Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an imperfect game that came at a perfect time. As an RPG with shooter elements, Human Revolution was a wonderful palate cleanser after the more traditional RPGs we have played for Retro Encounter. I will readily admit that there were elements of Human Revolution that are less than great (floaty controls, unwieldy inventory system, obtuse boss battles in the original game) but overall it was ridiculously enjoyable shooting down hoards of enemies as I rampaged my way through the game.
Previous to playing Human Revolution I had no interest in the forthcoming Mankind Divided. However, now I find myself excited to follow Adam Jensen on his next adventure. If nothing else it will be fun to continue my murder spree.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was an impulse buy for me. I had never played a Deus Ex game before, but Human Revolution looked cool and I found myself drawn to the near-future setting and the interesting moral and legal dilemmas posed by augmentations. I quickly fell in love with the game, and was incredibly excited when a sequel — Mankind Divided — was announced. For Retro Encounter, I actually played through the Director's Cut for the first time, and I would say it's definitely the best way to experience the game. Having retooled boss fights that actually work with different playstyles and the sizable Missing Link DLC integrated into the game is great. My favorite aspect of this re-released version of the game, however, is the developer commentary. There's a lot of it scattered all over the game, and you get all these neat little insights into the process behind how a triple-A game like this is made — from the big stuff like cutscenes all the way down to little details like easter eggs and random NPCs.
The story has its twists and turns and the characters keep you wondering who you can trust right up to the very end. The world and gameplay options don't feel quite as expansive as the first time I played through, but there's still plenty to explore and a myriad of different ways to handle situations. I enjoyed hacking security terminals so I could use turrets and robots to mow down my enemies, for example. While I still love the art design and the overall aesthetic of the world, I will admit that the graphics haven't aged all that well in places: the character models, particularly less-important NPCs, range from good to bleh, and you quickly get tired of seeing the same animations and camera angles on a loop during conversations. Neither the combat nor stealth feel quite as developed as dedicated games in those genres, but they still work more than well enough and I still appreciate the flexibility the game gives you to approach situations in different ways.
One thing I was remiss in mentioning on the podcast was how good the music is in Human Revolution. There's an interesting blend of processed synths, haunting vocals, and pounding beats that create a unique sound totally appropriate for a cyberpunk game dealing with the latest technological revolution. The music is layered so that new pieces filter in as you approach enemies and enter combat, which creates a neat audio component to gameplay — you may very well know that an enemy is near before you even see him because the tension in the music jumps up a notch. The variety isn't perhaps as great as in other games, but like Human Revolution itself, it's focused and complements what you see on screen nicely. I'm extremely happy that Michael McCann is returning to score Adam Jensen's next adventure.
Speaking of Mankind Divided, it will be a long wait until August, but I'm very excited to see how Eidos Montreal improves upon Human Revolution and where the conflict over human augmentation will take us next.
There's a lot to like here. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a hella-stylish game with great urban environments to explore. It also shows the player a fascinating hypothetical future where mechanical augmentations for humans are a major social issue, and does so in a surprisingly thoughtful manner. The game's cast of characters is appealing for the most part (could've used some more Faridah "Faraday" Malik), and its plot has plenty of fun twists and turns. More than anything else, I appreciate all of the options that Human Revolution presents to its players. There are numerous pathways through every area in the game, and these routes can be traversed through any combination of stealthy sneaking, intense gunfights, or hacking locked doors and security systems. That's all really cool.
...But it didn't always resonate with me. Boss fights are exceptionally difficult if you don't invest in the skill upgrades for gunplay, armor, or TYPHOON missiles; this problem is allegedly fixed in the Director's Cut version of the game, but I played the original. The cities, while fun and interesting for the most part, aren't as loaded with story beats and sidequest content as other open-world RPGs. My favorite mission in the game was the optional DLC "The Missing Link," which comes included in the Director's Cut. I personally would have liked Human Revolution to emphasize its RPG elements more and its stealth and shooting elements less, but that speaks more to my own preferences than to how good the game is. If you enjoy stealth and shooting games more than I do (a very likely possibility) then Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a must-play. Your move, creep.
My exposure to the Deus Ex universe was minimal at first, but I appreciated the theme around it. A society altered by the advancements in technology; constantly shifting and changing with it or around it. I loved science fiction games and shows like Shadowrun, Ghost in the Shell, or Snatcher, that pulled me through different experiences and viewpoints. Playing through a game with a future that didn't seem far off from where we are now was exciting to engage with. While Deus Ex: HR tried to wear too many hats at the same time, I appreciated the flexibility that it gave me when deciding on a method of play.
Stealth and looting is my way to play, which gave me plenty of options in Deus Ex: HR. What is great is how I can play the same game in a completely different way after I am done. I get a loose sense of role playing, because I get to engage with this game in several strategic ways, or through the consequences of my actions. Of course, none of this is perfect. I could only hope to play a game that would fulfill all of my desires, and impress me in every possible way. However Deus Ex: HR still tried its damnedest to give me that, and I appreciated it. I recommend this game, because it possesses two things that I love in a game: Potential and replayability. Couple that with a great story, some genuinely enjoyable moments in the dialogue (even between the guards), and a thrilling soundtrack from Michael McCann. There's something for almost any kind of action gamer in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.