Review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Posted by: 9/29/2016

Adam Jensen returns to the spotlight in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. This world feels different than Human Revolution. Instead of riding the coattail of a technological breakthrough, the world of Mankind Divided is darker and more depressing. Like most sequels, Mankind Divided improves on previous mechanics, but doesn’t live up to its potential in other areas.

After bouncing off of Human Revolution twice, I was curious to see how Mankind Divided stacked up to its predecessor. The good news is that Mankind Divided vastly improves on Human Revolution. The developers went for a more vertical game, and it really compliments the level design in the game. You’ll be looking for more alternate routes that take you to interesting areas and allowing you to sneak around the enemy.

20160829203210_1

Mankind Divided is very much an open world. In addition to an open world hub in Prague, Czech Republic, the levels are massive. This allows players to choose how to tackle each level. The design of the game also requires the player to improvise on the spot. A stealth run through an enemy encampment can quickly change into an all out gunfight. I felt like the gunplay was rather weak in Mankind Divided, so I stuck with a more stealth approach. When caught, I opted to sprint away than engage in a gunfight, and hiding in a vent for a couple of minutes resets the enemy AI, and gives you the opportunity to escape.

Similar to other open worlds, the missions have you venturing out into the world; talking to people, fetching items, and returning to the quest giver. There are handful of missions that change up the pace of the game, like a VR puzzle level, and an escape from the Swiss Alps. The game does a good job of breaking up the pacing of the game to keep things fresh. One minute you’ll be watching a group of rich dudes set up the next conspiracy, and then next you’ll investigating a crime scene like you’re playing L.A. Noire.

The missions variety was my favorite part of the game. The game feels handcrafted; feels like a lot of care and love went into this game. At times I thought it would be my game of the year. Unfortunately there are a few setbacks that will keep it from the number one spot.

20160826145946_1

The biggest for me is story. After the incident in Human Revolution, augmented humans have been segregated by natural humans. This is demonstrated by different gates for augs and humans to walk through at the subway, and some derogatory words thrown your way. Current social issues also enter the game. You’ll see things like “aug lives matter,” a clear nod to the Black Lives Matter movement.

I felt like the story didn’t go far enough with the social issues. Other than a handful of interactions with “naturals,” I never got the sense that I was an outcast in this world. Prague has become an augmented human friendly-ish city, so while there is a little sense of segregation, it wasn’t anything too egregious.

Throughout the game, Jensen uncovers a plot to further hate of augmented humans. It works, but isn’t too interesting. I found the side quests more engaging than the main story.

20160827141847_1

I was also disappointed in how slowly you leveled up. The game gives you access to a bunch of augmented abilities, like seeing through walls, jumping higher, and being able to shield yourself. The thing in Mankind Divided, are hidden augs that Adam didn’t know were installed into his body. But these augs short out easy, so you have to balance the amount of power in your body so you don’t short out.

I barely touched these hidden augs, and felt like a good idea but poorly executed. I was let down overall by the aug system. While there are some good ones that benefit you, the different augs and their upgrades are broken up too much to see many of them throughout your campaign. By the end I wanted to feel like an overpowered, incredible augmented human. But I only felt slightly more powerful than the beginning of the game.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is one of the best looking games of the year. Gone is the gold and black theme from the previous game. Prague is darker, and it comes through in the look of the game. Most of your time is spent at night in Prague; as you explore the city and its seedy underbelly.

When thinking about this review, my main thought was “would I recommend this game?” The answer is a definite yes. While it has its quirks, and isn’t a perfect game, it is one of the better AAA games released this year. If you enjoyed the first game, you’ll love this one as well.

Score: 9/10

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on August 23rd, 2016. A retail copy of the PC version was provided by the publisher.

PC Playstation Reviews Xbox

Leave a Reply