Deus Ex: Human Revolution
AMD Phenom II X4
AMD Radeon HD 5850
Ok, before I begin this review, let me just get one quick-ish-but-not-quite thing out of the way. The original Deus Ex is my favourite game of all time. Not in my top 5, or top 3 or 'one of the best'. It is THE best game I've ever played. It redefined to me what was actually possible in a video game. Before that, the title of 'best game ever!' was held firmly by Final Fantasy 7 then Deus Ex came along and kicked it squarely (pun intended) in the one eyed wonder weasel. Anyway, more to the point, my three preferred genres back then were stealth (e.g. Thief), RPG (Final Fantasy) and FPS (...Redneck Rampage?). Deus Ex effortlessly managed to combine the best elements of those genres into one 30+ hour game experience of pure Sci Fi conspiracy themed awesomeness. SO, now comes the big question! The one question that is no doubt on ...at least one persons mind! Does Human Revolution dethrone the almighty Deus Ex?!!
....No. Not by a long shot. It is however one seriously good game that has a sense of maturity and complexity that's long been missing from modern, mainstream games.
Deux Ex: HR (HR for the rest of this review) is a first person, RPG, cyber punk themed action game developed by Eidos Montreal and is a sequel to, what most people consider to be the best PC game of all time, Deus Ex. Set 25 years before the original, HR takes place in a world where Bio-mechanical Augmentations are, to quote Zoolander's Mugatu ,"So hot right now". You take on the role of Adam Jensen, a security officer working for Sarif Industries, one of the leading companies that specialize in Augmentations. Jensen's day starts off to a brief conversation with his current flame, Megan Reed - a scientist for Sarif who's supposedly made a huge discovery with Augmentations - and ends with an attack on the facility where he gets beaten, thrown through glass, shot in the face and left for dead. Somehow Jensen survives all of this long enough to be, quite literally, stripped apart and rebuilt from head to toe with Augmentations. Six months later Megan (plus other missing scientists from the attack) have been declared dead and Jensen is prematurely called out of hibernation due to a hostage situation at a manufacturing plant. So begins Jensen's mission to uncover the conspiracy behind the aforementioned attacks whilst also struggling to deal with his new found 'abilities' and the prejudices that come with them ...or something to that effect anyway.
The games architecture and design can be quite jaw dropping at times. Especially in 3D
complete fucking travesty disappointment that was Invisible War, Eidos have very wisely taken the franchise back to its roots. Gone are the simplified inventory, weapons that all use the same ammo and the baron environments from IW and instead, they are replaced with features that are more in touch with what we expect from an RPG. The real beauty of HR is not just in the smaller details but instead, the variety of ways to play through the game. Much like the original, HR allows players to tackle each level however they see fit. Can you be a cyberpunk ninja, sneaking around and picking off guards one by one? Damn straight. Can you blow the door up, run in like Chuck Norris on crack and spray the walls with your enemies blood? Absolutely! Can you hack into the local security systems, turning the enemy defence drones against them whilst you drink beer and watch the news in the next room? Oooh yes. You could play through the game 10 times and find yourself taking on each mission differently. There is only one snag with this freedom and it’s a sore subject for a lot of people so far and that’s the boss fights. In a game that essentially tells the player ‘you don’t have to kill anyone’, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth that there are four boss fights that force you to kill. Unlike a lot of people however, I actually quite enjoyed them. Each boss was like a puzzle and I found it quite satisfying to figure out there weaknesses. however I can see how people who were low on ammo or didn’t have the right Augmentations would find them very frustrating.
Jensen’s sudden urge to kill was pacified by his desire to do the tango.
Speaking of Aug’s, as the game goes on and you earn xp for completing missions, being stealthy etc. You start to earn piraxes points which can then be used to unlock Augmentations. If you want to go the action route, you can get Aug's that improve your aim, allow you to take down multiple opponents or even shoot explosives out of you arse (ahem, back) that kill everyone around you or, if you prefer stealth, you can get things like silent running and the ability to see through walls. This whole feature is one of the game's greatest strengths but also its biggest weakness. Once you reach around the half way point, your character will more than likely be heavily modified and, if like me, you went down the stealth root, then the game can become snore inducing-ly easy. For example, on one of the missions in the middle of the game, your target locks herself in a safe room and a large stack of guards fill the area, already aware that you're there. If your character was more inclined to shoot first and ask questions later then this would potentially lead to an intense shoot out but if you'd upgraded your Stealth Aug's like me, you could eat a few energy bars, activate your cloak and just run through all of them.
- Excellent level design: Jaw dropping architecture and environments that feel 'alive'
- Well optimised: My frame rate never went below 60fps on max settings
- Michael Mccann’s a genius: One of the best game scores I've ever heard.
- Voice Acting: Solid voice acting all round (with the exception of a few smaller characters)
- Conversation: Brilliant (and occasionally butt clenchingly tense) conversation system
- Upgrades: Good variety of ways to upgrade not only your character but also your weapons (including gun mods and making your own mines)
- Game Length: Decent length with huge potential for multiple playthroughs
- Boss Fights: Much like marmite, you’ll either love them or hate them ...most seem to hate them.
- Mini games: Hacking is great fun to start with but can start to grate later on
- Stealth: Some of the stealth Augs can make the game far too easy
- Graphics: Doesn't really look like a "DX11 powered game” should. I could barely notice the difference between DX9 and DX11
The first Deus Ex was a cult hit and one of the best PC games ever made. Unfortunately the second installment in this franchise called "Deus Ex: The Invisible War" was far from what fans of the series expected and by some even a disgrace to the Deus Ex name. Human Revolution was promised to be the savior of the franchise and a step back to the roots of what made the first one so great.
The fact is they really delivered! This game is absolutely fantastic: there is always more than one way to get the job done, the game world abides to logical rules, there is rich characters and dialog, a great story, great looking environments, brilliant voice overs and fantastic music. Even though it’s very good, it has some short comings. First, as you probably have already heard, being the boss fights – there are no deviations, you either fight or die. Secondly the ending – it’s not that bad but compared to the rest of the game it’s a bit of a let-down. And then the graphics – the art style is brilliant, the environment is detailed but it just seemed that it could have been a bit better and this is most obvious on supporting NPC’s. But who cares about these minor flaws compared to what the game really offers?