Deus Ex: Human Revolution and I have had an awkward relationship to say the least. At E3 2010 I came away floored by how impressive it looked, however most recently at this year’s E3, along with Twisted Metal it was one of my most disappointing titles from the show. Luckily the folks over at Square Enix were kind enough to send over a copy so we could finally put to rest how good or bad Deus Ex: Human Revolution really is. Does Deus Ex: Human Revolution showcase a stunning and bold adaptation of the future, or does it buckle against the weight of its own hype? Hit the break for our verdict.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game about choice, however not about the meaningless types that almost every game tries to force down our throat these days. One of the biggest drawbacks to virtually every title is that they parade choice in your face. The original Fallout was a pioneer of choice, by allowing players to discover their own choices and consequences. Over 10 years later the gaming industry has lost sight of this, however Deus Ex: Human Revolution has brought meaningful choice back to the realm of gaming. What exactly does that mean? Players don’t need to be constantly reminded how good or bad something is, and games should never attempt to guide someone’s moral compass. Virtually every part of Deus Ex: Human Revolution is covered in shades of grey, which leads to the player becoming whatever person he desires; rather than the person the game desires. This leads to interesting, awesome, sad, confusing, or downright disturbing experiences.
For example, during my first play through I figured I’d see how far I could push the game to its moral limit. For the sake of role-playing, I assumed that something went terribly wrong with Jensen’s surgery during his augmentation, and well; let’s just say he’s got a few screws loose. Unfortunately, this didn’t bode well for the cops over in the local precinct. At first I really did try to sincerely get in without any issues; however the Desk Sergeant Wayne Haas kept whining about how much I screwed up his life, how his relationship with his family is strained, and how shitty his current job is. Part of me wanted to grab the pistol point it through the gap, and put an end to his misery. Luckily for him I was smart enough to analyze the situation, and it wasn’t exactly the smartest course of action. I retreated back to the outside of the station and looked for an alternative route.
After a few hours of searching I used the sewer system and found the side entrance to the station. Like I said before I really did try to take a peaceful route, however my trigger-happy version of Jensen just couldn’t handle it. After a brief attempt at trying the stealth path, along with hacking into many of the officers emails, Jensen (me, how does that work?) came to the conclusion that it was time to clean up and get rid of all the dirty cops (mostly everyone). I think you can see where this is going.
Over the next 2 hours, I began the systematic destruction of everyone in the building. When I finally arrived inside the morgue, I was briefed by the doctor on the situation regarding the body. He had no idea that everyone in the station was dead, and unfortunately for him I couldn’t have any loose ends. I put two rounds into his chest and finished my quest. I thought everything was fine, however after exiting the front entrance I was abruptly gunned down.
Normally that’s not an issue, however Deus Ex: HR doesn’t have friendly auto-saves. Every time it would reload I’d have to dodge shotgun shells and a plethora of other bullets from taking me out permanently. That in it self became a whole other experience.
Thus far I’ve been ranting about my experience, and you’re probably just wondering if this game is any good. Yes, it is, however it’s not without some issues. Deus Ex: HR is bogged down by several presentation issues, which include dated graphics, poor animations, frame-rate issues, and freezing. Given Square Enix’s decent track record with good graphics it’s a bit disappointing that they couldn’t squeeze out better performance or graphics, and the art style while good relies too much on yellows. This is apparent, especially when visiting different locations. It’s difficult to believe that different countries would have similar lighting and attractions due to the culture.
None of the gameplay elements are particularly strong either, though they do get the job done, and to their credit they’re fun. One of the other key things that bug me is the selection of augmentations players get to unlock. In my opinion, upgrades like health, or being able to take more damage should be unlocked through natural progression rather than skill points. It just seems like a cop-out that developers have been using to pad skill-trees instead of offering players more interesting abilities. Thankfully, this isn’t the case with the entire skill-tree, and for the most part the unlocks are decent.
One of the standouts is the sound design which is fantastic. Weapon noises, NPC chatter and the music are all AAA quality, and really help immerse the player in the universe. Players will also no doubt appreciate all of the stores, newspapers, and other miscellaneous things that really help cement Deus Ex: Human Revolution as a believable setting. It was also interesting to see the social commentary regarding things like FEMA Camps, an issue we have covered ourselves.
The story is also pretty good; however at its weakest it clashes with the best elements which as a result makes for a very weak experience. For example, the boss battles are atrocious. The poor A.I and terrible design don’t really help either. Aside from that, when Deus Ex: Human Revolution isn’t forcing you into encounters and instead lets you choose, it’s one of the better titles you can choose this year.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution let’s you role-play without the politically correct gameplay design choices that has been slowly killing the RPG genre over the last 10 years. It’s a refreshing return to form and we sincerely recommend that you buy yourself a copy.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.