Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review

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It's been over 10 years since the release of Ion Storm's original Deus Ex (also called "Deus Ex: The Conspiracy"). The first game has been considered one of the best PC games of all time and even spawned a sequel entitled Deus Ex: Invisible War and later a spiritual sequel was released called Project: Snowblind. Both of the original Deus Ex games combined the gameplay elements of a first-person shooter with those of a role-playing game and placed the player in the role of a character that becomes entangled in a conspiracy that seeks to change the world. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, developed by Eidos Montreal, is the third game in the series and is actually a prequel to the original game.

In Human Revolution, the player takes control of Adam Jensen, the security chief for one of the game's most powerful industries (Sarif Industries). Adam gets involved in an attack on the company and is heavily wounded and forced to receive augmentations against his own will in order to save his life. Besides gaining some of the most stylish shades for a lead character in a Deus Ex game, Adam gains many new abilities and the possibility of further enhancements through his augmentations in order to help him track down those responsible for the attack.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution screenshot 1

Human Revolution once again combines the same first-person shooter and role-playing game elements just like the previous Deus Ex games and it also adds in several new elements as well. The game focuses on combat, stealth, hacking and exploration. Each area is much more finely detailed in terms of gameplay and options when compared to previous Deus Ex games.

Combat and stealth were both big parts of the first two Deus Ex games and they have been enhanced greatly in Human Revolution. Instead of staying in a constant first-person view, the game will switch to a third-person view while Adam takes cover or performs any type of melee attack. Adam can lean against walls and use them to help him slip by or sneak up on enemies. Many different stealth attacks and kills are available to the player and they will activate randomly after a player sneaks up on an enemy and performs a stealth attack.

A player can decide to kill enemies or stun enemies - this factors into the game's leveling system, which will be discussed later in the review. Besides melee, tons of gun weapons are made available as the game progresses such as a handgun, sniper rifle, combat rifle, machine gun, heavy rifle, shotgun, revolver, tranquilizer gun, stun gun and a few others. Adam also has a typhoon weapon which can be added through augmentation.

Besides fighting, you'll also be exploring several areas that the main story will lead Adam to. Other than main story missions, the game has many side quests that will give extra rewards upon completion. Hacking devices to gain entry to forbidden areas can be done throughout the game in order to find hidden items and gain entry to some areas.

When a player chooses to hack a device, the game will enter a hacking mini game where a player will have to activate certain nodes in an attempt to gain control of a device. A security system will attempt to shut down the infiltration based on your actions. The system has a certain chance to start the shutdown process based on certain percentages found on the nodes that a player must capture - basically each node has a certain percentage for causing a shutdown process. Software programs can be gained throughout the main game that can be used to stop the shutdown process for a few seconds once it starts or a program might be used to instantly overtake a node. The hacking mini game is quite detailed and is a great distraction from the usual gameplay.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution screenshot 4

One thing that a player will learn while playing Human Revolution is that the most obvious choice of action to a situation is not always the best. There are several hidden paths throughout the game that can be used to avoid conflict or gain quick entry to an area. There were many times where I would go through quite a bit of trouble to slip by several guards only to find that I could have used an air duct to lead me past all of them! Some alternate paths require a certain unlocked skill in order to use them also.

The game has a leveling system much like a role-playing game where Adam will gain experience that will unlock Praxis kits used to further enhance his augmentations. Experience is gained through many actions such as fulfilling normal story objectives, finishing side quests, finding alternate routes through an area, hacking devices along with many other actions. The experience gained from defeating enemies will change depending on how they are knocked out or killed.

There is quite a bit of enhancements that Adam can gain through upgrading his augmentations with Praxis kits. He can increase his defense, use a transparent stealth cloak, see through walls, be able to fall from any distance without taking damage, increase his chances at hacking successfully, activate his typhoon weapon (much like a super attack), make himself immune to EMP grenades and electricity as well as many other upgrades that are unlocked with Praxis kits.

Besides upgrading augments, Adam can also upgrade his gun weapons. Gun upgrades are hidden throughout the game and can also be bought from certain merchants. Firing speed, reload, damage and other properties can be upgraded depending on the weapon type.

If you've played the first two Deus Ex games then you'll know them well for their deep story. Human Revolutions is just as deep in story as the first two games. There are several files and emails on PCs to read throughout the game. The flow of the story can be changed in some instances based on a player's decisions in some areas of the game. There are quite a few conversations where a player must choose certain responses in order to persuade a character to take a certain choice of action. The next objective will sometimes change based on a player's choices throughout the game.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution screenshot 7

Human Revolutions looks absolutely beautiful while walking around the many huge areas of the game. There is much attention to detail in the environments, surroundings and lighting effects. For instance, there will be a foggy haze caused from the sunlight that pours through the window in some hallways. Toward the end, there is an outside area with sweeping snow that is carried by the wind. Environments cannot be interacted with much at all besides picking up certain objects that the game permits use of, but they look gorgeous! Human Revolution often repeats a blend of orange and yellow colors in many of its backgrounds to help match the high-tech look that it is going for.

Character models for main characters are all highly detailed. Augmented characters have cuts and bruises all over their bodies from the surgery they have had and many of the main characters have their own distinguished appearance. The character models used for ordinary civilians have a habit of being repeated quite a bit. The character models are detailed, but it's not uncommon to run into a civilian that looks just like the cop you ran into in the same room! Sometimes civilian models have only a slight tweak such as a goatee that make them appear different from others. This is a common flaw in many other games, but Human Revolution seems to repeat models quite a bit at times.

Human Revolution runs quite well for a game with so much movement that can be caught on the screen at one time. I found only a few traces of slowdown and framerate issues as I made my way through the game. The game loads in between areas, but the areas are quite huge, so loading screens are often few and far between!

The overall soundtrack is full of atmospheric tunes that add to the game's overall mysterious mood. Character voices are all well acted out in cutscenes and during in-game chats. Each character has a distinct personality all their own. Boss fights can truly come to life with the music and character speech during the battles.

The controls were quite comfortable once I got used to them. Stealth maneuvering and gunplay is easy to manage no matter if the game is in a third person or first mode. I did have some slight problems with Adam suddenly leaning out of cover when I would tilt the camera, but that was because the camera was not directly facing Adam - my problem and not the game's.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution screenshot 9

Human Revolution has multiple endings and many extras that can be easily missed so it has quite a bit of replay value. The different choices that can be made will change the story somewhat, so a player will have to go through the game multiple times to see some of the different outcomes in some areas. I must admit that after viewing the trailers for Human Revolution, I was a bit worried that the game would have too much of an action focus, but it still blends the action and role-playing experience well like its predecessors. The game improves upon every aspect that helped to make the last two Deus Ex games so much fun to play. Human Revolution deserves every bit of hype that the game has gotten since its unveiling and it is a sure contender for game of the year.

The Good:
+ Very impressive environments and surroundings
+ Deep story with multiple endings
+ Tons of variety in augmentation upgrades

The Bad:
- Minor character models are overused at times
- Slight traces of slowdown and framerate problems

Final Rating: 96%. If you've never played a Deus Ex game before, there is no better place to start than Human Revolution!


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