Can the series ‘Evolve’ and not…’Revolve’?
I’d like to say my partner of almost six years is perfect in every way, but there’s room for improvement in everything nowadays. I wish she could spout an umbrella from her head in severe downpours. I wish she could spawn fire from her eyes so I could make Smores on demand. I wish she had thermal fingers so she could heat up my coffee should I be too distracted by the neighbours car she lit alight in a crazy Smores related incident. When I started out on Deus Ex: Human Revolution, I thought it would be a beautiful world of innovative improvements, but after 20 hours of indebting myself to its vision of a grim future, I can’t help but reconsider.
Set in 2027, Deus Ex: Human Revolution focuses on a future where although it may be easy to upgrade your loved ones with cybernetic augmentations, it certainly isn’t ethically all black and white. Most of humankind want to remain more flesh that metal, and natural purists are taking extreme measures to get their views across. After a harsh terrorist attack on the world’s leading augmentation corporation, protagonist Adam Jensen is left critically injured and in need of help of some bi-centennial help in order to survive. Now a heavily augmented fleshy droid and a fore-runner in the controversial technology, Jensen is forced into a global conspiracy where the lines of good and evil blur as much as skin and iron, and sets out to sleuth, kick ass and pull of the greatest Neo from The Matrix impression I’ve ever seen.
Despite donning the look of science fictions slow-mo kickass hard man, Jensen isn’t encouraged to run along walls guns blazing. Wave to an armed guard and you’ll face a wall of paranoid and panicked bullets which will down you in less than a second, and health regeneration is so painfully slow that it feels like all the robotics have been shot out of Jensen and he has to gather them back up from the floor and behinds sofas before he can progress. Despite its gun-toting, first person demeanour, Deus Ex:Human Revolution certainly feels a lot more focused on a stealthy approach than a lethal one, and if its slight disdain for weapons isn’t obvious in the gameplay, it is whenever you talk to a civilian who shouts at you for pointing your gun at them and telling you to put it away. Those looking to blitz the competition with bullets and conventional FPS logic whilst walking around punching in walls will be unpleasantly surprised with the fact you can’t be the nonchalantTerminator of their dreams. There’s a horrid lack of ammo,vendors which sell out of items after a quick shopping spree and shooting from cover practically relies on nothing but blind fire. Poke your head out for a sneaky peak and aim, and you’ll post likely be sniped in between the eyes
The beauty of these rather restrictively aggressive rules however, is you’re taken back to gaming 101. The rules don’t feel like they’ve changed, but they certainly feel unfamiliar in this climate, and as you get to grasps with your new capabilities, you begin to learn when and where it’s necessary to fire off your weapon. Missions usually have several different ways of being tackled and several routes to choose from, so it’s just as important to plan ahead as it is to actually pull off such sneaky spectaculars. Tackling quests in your own makeshift processes are damn satisfying when you pull them off without a hitch and feels incredibly rewarding no matter what way you play.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution stands out as a near-perfect example of how an action-RPG should work
Along with your natural evolution in tactical takedowns and forward thinking, Jensen can spend hard earned experience points on upgrades and traits. Silent footsteps, the ability to chuck dumpsters at soldiers, turning invisible on demand. All are such epic treats to indulge in, and it’s a shame that you can’t get them all. It’s always rewarding to be one step closer to becoming something of a mechanical God, but each step is a cautious one. Every time you spend your XP on a particular power, you’re cheering one moment for your decision, but slapping yourself on the head another moment where the other power you were tempted to get would’ve been really useful. Because of this, no matter what difficulty you play at, you’re decisions in your own evolution make the whole experience an incredibly balanced one which always keeps you on your toes as to what the next scenario may force you into.
The subtle and sneaky gameplay feels incredibly fluid, but unfortunately is thrown in the bin when it comes to boss fights. Relying on standard run-and-gun techniques, it’s where the flaws in the FPS element of the title really sticks out, as the conventional battles mixed with the non-conventional mechanics clash horribly. I managed to kill the final boss with the right weapon in a matter of half a minute. Needless to say, I would’ve liked to have seen encounters which flowed more seamlessly than these choice encounters.
Other than this, the game is an incredibly fluid experience. Though you’re thrown into storyline missions with a clear beginning and end, the middle is for you to shape entirely, and outside of that you can run around the main city hubs searching for side quests and just prat about with your new found super human capabilities. On your initial playthrough, the game can take around 15-20 hours to complete just tackling the main missions alone, but it’s hard to resist the intricately formed side quests which all present intriguing conflicts whilst never straying completely off from your main objectives.
The world is something of an incredibly dismal prospect of the future, almost one step away from Blade Runner, yet still riles up intrigue thanks to its believable environments and intriguing architecture in city hubs. Deus Ex: Human Revolution certainly isn’t the prettiest game of the year, yet its stark presentation of a grim future certainly manages to paint a vivid and disturbingly believable in its dinginess.
What I’m most impressed by in helping give the world some true sustenance however is the title’s lenience with your choices. You can act like the complete jerk and won’t be condemned for it. You won’t be punished for neglecting certain side quests or treating everyone like dirt. It doesn’t patronise you by stating how much of a goodie or a baddie you are and is narratively fulfilling with no matter what statements you make, and doesn’t enforce the route to your final ending, all four intelligent conclusions being selectable right at the end of the game. Thanks to the lack of spoon feeding and pigeon-holeing, yet clear consequence in actions, your choices never feel so incriminating that’ll block off certain parts of the game and in turn, squander your chances of certain rewards. With no right or wrong, there’s something more natural and liberating about progressing in conversation, and well as more narratively grati
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game which forces you to think outside the box, and kick your brain into a non-linear gear and play by its rules, it’s marvellous to watch the game mechanics slowly unravel as well and meticulously as the plot. It takes a while to really engage with it, but once you do, it draws you in and keeps you glued to the screen until the very end. Nail biting stealth segments, rewarding story progression, loads of quests to complete and a narrative which just gets richer with every choice you make, Deus Ex: Human Revolution stands out as a near-perfect example of how an action-RPG should work which other efforts should really learn from.
The Bad: Poor boss battles, Gunplay isn’t exactly fully realised