I’m a bit embarrassed by this, but given that part of the point of my blog is for me to help improve my writing, then I’m going to come clean. I hated my first article on Deus Ex: Human Revolutions (DEHR). I was going to simply edit the heck out of it – by which I mean pretty much rewrite it from scratch, but I decided for honesty’s sake (mine!), I should do it this way.
In DEHR you take on the role of Adam Jensen in a not too distant future where augmentations (shortented to “augs” by many) are becoming commonplace. Augs are what we might know as “bionics” and either replace broken (or missing) bits, or augment what is already there.
Adam is Chief Security Officer with Sarif Industries, who are at the forefront of augmentation research. Adam is unaugmented at the beginning, but after the “prologue” he has (unwillingly) joined the ranks of the augmented. The game proper begins with Adam returning to his job at Sarif Insdustries and wanting to find out who led the attack which led to him losing a good friend (and one of the best researchers Sarif Industries had), and injured him so badly he needed extensive augmentations just to survive.
All of this is set against a world where there are huge political and societal tensions arising around augmentations. Some purists want to eradicate augmentations entirely. Some groups are unhappy at what they see are inequalities arising because of the expense of augmentations, and their medical support. Some people seem to simply hate “augs” because they’re different. There are as many sides as there are people, it appears.
The game is presented from a first-person perspective, occasionally shifting to third person when you’re in cover. The first, unaugmented part of the game serves partly as a tutorial, and an introduction into the world. The first mission after Adam returns continues this, while introducing the augmentations. From here the game becomes a little more “freestyle”, allowing you to follow the main storyline, explore, and indulge in side-quests.
Like the original Deus Ex (DE), DEHR seems to try very hard to not force you into solving problems with a specific solution. You have the options of stealth, hacking or simply going in guns blazing. Of course, you can also try a combination of all three. There are also many paths through the various areas, some of which are less dangerous than others, and often exploration will help you find a way to do things that suits whatever your play-style.
DEHR “feels” good to play. The world is beautifully realised with a mixture of slightly futuristic things such as electronics and cars, alongside many buildings that look as though they were built today, or perhaps earlier. Parts of the world are clean and shiny, while other parts are dirty and falling apart.
Stealth is well handled (a must for me!), and the cover system is well implemented, making it very easy to move Adam around quietly – as long as you’re patient. The shift from first person to third person isn’t as jarring as I thought it would be, and works really well. Conversations are neatly done, with the system allowing you to make your choices easily and without too much chance of error. Of course, fumble-fingers here is good at screwing even the best system up…
Once the first two “tutorial” sections were over, the game really began to open up with a couple of main quests, and two side-quests hitting almost immediately. I became deeply immersed in both story and world, and really felt I needed to think through my actions, and approaches to the problems presented.
One friend mentioned that playing DEHR felt like coming home (he is a huge DE fan), and I’d agree. While the story, the graphics and the general implementation of the DE world is very different to the original DE, it still somehow feels right. The atmosphere is there, and is nearly perfect – both compared to DE, and in its own right.
I’m really enjoying this, even while distracting myself with Stacking, Costume Quest and DeathSpank, and I can see myself playing this (and probably replaying this) for a long while to come. I’ve already reached that stage where I’m reassessing my solutions to things when I’m no-where near the game…