Deux Ex: Human Revolution

A contradictory masterpiece.

By Daavpuke, Posted 31 Aug 2011

What happened, Square Enix? You used to be cool, but now you’re just...square. Not long ago, when people heard the name Squaresoft, they’d automatically go: “That’s the guys whose graphics are incredible! Have you seen those? ”  That was then and since 10 odd years ago, nothing seems to have changed. Nothing at all, which is exactly the issue in the grand advancement of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, anno 2011.

NoobFeed Review - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Eyes of glass, for that serious sociopath look to go along with the metal shirt.

Sure, cutscenes are still so crisp that they almost seem lifelike. On that part, Square and subsidiary studio Eidos show the world what they’re capable of with the current platforms. But then there’s the characters; dear Lord, the characters. At such high production values, the character designs, movements and any interaction related to them can best be described as a puppet theater. If there was ever such a world where every person gesticulates like Pinocchio, clanking jaws up and down and doing the robot, it apparently would happen in future Detroit.  But it doesn’t just stop at the wooden marionettes, because everything regarding any character is downright awful.

In what seems to be a random die toss for casting, voice acting of characters seem completely detached from reality. Completely unfitting moods, lines and tones are commonplace in Deus Ex and that’s without touching the borderline racism. Any non-white Christian gets voiced as a page out of a stereotype book. It’s hard to believe that some ethnicities would not be offended by it. There isn’t an Oriental person in its universe that can conjugate a verb and black people all chuck and jive their way back to minstrelsy. Seriously, a joke is funny, but ridiculous is not strong enough a term for this giant farce.

And grievances pile up on top of each other, making it hardly believable this game is anything but a tragedy. Characters have erratic reactions towards interaction; cowering at the sight of typing, but staying motionless in the face of fistfights. Panic and run into a wall; spin around violently or willingly leap of a cliff; these are all normal behavior in a madhouse and Deus Ex.

NoobFeed Review - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The augmented conversation mechanic is solid, as long as you don't listen or look.

But the absolute pit might be the boss fights, which are as ridiculous as they are frustrating. The minor bosses are completely overpowered and tough to maneuver around. Though sometimes the broken detection system will let a boss put his face to a wall, whilst throwing grenades at it for long periods of time. Also, an endless supply of grenades really puts a damper on trying to get into position or firing. This also forces players to choose certain specific game elements and punishes others. It’s a bad scene all around and a constant reminder in this adventure of dozens of hours.

These 400 words of hate will probably mean horrible failure for Mindjack, or no, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Strangely, no; Deus Ex is probably one of the better titles in the entire genre, combining the best from action, stealth and adventure in a first person perspective. Presented in an awe striking expanded universe, the modern skylines merge the somber with bright electricity lighting, often mixing black and yellow.  Together with the sharp instrumental soundtrack, heightening suspense, it sets a futuristic dream world right out of Blade Runner.  Every scene has multiple levels of access, hidden parts and tons of interacting objects such as trashcans, terminals, boxes and so forth, indicated by a yellow outlining. It’s a true cornucopia of existence.

NoobFeed Review - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
The screen can get a bit cluttered, but nothing stops the fun of espionage.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution revolves around the rise and fall of human augmentation, using robotics and technology to enhance ‘humanity’. This isn’t an uncontested advancement, far from it. The tremendous story will include many topics, such as the ethics of science and progress, but also merging with politics and the involvement of corporate interest. Capitalism has surpassed its nihilistic bonds and the Illuminati’s grasp on the world is on the verge of completion, with technology making human rule simple. It’s the theory conspiracist’s dream or better yet, nightmare. But at least every man can now be made perfect.

By using overshadowing topics, the game leaves a lot of decisions to the player’s discretion and amplifies this tenfold by doing so in a large open world. The open mechanic has rarely been done so right, where every part of the globe is connected to each other and yet holds an individual nature. This allows players to do whatever part of the game they want first and roam at their own discretion, using any tactic they want.  Additionally, the wide variety of conversation options adds additional value to otherwise droning mechanics. There isn’t really a right or wrong approach, just more proficient diplomacies.

NoobFeed Review - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Adam Jensen, tackling Metal Gear, while fools die awkwardly.

Though stealth and empathy offer more benefits than brawn, no player is limited by previous decisions blocking off certain paths. Only the player’s ambition to pursue certain goals is a boundary and that keeps all the power in one’s own hands. This sense of freedom in the beautiful and extensive world is also advantageous to the tactical aspect of the game.

The protagonist Adam Jensen, douchebag in shades and leather coat, is the personal watchdog for a company named Sarif Industries. In what can be compared to a private army, Jensen is sent off into the world to fix certain issues. He is hereby aided by his sidekick Pritchard, a tech guy who handles the intelligence part of the augmentation army, by providing maps, coordinates and the likes. It’s much more believable this way, rather than to magically be aware of surroundings. In any case, these missions are often elaborate and multi-staged in complexes with multiple tiers. The fun comes from the different approach that can effortlessly be switched to at any time. Shootouts can be avoided by crawling into vents, skulking behind furniture or enemies can be taken down from behind walls, by smashing the other side with augmented arms. And the more augmentations, the more fun the grand adventure can be.

NoobFeed Review - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a lot of hacks, but reading books helps!

