This year the slow summer season between great game releases seemed to last longer than usual. The year started out great with games like Dead Space 2, Crysis 2, Portal, and L.A. Noir, all of which were fantastic games that I thoroughly enjoyed but then nothing for about 2 to 3 months until Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Human Revolution really kicks off the fall/holiday gaming season with a flood of amazing games to play through the rest of the year.
As a console gamer I never played the Deus Ex games available on the PC. However I knew they were critically acclaimed and had a cult like following among PC gamers. At first when I heard a new one was in the making I didn’t think much of it. Then as screens and videos started to be released throughout the summer months I found myself attracted to the art and design style of the game along with the cyber-punk theme. You could clearly see that the developers at Eidos Montreal had great passion and admiration for the game, they weren’t just rebooting the series to milk it for cash, but respecting it and taking the effort to make a fantastic game that will stand on its own.
The attention to detail throughout the game is unparalleled. While at first it may seem like everything is futuristic and too clean, but then after playing it for a while the details of the environments really start to show up. They feel lived in, nothing is perfectly set to a grid but instead feels very natural with items stacked or lying around like they would be at home or in an office. Top it of with some amazing natural lighting in a video game and everything comes to life. This lived in realistic but still in the future atmosphere helps immerse you into the Deus Ex world which in turns enhances of the story and gameplay. Plus every character in the game can be interacted with and most have a unique response, they aren’t there for decoration, they all feel like they have a purpose without being in the way. Again it ads to the realism to the environments and atmosphere.
Top that off with a fantastic art and design style. This is easily one of the strongest aspects of the game where it really stands out from other games. While set in the future there is a wonderful blend of european and asian modern art deco with a heavy sci-fi style to the game. From the room and level designs, building architecture, the wardrobe styles, to the augmentations on the characters. You’ll walk into some rooms that will just stop you in your tracks as you look around in amazement. On a few rooms I was thinking “Wow, how in the world did they come up with this?”. Everything feels like its been well thought through and designed by an excellent creative team. Big kudos to Eidos Montreal’s design team here as this makes the game stand out and feel more memorable.
Human Revolution provides a good amount of gameplay variety and options through out the levels and missions. For the missions, almost every area has two, three, or more paths that you can choose to go down. You have the choice to go in stealthy without anyone seeing you and not taking anyone out, or stealth with taking people down and hiding their bodies, go in guns blazing, or a blend of the styles. While the game seems to reward you more for going the stealth route, the choice is yours. I found it fun to experiment with the different styles to see the results you get. Especially fun is seeing the various take down animation styles from your augmentations. It’s not just one canned animation but several different ones, depending on the angle you’re at to your opponent. I didn’t really notice them repeat too much either.
Add lots of exploring and hacking to the mix along with several boss battles and you’ve got a very complete gameplay experience. There is a lot of hacking in the game, almost everything from doors, safes, computers, and security terminals for cameras, turrets, and bots. At first it felt like there was too much hacking but once figure out a strategy and level up your hacking skills it becomes quick and fun. You are rewarded for capturing all the nodes when hacking with experience points, currency, or a stop worm or nuke virus to help with the higher level hacks. You also get rewarded for fully exploring all the areas in a level, as almost every area has something that you can use, be it ammo, food bars to regenerate your power, upgrades for your weapons, or an occasional praxis kit which you can use towards your augmentations.
The boss battles have been getting some flack as many feel they are the weakest aspects of the game since they were done by another team or studio. I felt they were pretty solid and creative, especially towards the end of the game. While they are not the star of the game since most of them are fairly easy once you figure out the weak points to beating them, they did mix up the pacing and add a nice balance of the game.
An intriguing mix of romance, police drama, and corporate espionage along with a few twists and challenging moral choices make for a strong story that keeps you moving through the game to find out what happens in the end. The Human Revolution story is one of the stronger stories I’ve experience in video games recently.
The game is set in the future where corporations have pushed their influence past the reach of global governments. Where private security firms often trump local police. You are Adam Jensen, the head of security for Sarif Industries, one of the worlds most powerful human augmentation corporations. Your love, Dr. Megan Reed is leading the research and development of augmentation technology with humans and is on the verge of a major breakthrough that will change the future for all humans that need or want augmentations. After a devastating attack you are forced to undergo extreme surgery that will fuse your body with augmentations to save your life. Once recovered you are thrown back into your security position to handle an attack on a Sarif warehouse. As you do your job, you are determined to search for those responsible for the attack. Throughout the story you find that everything is linked together and there is a larger force at work here.
The ending has four different moral choices that decide the fate of what path the future world will have. Its worth experiencing each one so make a save before you make your first choice so you can reload and choose the others.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a polished game that does everything right. The combination of a great story, strong creative art direction, and solid gameplay style with a variety of options make it a thoroughly enjoyable game that makes you want more in the end. Thankfully with the various options and choices in the game you can easily play through it a few times and have very different experiences.
Depending on how thorough you are in completing side missions and exploring the game can take anywhere from 15 to 20+ hours to complete.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Launch Trailer
Missing Link DLC
Eidos Montreal has announced DLC titled The Missing Link, an all new 5 hour segment that is part of the main story line with all new levels that take place on a ship out at sea. This is expected to be available in October.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Resources
- Buy Deus Ex: Human Revolution on Amazon
- Images courtesy of Dead End Thrills, see DE:HR category with high resolution screens.
- Official Deus Ex: Human Revolution site
- Developer Eidos Montreal
- Game Informer review (8.5)
- IGN review (9.0)
- GameTrailers review (8.7)
- Hilarious video montage of Adam’s takedown moves at the Hive club
- Missing Link DLC walkthrough trailer
Have you played Deus Ex: Human Revolution? What are your thoughts on it? Please feel free to share your thoughts below and thanks for reading.