Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the third installment in the first person RPG series Deus Ex. It is set as a prequel to the original Deus Ex, which is often hailed as one of the greatest games of all time. Human Revolution is set in a dystopian future, where, unlike in the previous titles, the idea of human augmentation is up for debate with you being thrown into the middle of it as Adam Jensen the security chief of Sarif Industries, whose headquarters are attacked during the opening mission. From here on in, you are tasked with finding out who is responsible for the attack, researching both pro and anti augmentation groups such as other firms and the activist group ‘Humanity Front’.
Human Revolution allows the player to choose augmentations, through a very precise and easy to follow menu screen which includes augmentation upgrades, the inventory as well as the message page which includes the emails and messages you find throughout the game. The player is giving the ability to chose which augmentations to upgrade/unlock which gives them a better connection to the game as well as the freedom to explore the game in entirely different ways. For example, a character who focused on the hacking skills would be able to access more locked areas than say, a character who focused on the offensive augmentations. However, this does not simply lock away a portion of the game from players who chose not to improve their hacking ability as quite often the game provides alternate routes to the objective or even into the room in question via key codes found in the game or traversing the air duct system (which also provides the player with extra experience due to the exploration xp system) or even using other augmentations, such as strength which allows you to smash down certain wall sections.
Personally I can only comment on my experiences and therefore that of a stealth character. For a better perspective I will explain what augmentation upgrades I chose. The main augmentations I upgraded were those which were of a non-combat role, hacking, stealth (however, leaving the invisibility ability to far later into the game), energy and eye augmentations (x-ray vision to see positions of enemies through walls etc). With these augmentations my main goal was to sneak through levels without being seen, and if need be take out enemies in a non-lethal manner. With this set up, this style was highly achievable and allowed me to play how I wanted to, which in anyone’s books has to be a huge positive note for the game in question. I was also able to accumulate enough Praxis points (the points required to upgrade augmentations) to be add points in other augmentations which just sounded fun, and therefore I ended up with a character who mainly worked in stealth but was able to fight hand to hand effectively (which was made even more entertaining with high energy cell slots and the invisibility augmentation).
The game play worked like a dream, I was actually surprised at the scope of the hub areas when I first entered the Detroit hub where, I quite promptly ignored my mission and went exploring, this exploration was made even better when I thought to myself “can I attack this random person” and quite promptly punched a guy in the gut. Going exploring is exactly what I had done previously when in Sarif Headquarters, where I had ignored the mission I was given, resulting in the degradation of the situation involved. Little details such as random NPCs complaining at me for being late and having a completely different attitude towards you compared to if you had left for the mission straight away (the only area I actually repeated) as well as the bigger differences just as different secondary objectives and dialogues. The world got far more exciting for me when I found out that the choices you were given were not only what augmentation to upgrade, and not just how to use them for each situation, but how you would react to certain situations that were presented in front of you. Either using the brilliant dialogue system to work out which style of argument will persuade your opposition in dialogue style boss battles, which also have multiple end results such as just letting them go free go persuading them to give you something in return for freedom, or if you feel like it just killing or knocking them out. This mechanics presents the player with a system that bounces opinions back and forth, making you gauge what statement would appeal to them more so you can get what you want from them. This style of engagement with the characters you account is brilliant, and it felt from more interactive that other dialogue systems I have encountered in the past. However, this style of encounter Mr Jensen has with those surrounding him does not seem to be used to its full potential. In the entire game I can only recall three moments when I actually had to use persuasion which resulted in the majority of the encounters with those involved in the plot against Sarif Industries not involving the dialogue mechanic but the traditional boss battle.
Here is where the problems began for me, unlike the previous Deus Ex games, you could not use your stealth ability to just by pass the boss but had to fight them in the traditional boss fight manner. This was a huge problem for my play style for in my inventory, which is of limited space and therefore you have to chose which weapons to take, there was only non-lethal weaponry and the 10mm pistol when I reached the first boss which made the non avoidable combat situation extremely annoying. For a character who was just evading all the enemies before hand, why on Earth would he openly walk into each boss situation carelessly rather than weighing up the situation and tracking the guards movements I had him doing all game. These battles just got annoying as I never had the right equipment or the right augmentations to combat these bosses, which always ended up with Jensen being chased around a room by a ridiculously augmented super soldier in fear of being shredded to pieces, which seemed to happen to me every time I got caught out in the open by generic enemies even with full armour upgrades.
These boss battles just seem out of place when looking at this game as a whole, in a game that allows the player to choose how to play and then force them to fight the bosses in this way is just stupid, and bloody annoying to say the least, and for this reason I have to mark the game down due to by overall enjoyment of the game being tarnished by annoying boss battles that my character was not suited for. However, this is the only down side I can think of for this otherwise amazing game and ignoring the boss battles Human Revolution was the best experience of stealth game play I have had for years.