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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review

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On 08/22/2011 at 11:27 PM by Stanton Daries

Worship the god out of the machine

For anyone who wants to experience a gaming classic.

Twelve years ago, Ion Storm created the original Deus Ex, combining role-playing elements into a first-person shooter, something that, while done before, had never had such polish. The game won multiple awards and still regarded as one of the greatest PC games of all time. Stepping into the role of a UN agent in a cyberpunk, dystopian future, you unraveled a massive conspiracy threatening the entire world. In 2003, a sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War was released and while generally well-received, it failed to deliver the quality and poise of its namesake and has become a sore spot for fans. Today, 11 years later, Square Enix has tried to revitalize the franchise and bring in a new generation of gamers while catering to the old guard with Deus Ex: Human Revolution - and boy did they succeed. Deus Ex: Human Revolution has managed to deliver one of the most enjoyable games I have played in years.

Taking place in the year 2027; 25 years before the original game, Human Revolution explores the transition in world history when human augmentation begins to become commonplace. You are Adam Jensen, an ex-SWAT officer turned private security for Sarif Industries, a world leader in human augmentation, and therefore a world leader in generating controversy.

You are immediately exposed to said controversy with an attack on Sarif HQ, which results in multiple deaths and Adam being crushed and left on death’s door. If not for the intervention of your boss, who orders you to be given every augment that can be crammed into your body, you’d surely have died. Instead your body is pushed to a level of augmentation far above most others in the world. After a lengthy six month recovery, you are given the simple objective of finding out who attacked the company and why, forcing Adam to step into a world full of conspiracies and misdirection.

Human Revolution keeps the same hybrid format found in the original game, between first person shooter and RPG; however, a heavy stealth element has been worked in. In fact it is entirely feasible to only need to fire your weapon during boss encounters. A hearty cover system exists where instead of relying on it purely for defense it is more geared towards getting out of enemies’ line of sight. You can definitely use the cover for gunfights, but until you have gotten some upgrades, they won’t often end well.

Previously mentioned, upgrades in the form of augmentations are what give the game its RPG twist. Everything you do will give you a set amount of experience, and every level you gain unlocks an augmentation point to learn a new ability or improve an existing one. There is a wide range of augmentations to choose from and it is very easy to cater to your exact taste and design. On my current playthrough I have maxed out my hacking ability and gained the ability to turn invisible, however I could’ve just as easily made myself a walking tank able to shrug off the most vicious of hits. Thankfully, augments are diverse allowing for interesting abilities. I’ve greatly enjoyed my two-person melee attack that ends in a vicious cut scene wherein Adam simply dismantles his foes with little more than an ounce of effort. Executing the move is satisfying and practical, especially for my more stealth driven gameplay style.

What makes Human Revolution so amazing is the fact that it allows you to truly play however you wish. You can be a heartless killer just beating a person to death to achieve your goals, or someone who refuses to take a life; you could sneak through every level, or punch down walls and decimate human spines with equal flair. The game will adapt to how you play and never make you feel like you made the wrong choice. A great example of this is having to infiltrate a gang’s territory to find a stash of weapons. Just getting into the territory requires bypassing a guard who’s watching the alley. With a cursory glance I had four ways to get past him: a) crawl through a steam vent and wind up behind him, leaving a weapon at my back, b) climb up a fire escape and jump the rooftops to give myself the high ground c) walk into the room next to him, punch through the wall and break his neck, or d) simply engage him in combat then and there. Any of those choices are fine and the game will actually adapt itself to your choice, with people mentioning your actions or wondering what happened to their buddy.

What adds to the immersion is the rich world you are put into. Each location has a distinctive and cohesive feel to it that you can easily envision existing in 16 years. The technology level on display, barring the augmentations, are things that we can see the roots of in modern day objects we are currently using. In addition to the obvious research that went on for the tech, the game designers created hundreds of custom brand names to stick into commercials or advertisements just to add an extra layer of depth to this hypothetical world.

Human Revolution is as close to perfect as a game can come. It has deep choices, a cohesive and interesting setting and story, engaging gameplay, and unbelievable replayability. Anyone who is even remotely interested should absolutely pick it up – it won’t disappoint.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:

All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.

These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.

This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.

Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.

Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.

A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.



Matt McLennan Staff Alumnus

08/23/2011 at 10:57 PM

Hmm, very good. I might get it on Steam once I get a Windows computer.

By the by, is Deus Ex, the original, really as good as everyone says it is?

Chris Mabrey Staff Alumnus

08/25/2011 at 03:22 PM

Awesome. The trailers sold me immediately, and the gameplay looked like it upheld the quality presented. Very glad to see such a positive reaction. Will definitely get this this weekend.

As for the original, I player through it this past Christmas. It looks incredibly dated and some aspects are archaic, but it was still plenty of fun. The level of choices and interactions are there, and the scale of the game was exciting to me. You can always wait for a Steam sale, and if it's too old for you, then no worries, but I would recommend trying it. It's good.

Stanton Daries Staff Alumnus

08/29/2011 at 09:01 AM

Like Chris said it is going to feel dated for anyone using it today, but it really does give you an deep environment to play around in.

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