Deus Ex: Human Revolution PS3 Review

Publisher – Square Enix – Developer – Eidos Montreal – Genre –  Action, RPG, Stealth – Players – 1 – Age Rating – 15+ – Other console/handheld formats – Xbox 360

Choice is the keyword when it comes to non-linear games which open themselves up to the player. There’s just something attractive about being able to do things your way as opposed to other games, which have you following the strict manner in which the developer forced up on you. The Deus Ex series was built on player choice, and it’s good to see the series back after a seven year hiatus. It’s been way too long, particularly as Deus Ex: Invisible War wasn’t all that it could have been.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution sees Adam Jensen, ex-police officer turned Chief of Security for Sarif Industries, critically injured during an ambush not long into the game. Jensen’s life is saved by augmentations, but his ex-girlfriend Megan and her team are killed in the attack.  Six months later, Jensen is back in action and seeking the truth. The story is deep, complex, riveting, rich in its detail and mature in its themes – exactly everything a Deus Ex game should be. Of course, certain actions can alter the story, and the events eventually tie together, leading you to one of four possible endings.

But anyone familiar with the series will know that Deus Ex gives you more choices other than shaping the story through your actions. The freedom to take your own route, to build your own augmented super soldier, and to play it in the way that you want to play it, well it’s all here and certainly does a better job of remaining true to the original game, which is all good as Invisible War was quite a disappointment for the first Deus Ex sequel, and definitely was somewhat of a diluted Deus Ex experience.

Weapons can be upgraded, allowing for perks such as faster reload times, extra ammo and more.

It’s early on when you know that this is a game that is open to you to do things in the manner you think is right. Just before the first proper mission, you are given the opportunity to choose if you are going to go in lethally with all guns blazing or to go in silently with weapons that pose no mortal threat to your enemies. But, given the scarcity of the ammo early on and the fact that Jensen can’t take too many hits, it has to be said that Human Revolution seems to be designed with more of a stealth mindset.

Don’t get me wrong though, you can still play the game with loud and lethal guns, but this is hardly a run and gun game. There are a number of things which puts this modern day Deus Ex more in line with other FPS’ and action games: there’s a cover system, which is handy for both avoiding bullets and hiding from enemies, beautifully animated takedowns allow for quick and silent incapacitation of your enemies, and Jensen also has recharging health.  If you play in the way that doesn’t require subtlety or discretion, tactics are a must, but things do get a little easier if you are smart in enhancing Jensen in all the right areas.

Improving Jensen is done so with Praxis Kits. These Kits are awarded to you upon levelling up, and can occasionally be found if you look hard enough in the large, open environments. The depth of the enhancement system goes so deep that there will be many moments of deliberation during the game as you attempt to decide what to go with, thinking is this one upgrade going to help me out in any meaningful way? Or should I concentrate on something else? This is Deus Ex, so the choice is always yours.

You could improve your hacking skills, the amount of damage you can take, extend the duration of the sprint or the height of your jump, limit recoil and much more. Spending time in the menus and knowing that your decisions are going to affect what you can or cannot do when you’re back in the game world is always enticing – something that remains unique to the Deus Ex series.

Experience is earned through many ways in Human Revolution: killing or incapacitating enemies, reading a requisite amount of files in the world, finding hidden areas, completing story and side missions, and more besides. It’s certainly very rewarding to know that your actions are going to help shape your skill set.

The large open spaces of the environments may not be particularly pretty or wonderful in design for a large part, but the amount of choice is once again astounding. There are vents to open, codes to find, computer and security systems to hack, heavy items to move and walls to smash through (if you have the augmentations), ladders to scale, and jumps to be made. The locations really feel like they have been designed with your individual super soldier in mind, and your augmentations determine where you can or cannot go. This is most pleasing after the rather enclosed spaces of Invisible War.

There's a message here: never mess with an augmented man.

All of these good points, but does Deus Ex: Human Revolution do anything wrong? Yes it does. The enemy AI isn’t very good at all: enemies are lethal in gunfights, but playing it stealthily does reveal their shortcomings, and it’s possible to take advantage of their low level of intelligence, if you’re that way inclined. Speaking of enemies, there is a handful of forced boss encounters in the game, but these aren’t very good at all, and it would have definitely been better off without them.

For such a high profile game, Human Revolution also doesn’t quite have the visual detail or the audio to match up. The game does have a decent art style, but unimportant characters have their looks and their voices recycled, and their level of detail is certainly on the low side in comparison to the more prominent of characters. The music, on the other hand, is very fitting for the cyberpunk styling of the world, but voice acting can be dodgy and some of the accents sound laughably fake.

But when the rest of the game is as good as Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the above flaws are hardly enough to ruin the game – this, on the whole, heralds the successful return of the Deus Ex series. The level of choice makes other more linear games feel very restrictive after being a part of this world for 20+ hours, and many will most likely want to return to this world in order to see how events can pan out differently, which certainly gives the game a lot of value. It’s out of this world to think that something like the recent Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 costs the same as Deus Ex: Human Revolution – a game that is really worth the asking price.