This is an out of date review of Deux Ex: Human Revolution. This doesn’t cover the current Steam version which made quite a few changes to the title. An updated review is on its way but it may be a while.
April 30th, 2015 editor’s note. Deus Ex: Human Revolution has an updated version on the Steam store. The old version is no longer available so I’m no longer linking to it like I do in other reviews.
Greetings, welcome to this review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, (shortening it to DE:HR for this review), was a game developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix. It is the third game in the Deus Ex series and is the prequel to the original Deus Ex game. It is an Action RPG game, that combines combat, stealth, hacking and social interactions with other characters. Set in the near future, in a cyberpunk style world, you must unravel the mysteries and conspiracies of this world your in the game’s single-player campaign.
The year is 2027. The current state of the art technology is bio-mechanical human augmentations. These augmentations allow human beings to recover from the most severe injuries and can enhance all of their abilities. The world finds itself on the brink of a new age of human advancement. But, the non-augmented population questions this technology, the dependence upon a drug that prevents the body from rejecting the augmentations and the corporations’ intentions with these augmentations. There are choices to be made, choices that could affect future generations to come.
You play as Adam Jensen. A private security officer for a corporation called Sarif Industries. Sarif Industries, lead by CEO David Sarif, is one of the leaders of human augmentation R&D. While you start out the game as a non-augmented human being, the company is attacked, a science team is killed and Adam is badly injured. After undergoing extensive surgery and procedures, Adam comes back to life, a heavily augmented person. Given the extensive amount of augmentations, Adam is tasked with finding out who attacked Sarif Industries and why. You’ll go through a rather long campaign, around 28 hours, 32 if you include the DLC, investigating what happened at Sarif and why. There are also side quests that you get to do and plenty of exploring around the cities to fill that need. The exploration in this game is kind of addicting, so many nooks and crannies that stuff gets put into. You’ll also get to interact with a lot of interesting characters and go to some really neat locations. The game has a very good amount of content for the price of the game.
On a quick side note, when I started playing DE: HR, there was something going on that reminded me way too much of Mass Effect. For the first bit of DE:HR, the entire sequence reminded me of Mass Effect 2’s opening with the Normandy and the Cerberus Lazarus Project base. You just have to swap a few things here and there, put Adam Jensen in Space and you have ME2. Also, the ending of Mass Effect 3 was the exact same as DE: HR’s ending, at least in structure and how the game executed the ending. It was a bit unnerving. Considering that ME3 came out quite a bit after DE: HR, I’m guessing someone liked this game a bit too much and mixed their games up. It does makes me despise the ME3 ending because of how closely similar it is to DE: HR, the ending sequence is just too close to call it “creative similarities”. However, for the rest of the game the similarities go away and DE: HR plays out very differently from ME. It was just something I wanted to bring up in this review as something I had noticed when playing.
I came into this game with no idea what the Deus Ex series was about or how good DE:HR compared to its predecessors. So I’m not going to compare them. Still, I never felt like I lacked anything for not playing the other two. It is possible that certain events may have had more weight had I played the first Deus Ex, and maybe one day I shall. But I’m glad that the game never made me feel like I needed to have played the original in order to fully get this universe.
This game definitely makes you feel like what you do affects the world in some form or fashion. At the beginning of the game, I did what I usually do, explored my starting location. I do this to get a sense of the game and just because I like looking in every nook and cranny, especially at the beginning. Tends to give myself a sense of the game. While my boss Sarif was demanding I hurry up and get to the helicopter for his first mission, (a bunch of hostages had been kidnapped at one of their warehouses and he needed me to get back secret tech from it), I defiantly ignored him. I figuring that the game would wait for me, even as I explored the building to my heart’s content, even the ladies room *cough*. Little did I know that by delaying and not going on the mission Sarif wanted me to right away, it would cause the hostages at that mission to die. I was startled when I realized what my actions (or inaction as the case may be) had caused that. Usually games don’t “punish” you for just sitting around. Here DE: HR was, slapping me in the face for doing that. I didn’t roll back my saves, but instead continued on with the game, curious now what my inaction would cause. Well, not a lot of positive things. The NPCs I met at the mission banged it over my head that they were not happy with me. The newspapers reported on the incident, questioning why Sarif had delayed the cops like they had. The world reminded you of what you had done and I didn’t feel all that happy about it. I was even told that I hadn’t had a sex change lately and that I should stay out of the lady’s room. I had to laugh at the fact that the game included that bit of dialogue for something so minor. Later on, as another example, I let a certain important character go and there was a backlash for doing that. Sarif was unhappy with me and many of the employees of the company began questioning whether I was fit to be back on duty. The game has a lot of different ways it can play out and how your perceived can change depending on what you do. I love that this is in a game as it really enhanced the game and made me feel like what I did actually mattered. This does go on throughout the game too, which I found surprising and refreshing. I’d like to see more games do this.
The game features a rich and diverse set of characters. I was amused that Adam’s main logistical support was Frank Pritchard. These two had a very antagonistic relationship throughout the game and it was rather amusing listening to them banter/bicker back and forth over the course of the game. (Check out the below screenshot to get an idea of said banter). I kind of wish it explained why they had such a sour relationship with each other. There are a few more characters I wish they fleshed out the back story as well, but never did. It isn’t like it was necessary, but it would have been nice for a lore nut such as myself. That aside, DE: HR’s list of characters is diverse and very interesting to converse with. Which is great considering the game features one of the most advanced social interaction systems I’ve played with yet. I really enjoyed that depending on how you talked with people, it would affect the situation and outcome you were in. Even using the social augmentation to attempt to influence some people would actually backfire on you and that was rather surprising to have happen. I really liked that they went that in depth with the system because it gives a significant amount of replayability to the game, just so you can see how your interactions with people would affect the world at large. There was a couple of times that the same voice actors were used for multiples characters, but it wasn’t too often. And there are plenty of memorable characters you get to meet, leader of the Humanitarian front, crime bosses and many more characters to meet. The story of the game was very good, though I’m a bit iffy on the ending, it had a great plot and a few twists that caught me off guard. Overall, I really enjoyed the story and the universe that it was in.
