The Average Gamer
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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review (360)

DeusExHumanRevolution_LogoI have been looking forward to playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution for a long time. On a sunny Tuesday I copied the game to my Xbox 360 hard drive and hit go. The opening story is very detailed, and fills in who you are, and sets up the game.

So what’s it all about? Well that I can’t go into much detail about, it would definitely ruin the game! Here’s what we can tell you. You play Adam Jensen, Head of Security for a US biotech firm called Sarif Industries. Usual run-of-the-mill role – you defend the trade secrets and make sure nothing bad happens. Sure enough, a bunch of black ops guys break in, trash the place to high heaven and kill a bunch of the staff. You get shot to shit and wake up having been modified with military-grade augments – mechanical enhancements to replace parts of your broken body. This is where the game really starts. You’re off to track down what on Earth is going on, and who’s doing it.

DeusExHumanRevolution_SunlightThe main story line keeps drawing you in to the point where I almost ignored the side missions. Not quite, though. I really wanted to know the details of this world. A lot of the game is about finding out the peripheral story. There’s the usual go-and-find-something-and-kill-it mission, or trying to talk people into telling you more information. Another thing that’s tied into the side quests but very important is that while walking around the streets people will be having conversations; it’s really worth listening to what they have to say. Some of them will have side quests for you but others will give you hints on routes around the city hubs, or even just current events in the local area.

The hacking mini-game is an interesting addition. It’s like that pipe-flow game that you find on most phones these days, where you capture pathways to the goal before your opponent catches up with you. There are various pieces of software that can help you along but you can also get augment upgrades to help you further. Be warned though, for some strange reason people don’t like you hacking their stuff so best to remain hidden while doing it! I was a little annoyed that you cannot hack from a crouch position. Instead, you automatically stand up to hack (and in my case get shot).

There are quite a few augmentations you can choose, though you are limited to how many you can have. This has caused me to actually play a lot of the game without using them. Since I’m not very good at first person shooters, I naturally went down the stealth/persuasion route leading to a lot of hunting around for venting ducts. Think Batman: Arkham Asylum and you will have the general idea. So augmentation-wise I boosted hacking, speech, a few strength augs and I heavily used stealth while playing. However, I still had about 5 points left at the end of the game. Clearly I was being overly cautious, and in the next play-through I will definitely try some other augments.

I had quite a few shit-your-pants moments when sneaking around. A lot of the augments are dependent on “batteries” providing the internal power. Your augmentation system can only automatically regenerate one used battery regardless of how many you actually have. In order to regenerate the rest of them you will need to buy power bars. These come in various types: single bars, packs and big jug-type things.

There I was in a room full of troops that I needed to get past. 10mm gun with silencer in the pocket, but no way to pick the enemy off without everyone opening fire on me. Tried sneaking around, looked for vents… but no luck. Quick check of inventory; drat, no power bars. 1 bar energy is all I have, giving the stealth option for a few seconds. What now? Can’t sprint as they’ll hear, so stealth up and walk over is the only option left.

DeusExHumanRevolution_SuitWalking… almost there… ARGH! Trooper turns around, looking STRAIGHT at me. Stop. Start to sweat as timer running out. I was left with only one final option: an all-out sprint for lift. Slam the call lift button… wait, what do you mean it’s only calling it? Running away I dove into a vent. Hide out while they open fire with everything they got, spraying bullets in the hope that they hit me by accident. Once the lift appears, it’s was time to stealth up again and run over.

If you are playing stealth, this can occur quite often if you aren’t careful with your power bar stash. It’s really worth stocking up on everything you see that will get power back into your internal batteries. It’s almost hand in hand that you’ll want to get all the battery augments as well as the jump augment. I must admit that I haven’t used the quiet running augs – combined with the camouflage aug, they drain power very quickly so it’s a hefty trade off.

