My experience with Deus Ex is as pure as they come. The Deus Ex craze and fan base that was created in the year 2000 did not hit me like it did other gamers. Seeing as I was only ten years old at the time I am not surprised.
Fortunately I am now eleven years older and I have jumped into the futuristic Detroit and have been thoroughly enjoying the dark sci-fi world that Eidos has created. I always have the deepest respect and envy of developers who get to create a futuristic world from the ground up and show their vision for the world. Of course some developers try to create these worlds and fail, Deus Ex does not fall into this category and instead can be put into the category of the “Blade Runner of Video Games”
The story hits you with a ton of information in every conversation that occurs. It can be overwhelming at times, but because of that Eidos needed to make sure the gameplay backed up the depth of their story.
Doing missions in the game gives you a lot of freedom and a variety of ways to tackle situations. Whether it is a vent you can open to maneuver around enemies, avoiding combat entirely, or breaking necks/hiding bodies like a futuristic Sam Fisher the choice is yours.
My first experience with this brought such joy, mostly because I had to deal with a lot of dialogue and cut scenes so when it came time to read my location and figure out my route of attack I was thrilled to finally get to murder something.
For example my journey through the first mission put me in one of our facilities being taken over by what I call terrorists. On the helicopter ride over I was given the choice to choose if I wanted to be lethal or non-lethal, and if I wanted a close or medium range weapon. This was put in the same style as Mass Effect but much more straight forward.
I decided to go lethal and medium range. I mean these terrorists wouldn’t show me any mercy so why should I return the favor? Anyways…So I am dropped off at the facility and start making my way in. This is where I was greeted with my first instance of stealth. I found myself behind an enemy where I could press B and choke him out or I could hold B for a more lethal option.
I chose to choke him out because Eidos tied in an energy system that uses up energy when you do cool stuff. It was a little disappointing, not because it limited how much destruction I could do in increments, but rather that I was only given roughly two energy points to use. They recharge and you can pick up random items throughout the mission and boost them up, but I felt a gameplay mechanic that constraints energy usage wasn’t necessary. Especially when the usage was to punch the enemy square in the jaw and knocking him unconscious.
Regardless that is exactly what I did and carried on. My next stop I ran into a group of three enemies in a courtyard. I seen a door to my left and went through. I jumped on some boxes for fun and ended up finding a path underneath an elevated walkway that would allow me to attack my enemies from a better angle. As I said these thing are located throughout and Deus Ex will reward you for being an explorer. So I drop into this hole and learned about sound and enemies. Turns out my jump was a little noisier than I expected and put one of the guards on alert. Sound can be your best friend or your worst enemy, at this time I was crouched up against a wall in this path using the LT.
The Left Trigger will stick you to walls to use as cover, which is crucial in gunfights and for stealth. The system works nearly identical to the Rainbow Six Vegas series and is just as helpful. So as I stay quiet and watch the guards patrol I start watching their guard routes. The guard who was on edge decides to give it a rest and goes back to patrol and I plan my attack.
I only have one energy point left at this time so I crouch behind a pile of boxes and get behind one of the enemies silencing him with a sleeper hold. Now I don’t have the ability to do cool takedowns and must resort to my firearm.
Being a Splinter Cell veteran as I mentioned I decided to use sound to my advantage. I picked up a box (the environment is interactive and items can be picked up/opened throughout the world) and I throw it across the courtyard to draw attention. This is super effective and puts one of the guards on alert trying to figure out what I just did. He ends up standing in front of an explosive barrel that they inconveniently have been patrolling around. Instead though I put my sights up and take a headshot at the other guard who was manning his post. Then before the other enemy could think about reacting to the gunshot I peg the explosive barrel ending his young life.
I then search all the bodies grabbing credits and consumable items and take their ammo. Ammo isn’t plentiful so it is always a good idea to scavenge. It adds a mechanic to the game that is rarely a problem in most video games.
The rest of the mission you are met with scenarios that you can examine and attack it in any way you would like. You also learn how to hack which is needed to advance to new locations sometimes but also can earn you new info, credits, experience, et cetera.
The final yet most important thing is the augmentation system. You are practically a cyborg and can advance your abilities in a plethora of areas with augment points. The wide variety includes more energy points, hacking improvements, longer sprints, pick up heavier objects, turn invisible, and a ton more to really make your character unique and powerful.
The entire time you will be earning those experience points by playing, hacking items, finding secret paths, being lethal, et cetera. I know personally that scoring headshots is a nice boost in points every time you kill someone.
The only complaint I have with the gameplay has to be the aim sensitivity. It might be because the auto-aim is a lot weaker than in most games but I have altered my X/Y sensitivity a whole lot and I still don’t feel like I have as much as control as I would like. I mean I am a FPS veteran and can get the controls and sensitivity in my personal hotspot eventually yet I still feel my control is a little wonky.
Obviously it is nothing major and could easily be reviewer error.
You will immediately realize that storytelling was a main focus in Deus Ex. With how complex and mature the story feels, the extra effort was needed and although you may feel overwhelmed like myself from the amount of information they throw at you they present in such a way that makes it all worth it in the end.
The beginning of the game has you following people as they talk and watching cutscenes where there is more talking. It gets very tiring and after about what felt like 15-20 minutes I finally got into combat when people broke into the building. After a little bit of gunfire you ultimately lose the fight and you are met with the opening scene and realize that everything you just dealt with played an important part to the story.
I don’t like spoiling parts of the game, but I have to tell you that the scene after the Prologue is fantastic to watch and will get you excited for the rest of the game.
The HUD and menus are a little complex but easy to figure out. The entire gold/black color scheme with the actual design of the world work flawlessly together. I never really have praise to give to HUDs because they tend to be generic and get the job done, but this one sort of makes me feel connected to this world. Almost as if the HUD and the entire world are working in unison to make you feel that much more in-tune with it.
The graphics aren’t really “wow” worthy but they are right in line with typical next-gen games. I focused more on how well everything meshed with everything else. Nothing seemed out of place or awkward in the environment and one of my favorite parts of futuristic games tend to be the cityscapes that can be seen while you play.
You won’t be getting this game because the graphics blow your mind, you will be getting this game because the world they created is begging to be explored.
Sound is obviously an important aspect of gameplay. The fact that you can manipulate it to your advantage or have it ruin your stealthy approach is an element that is never considered in most games.
It makes the gameplay exciting and when tied to the futuristic soundtrack in the world it keeps giving off that feeling that you are really in this world because it starts tying in more senses than just vision.
I am not a big multiple playthrough guy so I can’t give a definite answer on replay value but with multiple ways to tackle every mission you do, every conversation you have, and every augment point you spend you can experience the game in completely different ways each time.
Even if you aren’t a multiple playthrough guy/girl like me there is enough depth to keep you playing for hour upon hour.
Overall this dark sci-fi adventure will keep you hooked in from gameplay alone. This was my first experience in the very popular Deus Ex franchise and it is very easy to jump on the bandwagon. Eidos has treated this game like a piece of art and has made it damn near flawless.
A copy of Deus Ex : Human Revolution for Xbox 360 was provided to us for this review from Square Enix.