Is Deus Ex: Human Revolution at the top of its game, or does it need to get a few augmentations?
Title: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Version reviewed: PlayStation 3 version
Deus Ex was a game which rolled RPG, action, FPS and stealth gameplay all into one, and many people say it was one of the most innovative shooters of the 2000s. The game was followed up with a sequel in 2003 and now a prequel, released this year.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes the RPG FPS hybrid into the current generation with a brand new story in a new setting with shiny new graphics.
The next step in human evolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set in the year 2027, where companies have started to develop mechanical human augmentations to make life easier for some and to save the lives of others. One of those companies is Sarif Industries.
You play as Adam Jensen; an ex-SWAT team member who works as the head of security at Sarif Industries’ Detroit headquarters. The game starts with Adam following his love interest Doctor Megan Reed through the labs at Sarif HQ while she talks about her breakthrough medical research to make augmentations available to everyone.
The day before Dr Reed is set to present this research to scientists and investors, a group of heavily-augmented mercs attack Sarif HQ, killing staff and destroying equipment. Searching for Reed, Jensen navigates through the damaged Sarif corridors before getting attacked by one of the mercs, who then shoots him in the head.
To save Jensen’s life, Sarif Industries replace many of his body parts with augmentations. They replace his arms, add augmentations to his legs, back and head and for some reason, give him some nice sunglasses built into his noggin.
As Jensen, you must then find out why the mercs attacked, what happened to Reed and who is behind the whole conspiracy. The story is full of twists and turns with (mostly) recognisable characters in distinguishable settings.
The game essentially takes part as several missions set in different areas around the world and there are also 2 large cities which you can usually explore in between missions. In the cities are side-missions and shops along with a load of secrets to add more replayability to the game.
The story is mainly told through well-made cut-scenes and dialogue, which are sometimes a bit long, but it’s all skip-able at the expense of missing a part of the plot. There are also several ebooks scattered around to provide a look into the background story and history.
Putting those metal arms to use
Deus Ex: Human Revolution brings back the RPG/FPS hybrid gameplay pioneered by its predecessors. The game is primarily a first person shooter with a focus on stealth in the environments, but you can also play through the game in the style of a more traditional FPS, introducing your shotgun to the face of everyone you see.
The RPG elements are a particularly big part of the game. Actions such as killing/stunning enemies, finding secret passages and hacking computers will earn you EXP, and the inventory screen has a layout similar to Diablo.
Your inventory consists of several boxes, and items take up a certain amount of those boxes, meaning you will need to tactically pick up and drop items to make sure you don’t leave anything useful. Small items, such as cans of beer and energy bars only take up 1 box while larger items like the sniper rifle will take up a whole row.
Items can be picked up from several locations on each level. You can find them in bins, lockers and storage cupboards or just find them lying around in a level. You can also take items from the bodies of your victims.
The inventory system can get annoying at times due to size limitations, but that’s something that can be improved with augmentations. Essentially, it makes the collection of items much more tactical than other titles and you’ll need to make difficult decisions about what to keep and what to throw away.
Another huge part to the game is augmentations. Obviously, Jensen is packed with tech to make him stronger and more suitable for combat, but you can also purchase more enhancements. Augmentations can improve your jumping, armour, hacking abilities and more, and some even add completely new abilities, like the ability to see through walls and one to go invisible.
When the augmentations were fitted in Jensen, some weren’t turned on to allow his body to adapt to the changes. Because of this, you can unlock new abilities by turning them on via software known as Praxis. You earn Praxis points for every 5,000EXP earned and you can also earn them from quests or buy them for 5,000 Credits from Limb facilities.
The augmentations are fun to play with, and some are really useful, but others are pointless. They can really help to suit the game to your preferred method of playing (you could buy invisibility and stealth enhancements for a stealth playthrough, for example), but some of the augmentations like the ability to see success percentages when hacking, which you can see anyway by holding square, are just a waste of praxis points.
Unfortunately, there is also no way to get rid of an augmentation once you’ve purchased it. Once you’ve spent a praxis point, there is no way to get it back unless you load a recent save. Some augmentations also use batteries, which are shown under the health bar. Only one battery will recharge fully, but the other ones can be recharged using special energy bars.
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