The lights are on
I am writing reviews as a hobby. My ideal career is in making robotics, especially robotic limbs and bionics; So it's easy to see how I would be incredibly excited about this game. I am happy to say that I am not disappointed. This game makes you feel like a bionic badass, and in most situations it does it very well. Unfortunately it is not without it's faults. Faults, which make play styles different than my own far less feasible, and which (at least for me) eliminate a significant amount of desire to play through the game again.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is Edios Montreal's reboot of the Deus Ex series which debuted in 2000. In the original Deus Ex you play a cyborg implanted with various kinds of nanotechnology, which allow you to explore and complete missions in the open world as you see fit. Human Revolution takes place in 2027, twenty five years before the original game. As a result the technology that your character is combined with is far from nano. This "downgrade" of technology between the two games leads to some very cool CGI scenes and animations on the part of all the characters who are infused with technology (augmented).
In Human Revolution you play as Adam Jensen, the head of security for a company that makes robotic prostheses and upgrades (augments). Within the first half hour of the game Jensen gets thoroughly and completely beat to *** (pardon the french) and his ex girlfriend's R and D team gets kidnapped by heavily augmented mercenaries. The critical path for the rest of the game is Jensen searching for the kidnappies, and unraveling a rather impressive conspiracy along the way. I found the story to be compelling with plenty of twists and turns. Additionally there was not a lack of excitement as might me expected from a game who's story is focused on clandestine conspiracies. The NPCs Jensen primarily interacts with are very human characters. They have flaws like real people and the voice acting is done superbly, adding significantly to the depth of the characters. There are also side-quests galore. All of which aren't overuses item collection style task. Each quest has a sense of importance to the story and the world.
Surprisingly Jensen's role in the story was slightly disappointing. In several situations you are given choices of what you want Jensen to say, or how you want Jensen to react to an NPC's statement. The choices are represented by keywords summarizing the content of the statement like "empathize" or "dismiss." The speech system's UI is implemented wonderfully. When you hold the cursor over a specific option it will show you verbatim what Jensen is going to say; unlike other similar choice systems *cough* Bioware *cough.* The unfortunate thing about Human Revolution's system is that some of the options you can choose make Jensen seem like a spoiled, self-loathing, whiny child. This is in stark contrast to Jensen's normal Cyborg-Neo persona. The whiny choice are especially frustrating when they are made mandatory in order to successfully persuade other NPCs in some situations.
In addition to persuasion the game play gives you the option to be either stealthy, with the ability to assassinate or knock out enemies a la Thief, or you can tactically gun down and break your surroundings a la Battlefield. Unlike most first person perspective games Human Revolution goes into third person view when Jensen takes cover, a mechanic relatively unheard of in first person games. Both options play really well and both are challenging unless you have upgraded Jensen in the appropriate manner. A large part of exploration involves logging on to computers and wall consoles that don't belong to you, or, with the right upgrades, breaking the corresponding walls. You can log onto the various electronics by either finding the passwords on soldiers' unconscious or dead bodies, or by taking part in a hacking game. The one problem with the game play proper is the boss fights. If you are playing a stealth based Jensen like I did then the fights are incredibly tough. The fact that they are fight is my primary issue. Every single time you encounter a boss outside of a cut scene it is a punch down drag out fight to the death with no option for stealth or subterfuge. My poor, sneaky, Jensen had to replay these fights tens of times. My final gripe with the game play is the energy system. Jensen uses up one "battery each time he preforms specific moves, including take downs. That in and of itself is not a bad thing, but only one battery recharges by itself, the rest have to be recharged by eating power bars or protein shakes. This also leads to the ability to preform challenge-breaking take down combos by taking out an enemy, pausing the game, eating a granola bar and then moving on to the next opponent.
Jensen doesn't level up in the conventional sense. He gains experience points from doing things that normally get you experience like hacking, disabling enemies and clearing areas. Once enough experience is gained you earn a "praxis points" which you can then invest in different augments that improve various aspects of Jensen, from his ability to soak up damage to his hacking and stealth skills. The augments you can buy with your praxis points are very cool and significantly change how you can play. Some of the more impressive things they allow you to do are: turn invisible, see through walls, become a cyborg grenade, punch through walls and create a shock wave after jumping from great heights. There are also less significant changes like being able to sprint longer, having more energy to execute powerful moves and reducing gun recoil. It is this part of the game where one of my greatest issues lies. You gain the most experience, which leads to the most abilities, from playing stealthily, and non-lethally taking down every enemy you see. The game is also much easier when Jensen refrains from killing people while being sneaky, due to his super cool lethal melee take down moves being about ten times louder than his non-lethal ones. This makes it far more attractive for an obsessively completionist player to be merciful and stealthy.
Regrettably there is no new game plus option in which you could carry over you augments and end your second play through with a god-like Jensen.
Human Revolution has a very good soundtrack which is reminiscent of Mass Effects. The game was in development for four years which led to graphics that are on the lower end of the spectrum for current games. This doesn't detract from the game itself, but is noticeable.
Despite its flaws Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a blast. Not much is more satisfying than leaving a room with a pile of unconscious bodies on the floor and not a scratch to your name. The game is really fun, but it could definitely use an upgrade so I hope desperately that Edios Montreal makes another Deus Ex game. (Once they're done with Thief 4 of course).
This is my first review. Give me feedback please!
I'd say this is a pretty fair review. Could do with a little more professionalism, but you made your point, and you made it well. It was rather in depth, and you did a good job voicing what exactly you liked and disliked. All in all, I'd say this was a pretty decent critique.