It’s been a long time since the original Deus Ex blew everyone out of the water and changed the way people thought about first person shooters. Does Eidos Montreal’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution do the series justice, or could it have used some more “augmentations” of its own?
It is the very near future in a urban sprawl feeling very much inspired by Blade Runner and Shadowrun where human beings are modifying themselves with physical upgrades called “augmentations”. It’s about two decades prior to the original Deus Ex and human beings aren’t exactly keen on the idea of people modifying their bodies in such extreme ways. Humanity is divided as to the moral and ethical debate for this version of human evolution, and many factions within society look down upon these modified humans known as “augs”.
You play as Adam Jensen, the security chief to a major bio-engineering firm named Sarif Industries. On the night before Sarif Industries is supposed to take part in a major Senate subcommittee hearing that could set the course for future human evolution law, the central headquarters is raided by a team of augmented mercenaries and you’re nearly killed trying to protect Sarif’s chief researcher (and your ex-girlfriend). You are forced to undergo the augementation process simply to survive your injuries, and you come back on to find out who conducted the attack so you can viciously murder the lot of them. Of course, there is intrigue and conspiracies happening from the word “go”, but the storyline remains easy enough to keep track of thanks to a pretty solid pause menu, as well as an ingenious load up screen the first time you boot up your save from a break that you can read up on your progress on “the story so far”.
A first person shooter that regularly snaps to third person when you are in cover, the game’s control scheme will be a little off-putting for folks who are accustomed to a Call of Duty or Battlefield: Bad Company layout. Instead of zooming in to aim with the left trigger, it snaps you into and out of cover. Even after 12 hours of playing the game, I would regularly use the right bumper to open up the quick inventory menu only to realize I was cooking a grenade off in my hand. It takes a little getting used to, especially as the controls feel a little clunky when you’re in cover.
Getting that nasty bit out of the way first, the gameplay is brilliant. As Adam Jensen, you’re sent into a locations to get from point A to point B, but the game gives you a variety of options to choose from to get the job done. One of the first missions of the game has you infiltrating a police station to get into the morgue. There is, of course, the unconventional “kick-the-door-in-and-shoot-everyone” approach. Or you can talk with the desk sergeant and try to convince him to let you in. Or if your hacking skill is high enough, you can sneak through the sewers and unlock a service door into the precinct. Or if you’ve got a leg augmentation, you can simply hop the fence and up to a fire escape…I’m sure there are even a few more ways in I hadn’t found.
Wrap up on the next page!