For the past few days I’ve been playing the much awaited Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While the game is set as being a prequel to the original, I haven’t played the original or Invisible War so these impressions are as a newbie to the series.
Upon first launching into a new game you are presented with a ten minute intro cutscene. Some may find this boring but it gives you some clues as to who you are and where you are. Following on from this you have a reasonably short mission which eases you into the game, teaching you various aspects of it through tutorial videos, if you want to watch them. For the majority though, I can’t imagine the need for these videos as you’re only really told the controls. Some later ones mention you can be stealthy or go all guns blazing but that’s one of the more known aspects of the game anyway.
After this, the game opens up quite a bit more with you getting the chance to roam around, pick up side quests and gain exp before continuing the main story. Exp builds up to give you PRAXIS points which can be used for upgrades. These upgrades come in the form of augmentations which are the key focus of the game and are your choice as to which you go for. Some improve your ability to hack devices, carry heavier items, become invisible for a short while, become better at conversation by analysing people and so on. While talking of conversation, this is a point the game falls down for me. Human Revolution uses a Mass Effect-esque conversation strategy with you being able to pick from several options to be more compassionate to someone or more blunt. This is good to see in games, don’t get me wrong, but when you don’t really know your character or the outcomes of picking certain options then it’s nothing other than a wild stab in the dark.
The interaction with items in the game is good and while the game is not the best looking around - though it does use some DirectX 11 features such as tessellation – it’s the detail of the world that makes it good. Hacking is an extension of this and can provide you access to places you otherwise can’t get to, access to information which can help you out on your mission or, if you’re feeling really mischevious, you can turn robots and/or turrets against their owners.
Exploration is another strong part of Human Revolution. It doesn’t have to be a simple corridor after corridor game if you don’t want it to be. Each objective has more than one way of going about it and this can suit either play style. As I said before, you have the choice between being stealthy or going in all guns blazing. My current, and first, playthrough I’ve chosen to go stealthy and there are things the game does both well and not so well. Probably the biggest and most talked about are the boss fights. Deus Ex: HR takes the version of boss fights that you have a hard enemy to kill at the end of a section. This is all good and well but you get no prior warning of this. Having been doing a stealthy playthrough I hadn’t been keeping lethal weapons because inventory space is limited and I had no planned usage for them. So the boss fight wasn’t the most fun as it was basically a mad scramble to find things to kill the boss with. This is aside from the way Jenson (your character) walks into the room as well. The cutscene just shows him opening the door and walking into the middle which is hardly the most stealth-like.
Moving onto the rest of the gameplay, it’s not bad. There are times when the AI are short sighted and you really think they need to see the opticians but there are other times when they could give a sniper spotter who is using high powered binoculars a run for their money. Some points are frustrating and make you want to whip out a gun and just kill everyone but it’s often a case that you’re trying to go about things the wrong way. Knowing this though, when you can get past a section with no foes alerted, not only does the game reward you but you feel a sense of accomplishment. Overall, I’d say the game is just above average. It’s worth a play but I’m yet to be sure if it’s worth a second doing it the other way. There are some very good bits and it’s nice to see something different but there are others which let it down and become frustrating.