Deus Ex: Human Revolution (360) Review
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the prequel to the 2000 PC game.
Visually and thematically, Human Revolution is very reminiscent of the film Blade Runner. The future is still flashy with a lot of cool technology, but it’s also grimy with poverty and crime. It’s an age on the verge of something huge, separated by the haves and have-nots, where the hot commodity is augmentations: cybernetic improvements to the human body.
Not everybody is pleased with the idea of altering ones body with these augmentations. Some groups decry the use of technology to improve the body by resorting to acts of terrorism to get their message out there.
The game opens up with you assuming the role of Adam Jensen, the head of security for an augmentation research and development company Sarif Industries. Jensen sounds like Clint Eastwood straight out of Dirty Harry – soft-spoken yet raspy and dangerous. Just before Sarif Industries is to reveal some world-changing discoveries in Washington, DC, the research labs are attacked by a group of terrorists, the lead researchers are murdered, and Jensen, in his attempt to protect the company, is injured so badly that his body is reconstructed with augmentations, and six months later he’s back in action.
Nobody knows if the augmentations are good or bad, and while people are benefiting from the results of being augmented, many are required to take a drug that helps prevent their bodies from rejecting the enhancements. The drug is expensive, and necessary, otherwise they’ll die.
When the original Deus Ex came out in 2000, it closely resembled System Shock, a first-person shooter that allowed you to run-and-gun like Doom and Quake, but also rewarded you for thinking outside the box and taking alternate paths to accomplish your goals. There were typically three paths you could take: action, stealth, and hacking. Action and stealth were obvious – either you’re looking for trouble or you’re avoiding it. Hacking would allow you to assume control of security systems and use their defenses (primarily their offenses) against them.
Human Revolution is a lot like the original Deus Ex, but would probably be better compared to more moderns titles like BioShock — only with less action. Human Revolution looks like a first-person shooter, but is actually a heavily story-driven adventure game with elements of first-person action thrown in. Unless you’re really handy with a gun, or have enough augmentation improvements to make you a better killer, you will likely die very quickly when the bullets start flying. Health replenishes slowly over time, like modern FPS titles, but triggering alarms will bring a surge of activity and guards your way, and the combination of stop-and-pop gunning while waiting to heal won’t be as effective as it is in Call of Duty.
While you can focus on action, the game feels a bit more interesting and genuine by approaching it with a more open mind. If the most obvious path is too difficult, there’s likely an alternative path if you’re willing to look around.
As mentioned before, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is very story-driven. For those who want to learn more about the world, there are plenty of ways to acquire knowledge about the fiction of Human Revolution. eBooks, Newspapers, pocket secretaries (personal assistant devices), and hacking into emails will reveal details about the current state of the world, and give insight into the people you interact with. Like any good mystery, everybody seems to have a shady side, and some of it can discovered by reading their emails. Hacking into email and reading the information contained in pocket secretary devices can also reveal passwords to locked rooms and other hard-to-reach areas, allowing access to “treasures” like better weapons or improvements to Jensen.
Human Revolution is mission driven, but contains a hub world where you can pick and choose where to go. While there is a linear path to follow, in order to complete the game, there are plenty of side-quests and areas to explore, all of which are rich with things to do, and secrets to be revealed.
In order to get the most of out the game, I would recommend upgrading Jensen with the social enhancer augmentation early on. Doing so allows you to better read body language and release pheromones to influence character’s actions, so that more of the storyline and mission options are available to you.
Human Revolutions has one of the best auto-save features. Not only do you have the ability to save at any time, but the game also keeps your last two auto-saves, and you can reload the latest auto-save or the previous auto-save. Because Human Revolution auto-saves at important locations and when entering different areas, it’s very easy to make an “incorrect” choice and then have the game auto-save when you’re trying to run away. In other games, you either reload with that mistake or hope that you’re “hard save” was done recently. With Human Revolution, having access to your past two auto-saves is not only an awesome idea but it can save a lot of backtracking to make up for lost progress.
Human Revolutions also reminds me of the Pokemon games, in that everybody in the world seems to be focused on the very game-centric fiction, in this case the subject of argumentation. It’s on everybody’s mind, it’s spray-painted on the walls in forms of graffiti, and it’s all over the game’s fictitious advertising and billboards. Also your actions always seem to take the front page story in the newspaper. Everybody has an opinion on augmentations, and nobody seems to give a damn about anything else. I see the point, by keeping the information relevant to the game, but sometimes it cheapens a very story-rich game and makes the world feel a little too small.
Reloading after dying or when visiting new areas can talk a longer than normal time, also take a long time. It’s not all that noticeable until you find yourself constantly dying.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a good game — hell, it’s a great game. It has a rich storyline and those who get sucked into the fiction of the world will likely love gathering and learning as much as possible.
Gamers approaching this title thinking it’s another first-person shooter like Killzone or Crysis 2 will likely be disappointed, as the pacing and action isn’t that of your typical FPS. While you can go in guns a blazing, you are rewarded for using your brain, instead of you gun, even though Adam Jensen is a badass security guy with the voice like Clint Eastwood.
Human Revolution harkens back to games like System Shock, but more modern gamers might may feel that BioShock is a better comparison (but with more story and less forced action).
I highly recommend picking up Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In an age when FPS games can be completed in 5 hours or less, Human Revolution offers a significantly longer and richer experience.
Whether you’re it in for the story or the sci-fi action, Human Revolution should feed your appetite nicely!