The lights are on
I had high hopes for Human Revolution. After playing the original and being blown away by the depth of it (especially during the time it came out), the long awaited prequel left me feeling satisfied yet not altogether blown away like I was before. The E3 trailer for Human Revolution raised my expectations for it considerably, especially in the visual aspect. In the final game the visuals do impress in certain categories. The environments are splendid, and it's always a pleasure getting to fly in to the vast skyline that all the cities have. Also, the cut scenes in the game are well put together and a pleasure to watch, especially the small take off and landing scenes.
On the downside, it was utterly painful to watch any of the characters talk, their facial animations are horrendous. I'm not sure what the deal is with that when I've seen better animations in much smaller-budget games. I guess they just got lost in the overall design. Another frustration that I had with the game is that although there is a good deal of exploration and side quests to complete, I was unable to finish really any of them due to the upgrades that I chose not fitting the requirement to get into certain areas. I understand that lots of abilities are necessary to give choice to the player, but I was unable to upgrade even half of them due to the fact that I couldn't get enough praxis points from completing side quests. It was kind of a vicious cycle that stopped me from thoroughly enjoying the game.
Playing through a second time I would know which upgrades to get first in order to be able to explore at my will. It would be better if Adam progressively unlocked new basic upgrades after completing main quest segments, leaving other specialized upgrades for the player to decide. I think it's safe to say that everyone wants to jump higher, run faster, and survive poison gas. It belittles the player to have to spend praxis points on such basic upgrades. I also have a problem with having robotic arms that run on tiny batteries, only being able to punch anyone when you eat a candy bar. I won't discuss the boss fights since I assume Eidos has learned their lesson.
Frustrations aside, Human Revolution is an absolute delight to explore, and once you get some of the more hefty upgrades it starts to get really fun. Feeling invincible with an array of special abilities at your disposal is definitely a good one, it just takes a while to get there. The story is fairly compelling, and the action is constant. Weapons are fun, especially once upgraded. The soundtrack is appropriate, one that I am very fond of. The setting is gorgeous, and it's evident that a lot of time went into putting it together. Overall Human Revolution is a well put-together game with a few frustrations along the way. I would definitely give it another play through and hopefully enjoy the experience a whole lot more.
This is a good review.