player to start a new game, continue an existing one, participate in tutorials, and adjust game options. The options menu is vast in that you’ll be able to tweak a lot of different things, including screen resolution, fullscreen toggle, brightness, aspect ratio, 3D effects, DirectX11 toggle, depth of field, sound volumes, and other various effects. The ability to remap your keybinds is present, which is appreciated. Besides the audio and visual options, you’ll be able to enable automatic inventory management and show cover / takedown prompts, among other things. The tutorials are a series of video walk-throughs, narrated to give the viewer a clear picture of how to function in the environment. New players would do well to review these before thrusting themselves into the game.
Starting a new game allows the player to set their difficulty. “Tell me a story” mode is designed for players who don’t want a challenge, though you’ll still be required to play smart as you won’t be invincible. “Give me a challenge” is geared more towards people who play on “normal” difficulty settings. Finally, “Give me Deus Ex” will certainly make things difficult for the player…but hey, you asked for it. After picking a difficulty, the player will be shown a cinematic and be introduced to the world via a tutorial of sorts.
The game switches between an open world environment and scripted areas on a regular basis. Sometimes you’ll be tasked with making your way from one set point to another and other times you’ll be forced to explore the map on your own in order to progress. The parts that are open world are vibrant and full of life, even though the NPCs sometimes repeat themselves in passing. I particularly liked the riots occurring in the first area as it helped to emphasize the conflict going on between the average citizen and the larger corporations who want to mess around with human DNA. Scripted areas usually involve more combat, but you’re often given different ways to go about addressing it.
Speaking of which, the game’s combat system is fairly intuitive. There’s a cover system in place that you can drop in and out of, much like in the “Mass Effect” series. You’ll be able to enable iron sights (looking down your sights) via a mouse click and enable takedown moves with the press of a button. The game rewards you for playing smarter, which usually involves sneaking up on someone and taking them down quietly. You can shoot your way through, of course, but you won’t be rewarded as much as you would going stealth.
Rewards come in the form of XP, which is primarily used to make Praxis points available to you. In the beginning of the game, things will go horribly wrong and you’ll be brought back from the dead a la RoboCop, being augmented with machines and other enhancements to keep you going. As you progress through the game, you’ll earn XP and Praxis points, the latter of which is used to improve your mechanical abilities. Some augmentations allow you to lift heavy objects, which might open up a new path for you to consider when faced with a problem. Other augmentations might include social and stealth enhancers, the ability to fall from tall heights without being killed, aim stabilizers, smart vision, and more. I like that the game gives you the opportunity to morph your protagonist into the type of character you want him to be.
In addition to sneaking around or just shooting enemies point-blank, you’ll have to deal with social interactions and you’re often given a choice as to how to proceed. Some of the more advanced social interactions actually affect how a scene may play out, though through enhancements, you’ll have a clue as to how best to respond. The system isn’t as in-depth as Mass Effect’s paragon / renegade system, but it does enough to keep the player engaged in the story.
Overall, “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” is an incredible interactive adventure. Since the game’s release, the price has dropped to about $19.99 on Steam (as of 1/23/12) and it’s easy to recommend the game at that price. It will provide hours of entertainment and keep you engaged from beginning to end. I personally enjoyed creating a super sneaky soldier, capable of picking people off with tranquilizer darts and CQC. I often fell victim to perfection syndrome…that is, constantly reloading saves when combat sequences didn’t play out just right. If you’re more gung-ho however, you’re free to create havoc wherever you go. If you’re a fan of games like “Mass Effect” or “Metal Gear”, I’d highly recommend picking this up.
Final Verdict: 8/10