The leveling system of Deus Ex is another masterpiece. By using Praxis points, what essentially a level up means, Jensen can buy new augmentations that allow him to perform greater tasks or improve upon others. This is done in a constant and fluent manner, but also isn’t mandatory in most events. This makes advancement truly a plus, rather than a requirement, though there is a large emphasis towards hacking, as it consists of a large portion of the game. But by giving players experience incentives to explore hidden areas and reading up on lore, the game uses an effective way to get the most out of the adventure.  Additionally, weapons can also be upgraded separately, bringing us to the combat aspect of the game.

Unfortunately, combat will always revolve around characters, leading us to aforementioned tirade, but all technical aspects of it are in order. Only sneaking and using cover isn’t always too reliable, mostly due to the erratic personas. Combat itself however can be satisfying, with a choice of using lethal or non-lethal means. Jensen might be machine, but can’t handle a wave of bullets, so effectively using cover and aiming well is vital. Especially landing headshots can be gratifying, as enemies won’t be alarmed if the corpse is dragged out of sight in time. Additionally, a charge bar can be used for special augmentations such as cloaking, but can also be used to perform motion captured takedowns. These batteries aren’t endless though, so using them wisely adds yet another tactical layer to the mix.

NoobFeed Review - Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Augmentations offer a simple, yet wide variety of upgrades for the elite spy.

In short, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is in fact a revolution in itself. Even though the abysmal character interaction makes up about 40 percent of the game and is dreadful every step of the way, all other aspects are contradictory near perfection. This game can’t be described into one genre, as it uses stealth, action, adventure and RPG elements equally into a seamless whole. And while the major flaws in the game can’t be denied or forgiven, the experience of playing it is much too satisfying to pass it up for its large indiscretion. So ignore the awful puppet show, because this is the top of the line in immersive and open gameplay.

Daav Valentaten, NoobFeed. (@Daavpuke)

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  • Only people I really hear hound on the characters are people who want to be reviewers. I guess you need to criticize something, so whatever. Other than that you sound really bipolar about the game.

    Simple put people, it's the best game out so far this year. If your not playing it, you really should give it a shot. Chances are you havn't played something quite like this.

    Posted Aug 31, 2011

  • @WillX47:"you sound really bipolar about the game" VS "A contradictory masterpiece." - ORLY

    I'm a long-lasting fan of the series first though, but I can't let that get in the way of my objectivity. I completely agree this game is one of a kind and a must-play for anyone, just in case people hadn't gotten that message from the review yet: Get the game; love the game.

    Posted Sep 01, 2011

  • @Daavpuke

    "you sound really bipolar about the game" and "A contradictory masterpiece."

    "If your not playing it, you really should give it a shot." and "Get the game; love the game."

    "Chances are you havn't played something quite like this." and "Deus Ex: Human Revolution is in fact a revolution in itself."

    Sounds like we are, in a few areas, on the same page.

    Posted Sep 01, 2011

  • @WillX47: I hope on more than just a few, but we certainly are.

    Posted Sep 01, 2011

  • @Daavpuke - More than a few? Not sure. I sure don't agree with you on the characters. Models? Maybe not first class, but "everything regarding any character is downright awful." certainly not. Voice acting was rather well done, Adam Jensen was a welcome throw-back to JC Denton. Sarif also hit every note. Pritchard, Malik, the key host were all well done. Ethnic people on the other hand...well "conjugate a verb" and "chuck and jive", may be best put. Although it's best understood that those are the voices of people who would be described as "low-lifes" or more closely put "hobos" and the people you would expect to hear that kind of talk from. The high class lady owner of Tokyo Medical, Japanese as she may be, didn't speak with that slang.

    Posted Sep 01, 2011
  • @WillX47: It seems you are far more 'forgiving' than me. Pritchard and Malik were the only 'believable' characters (voice wise) to me, with Pritchard being on the edge. I disagree on the other parts, simply put.
    Posted Sep 01, 2011

  • Daav, superb review. From what I have seen and heard you hit almost every high and low point the game has to offer. The only other gripe I have come across is not being able to customize the controls (probably due to their overly complex design). I think that when you look at games that range in the 70-79 range - you will always have extreme lows followed by extreme highs. Another game that fits into the mold and canvas you have painted for Deus Ex is Castlevania: Lords of Shadow... despite being an awesome game, it had some pretty egregious flaws. I love your balance of the good and bad and you really gave me a full body of work to go off of. Thanks for the piece man, enjoy the game :)

    Posted Sep 01, 2011

  • @gdw0908 - You can customize the controles for the PC, which imo was much needed. The cover and aim buttons needed switching, bad. As for the controller, I'm not sure, I didn't play with it very much. Although when I did it felt pretty smooth.

    Posted Sep 01, 2011
  • @gdw0908: You get the hero of the year award. Thank you for your words; they hit home.

    Were these controls for Xbox then? Because as stated above, my version was PS3 and I was fine with the controls given. Felt like I could naturally pull off all the things I needed to do, after some practice of course. On that note: While getting used to the controls, I hit a wrong button and took down a civilian. That spawned a long line of messing people up, just for the hell of it.
    Posted Sep 01, 2011

  • it almost sounds like square got in the way of eidos.  eidos would probably have more to work with if square didn't buy them.  pretty good review man.  look forward to playing this game for sure.  but my worry is about the new hitman game due out.  will square screw with that too??

    Posted Sep 01, 2011


General Information

Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360, PS3
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Eidos Montreal
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Sci Fi
Release Date: 2011-08-23

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