Deus Ex: HR Overview

What are your thoughts on Deus Ex: Human Revolution?

Okay, I played the original Deus Ex first, and I think I’ve covered it before. When we saw the original trailers and gameplay for DXHR, I was convinced it was never going to live up to the legacy of the original (which I thought was good at the time, mostly because I was going with the crowd and not really thinking for myself yet). I was convinced it would be a hollow empty gesture towards the original.

Then the leak happened.

I played the leak, and it had basically all of detroit. The first mission was kind of boring and tutorial-like, but once I got into the city hub, it got fairly crazy. There were a ton of sidequests I could do, they were all over the place, there were a ton of ways to do them, my paths were affected by augmentations, I could use objects in the environment to make stuff work. It was pretty crazy. I was sold. I replayed the leak like 3 times, including a cheated 3rd playthrough where I maxed out all the augs to see what they could do. I played it totally differently all 3 times.

And in comparison to the first game, the stealth was a lot better, the shooting was a lot better, the hacking puzzles were a lot better. Sure it had dumb regenerating health, but pound for pound, all the things it did were much more solidly executed than the original. I felt like there were a lot of ways to approach every individual situation, even with the same tools, and it was genuinely challenging to overcome. It was missing some features, like a number of augs, melee weapons, and had more cramped level designs, but it had more complex enemy AI, more consistent weapons, and better designed levels. The tranq finally works the way it should in comparison to the original game where it alerted the guard and slowly dealt nonlethal damage.

Though trouble is also that the game isn’t as deep as other stealth games or action games. You don’t have a terribly large number of stealth tools, all things considered, and the combat is basically generic modern military shooter combat unfortunately. A lot of the stealth challenges end up coming down to timing challenges because the stealth is as simple as it is, though you do have a limited ability to lure enemies using sound or thrown objects, and the invisibility aug lets you get through guard’s vision for limited periods of time. That and stunning guards wasn’t as involved as the original, where you needed to hit guards on their backs or waste ammo. Knocking out commandos was even harder, having to hit a specific spot on their belt, and having the take downs be so specific was a cool thing.

The other trouble is, the game was clearly stripped down. From what I heard, there were 5 city hubs planned, Detroit, Lower Heng-Sha, Upper Heng-Sha, Montreal, and India. We got 2. They also made some errors accounting for playstyle, especially on the bosses, though they left materials in each fight to guarantee you could deal enough damage to take them out.

And the sources of XP ended up encouraging silly things, like taking out every guard unseen non-lethally, or hacking every computer terminal even if you know the password, or crawling in every vent to get the exploration bonus. Also because guards never woke up from unconsciousness, unless woken up by another guard, there was almost no reason to ever use the lethal takedowns. I don’t know why the lethal takedown option is in the game considering it’s loud, costly, and doesn’t have any upside.

I think the missing link DLC was a great addition in terms of level design. They really nailed the boss at the end, making something that fit the concept of Deus Ex a bit more. I also believe it improved the guard AI, but it’s been too long for me to remember in what way, except that it was subtle, more of a tuning change. Level design was generally a lot tighter too.

The cover system worked amazingly well honestly, you could flip into and out of it just by holding a button with no slow transition or anything and the tuning for how it oriented jensen relative to the wall worked pretty damn nicely. Also it was great that it opened up options for hopping across gaps in cover. Very fun to use when stealthing around.

Oh, and it’s really fun to try to go through the game fast on the seat of your pants and limit the save stating if you can.

Despite everything, the game was a solid showing, and I’m looking forward to the next one, especially because they seem to be introducing some cool new augs, making the shooting gameplay less shit, and so on.

Oh, and sorry for being kind of vague with this answer, it’s been a while since I played DXHR, so I did more of an overall summary.

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