Deus Ex, what does it mean? Some say its Latin for ‘from God’ and others say that the original words (Deus Ex) is of Greek origin; but we won’t worry ourselves with that as there is something augmented and supercharged that will have us (the misunderstood gamers) receiving more flak from our loved ones who believe gaming is just an excuse to put off that bit of DIY that should have been done some time ago or even visiting the in-laws.
First, let me take you down memory lane. In 2000 Deus Ex set in 2052 took the gaming world by storm by blowing the minds of all serious gamers with its combined elements of RPG, first person shooter and adventure. Not satisfied with this, the player had also been given unprecedented level of choice to choose from within the game and your choice in turn would affect the way Deus Ex played out. It was these elements that made Deus Ex achieve worldwide acclaim along with numerous awards and the accolade as possibly the greatest PC game of all time.
2003 saw the release of Deus Ex: Invisible War. This was set 20 years (2072) after the shenanigans in Deus Ex. This sequel combined stealth and role playing along with the traditional FPS gameplay. The player choice was still here and despite this, Deus Ex: Invisible War did not scale the same acclaimed heights of its predecessor.
It’s now 2011 and publisher Square Enix along with game developers Eidos Montreal will be providing us (my fellow gamesters) with this summer’s blockbusting, soul consuming and life pausing treat which is the long awaited third instalment to the Deus Ex universe: Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set 25 years (2027) before the original Deus Ex. You take on the role of Adam Jensen who works as the head of security for a biotechnology corporation known as Sarif Industries.
Biotechnology enables those who can afford it to surgically replace healthy limbs with vastly superior mechanical ones. Anyone who then wants to improve upon a replaced limb could get upgrades known as augmentation which gives the individual quick reaction times and super-human strength. The augmentations (depending on what you had done) could also give you endless knowledge and other God-like abilities.
I’m not babbling on; I just want to make those of you who have never dabbled in the Deus Ex universe before realise just how powerful corporations such as Sarif Industries really are.
Now those who are opposed to the idea of biotechnological corporations and their augmentations now find themselves in a new social divide which is starting to spill over into full scale violence.
Others struggle to preserve what’s left of the untainted humans and the delicate fabric of the natural order of things that Mother Nature has always provided.
Now, on the eve of an historic governmental hearing, you are tasked with protecting a team of scientist and researchers belonging to Sarif Industries when the experimental biotechnology corporation gets attacked by augmented black ops mercenaries who kill all the scientist and researchers.
Adam is left critically wounded and only a military grade augmentation can save Adams life. The decision is then taken by his employer (David Sarif) to go ahead with the augmentation in this, humanities’ most difficult and pivotal moment.
This is a time when scientific advancements are routinely turning athletes, soldiers and spies into super-enhanced beings, and all the time lurking in the background there are powerful and corrupt forces working very hard to ensure mankind’s evolution follows a particular path.
Six months later you are brought back to Sarif Industries and you meet up with Frank Pritchard, your tech guy as he needs to give you a tune up before you go back out into the field. Then it’s off to see David Sarif who explains why you have been called into action early. There is a hostage situation at one of Sarif’s manufacturing plant as it has been taken over by a militant political extremist group known as Purity First. These extremists have vowed to end all forms of bio-modification without exception. You are needed to infiltrate and obtain a secret programme before the SWAT team moves in to rescue the hostages. From that moment, everything Adam thought he knew about the corporation changes. You need to discover answers to the questions of who, when and why. In this most uncertain and bleak future, your choices determine the outcome.
This open ended cyberpunk styled extravaganza combines gun play with conversation (which is all down to Eidos new feature the Gameplay Pillars, more on this later) and this adventure is supremely filled with enough twists and turns to make you feel dizzy and when Eidos Montreal throws into the mix the graphical splendour, the whole experience will leave your eyes watering as you’ll be afraid to blink while you’re totally and absolutely transfixed and absorbed by every delight the game has to offer.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution stays true to its predecessors, but this game more than the others is all about choices and consequences. In every decision you make, the game offers up additional choices based on your first decision and this is done by using multi-path-gameplay.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution provides multiple solutions to almost every challenge you will face, from deciding whether or not to attack in run and guns style or you could find an alternate route by adopting a more stealthy approach, it’s all up to you.
