So this past weekend I finally finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DE:HR). I say finally because, although I really wanted to like it, I ended up struggling to finish it in its entirety. Here’s my complete review of Deus Ex.
DE:HR features the story of Adam Jensen, a newly hired security guard for Sarif Industries, a new booming biomedical augmentation company. On one of the first days on the job, however, the headquarters is attacked and Adam’s girlfriend and top scientist is murdered, while several other scientists are kidnapped from the facility. The attack leaves Adam critically injured, which he only survives by serious augmentations that Sarif industries decides to invest in him. The rest of the story involves Adam doing some detective work to find out why the attack happened, where the other scientists are, and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
There are a lot of things that DE:HR did well, and considering that it was released in 2011, I’m sure it was probably pretty groundbreaking for what it did. However, not only is the game a product of its time and sadly now a bit dated compared to current games, but I just couldn’t get behind the game mechanics. This may be in large part due to how I play as a gamer, which would be straightforward first person shooters like Halo. The 3rd person setting when you take up cover makes it easier to stealth than to shoot, and I struggled a lot in smoothly lining up shots of my enemies. Although DE:HR does give you the option to do stealth only, guns blazing, or a mix of the two, the game consistently rewards you for taking the stealth route, and penalizes you for going guns blazing. How? Simply because ammunition is scarce compared to how many enemies you meet and their strength, and even with multiple upgrades (which I used as much as possible) you still have very little health, meaning that you really can’t afford to take more than a couple hits. As a result, near the last few levels, I found myself switching the difficulty to easy because I had lost my patience with creeping around and simply wanted to finish the game already. This resulted in an unfortunate ending where enemies did not hurt me when I thought they should have, and a ridiculously easy ‘boss battle’ at the end. So be warned! If you set the settings to easy, you might actually be cheating yourself out of the game. This is different from other games where easy mode is not god mode and it is still a little challenging.
The other qualm I had with this game is that EVERYTHING IS IN ORANGE. Seriously, if any object has the ability to be interacted with, it will have an orange border around it. All the lights are orange, windows are orange, and the vast majority of everything you see in the game is orange. So if you care about great visuals, and don’t like the color orange, this game might not be for you.
With all that being said, there are actually a lot of great things about this game that I would now like to address.
The first is that the plot is interesting and complex, and if you can get through the story fast enough so you don’t lose sight of your goals, can be quite fun. There are also a lot of side quests, some more interesting than others, such as saving a woman in a brothel. There are a lot of surprises and honestly it keeps you guessing most of the way.
The other thing I liked about the game is how much choice you get to have. Not only can you end the game in 4 different possible endings, you can also have different conversations with people that will lead to different outcomes. You can also get an upgrade that lets you analyze the personality of the person you’re speaking with (alpha, betta, or gamma person) and then use the right words to appeal to the right senses in this person (such as being logical to an alpha, flattering to a beta, and threatening a weak gamma person). This use of psychology so clearly in a game was quite refreshing.
Finally, once you get past the orange, a lot of the locations are pretty cool. My favorite was Hengsha, a city in China that ‘became so crowded they built another city on top of it’.
Checking out the nightclub there and walking the streets and looking at the futuristic light fixtures and architecture was really cool. I just wish it was bathed in neon blue and purple instead of, again, everything orange.
All things considered, I would give this game a 7.5/10. The gameplay mechanics were hard to get around for me, but the music, storyline, setting, dialogue, and variety of gameplay made it worth the time I put into it.
I recommend playing this game but taking your time with it. Although if you like stealth games like Metal Gear Solid, I think this’ll be right up your alley.