Once again, we return to the Dues Ex franchise, and once again, I find myself eagerly awaiting the chance. But can Eidos capture the magic a second time within the same title? Come with me and visit the boat that Jensen cruised on.
Story: Imagine, if you will, getting onto a plane, eager to get to some new city to interview for your dream job, or even to have the best weekend of your life… and then finding right after departure you are on the wrong one. You might begin to be in Jensen’s mindset for this DLC adventure, but only barely. Taking place right after sneaking onto the Belltower ship, you find his trip is not going where he originally planned to go. Instead, he was discovered and taken prisoner onboard with his augmentations offline. Shortly after an interrogation and while left alone in his cell, Jensen’s restraints fail, letting him free to figure out where he is, why, and get closer to saving Megan.
While the story doesn’t really go far beyond the boat, it is exceedingly well written and shines a new light on the events, not only of this game, but on the entire franchise. You will be introduced to a new conspiracy that overlaps the events of this game and begins to form ties to the original more formally then anything DE:HR did on it’s own. Sadly, your encounters with other people will be very limited, however, as the entire story involves six distinct characters, five of which are exceedingly well written and the last is still very well voice acted, just like the rest of this game.
On top of this, the events in their own right are complete, and yet were able to be crammed into the main game without making my eyes roll. Quite an achievement for an add-on that manages to split one boat ride in stasis in the original title into two, and to do so with added depth on top of it! You will find little to disappoint here.
Graphics: As to be expected, the graphical quality of this game has not changed between game and DLC. This game still looks every bit as fantastic as it did when you first opened the original. However, unlike the original, there was room to play a little more with the kind of stormy weather one might find out at sea, so be ready to have your socks blown off on the few times you are outside. The storm simply looks fantastic.
Aside from that, you will pretty much have seen everything before, but that is partially by design in the story I praised above. Especially if you have finished the game, you will see a lot of things here that will leaving you either smiling or slightly disturbed, but clearly a hint of what you know will come. The effect is simply perfect.
Sound: With about five hours of gametime, do not expect a lot of unique sound track, if any at all. Most of the audio library already showed itself in the original game. However, this did require a few new conversations to to move this new chunk of story along, and these conversations were scripted very well. Sadly, there really are none that you can use to change how the characters behave around you, but instead you will just have to settle with picking every possible informant piece and enjoy the conversation before moving on. Sounds great, adds details that colors the universe that much more, but in the end, how you handle it is inconsequential. A little bit of a downside considering how many times you got to try to win situations by talking in the main game.
Gameplay: Basically when you start this game, you are starting new. All the augmentations you had are now gone. All your weapons you have stocked up, all your items, all gone. And considering you are starting as a prisoner escaping from his cell, this makes absolutely perfect sense. Eidos has said they did it this way to encourage the player to experiment and try a different build on Jensen, but in this respect, the DLC fails. You will not get nearly enough PRAXIS points (the currency to buy augmentation upgrades) to get nearly as powerful a build as you did in the original title. Yes, you can play with powers a little, but you will have to specialize way too much to really play with this as they expected.
That said, however, the DLC itself offers you more of the awesome gameplay the original title did. You will have plenty of options of how to deal with any situation, be it sneaking around the vents, outright gunfights, or even turning the security on the enemies. Everything you loved about the combat in the original survived on the way to the DLC. And with five hours to complete, you will have plenty of time to wreck everyone in any way you see fit.
But while five hours is not short for “just DLC,” I have to admit to personally being a little disappointed with how linear this experience was. To keep the story on track, it goes so far as to have to pass certain plot points before artificial limits get removed. A few examples of this are a key person not even being where they would normally be or hacking security levels being obscenely high until you are supposed to be looking at it. It’s a good move for story telling, but with how open the original game was, I would have liked a few more choices while I was in the game.
Bugs: I have had almost no issues with bugs here, but I did have the game completely crash once while I was shutting it down. It happened once and only once, and clearly when in response to leaving the game anyway, but I have to report it as it did happen.
Overall: While I would have loved a few more choices, I have to admit I was impressed with this DLC. I was expecting something short, sweet, and really not effecting the main story at all. What I got was a another slice of the great combat from the main game spiked with some of the most masterful ways to insert a little extra plot in the middle of main story and have a real impact. This was achieved even though it was placed where “ham-fisted” should have been unavoidable and the original did not seem to be missing anything. Despite not giving you any real freedom, it was an amazing experience and I have to recommend it to anyone who loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution. They will adore this, too.