OVERVIEW – Set before the events of the original Deus Ex, this game focuses on Adam Jensen, the head security officer at augmentation firm Sarif Industries. After a terrorist attack left Adam mortally wounded, David Sarif (the head of Sarif and Adam’s boss) orders his doctors to heavily augment Adam to save his life. Following his recovery, Adam is whisked back into the company to investigate a second attack on a Sarif factory. The rest of the game tackles the concept of augmentation, what it means to be human, and who is Adam, exactly? The gameplay is mostly in first-person (outside of using cover, which switches it to third person), and the player has incredible freedom to explore the world however they see fit. Stealth, gunplay, communication, hacking and tinkering with Adam’s augmentation options are major facets of the gameplay.
PROS – Human Revolution refines the mechanics of the first game to nigh-perfection. Every issue, including the very minor, that I had with the original game has been addressed. The inventory system is simpler, refined and reminds me of Resident Evil 4 (that’s a compliment). The RPG aspects of the game are less notable, allowing Adam to be a decent shot from the get-go without devoting points into augmenting his aim. The voice acting generally is improved and well done. Even the ending system, which continues to dangle options for the player to choose from, managed to give me a choice that I was fairly comfortable with.
Beyond polishing the trademark feel of the series, Human Revolution just was incredibly fun to explore. It felt so real and believable. The level of detail in the maps is quite astounding, and wandering around the maps to uncover secret routes and stumble into sidequests was really awesome. The cover system worked quite well (better than Uncharted!), and the forced melee combat worked wonders (first person punching isn’t all that fun, really, so I’m okay with a short clip of Adam kicking ass while I just watch). The stealth versus action approach can be implemented at any time, allowing players to switch between the two at will or focus on what method suits them. I personally focused on being stealthy, but was not going for the Pacifist achievement on the first run. I loved running all over the map around guards, sneaking up on them to knock them out. Exquisite level design and well-executed combat combine to grant players unparalleled interaction with the environment given to them.
Adam and the majority of the cast were quite likable. This isn’t the best VA work I’ve heard, but it’s leagues above the original game! I’ll nitpick the few objections below. These characters were well developed and became important to me as I worked my way through the game. Malik in particular is my favorite NPC, and I worked damn hard to protect her late in the game from the massive assault. Also, the last area (I’ll refrain from specifically mentioning it) was incredibly tense and a rush to play. I don’t want to ruin it for you, but it makes all of the prior missions and understanding the way the game works so worth it.
CONS – I don’t have too many. David Sarif and Letitia’s voices are really terrible. Sarif sounds obnoxiously pretentious, and Letitia is borderline offensive.
The music is good, but lacks any standout tracks like the original. I did like all the callbacks to the first game, though.
I liked the boss fights more than most of the critics seemed to, but they definitely felt separated from the rest of the game. When I was about to fight Barrett, I could tell. The level design took a nosedive. There was nothing to pick up or interact with, and the overall feel just wasn’t right. They were harder than they needed to be, as well. So, while I had a good time with them, they do feel disconnected.
OVERALL – Deus Ex Human Revolution is a splendid sequel that exceeds its inspiration. It is the best game I’ve played thus far on the PS3, and I give it the highest recommendation that I can, especially at the reduced price. $20 has so rarely been so well spent.