Review: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Posted by: 8/25/2011

When I found out that development newcomer Eidos Montreal was taking on the challenge of making a prequel to the excellent Deus Ex, I was a bit concerned, to say the least. Over 10 years after the original, the team around Eidos Montreal shipped Deus Ex Human Revolution and got it exceptionally right, for the most part.

In a tense and controversial near-future world of trans-humanism, filled with augmentation galore, elevated by the extreme divide of poverty and successful corporations, Adam Jensen has to figure out what went wrong the day his company was attacked and he almost lost his life. That is what you can expect to deal with in Deus Ex.

Players will see the world of Human Revolution through the eyes of Jensen, an ex-SWAT member with a suspicious and mysterious past, who now works as head of security for Sarif Industries. Sarif is one of the corporations, pushing augmentation and human modification to the limit by improving what society is used to and may not be ready for. Jensen is not given a choice whether he wants to undergo extensive surgery to become an ‘Aug’ but the operation saved his life and allows him to find out who is behind the attack on Sarif, days before his company was going to deliver valuable research to Washington DC.

The story and backdrop of Deus Ex Human Revolution is deep and engaging, while the characters Jensen meets may not present the best voice acting on the planet, they do tell a good story and keep the game moving. There are loads of side-missions, computer terminals, newspapers and characters that help flesh out the universe of Human Revolution. If you enjoy looking for every bit of information and detail behind virtually anything in the world, you will enjoy playing this game.

Eidos Montreal has also managed to make the surroundings and semi open world environments look fantastic. The cyberpunk inspired world really sucks you in, if you let it do that. Exploring is encouraged and rewarded, make sure to move a few vending machines to find vents which lead you to some goodies. Deus Ex really feels a lot like an old school PC game, it may not have the amazingly deep skill tree the original had but it certainly creates a retro atmosphere, which is a good thing and even refreshing in a day where gamers’ hands may be held a bit too often.

Actually playing Human Revolution makes for a good experience, I had a blast going through the environments and explore while completing missions, meeting characters and finding out about the plot that takes you from Detroit, over Shanghai to Montreal. Deus Ex is a first person shooter with RPG elements and it does get the basic mechanics right. Jensen will fire many different weapons and use several neat gadgets during his missions, upgrading and looting is also a big aspect of he game. In order to advance, players will need to collect XP and credits to upgrade Jensen’s augmentation features such as increased abilities, better protection and stealth tools.

Choosing upgrades wisely is important since there are so many ways to complete a mission in Deus Ex. Players will be able to increase the fall distance damage resistance to jump down deeper gaps, walk through poison gas willed hallways or circumvent injuries from electricity fields, all to avoid getting caught. Choosing which way you upgrade will affect the path Jensen will take to achieve his goals, the options are not endless but plentiful.

Another major factor in getting to your objective is dealing with the AI and conversation system. While the enemy AI isn’t perfect and sometimes makes you wonder if certain sections weren’t QA tested enough, it does a decent job to make the game interesting in combat and remain more on the PC feel from 10 years ago. During conversations, which Jensen will have a lot of, players can, if upgraded enough, release pheromones to influence the outcome in their favor. I loved the idea of this mechanic which is just one more aspect that helped me realize how well designed and crafted Deus Ex human Revolution really is.

Deus Ex Human Revolution was an absolute highlight for me this year and a pleasant surprise. Eidos Montreal managed to pull of a fantastic first game and a successful Deus Ex title at that. While Human Revolution has a few small issues in it’s character presentation and voice acting as well as a sometimes silly AI, the game’s remaining aspects make more than up for it. Whether I was exploring the beautiful cyberpunk world, talking to people or engaging in stealth and combat, Deus Ex kept me entertained and wanting more.

Score: 9 / 10

Deus Ex Human Revolution was developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on August 23rd. A copy of the game was provided to us by Square Enix for reviewing purposes

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