When Eidos Montreal was founded in 2007, not much was expected of them. Shortly afterwards it was announced they’d be in charge of developing new titles for both the Deus Ex and Thief franchises. With no real prior game experience, many fans questioned if they were the right studio for the job. It’s now 4 years later, and Eidos Montreal is showcasing the first harvest of fruit from their labors: Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes place 25 years before the events of the first game, and there is no sign of the Gray Death Virus. Instead, you play the role of Adam Jensen, an ex- SWAT member who was just hired as head of security at Sarif Industries, one of the world’s leading biotech companies. On his first day on the job, mercenaries break in, and begin to attack the unsuspecting employees. Kidnapping many scientists, Adam Jensen is left for dead on the floor before he is picked up, and saved with augmentations from, where else, Sarif Industries. Head cheese David Sarif informs you that your love interest, Megan Reed, has been killed, thus driving Adam toward a head-on collision course with revenge against the mercenaries and the organizers of the attack.
The gameplay is presented in a First Person view, however when you stick yourself up against a wall, it goes into a third person perspective. The game relies heavily on stealth, however there are guns and upgrades to be had so you can roll guns-a-blazing as well. Regardless of how you want to play, the level design is pretty ambiguous, meaning the choice is completely based up your own playstyle, not how the developer wants you to play. Admittedly, the downfall here comes in when you get into some of the more intense battles later on. Not that any of the controls are broken mind you, it’s more because at times the enemy A.I. misses the mark. When your enemies are alerted of your presence and looking around for you on a platform directly above you, within their line of sight, yet still can’t see you, there’s a problem. It’d be a matter of simply looking down, yet the AI is completely oblivious. Then at other times, the sub-routines become glaringly obvious, where enemies are limited to certain rooms and areas, thereby giving up while I sit back and wait outside in a hallway.
Human Revolution does boast a skill tree, where you get to choose to upgrade your augmentations; covering anything from hacking and social skills to a nifty ability called Typhoon. Once used, a string of explosions blast around you, doing a massive amount of damage to your unsuspecting foes. This becomes very useful when facing off with the bosses. I didn’t have the ability for the first boss battle, and it took everything I had to take him down. Once I acquired Typhoon though, I breezed through most of the bosses, dying maybe once or twice. The inclusion of bosses within the game is a class touch, and a welcome throwback to retro gaming. It helps to vary things up, with the enemies, environments and plot points. I only point this out because I’ve heard the boss battles getting a lot of flak among the community, but In all honesty, it really does add to the experience.
Where the game absolutely takes flight though is in the negotiations; situations where you are pitted against an NPC and need to convince them of one thing or another. The outcome of these always vary, whether you can convince them to do what you want or not, there is never any wrong answers and it never ends in a gameover screen. Instead it directly affects future events within the game, and will make certain moments completely and entirely different from what your friends may have experience. That really is what Deus Ex is about, a game that revolves around choice, and your choices here actually feel like it matters.
The world is masterfully crafted, mired in conspiracy and deception, and the stunning visuals of the city help sell the cyberpunk look of the recognizable locations. I’ve never seen so much attention to detail in a game, to a point where the developers hid an Easter Egg in the form of a Final Fantasy 27 poster, a little shout out to Square Enix, who is handling the publishing duties on Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The actual character models look a little dated, but the environments are simply stunning. There is so much variety that I never felt like I was in the same area twice.
Every once in a while there’s a game that was made with so much love and attention to detail that each non-playable character exudes personality, whether it be from the onset when an employee knocks over boxes out of another employees hands and is informed the contents of the boxes are worth more then he makes in a year, or the multitude of decisions your given. Another great example is just running around the city, and hearing 2 NPCs discussing the matters of Sarif Industries and augmentations, and standing there in awe at the extremely realistic conversation they are having.
The cutscenes are beautiful, but that’s to be expected from anything with the Square Enix logo on it. The soundtrack is a stand out as well, helping bring the atmosphere of the game alive, and add a sense of urgency to the story, driving you towards the endgame.
When I was about 13 years old, playing games until 3 or 4 in the morning was a daily routine, sneaking to my console after I “went to bed” to play whatever my flavor was at that moment. I’ve since grown up, and this is the first time in 10 years that I found myself looking at my clock and realizing it was 4am. For a game to have that type of draw over an individual, it has to be something special. There is very little negative to be said about Human Revolution, just the enemy AI flopping a bit at times, and I certainly doubt that we will find another release to this year that will top what Eidos Montreal has put together here. I’m calling it now, for me, this is the Game Of The Year.
Release date : 2011-08-23
Publisher : Square Enix
Developer : Eidos Montreal
Gameplay : Action
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