Published on December 12th, 2012 | by Michaela Buckley0
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
This week I have still been slowly trudging onwards with Painkiller, I’m not sure how hard the game is meant to be or how long a level should last but my Steam account says I’ve been playing it for 22 hours. Which is obviously way too long.
In the meantime I started yet another game, that being Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I have seen it being played by friends and bought it a couple of months ago in a sale and decided that now would be a better time than any to start, unfortunately I bought the PS3 copy by accident when I wanted it on the 360 so am borrowing a copy despite owning it.
Deus Ex: HR is the third installment in the Deus Ex series and is a prequel to the other 2. I’ve never played them because I always thought they looked a little tacky and PC ports never quite worked on the PS2. – EDIT 2015 – (Wow, I can’t believe I said that. I have now played Deus Ex on the PC, which I think is a wonderful game.)
You play as Adam Jensen, the head of security at a large company that develops cybernetic enhancements. An incident occurs at the HQ which leaves our sultry hero bandaged and repackaged as a walking advert for his company’s products and out of action for 6 months. His dissatisfied girlfriend is presumed dead and he is left picking up the pieces as the company doesn’t seem to have made much of an investigation into the happenings. Jensen, being left minimal time to evaluate his circumstances is chucked at a current related incident that he’s left to sort out.
The game is hard to define by a single genre, it being First person (the bane of games as well as books) there are shooting segments and some cover mechanics. There is also however a heavy reliance on stealth and when not combating, there are some light RPG elements in the form of persuasion-based character dialogue choices which have an effect on the concerning character and the course of the game, this leaves Jensen as whatever you feel like making him; an arsehole who tells people to shove their missions or an impassive go between. This gives the game a level of interactivity which I always enjoy, but in other games often leaves you with an unidentifiable protagonist and mixed character development trees, however in Deus Ex, despite which branches you choose, he always expressed them with the same air of calm impartiality, so is a great balance of choice VS role, the only time this is made regrettable is early on in the game where it is hard to divine how Jensen must be feeling about being lumped with his enhancements against his will, the only clew being the discovery of a broken mirror in his apartment.
For the combat segments I usually run around everyone and only “pacify” if necessary, mostly because I tackle action sequences with all the elegance of a rheumatoid sloth but also because my method seems to rack up much more experience, which gives you Praxis points that can be used to upgrade your character. These enhancements are some of the best I’ve seen in any game and are one of its star qualities, one of the abilities is to punch through walls, taking out guards on the other side, can you imagine a fist flying out of a wall at you? What a fucking badarse. (I am aware that being English makes that look more like the attribute of a rump than an expression of awe).
You can also duck and cover your way through or if you are really good I suppose you could run and gun (isn’t it odd how tactics are described in pairs?), there is an amazing level of choice you have about going through it, you can even switch it up midway through a mission and decide to lay low after shooting. In one of the missions, I managed to just talk my way into the police station, which meant I was allowed to freely wander around nicking Police Officer’s stuff right in front of them, but for some reason they weren’t best pleased about me hacking their computers. So I’m allowed to take a weapon from their drawers, but finding out who’s having an office affair is apparently sacrilege.
The game is set in not too distant future Detroit and looks like hell, it really reminds me of Robocop and one of the characters even mentions that. The citizens of Detroit aren’t exactly the most lavish of people and are found hanging around wearing oddly angular clothing and swearing explicitly at you every time you try to talk to them. For once I would like it in a game if they attempted to make Non Playable Characters (NPC’s) vaguely realistic. It feels like they were trying to go for this in Deus Ex HR but failed miserably, because although most people aren’t usually happy about randomers talking to them, they don’t usually jump straight into raves about your mother either. I think that NPC’s should shuffle uncomfortably and say things like “I’m not sure”, “Have we met?” or “Please untie me”.
One of my favourite things about Deus Ex HR is that you can pick up items and throw them, it’s a pretty simple likement but such is usually the case with simple minds. You can pick up items and put them in the way of people or throw a basketball at someone and kill them, I “accidentally” did this a number of times.
There’s much to love in this game and not much to hate, but there was a small number of things that were disappointing. Namely mission interface and tracking. I found that the missions could have been set up simpler and should have had an option to add to HUD, also that there were some sub missions that weren’t fully explained and it wasn’t made clear that you had failed them.
The other rather aggravating point was that throughout there is an emphasis on choice and the alternative ways about playing the game, except when it comes to Boss battles. You can only kill the boss, you can’t pacify them, avoid them, use the environment to get past them or talk your way out of the fight. There are ways that these could have been done so it’s either negligence or time constraints that did this.
Deus Ex Human Revolution is a great game as a bit of fun and is good to recommend to all levels of players (being someone who is aptitudinally-challenged). The cyberpunk setting is rarely seen in games and not often given the justice it deserves, this game proves that it’s not yet a stale genre.