Combat in this game is solid, based around the first person perspective except when behind cover then it is a third person perspective. You regenerate your health, but the regeneration takes a long time to come back so its only really useful outside of combat. In order to use certain augmentations, you have a battery that regenerates, but only the first battery, so even if you get more than one battery bar, the game will only charge the first one. Your given a plentiful choice of weapons for going the killing route. Everything from blades on your arm, pistols, sniper rifles and to assault weapons, the game gives you a wide variety of weaponry. Some of the weapons were a bit on the ridiculous side though, one being a giant laser cannon that goes the entire length of your arm. You can go the pacifist route in this game by knocking people out with stun guns, your fists or a few other weapons. There is one stun-gun in the game that allows you to knock out multiple people, apparently, but far more often the gun wouldn’t knock them all out so they would be rushing to hit the alarm. I eventually dropped that gun because it got too annoying. I will say, knocking people out with your fists was incredibly satisfying to watch, even more so when you got an augmentation that could knock out two people close together. Shooting was fairly meaty as a whole. Oh, i guess I should add that you can find grenades and mines that can be quite useful in this game. There are other assorted items such as painkillers which regenerate your health instantly, energy bars that recharge your batteries
DE: HR has its flaws though. One of the main problems I had was that the character and facial animation is bad. Considering how much of this game has you talking with other characters in the world, this is something I really scratch my head at why they let it be this bad. Everyone is twitching around and constantly moving. You begin to wonder whether everyone in this universe is extremely paranoid or they are the antsiest people ever. Thankfully, they did a better job on the cut-scenes so the characters weren’t doing that all the time, but it was still there. It is ignorable, I just wish they had done a better job. I’m still kind of iffy on whether i liked the energy system in the game. I know I didn’t like that using your blades or fists to take people out cost energy. Considering how difficult it is to get in close range, having to wait for energy to recharge was really annoying to deal with. On a side note, I found it funny that you could go into random people’s apartments, steal all their goodies and walk out and the most they would give you would be a stern warning to get out. Like this guy pictured below, I robbed him of his stuff, walked out and he never said a word to me about it.
Another major problem DE: HR has is its bosses. For me, they are my least favorite parts about this game. The bosses were very unfun. They could kill you in an instant, especially if you didn’t have any combat augmentations, you had no choice but to kill them and they felt like they were an afterthought, thrown in at the last minute. The fact that you had no choice but to kill them was very off-putting in a game that trumpted about giving you choice. The final boss was the worst and not to give anything away, but playing “avoid the electrical part of the floor” is not a boss fight. It is an exercise in frustration. For the boss fights, I had to tone down the difficult level down to easy just so I could get by them without pulling all my hair out of my head. I’ll give Eidos credit though, in “The Missing Link” DLC, they did a much better job with the boss, giving you a couple of options to take down the boss and he didn’t insta-kill you. I wish they had done the same job on the regular bosses or even updated the original bosses. I think they would have been a lot more enjoyable.
The game offers a great sense of world and atmosphere. It oozes style and really gives you a very futuristic feeling to it, while still remaining familiar and close to home. The locations feel genuine, even the places the look big, look like they could have been made by humanity. When your playing this game and you see a window, look out it every chance you get. If you don’t, you may miss out on an incredible vista. The game is full of great views of city landscapes, oceans and other locations. It really gives you a sense of perspective and scale of the world that your running around it and was a treat to absorb it all in. I collected a few of them and have been putting them into the review, just to give you an idea of how good these vistas looked. The music also matches really well with the overall theme of the game and has some great tracks.
I got the “special edition” of this game with its extra content like the official soundtrack, art book and other behind-the-scenes stuff. Its worth a buy just for the soundtrack alone. The only DLC I got for this game is “The Missing Link” DLC via a gift (thanks) and is definitely worth the price. It comes as a separate game and fills in a part of the story that wasn’t in the original game. You awake on a ship without any of your augmentations and you must find out what the ship is doing and figure out a way of getting out of the mess your in. There is about five hours of content in the game and is very well fleshed out with its own story and unique locations. As mentioned above, the boss fight is also better designed and much more fun to fight against. I would definitely recommend getting The Missing Link. As far as the other two weapon-pack DLCs go, I’m not sure that they are necessary, but if you want the weapons they give you, why not.
This game was a lot of fun to play. It really was a lot of fun to play and I enjoyed almost every minute of it. It was well polished for the most part and I liked the setting. I want to play more games like this one and I am pretty sure at some point down the line, I’ll replay the game to get different experiences out of it. I really enjoyed that I could approach a situation from many different angles as well as how in-depth the conversation system was. The story was very interesting & engaging and the characters memorable. DE:HR was well crafted and oozes style and fun. It reminded me of the fun I had with Metal Gear Solid games, except less crazy plots. The developers deserve a kudos for the work they put into this game, despite its flaws, problems and terrible boss fights. I hope that Eidos creates another game out of the Deus Ex franchise. They have built a really solid base with Human Revolution and I see a lot of potential with these developers so here’s hoping. If your looking for a unique Sci-Fi experience with interesting moral choices and other features as mentioned above, give Deus Ex: Human Revolution a try.
So until next time…