Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3)

Square Enix, KJ VOGELIUS

A gleaming testament of why giving oatmeal raisin cookies a chance is a good idea.

Deus-Ex: Human Revolution's development story is a simple one. You have French-Canadian developer, Edios Montreal, creating a modern experience to follow-up the original title Deus Ex.
A science fiction action-RPG released for the PC in 2000, the original Deus Ex is commonly associated with the word "revolutionary", winning a smorgasbord of awards and accolades during it's production. I won't delve too far into Deus Ex in this review, but what's important it that it pioneered the gamer's choices affecting the actual gameplay, story, and story outcome and it was awesome. In that respect, as a prequel-sequel, Deus Ex: Human Revolution has clown-sized shoes to fill.

Edios Interactive, Square Enix
You can find this game
ported to Mac OS, PS2, and PSN, by the way. 

While not a reimagining of the original title, Deus Ex: Human Revolution carries risk in alienating original fans and the game must be appealing to modern gamers at the same time. So, all of this considered, we played through Deus Ex: Human Revolution's approximately 25 hour long story mode to find out if Edios Montreal manages to hit this revival of a decade old franchise on it's mark.

A STORY AS HALLOWED AS MEMAW'S URN

Meet Adam Jansen, resident badass white man of Detroit, Michigan, working as a security agent for Sarif Industries. Due to events I'll detail later, Adam adapt augmentation: robot limbs and other body parts allowing him superhuman abilities. So he then becomes involved in a complex, worldwide conspiracy surrounding the humane nature of having part man, part machine automaton walk the Earth among the non-augmented populace. When he's not busy doing all that fun conspiracy stuff, he's off  looking super hard in his cool black jacket. 

I am purposefully generalizing the story here because the 25 hour campaign is freakin' 25 hours long. Besides, lengthy, analytic breakdowns of this game's themes can be found elsewhere on the internet, and that's not what PMI is about. No, instead, we are here to tell you this game's story is like a more complex RoboCop. 

RoboCop, as you probably know, is a sci-fi movie franchise starring a virtuous cop turned machine after having his ass kicked in an increasingly violent Detroit. The story bubbles with Christ-like themes such as peace, love, and restraint.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

I believe this is highly important when discussing Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In this game, you play an ex-cop that is also turned part machine against his will after having his ass kicked in an increasingly violent Detroit. And the very real parallels don't stop there. Nearly every thing you observe in this game is in some way another obscure allusion to RoboCop, including the sound of Deus Ex: Human Revolution's creepy robot voices.


Now compare that with the ED-209 scene from the first RoboCop movie.


See? Told ya. Beyond that, the thought provoking story will have you questioning the merits of Big Business, regulation, crime, and technological advances and how each should, or shouldn't, affect one another. Again, this is a similarity shared with RoboCop and it's refreshing to have a game make me think as I shoot people. I won't dare to spoil any of the other numerous references to other sci-fi works for you, dearest gamer, but you can't swing a cat without uncovering a geeky reference in this game. When you do, though, you'll giggle like a sociopath swinging a cat around like that's a normal thing to do.

Giphy.com
If you are the one of two people who laughed at that joke,
share this review on Facebook and twitter! ;D

SO MUCH GOOOLD

Oh, and by now you're noticing a trend throughout the gameplay images and videos in this review: this game is pretty as shit. On consoles, there are some rough areas but the overall design direction is wonderful to behold with a black and gold motif that I haven't seen in a video game before. Complementing this color scheme, somber background music creates a fitting dark mood throughout the game. Sure "gritty" has been done before, and the graphical power won't blow you away, but the art design just might.

Square Enix, Any Pics.RU

The Nocturnal Rambler

Square Enix, Matchstickeyes.com

REWARDS THE INFORMATION SPONGES AMONG US

Speaking of things to do, the overworlds of Deus Ex: Human Evolution are a joy to explore, rewarding your efforts with hidden loot, characters with interesting dialogue, newspapers and journal entries, and multiple paths of your choosing for completing missions. It's no true adventure game as each overworld has only a few similar looking streets when compared to how large the cities are. It's a shame that this game gives you sneak peaks at awesome future cities only to confine you to a few dirty streets. That aside, though, Deus Ex: Human Revolutions shines in how much detail it packs into every inch of city block. Each shop you visit will have stocked items, appropriate signage, and sometimes customers. If you decide to kill the shop owner, disposing of the body in a storage closet, their body will still be there later on in the game, and you won't be able to purchase items from that store again of course. Also, depending on where you are in the story, if you hear riots in the background complete with police sirens, gunfire, and actual fire...


...there will be riots in the background complete with police sirens, gunfire, and actual fires. Granted you're not meant to actually explore the areas, but you can jump high enough to see over the barricades. Those are just a few examples of how Deus Ex: Human Revolution uses precise detail to make it's bleak setting feel alive. And once your game feels alive, it becomes more believable, making you want to save the world in this game...Or maybe you'll still want to massacre civilians for no particular reason. I'm not here to judge you.

Soumik99
Someone should judge you for this, though; this is just f'ed up.