You can use augmentation upgrades, weapons and environments in unique ways to match your game play style. For Adam to obtain augmentations you need Praxis Points which is similar to levelling up and you achieve these by earning XP (obtained by completing special objectives). Praxis Points can also be found throughout the game world. There is a fair amount of upgrades too. Even if you collect most of the Praxis Point the game has to offer you’ll still be hard pressed to upgrade all of your augmentations to full capacity. This is a great bonus to the already packed gameplay depth of Deus Ex Human Revolution as you are forced to really think about what you will spend those Praxis Points on
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has what Eidos Montreal describes as the Gameplay Pillars. There are four core systems: Combat, Hacking, Stealth and Social gameplay.
Combat: a traditional FPS style of gun play and cover-based action, blind fire and iron sights, violent and specials takedowns; that said you cannot go into a room all guns blazing as you will be gunned down and left wondering what happened? You need to consider your approach and utilise the cover that is available.
Hacking: a core gameplay and a critical part of the game. Hacking is a unique mechanic that pops open a mini game-like-screen and will let you access emails, cameras, gun turrets and doors depending on your level clearance. Once the system has been hacked in some cases you can turn the tables on the unsuspecting foe (great fun).
Stealth: moving from cover to cover, striking the enemy from the out of the blue with your hands or blades, timing your dives to cover while keeping out of the enemies’ line of sight or using silenced weapons on that lone guard. It’s a good idea to watch your enemies from behind cover whilst patiently studying their patrol and picking the right time to advance.
Social Game: using wit and charm to talk you way out of trouble or extract information. If you want to retrieve information in a non-violent way (and not like me, always shoot first) it’s up to you to figure out what the opposing character needs to hear and if you succeed the opposing character will provide you with the information you need.
These four Gameplay pillars really add yet another level of depth to this already enriched gameplay of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and makes everything comes together in spectacular fashion as a cohesive whole.
What also impressed me was the size of the areas within the game. The amount of stuff to find, hunting through apartment buildings and side alleys was impressive and time consuming (in a good way) and in me doing all this sightseeing I had forgot I was supposed to be reviewing Deus Ex: Human Revolution and I had to get back to playing through this epic and oh so satisfying title as quickly as possible so I could finish this review. There were locations that you could hack your way into while obtaining credits and eBooks which provided the backstory and history.
The only gripe I have is regarding the loading screen. Why, oh why can’t more developers take a look at the development team Rockstar and do what they do which is to have one loading screen on the start-up of a game. The loading screens did break up my game flow, but admittedly I didn’t find it too hard to re-connect with Deus Ex: Human Revolution once the game re started.
The control for the PS3 is very easy to get to grips with. I at no time found myself thumbing over the joypad with a need to look down at the controller.
The game took me about 35 hours to complete and that’s because there is so much to see and do; I couldn’t resist veering off course every now and then to do some of the side quest.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has everything you could possibly want in a game and then some. In some ways Deus Ex: Human Revolution reminds me of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots and that’s a good thing folks. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a fine addition to the Deus Ex universe and is most definitely worth the wait (honestly). Fans of Deus Ex will be clambering over each other to get their mitts on the title. Its timely release for 26 August 2011 prior to the bank holiday will be the perfect tonic for the long weekend and maybe taking the odd sickie from work just to complete it (did I just say that), so, get yourself comfortable, loosen that belt and stock up on caffeine and goodies as there is sure to be lots of late nights spent in the dark and foreboding cities all over the world, and it all kicks off in the mean streets of Detroit.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set to be one of the biggest games to be released so far this year. Don’t think about it … buy this game.