I don’t play a lot of shooters these days. It isn’t that they are bad or boring games. Some of the better games I have played are shooters, like Timesplitter 2, Red Dead Redemption, Uncharted 2, Vanquish, Mass Effect 2, and Medal of Honor: The Rising Sun. Though it seems like every single year we get a Battlefield, a Call of Duty, and then a bunch of other shooters that try to kick the kings of the shooter genre off their high chairs with mixed to mostly negative results. There are some interesting ones like Homeland and Brink, but they don’t feel as finely polished or as entertaining as games I mentioned above. I guess I just want more variety than what I have seen with most shooters these days. This is where today’s game comes in, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the third game in the Deus Ex Franchise. So far, the critics and other reviewers have praised it highly as one of the best games of 2011, but how good is it, really? Not to say other Internet reviewers are wrong since we all have our own opinions, but I had a bit of a mixed reaction when I played through this game. I guess I could say it’s a good game, but with some faults. Let’s dive into the mechanical cyborg world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the PS3 and 360.
The story puts us in the futuristic and drab world of Detroit in 2027 where humans are now capable of having cybernetic upgrades or augmentations to their body. Of course, this doesn’t sound as glamorous since it also comes with riots about how terrible this kind of human evolution is and of course some other shady underworld dealings. You play as Adam Jensen a security guard, voiced by Elias Toufexis who you might have seen if you watched Smallville or Supernatural. During a surprise attack from a group of augmented beings that attack the company you are a security guard for, Adam basically gets pushed to near death while his exgirlfriend is killed. Six months after the event, Adam is brought back to life with a new augmented body and a pair of cool-looking shades. It is up to him to find out who was behind the whole attack, the murder of his exgirlfriend, and who were those augmented beings and wonder how the whole, pardon the pun, “Human Revolution” will happen. To be personally honest, I didn’t care much for the story. It kept me interested for a good while, but in the end, was a bit confusing and had some bland characters. Those are just my thoughts, since some people liked the complex, but still pretty confusing story.
The gameplay is an interesting mix of stealth, first and third person shooting, and conversation branch stuff. This is basically what Alpha Protocol should have been. You go around doing missions, which you can take on by either going in guns blazing or sneaking around and stealthfully killing enemies only when needed. You also, from time to time, take down bosses, hack computers to do all sorts of mischief, to take on optional side quests, and level up your character and upgrade new kinds of augmentations. These augmentations are a major mechanic since sometimes you need to unlock certain upgrades to progress through parts of the story, like having certain level hacking, stronger armor, not dying after jumping from a 7 foot tall ledge, invisibility cloaking, and make yourself a super robot action hero that Blade Runner would be proud of. You will usually be going around to different parts of the world to get questions answered, but those answers bring more questions to the table. The game also has a bit of strategy to it, due to the fact that even though it says you can tackle this game any way you want to, it really pushes you to go on stealth, which I will talk about later. You can knock out enemies or you can straight up kill them, but killing them causes them to make a sound, which is weird after you stabbed them or cracked their neck in half, the sound is what causes more troops in that area to swoop in, and hopefully, you are either hiding or you hid the body so they can’t find it and set off the alarm system. The main varieties of enemies you will be facing are usually soldiers and giant robots, with the occasional boss fight. There is also a conversation branch-style mechanic that you see in games like Mass Effect and the Witcher 2, where you could change the results of the conversation with whatever you choose to say. There is a huge amount of content for your dollar, which results in the game being about 20 or 30 hours or so of gameplay if you choose to tackle everything. It’s even more replay value due to multiple endings that you can go through, depending on what you do throughout the game and what decisions you make.
The graphics are high-end and look amazing. There is just a lot of flash and style to this futuristic Minority Report mixed with Blade Runner look. The music is also high quality and it matches the mood of whatever the situation is. The composer for this game is named Michael McCann. He is mostly famous for stuff like Splintercell: Double Agent, Tom Clancy’s EndWar, and shows like The Foundation. The voice acting is also good with some quality voice actors. The controls work perfectly and give off a great shooter and stealth vibe and movement. It isn’t buggy or glitchy in the least. To be honest, when I went into this, I knew it was more stealth than shooting, and I thought it was going to be like Mass Effect, but with stealth, and I’m glad it isn’t that.
(above: hate this guy)
However, I do have a few grips that kind of turn me off about the game. Even though you can choose how you go into the missions, like either go in filling everyone with lead or just find a stealthy alternate route, it leans more on stealth and really pushes you to go Metal Gear Solid on the missions. That is fine since this game can be difficult if you go in rushing through the levels, but I feel like my actions are more limited than they should be. This game is about choices, which I understand and fully respect, but I’d actually like to have the option to go in with a more offensive choice, due to very limited ammo pick-ups. I’m not really good at conserving my ammo, and that’s a fault on my side of this game. I guess what I’m saying is that I want a combat and stealth element, like in the Assassin’s Creed and the Rocksteady Batman games. Even though the graphics look beautiful and amazing, all the areas you visit seem to be the same drab color choice. The detail is great, but it all looks the same the more you go into the game. I also found side missions to be extremely tedious due to a huge amount of backtracking, which is, in of itself, a tedious way to make filler for a game. It doesn’t help that the map isn’t the best and the towns can get a bit confusing layout wise, that in returns make backtracking frustrating. The loading times are also annoying since they take a good 15 seconds or so, but I heard at launch they were much worse. I also felt like the boss fights were extremely disappointing. The whole game is saying, “ take the stealthier route for bigger rewards”, but the boss fights are mostly “ shoot them until they stop moving their leg”. It kind of breaks the pace a little and is more annoying than interesting, since I hear that in the past Deus Ex games, you could run away and avoid the boss fights entirely. I was expecting something more like the Batman Arkham games or the Assassin’s Creed style bosses. At least the company admitted they screwed up with the boss fights. I also found some characters to be a little bit interesting, but still on the bland side, and really not that memorable. Not that the whole cast is like that, NO SIR! It’s just a few and it somewhat pulled me out of the story.
At first, my final thoughts about Human Revolution were at an honest 7 out of 10. This was before I then kept playing and got through it enough to have some of my complaints taken down and realized that it is a really good game. It is one of the best I played in 2011, but I would put it in the number 10 spot since I didn’t enjoy it as much as other people did, which is reasonable in my opinion. I definitely enjoy the setting, story even if it is a bit confusing at times, the stealth elements, music, and voice work. However, I didn’t like the throwaway action elements, boss fights, repetitive-looking levels, confusing level layout from time to time, and not being as fully immersive as other free-roaming games like Red Dead Redemption. I would highly recommend at least checking this game out, but keep in mind it’s more along the line of stealth and not a super action film with cyborgs. It has probably dropped in price by now, so I could recommend it and the overpriced, but actually having a great Deus Ex style boss fight DLC, The Missing Link. Maybe I prefer more action over stealth or maybe I prefer action and stealth mixed together like in Assassin’s Creed or Batman Arkham City, which are the best in that category in my opinion. Its one of the best you could play from 2011, but as of now, I’m ready to play some more Mass Effect 2 so I will see you all later.
This game gets an 8 out of 10