Deus Ex – Human Revolution (Mini Review)

Well, time to give a verdict on Deus Ex: Human Revolution then.

My Jensen is a stealth operative. As I sneak about, with a cloak for quick bursts across open ground and the ability to twist foes to my will with pheromones, he is the epitome of understated cool. Killing is not a necessity – it is a last resort, when all else has failed. Take a hostage, I will kill you. Peddle untested drugs and augments? Best be sure I’m going to pop a bullet in you.

Ethics. Reason. Knowing when to talk, and when to take action.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game about choice – you can do everything, but there’s rarely any fun in that. Making tough choices and thinking out a plan of attack often rewards more than endlessly hacking computers for experience. Stumbling across cops interrogating an innocent man, or finding a back passage into a building and bypassing a lot of security protocols. And yet, if you want to be Mr Anderson and go all The One on their asses and go direct, that option is there too.

It’s a shame then, that for all the choice… it’s still rather linear. The game still sees fit to try and funnel you down various paths, and the storyline, and then the mix of open exploration and linear corridors gets too conflicted. The story aims for a high-brow, soul-searching ideology, but it’s done in a very clumsy manner. And yes, if you hack everything you come across – there’s way too much free experience on offer, for little effort, meaning the idea of choosing a path can be very difficult when the option is there to do everything.

That said, for all it does wrong – it’s a fun game. I took a stealthy approach and found the game challenging, methodical and rewarding. It’s one of the prettiest games out there right now, and Jensen is – with those augmented shades – very badass (his depressingly unconvincing voice acting aside – sorry Elias Toufexis, this is not your best work). And it’s brilliantly futuristic and Noir, without bludgeoning you over the head with it at every corner – it’s not always subtle when they bring it up, but it’s not bad compared to some…

It’s certainly worth experiencing. There’s plenty of approaches to take, and plenty to see and do. It’s not always perfect, mind you – there are bugs, there are exploits and some of the characters have the personality and charisma of a cardboard cutout of Paris Hilton. The game loads too much on PC, often hiding it behind doors that refuse to budge for up to a minute (and this is a very decent PC), and whatever path you choose, sneaking up behind someone and taking them down is far too powerful, far too often.

Despite all of this though, it’s an experience through a nice story and a wonderfully built world of espionage, intrigue and the human condition. It aims high – and no, it doesn’t hit every target.

But that it has tried is worth its weight in gold, and definitely comes recommended for that.

And it more than makes up for Invisible War IT DOES NOT EXIST WE WERE ALL ON HOLIDAY IT NEVER HAPPENED.

Ahem.

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