Deus Ex has often been referred to as the Holy Grail of gaming by its rabid fans. It sported a massive and immersive world, with a relatively emotionless protagonist to create your own image for. It also sported combat that had multiple ways to win, and eventually this style of gameplay could be seen later in games such as Bioshock, where crafty spells have just as lethal effects as bullets.
....but yes, you can just shoot everyone to pieces if you so choose.
So the bar is quite high for Deus Ex : Human Revolution. We already saw one sequel in Deus Ex: Invisible War try to remake that epic feel of JC Dentons adventure, the protagonist of the first game. While it wasnt a bad game, it was nowhere near the level of awesome that the fan base was expecting. Now its up to the guys at Eidos to learn from their mistakes and make a worthy sequel of a legend. But did they succeed?
This game is rated M for Mature. Its not only mature for its topics and gameplay, but I would actually call it mature for understanding of the storyline as well.
Human Revolution, and the Deus Ex series in general are a wealth of genres pooled together. Since each one is an important part of the whole, well approach the gameplay one at a time.
The first part of the gameplay that will probably stand out to you are the stealth portions. These are common, but largely optional. Forced stealth is not a fun mechanic, and Im happy to see the developers realized this. Being spotted will almost always trigger attacks and possibly reinforcements depending on the alert level, but the AI for better or for worse is completely retarded. If you so much as duck behind a box for a few seconds, the sentries will go right back to their posts/along their merry way. Seeing as were not playing Metal Gear, I can accept this. It also helps with the flow of the game. If youre constantly getting spotted and not playing a combat-oriented character, youll definitely appreciate the quick resetting of patrols. But the stealth gameplay isnt just get byit can also be get to your opponents for conversations or quick kills.
Stealth is optional, but the rewards are so much more satisfying than playing Rambo.
When the blood spills, it turns into a fairly standard game. Fans of the original will be happy to see that your accuracy isnt horrendous at long range now, and like every other damn shooter, weve got a cover system. Even when you get hit, theres a health regeneration element. A lot of you probably stood up and yelled after reading that, but fear not. Its fairly slow, and if you pump up the difficulty, extremely slow. Mistakes in combat are not easily fixed as a result, so you cant rely on being in cover for 5 seconds to restore your health. You restore your mana as well when it is depleted, but only enough for one actions worth. You have to find consumables to restore the rest. Attacks such as Takedowns (lethal or non-lethal, more on this later) will use your energy just like special attacks.
Hacking has always been a staple of any sci-fi RPG, and it returns in this game in multiple forms. Like Bioshock or Fallout, youll hack computers to read messages and use turrets. But youll also be hacking keypads, or if youre not man enough, you can typically find the code in the stage if you search enough. The actual hacking process itself is a difficult little mini game about territory control. You capture territory nodes on the way to the AIs core, but along the way, the AI will come to life and begin taking territory back and try to make its way to your home point. Fail, and chances are you just pissed off the whole complex!
One of the places Human Revolution shines is in the conversations. There are multiple paths, but unlike Mass Effect for instance, the asshole or bribery response is not a guaranteed way to get what you want. Eventually youll get augmentations to help you detect what kind of person youre talking to, but until then youll have to rely on your wits and analysis to determine how the person best responds. Each conversation will only happen once if you reach an end point that locks you out, so dont think you can just mash options and work your way to a resolution through trial and error. Note that you can actually hover over your conversational choice to see what youre going to say fully, rather than just some little quip, which is a nice feature for those of us seeking to fully define our main characters personality.
All in all, the spirit of the original is definitely noticeable, and this is a very good thing!
The world truly feels dark and lost, a feeling created by a world of drab designs and shadows. Normally I would use those terms negatively but weve got a setting of a dim future, and this fits perfectly. The character designs and effects are spot on. If you have the hardware to crank out all of the fancy DX11 effets, youll have the prettiest (well, for a cyberpunk) RPG on your hands.
My immersion in an RPG is defined by two things the people and the soundtrack. Both of these things are absolutely wonderful. The soundtrack is done by Michael McCann and is good to the point of me actually listening to the bonus soundtrack that comes with the Augmented Edition of the game. The conversations are emotional and play out naturally. Some of the combat sound effects are a little tame, but thats a tiny flaw in an otherwise stellar score.