Will Preston

The real choice to make is in what way will you kill people with your robotic arms

by on Sep.11, 2011, under Review, Video Games

Back when the first Deus Ex game was launched on the PC back in 2000, multiple paths and choices in video games was something still restricted to the RPG circles. Fast forward to now and most mainstream games have chosen to take the multiple choice path. Will this concept lose its charm, or is it in need of some much needed expanding? With the release of the latest in the series, Deus Ex Human Revolution (eight years since the disappointing sequel The Invisible War) comes hope of a near perfect action RPG.

Of course, you're not invincible, so watch out

Whilst this is labelled as a sequel, the game takes places several decades before the first game. Somehow, everything looks more flashy and futuristic in 2027 than the grim dystopian landscape of 2050. Maybe it’s a plot inconsistency, or just the latest graphics engine pluming its feathers. The cyborg champion of the day is Adam Jensen, an ex-SWAT security chief who is forced to undergo cybernetic surgery after being caught in the crossfire of a terrorist attack. His mission for the rest of the game is pretty straightforward: find those responsible.

I will admit, I wasn’t really expecting the story of narrative to top the original, but it is still heads above a lot of the recent shooters that have come out on the market. Not that it’s a hard thing to do, but still. Eidos have obviously tried to capture the amount of depth that the first game had to it. The worlds are extremely detailed and explorable; Walking around Detroit was actually pleasant for once, but turn down the wrong alley and you could be faced with a random gun fight, or even worse; random side missions.

Now bend over...

I’m not saying the side missions are bad, but imagine trying to read a book when another smaller book plops onto the page for your attention. Oh sure, you can abandon your current read to quickly skim through this new novel, but it begins to feel like the flow of the story suddenly stops. However, on the second play round, I welcome these random excursions with open arms. One of the finer points about them is that they can be quite in depth missions.

At one point in the game, I took time out from the main quest to help an undercover cop investigate two rival gangs. Should it have been any other game, the side mission would have involved a typical three stage affair with little imagination. But in this game, it felt more like another level in its own right. I had to make my own choices on how to deal with each leader of the gang, as well as make a shady meeting with a corrupt cop. I forgot that I was supposed to be tracking down the terrorist group from the beginning of the game.

The only picture of Detroit that doesn't have someone on fire

To help you get through the game with less hassle are the cybernetic upgrades. As with the first Deus Ex game, you get experience points throughout and can improve a large variety of skills from hacking a computer to jumping several metres into the air at the drop of a hat. The only weird change that has been made is the energy system. Now to perform special moves and hand to hand combat, you need to have a charged battery primed and ready. Gone are the varieties of melee weapons. Instead, you take out enemies with a variety of close quarter combat moves. Luckily, it never gets boring.

As well as these defining features, elements from a few other games have been craftily woven in. From the stealth mechanics of Splinter Cell Conviction to the interrogation matrix of LA Noire, it is pretty clear that Eidos were trying to pack everything they could without breaking the seams. Unfortunately, the game is surprisingly short with four endings that require almost zero effort to achieve. By the time I had reached the final level, I was feeling a little duped.

Whilst the game does boast a multiple choice narrative, Deus Ex Human Revolution feels a little too restrictive. The boss fights throughout the game remind you that, unless you made the choice of upgrading yourself for combat rather than stealth (or whatever you actually wanted to do), the whole experience is going to be that little bit harder. But whilst there may not be large amounts of paths to take, the journey is fantastic on all of them. Not quite the original, but the best long awaited sequel yet.

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