After what seemed like an eternity filled with hype and promises, Eidos Montreal finally delivers Deux Ex: Human Revolution to gamers for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
The game takes place in the year 2027, 25 years before the events of the first Deus Ex game. Players will take the role of Adam Jensen, who is a security officer hired on by Sarif Industries. His company specializes in human augmentations but unfortunately is being targeted and after an attack leaves Jensen in all sorts of physical problems, it’s not long before he becomes augmented himself.
Players will then take Jensen on his quest to unravel a deep conspiracy that evolves over various city hubs. The core of this game is the ability to make choices, and there are plenty of them. Whether they involve dealing with allies, enemies or puzzles, the player generally has a massive array of choices to make. While at first glance Deus Ex: Human Revolution may look like a first person shooter, it is in fact a full-fledged RPG that just happens to involve some shooting.
Truth be told, gamers will find themselves deciding whether to be stealthy in their approach, ala Metal Gear, much more aggressive or somewhere in between. Needless to say, even when feeling like lighting up a room full of enemies, it’s tough to go guns blazing. In fact, it’s not difficult to get killed, so those who want to show off their weapons will still need to be careful. Adding to both the difficulty and strategy is a pretty smart AI. Enemies react even to nearby sounds and they seem to work together pretty well. Sometimes it’s smarter to either walk past them or sneak up on them and take them out. While it can be tempting to hit someone with a headshot, it may be more tactful to simply knock them out and hide them, as to not raise any suspicions. My one issue with the melee attacks was that they affected an energy bar; rather than letting me do them at will without repercussions.
While building up Jensen, players will also make decisions on how Jensen interacts with others, in a sort of Mass Effect-ish presentation. You can play the role of the nice guy or the a-hole if you so choose.
Where the RPG elements really come into play however, are in the augmentations themselves. There are a host upgrades that can be unlocked by using Praxis points that are accumulated throughout the game. Some augmentations give Jensen superhuman strength, while others may help him be stealthier, like added skills in hacking (which are helpful when wanting to open doors, take over cameras or even turrets). During the lengthy campaign (some 30-40 hours), players will find that there’s more than one way to get through to the next area. After dealing with a few enemies and an annoying turret, I wound up seeing a vent that I could’ve simply opened up to get around and behind the area. It was this “d’oh!” moment that opened up my eyes to more than one solution to nearly every problem.
One letdown however, were the boss battles which were pretty straight forward. They mostly consisted of running and gunning or taking cover and shooting. And while I usually had the choice of dealing with someone in more than one way, the result of each battle was decided for me, which took away from the immersion for a bit.
Though the game isn’t a graphical masterpiece, DEHR is still pretty stylish. The cyberpunk theme is only enhanced by the visual flare the game provides. Add to it the black and gold overtones, and the art style looked like something out of a painting.
I found myself digging the game’s soundtrack as well. Most of the time, the music nailed the mood of the situation while never becoming annoying or unnecessary. The game’s script is also pretty solid, and while there were some generic moments of voice acting, overall it was pretty solid.
While I concentrated on attempting to do things with a more “kill-or-be-killed” mentality, I could easily play the game again and get a different experience by being stealthier. Honestly, there’s so much to do that this game simply begs to be played through over and over again.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution ends up being a very rewarding experience that gets so many things right. And while there’s certainly a few hiccups along the way, the game is an exceptional representation of how well a project can turn out when a development team puts in so much love and dedication.
A “revolution” indeed.