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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review (PC)

Radford C. Aug 22, 2011 1

The original Deus Ex was considered a cult hit by many which was a surprise given its origin. Its development rose from a tumultuous company that put out some real sour releases – one of which was Daikatana that wanted to “make you their bitch”. Gladly, Warren Spector and co. pulled out Ion Storm’s last swan song and that game still plays the same beautiful tune that still resonates with long time PC gamers as well as newcomers.

When the sequel Invisible War debuted, the franchise’s future was questioned by many gamers as it limped through various platforms. Now, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, looks to have started from scratch with an all-new team with no connection of staff members from the first game. In fact, when its publisher merged into Square Enix and then had its game delayed. People destined it to die off into the sunset the same way the mediocre Invisible War did.

When PC Gamer got first dibs of Human Revolution and put the score out on magazine stands, fans of the original PC game were still hesitant but Square Enix actually did something right. Their team emphasized the PC version of the game and brought in an outside company to ensure that the game supported DirectX11 features. Additionally, they’ve gone as far as making the interface work silky smooth on PC by tuning the mouse and keyboard to perfection. Most of the press received the PC version as the official review versionwhich I believe (based on playing with the other platforms and listening to obvservations from other game reviewers) is the definitive version between its platform versions.

Yes. Call it a comeback. This game gives an honorable tribute to its first game that would’ve had Warren give the nod for Square’s design decisions.

When you get right into the thick of the story, you’ll quickly find that the game assumes you’re not an idiot. Listening to conversations, reading the screens and discovering objectives are literally hidden between the lines of text. They give you an idea of you where need to go, what you need to do and exactly how to do it. And while some of it seems obviously scripted, it gives you that Illuminati-like vibe so prevalent in the first game that the developers have done their homework. Hell, even the main character sounds and responds eerily similar to Denton from the first game. Incidentally, Deus Ex: Human Revolution similarities from its first game is broken up by Square’s (or should I say Eidos) obvious stamp on tutorials show up with those nice jarring video pop-ups. But after that, it quickly stops resembling Call Of Duty and the zillion other FPS that abuse the waypoint-marker system. This game assumes you’re old enough to meet the game’s rating and expects you to handle your crap.

This is even more so with the hacking portion of the game which is poorly taught in the game. So, it’ll be awhile before you actually know how it works. But let’s get back to one the main points – the story.

Deus Ex really drives the point home about choice from beginning to end – all throughout the game. At least, that’s how it appears to be. When you’re introduced to Adam Jensen and his dismissed fundamental choice of having (or not having) augmented cybernetics, you learn that he is now driven by the conviction of never having a choice and his need for answers. His need to unravel the truth behind a conspiracy rooted in the foundation of the world will be discovered slowly but surely thanks, ironically, to his newfound cybernetic powers. It’s obvious that there is some ominous person working very hard behind the scenes to make sure mankind’s evolution travel toward a particular path but now, you need to discover why – because the decisions you take and the choices you make will be the only things that can determine mankind’s future.

Beyond that I don’t want to give too much away because the boys at Montreal have created a world with a narrative that unfolds at the right pace. Each quest chain in Jensen’s investigation creates more questions than answers but never turns the story into a pointless blur. As you turn each page of the story, you go deeper into the rabbit hole, making the mystery much deeper and and the conspiracy much more larger in scope. It gives you an epic feel that the attacks mean lot more than what you may have perceived at the time. It jumps asks the question on how choice makes an impact in everything you do. Ironically, there are some contradictions the game makes given the moral message the game tries to instill in the player. Give the writers major props for not only providing a intriguing story but their knack for providing subtle cues that unfolds more like a detective story instead of  just holding your hand. Each time you accomplish something, you learn something new, you feel like you’ve truly earned it.

You’re not handed a list of To Do’s on your HUD and start whacking the next blip on your map. Instead, you learn how to uncover more information and create your own list. Even when I was guessing the game’s plot twists and there are a lot of them each was satisfying and often deeper and more interesting than I had considered. Information is revealed through the game’s main plot, but there’s so much more to uncover through sidequests and exploration that if you take the time to really search through the world, you’d be overwhelmed with all the story links. At every stage, you are the one uncovering each new link in the story’s plot, not being fed it by checking off objectives or looking for a giant red arrow over a hostile area. That’s an incredibly hard characteristic to have in a game – balancing player difficulty with pacing. In this aspect, Human Revolution nails it.

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