For weapons there’s a good selection. It’s not quite on a scale with The Matrix but still reasonable. I’m old-fashioned and stick with a 10mm pistol for almost everything. You can use stun guns, and the like, but honestly if I want them down and not dead, I’ll go up close and personal and take them out hand-to-hand. Weapon modifications are available and it’s really worth getting these. The 10mm I used had damage modifiers and a laser scope, as well as increased ammo capacity.

One thing I’ve noticed is that people seem to be discussing the “lack” of ammunition in the game. This is not Call of Duty, or an FPS. You are not supposed to be running in, guns blazing, spray-and-pray style. I’m almost always using the 10mm pistol, sneaking and taking head shots. It’s not that difficult. Laser targeting makes precision aiming easy, and then there’s an add-on which turns bullets into guided missiles. Well not really; they can bend their trajectory a bit.

The machine pistol will hammer through ammo, especially if you have a heavy trigger finger. It’s a full automatic, so what do you expect? Even with it and the combat rifle, you can use it like a semi-automatic just by tapping the trigger rather than holding it down. I’ve done single head shots like this when the 10mm has been out of ammo.

The game’s AI is interesting at times. I’ve blown up mines around the corner from lots of troops, yet they don’t bother to come take a look. Also, they seem to fear going into ducts, so I’ve sat in a duct shooting them all in the nuts with a pistol. It does feel weird being able to take out half-a-dozen guys like that. Other times though, they’ll unload like its World War III and you dare not even peek around the corner.

Eventually you will come to the bosses. These all fit into the story and aren’t just random creatures. The problem is there’s no way to avoid the boss fights, so even if you are going to try stealth it out, you can’t. This is a little frustrating, and did lead to my buying some augments that are more geared towards FPS than stealth. Even with this, some of the fights I found overly hard due to the build I had and had to use a lot of painkillers.

Style-wise the game pulls off a very orange/yellow Bladerunner vision of the future. I must say, at times it’s a bit depressing. Reminds me of London on a rainy day. The cities are pretty impressive, there are people everywhere doing their city things. Cut scenes are all really well done; good cgi and really good voice acting. However, some bits are a little disappointing, like the sky looked blotchy and unfinished though this may be because it’s on Xbox 360. The PC version (which I do not have yet) has been redone for DirectX 11 and the screenshots look simply stunning.

Replay value? I’m definitely going to play through again, being mean and cold this time. I’m not sure if I’d change play styles though – I am not twitch gamer. I’d say you probably will play it again, but it’s not going to be a game you keep playing forever, especially as it does not have multi-player.

All in all, we’ve established it’s not a full on FPS, but neither is it a full stealth game like Thief. It’s pretty common knowledge that System Shock had a heavy influence on the original Deus Ex, and this shows to this day in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. This game is a far better candidate for the spiritual successor to the System Shock legacy than the BioShock series.

To me, Deus Ex has almost perfectly-created gameplay. The storyline had me hook, line and sinker. This just made the game, and to me would have made a pretty good movie script, although at times a bit contrived. The end story wraps it all together and leaves you with something to think about. Sure, it’s not as in-depth as a theology PhD, but hey, it’s better than most games.

Now, when is the next one coming out? Guess I’ll have to settle for Thi4f… or Syndicate if the rumours are true.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a very entertaining role-player with a great storyline and options for everyone. The AI could use some work, as could the realism for hiding while shooting or hacking. Choosing to play as a stealth build will leave you at a disadvantage for the boss battles. Ultimately though, the game is very rewarding. As long as you’re not expecting to blindly run-and-gun through every location, everyone should be able to find a play style to enjoy.

This game will be release in the UK on 26th August. Order Deus Ex: Human Revolution from Play.com.

Footnote:

From the Eidos Forums, there were questions about in-game advertising. I’ll be honest here, I didn’t notice any. Either I’m already conditioned to blank out advertising, or it’s very subtle.

Interesting how Eidos Montreal are developing Thief 4 (aka Thi4f) again to be published by Square Enix. I’m sure a lot of the core functionality from Deus Ex: HR will appear in this game and that’s made me very interested in playing it! This isn’t the first time this has happened, Thief: Deadly Shadows was powered by Deus Ex: Invisible War engine.

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