Most DLC doesn’t really affect a game’s core narrative – they tend to be add-ons, extra missions that take place on the edge of the story. Eidos Montreal wanted none of that, however, and has placed The Missing Link smack in the middle of Adam Jensen’s story. It’s a great change-up from the norm, but it also causes frustrating gameplay consequences. As you’re tossed, essentially, crying and naked into this download content, starting with no weaponry and nothing but the core augmentations, you have to build your Jensen again from the ground up over the course of three to five hours of gameplay. You don’t know what weaponry you’ll obtain or the kinds of enemies you’ll face, or any other information the main game eases you into over the course of hours. Still, despite not being able to be the Jensen you spent the majority of the game cultivating and a few other missteps, The Missing Link is an entertaining piece of download content, worthwhile for big fans of the original game.
The Missing Link takes place in a time where Jensen’s supposed to be in stasis – after destroying a Belltower facility, he’s on his way to find his beau, Megan Reed. In the original title, he comes out of stasis talking to a panicked Pritchard who said he’s been off the grid for days. The assumption was that he had an uneventful trip. He didn’t. He was intercepted by Belltower and brought to a separate facility and subjected to interrogation until a mysterious person releases him from his prison and begins his jailbreak. It’s tough to give a whole lot of background without spoiling things – I spent a mere three hours on the DLC, so the evolution of the story was incredibly fast paced. What might normally be considered introductory segments form major parts of the story. Still, it’s hard to say that it doesn’t work well. Because the characters are kept to a handful, it’s easy to keep track of what’s going on, even if a greater mystery is introduced, hinting to additional DLC or a sequel…
The gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from Deus Ex, but the fast pace of the DLC actually becomes a hindrance. Jensen begins with no augmentations and a handful of Praxis Kits, and you’re free to rebuild him however you’d like. Unfortunately, The Missing Link does a poor job at easing into things, and there are significantly more enemies in smaller areas than I remember in the full game. As such, I dumped my points into what I had in the main game – some hacking, some strength, and the CASIE social augment, but it didn’t fit well here. Once I’d been around a little bit, I went directly for armor and gunplay, and things eased up significantly. The augments became a big issue in my enjoyment – the main story made use of almost all of Jensen’s mods, but there were some nearly-useless skills here. The social augment was almost entirely useless, some of the hacking skills are unnecessary, and other skills aren’t as useful as they should be. Every skill has at least one situation it can be used for, but some mods can literally only be used just that once.
Despite its hiccups, The Missing Link is still good fun. It’s fast-paced, and once I found myself in that groove, I wanted to tear through the entire thing. There’s a little in the way of sidequests, including the ability to get yourself a rocket launcher, but don’t expect much more than a focused mission here. It’s a little short, a little linear, and a little frustrating, but it’s still fun for those who dug straight into Deus Ex. It fits into an interesting part of the story and does so like a glove. Still, when expansion packs like Old World Blues hit Fallout: New Vegas for a mere $10, it’s tough to suggest The Missing Link at $15 to anyone but the most hardcore Deus Ex fans.