Where will the world be in 20 years? In what ways will technology change our lives? How will it shape our future? Rarely does a video game tackle such philosophical questions, but Deus Ex: Human Revolution does, in a fun and immersive way.
The year is 2027. Human augmentation technologies have allowed our species to overcome our physical limitations like never before. If you lose an arm or a leg, no longer are you limited by disability. For a pretty penny, you can get a brand new cybernetic limb, thats stronger, faster and more agile than the ones God gave us.
But not all is good in this future world. Due to their expensive price tag, augmentation technologies have created a divided world, between the powerful and cyberneticly enhanced rich, and the poor and crippled underclass. Corporations are now more powerful than governments, and creeping fascism has turned America into a near police state.
You play as Adam Jensen (pictured on cover), chief of security for Sarif Industries, one of the leading manufacturers of human augmentation technologies. After a mass attack on the company's laboratories leaving many of their best scientists dead and Adam mortally wounded, he is fitted with the latest augmentations and sent to find the attackers.
While not a true sandbox game like GTA IV, Human Revolution is a very open ended, non-linear game. You can advance the story one mission at a time whenever you want with no rush. While in the meantime you can complete side quests or just explore the world to your hearts content (which I recommend because there is just so much to soak in).
Human Revolution doesn't force you to play the game a certain way. You are free to tackle challenges in whatever way you choose. In general there are three ways to get to your objectives; Fight, Hack, Sneak and in some cases Talk your way through.
The best way to play Deus Ex is with stealth, sneaking past your enemies. It's fun and exciting, though usually not much of a challenge. The AI are practically blind in many cases and good hiding spots are plentiful and easy to access.
I DO NOT recommend playing this game like a traditional shooter. You may be a futuristic cybernetic super human, but you're no Master Chief. Bullets still hurt. A lot. Even with just two or three enemies, staying out in the open for more than a few seconds is fatal. Your health regenerates, but not as fast as in Halo or CoD. Plus the gun variety is weak. You got your standard pistol, revolver, SMG, Sniper rifle, Shotgun, Assault Rifle, Gatling Gun, Rocket launcher, Crossbow, tranquilizer gun, and stun gun for most of the game. It's only later that you get the cool toys like the Plasma Rifle, Lazer Rifle, and P.E.P.S. (Pulsed Energy Projection System) (basically fires a giant shockwave). Though you do get some cool grenades; Frag, Flash, Gas, and EMP. Long story short, only fight if you're forced to.
Regardless of how you play, there are many situations where you will have to hack your way through doors or into computer. Hacking brings out a mini game of chance that is nothing like IRL hacking. You must navigate your way through the network to get to the registry by capturing nodes as you go. Nodes have a risk percentage that shows the probability of the system detecting an intrusion. If you're detected, you need to capture the registry before the system traces its way to your port you hacked into.
A few times in the game you will be forced into "social battles" with major characters where you must persuade them into something, usually exposing information, by selecting the correct responses.
While mainly a first-person stealth action/adventure shooter, Deus Ex also has some RPG elements. Your actions earn you XP. Netting enough XP earns you praxis points that are used to upgrade your augmentations. For example you can upgrade your body armor to last longer in firefights. You can purchase an invisibility augmentation to become stealthier, or upgrade your hacking abilities. For the first half of the game, praxis points are hard to come by, so you must choose your upgrades wisely. But by mid way through, you'll have more praxis points than you'll know what to do with.
One beef I have with the game is boss fights. They don't really belong in shooters and aren't very creative. You basically just shoot at them until they die (Don't do this, it takes forever PROTIP: Spam fragmentation mines and bosses go down in no time).
My other major beef is the ending. After beating the final boss, you literally and I mean literally walk into a room with 4 different buttons that trigger one of four different "endings". But they aren't what you would call endings. They're all just Jensen talking over some historical stock footage of human achievement. It doesn't tie up the story, you don't get to see what actually happens to the world or the characters based on your choices.
All gameplay aside, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is worth playing just for the atmosphere and the world it immerses you into (there will be a follow up post on this). As scary as it might be, Deus Ex paints a very accurate depiction of what the world may look like in the coming decades.
Rarely are third party games these days as good as Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Even if you've never played Deus Ex before, you will enjoy this game. If you're into stealth, shooting and cyberpunk fiction, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a guarantee for hours upon hours of fun.
★★★★ 4.5 out of 5 stars