Deus Ex: Human Revolution – the PS3 Attitude review
Deus Ex Machina literally means ‘god out of machine,’ referring to ancient Greek dramas in which a god would be introduced into a play in order resolve some improbable plot. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the player takes on the role of Adam Jensen, a man turned mostly machine after a deadly attack on Sarif Industries. In an effort to discover who is behind the attack, Adam becomes entangled in a mess of conspiracies, lies, and deception. The choices you make throughout the game determine the fate of humanity.
Will you strive to do what is right, regardless of the situation, or will you embrace the machine in you and live as a god?
Set in 2027, Deus Ex: Human Revolution acts as the prequel to Eidos Interactive’s 2000 hit action role-playing game Deus Ex. It sets in motion a world where biomechanical augmentations allow humans to evolve beyond their own mortal capabilities and perform feats only previously dreamed of. If you’re not strong as you’d like to be, there’s an arm enhancement for that. If you’re not as intelligent, there’s a brain enhancement for that. Whatever you need, Sarif Industries – the leading producer of augmentations – has it. Like all good things though, these mechanical upgrades don’t come without a hefty price.
Unfortunately the rest of the world doesn’t see eye to eye with Sarif Industries. Others such as the Humanity Front believe that augmentations are an abomination against nature, giving people abilities that don’t come with natural human evolution. Then there are the so-called Neropzyne addictions that come with augmentation; a drug controlled by Sarif Industries as well. It’s no wonder the company’s main facilities was attacked. As you’ll soon find out, it would be no ordinary attack.
As Adam Jenson, Sarif’s chief security officer, it’s your duty to find out who is responsible for the attacks and bring them to justice. After experiencing the event firsthand, you were brought back from the brink of death thanks to augmentations. Everything from your eyes to your limbs has been overhauled be as efficient as possible. Think Robocop on steroids. Using these enhancements, you must scour the world discovering the trail of breadcrumbs left behind by the attackers. This requires investigating potential informants and even getting down and dirty from time to time. It’s all about how you want to go about completing the mission.
What makes Deus Ex: Human Revolution different is that you’re given a target and that’s practically it. The choice is yours on how you want to reach that target or accomplish the goal. Most times there are multiple paths available. For instance, if you’re goal is to meet someone in a room on the second floor of a building, you could easily walk in through the front door. Sure you might be met with some resistance, which in turn opens up another path; either stand and fight them or silently sneak past them. Another option might be to enter from the rooftop or an open window and make a more unconventional method of entry.
Human Revolution is probably the only game where I feel that dying isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It shows you that one method didn’t work so it might be best to look for another, more suitable one. The game welcomes exploration. There is so much to do and to experience that you simply can’t take it all in in a single playthrough. For a single-player only game, replayability is a must, and Deus Ex absolutely delivers on that front as not everything is readily available from the moment you start the game.
Another aspect that opens the world of exploration is system hacking. Many of the doors and computers you’ll encounter are security locked, and in order to get access to them you either have to have the correct passcode or you can attempt to hack it if you don’t. Hacking is a whole lot more treacherous though as you risk alerting guards or locking yourself out of the system after too many failed attempts.
Hacking a terminal lets you see the network and all its connections. Your goal is to reach the network’s Registry before its defenses kick in and it locates your access point and terminates your attempt. As you pass through each node, you risk triggering the system’s defenses and being caught. Sometimes experience points, items, or even money can be found by searching all the nodes. Each system has a rating between 1 and 5 to signify its difficulty. Only through upgrading your augmentations are you allowed to access higher difficulty hacks.
When you begin the game, you’re only given a handful of augmentations. As you progress though, you’ll be able to upgrade them and purchase more with Praxis points. These can be gained from leveling up Adam, purchasing them in a LIMB facility, or on the rare occasion, finding them in the wild.
As you level up your augmentations, you’ll be able to perform a wider range of abilities. There is the Icarus Landing System which lets you fall from any height without risking injury, a Cloaking System that provides temporary invisibility, and so much more. Overall, there are 21 different augmentations to choose from, each with their own branching trees. Best of all, you have the ability to pick and choose whichever ones you want activated, provided you have sufficient Praxis points. There are some sections of the game that require the use of certain augmentations but don’t fret as there is always another pathway available, although it might not be easier. It’s all about experimenting with what works best with the given situation.
At some points during the game, you’ll be given the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with someone, usually a person that has something of value you need. You’ll have to sweet talk them into provide you with what you want. Typically you’ll have a few options to choose from, and depending on what you say; you can sway the conversation in your favor or cause them to bottle up whatever information they might have. To better your chances, there’s a social augmentation that helps read a person, making them easier to influence. These investigative elements make playing Deus Ex all the more entertaining.
Gameplay-wise, Deus Ex: Human Revolution plays primarily like a first person shooter with elements of RPG and third person action thrown in to create a game like no other. The majority of the game is seen through the eyes of Adam Jensen, whether you’re running to your next target or aiming down the reticule of a gun. The game jumps into third person when you crouch for cover or perform a melee attack. While that may sound clunky, the execution is seamless as the animation transfers from first to third person. You always feel like you’re in control, and watching some of the brutal takedown attacks is quite the sight.
Quickly and quietly is how you’ll want to go about conducting business in each location. Using the handy map in the bottom right-hand corner to see the location of enemies and their alert statuses, you’ll want to be as stealthy as possible so as not to stir up unnecessary trouble. Think of Human Revolution along the lines of a first person Metal Gear Solid. Sure, you can engage your enemies in combat at anytime but it’s going to be all the more difficult. If you get spotted by either them or any of the cameras/turrets, more are going to come rushing to their aid. There are a few moments where the AI faltered and could somehow detect me through a wall or managed to stick their gun through a closed door, but for the most part, you’re dealing with some very crafty enemies. In the end, it’s best to stick to the shadows.
Like the two previous Deus Ex titles, the story is highly involved in Human Revolution. Everything you experience hinges on the debate as to whether human augmentations are acceptable in society or not. This then brings up other interesting topics such as police tactics, media influences, etc. that are actually relevant in today’s society as well. While we don’t possess the augmentations seen in Human Revolution yet, we do have technology that brings us ever closer to becoming the gods I spoke of earlier. You can’t help but see the relations made between the game and reality. The deeper you get into discovering what’s going on behind the attack, the more logical it seems that this could indeed be a future we’re currently on course for; either that or something very similar.
From the characters you interact with to the eBooks and emails you read, there’s always something to learn about the world around you. The story is what drives you forward in the game. You want to see what’s at the end of the rabbit hole.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution excels in practically every aspect. It’s a finely crafted game complete with strong gameplay and an even stronger plot, one that actually makes you think about its themes rather than just mindlessly play through. There’s a vast and open world out there for you to explore with interesting characters to meet and hidden little secrets to discover. Whether you want to blaze through the main storyline or take your time and meticulously find all there is, you’ll spend countless hours in doing so and have an experience that will no doubt be different for everyone who plays it.
The original Deus Ex was met with universal acclaim going as far as being called one of the best games ever by some. Human Revolution is definitely worthy of the Deus Ex moniker and is easily one of the best games of 2011.