KILL FOR TRUTH. OR DON'T. ITS YOUR CHOICE. PRO TIP: KILL THEM ALL

There's other stuff to do, too. Like shooting things to uncover the truth behind an over arching conspiracy. You have a variety of weapons to carry during each mission but meter your expectations. You won't ever go gung-ho in this game and enemy bullets hurt, damn you. Maybe you'll take three or four hits but then you are dead. This make gunfights challenging, and fun, but the trade off is that it can feel slow. But not always.


There's an incredibly well designed cover system, at least, that embarrasses other such systems this side of Gears of War, working seamlessly no matter what you throw at it. I've tried to make the system hiccup by hopping between cover objects that aren't exactly lined up, but each time the game's engine executes the tucks and rolls perfectly. This is where the RPG aspects come into play. Say you don't care for the gunfights, well you can spend in game points unlocking passive power ups such as a cloak, a walking noise silencer, or a power up that negates fall damage. These stealth options have a real impact on how you play, making it possible to complete the entire video game without killing a single enemy. That's right, the entire quest depicted in the video above as a bloodbath can be completed in 100% stealth. Edios Montreal allowing the player to choose how she or he plays the game is much appreciated in a time where too many games are more of the same "shoot hundreds upon hundreds of bad guys to win" types.

Then, less appreciated, are parts where you must hack your way into rooms. Thankfully, these hacking parts are mostly optional. Kinda of. I mean if you want to get the most out of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you'll spend some points on power ups that make hacking easier, rewarding you with the ability to open locked doors, to control remote turrets, surveillance cameras and robots.

Play-Mag
Not as confusing as it looks but every bit as boring as it looks.

Trouble is, the multitude of hacking sections feel forced, their primary inclusion only to slow down the gameplay. Again, you can choose to not hack every locked safe or in game computer, but your experience will suffer because of it. And that, fellow gamers, brings me to the less stellar aspects of this game.

THE NEGATIVES AREN'T TOO NEGATIVE, THOUGH

I've already mentioned how much a of dick tease the game's environments are, what with the cutscenes showcasing stunning super cities that you can't explore in all their glory. Then there's the fact that figuring out where to go isn't all that clear to begin with, another trade off due to the many choices the player is given on how to tackle any one situation. You are given waypoints for side mentions and main missions, but figuring out what the on screen letters and colors mean can be confusing when you're presented with more than one at once in a game full of hidden passages.

Matchsticks For My Eyes
The are five waypoints in this screenshot alone.
Pack a Snickers.

Never mind that your character, Adam Jensen, walks at the break neck speed of a shackled land tortoise despite his super human robot legs. Adam has super human robot legs, I mean, not the shackled land tortoise I just made up for the purposes of a joke. Anyway, even if you spend points on the sprinting power up, traversing the overworld between missions still feels slow. If I didn't know any better, I'd call it fake longevity. Studios should make games longer by giving you, the gamer, more reasons to play it. Making a super human robot man move like how I move after taco night is insulting to me as a gamer.

I wouldn't be fair if I didn't moan about how ass the "player choice" aspect plays out during actual gameplay. On paper, yes, you choose how you play the game. But you know what? In actuality, there's only one to three "correct" paths to take. If you aim to have a more balanced Adam, evenly spending points on stealth, hacking, and the more active power ups, the game feels infinitely more difficult. I am split as on if this was done intentionally, or if it's an overlooked flaw, but I am sure that its complete ass. It is a problem made worse once you release there's no mission select.

Oh, and yeah, there's no mission select! What kind of bloody design choice is that? If gamers would like to go back and make different choices for a different outcome, why can't they? All you can do is to hope you thought to make a save point before starting a side mission you didn't know was important until after you completed it. I guess Edios Montreal expects players to have brain augmentations to figure it out but we do not have such things now do we? There isn't even a mode where you can freely roam the overworld. If you'd like to play again, you had better hope you saved your game periodically or you will have to start completely over.

NOT FOR EVERY GAMER, BUT GIVE THIS COOKIE A TASTE ANYWAY

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an oatmeal raisin cookie: deceptively disguised as a delicious chocolate chip cookie on the outside, biting into it reveals what feels like tree bark in place of sweet chocolate and, what the hell, fruit? Of all the places to be, fruit in a goddamned cookie?! Of course you'll eat it anyway, if not for the decidedly rugged texture, but for the need to feed the tiny blood sugar goblins residing deep within you.

And believe it or not, some people enjoy oatmeal raisin cookies. Degenerates they may be but people they are none-the-less. That's Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It's slow, long gameplay design severely slashes any chance of widespread appeal, but those gamers who aren't willing to enjoy the slow paced ride aren't the ones that this title is meant meant for.

No, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is for a minority of gamers that can appreciate unique experiences, faults be damned. These gamers are patient, they enjoy exploring virtual realms tailor made for their minds steeped in sci-fi pop culture knowledge that, annoying in literally every conceivable setting, is a prerequisite for truly appreciating this game. Here is a video game that challenges you to think, to explore, to seek out new information at a pace that will keep you involved if you're the sort of person to enjoy hours of doing just that. If that type gamer is you, then Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a treat that'll rot your teeth in the best way possible.

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