There’s a common saying on the Internet that every time someone mentions Deus Ex, someone, somewhere re-installs it. This obvious exaggeration is a testament to the game’s popularity among old-school gamers who love it with all their heart and cherish every pixelated moment even in 2011. Now, nearly a decade later, developer Eidos Montreal has attempted a franchise resurrection to please both old-school fans as well as newcomers with Deus Ex: Human Revolution (HR) — an intense action role-playing game that does not disappoint.
In HR, you play as Adam Jensen, the security head of a company that deals with human augmentation in the not-so-near future. After a horrific accident at the start of the game, Adam finds himself augmented with all sorts of mechanical parts in a bid to survive. It turns out that he was only an unfortunate incident in the larger scheme of things that you’ll discover through the game’s 20-hour campaign.
Lots of sneaking around
Like any RPG, the game is full of content be it side quests or its main story. Like its predecessor, the game favours stealth heavily and if sneaking around in a game for hours on end doesn’t sound too appealing, this obviously isn’t for you. Unlike the Splinter Cell series that revolves around staying hidden in the shadows, HR is all about moving in and out of the place undetected. Although played out from a first-person perspective, it switches to third-person while taking cover, allowing players to survey their surroundings before making a move. While the cover system itself isn’t as fluid as the one in Splinter Cell: Conviction, it does fit in well with this game.
Since Jensen is already augmented to a certain extent, you can further enhance his abilities by upgrading or purchasing augmentations using ‘Praxis’ points. These include the ability to temporarily become invisible, move around without making a sound and jump from heights without taking any damage. While this sounds fair on paper, in reality, the game is quite rigid. It may look like it’s offering you the freedom to play as you want, but it secretly pushes stealth down your throat. That’s largely because combat is so tough that although Adam Jensen is an augmented badass, he can’t withstand a lot of damage. And considering most places you’ll infiltrate are teeming with enemies, sentries and turrets, you’d rather sneak past them or take them out quietly as opposed to constantly dying. Even hacking is a skill you should learn early in the game or you’ll have to shell out some credits on auto-hacks or hunt for pass codes from dead or unconscious enemies.
Throughout the game you’ll encounter a few bosses, all of who either feel repetitive or plain cheap. On one hand, the game encourages you to be stealthy and sneak around but in boss fights, you’ll need to hoard on ammunition and go to town with whatever’s available.
Besides the missions, you’ll have access to hubs where you can take up side quests or upgrade your weapons from dealers.
Visually, the PC version is better than its console counterparts and if you happen to own a powerful rig, you’ll enjoy the game in all its glory.
All issues aside, Deus Ex: Human Revolution can get intense once you get the hang of things. Sneaking around a base only to hack a turret to use it on your enemies is highly satisfying and such moments easily wipe out any frustration brought on by the game’s flaws. Sure, it can feel a bit restrictive as it heavily favours stealth, but it is still a very chunky, tightly-woven single player experience that’ll keep you busy for hours on end.