Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - A step in the right direction.

But just a step. There's still a long way to go for modern gaming to reclaim the depth of the classics.

The new Deus Ex game is definitely a great one. A wonderful first person shooter, that provides tangible RPG elements, unlike most other "action RPG's". While the core mechanics are definitely set in the shooter genre, the game delivers a lot more.

As you play, you earn points with which to upgrade your character, through the use of augmentations. These provide you with new or enhanced abilities, ranging from improved combat abilities, to hacking skills, to stealth and maneuverability. These skills greatly affect how you play the game. They can drastically alter your experience, changing your play style from simple run-n-gun shooter play, to a game of stealth and avoidance, to the crafty art of hacking.

You can choose various approaches to each mission, with more possibilities opening up as your skills in various areas improve. You can choose to gun down all opposition. Or perhaps taking a less violent approach, simply stunning a guard or two on your way to your objective. Or maybe you'd prefer coming around to a locked door and hacking your way through, perhaps accessing a restricted computer and unlocking a new path to follow. It's quite literally possible to beat the game without killing anyone (except for forced boss fights).

The story is very well written, giving you an immersive experience. The game is full of information, both crucial and trivial, giving you a detailed and thorough understand of the world you're in. Though, be warned, there is a lot of reading involved. Of course, for those more focused on action, there's no shortage of that to be found.

The characters are well developed, and as you play, you learn a lot about the various figures you deal with. Some are honourable, others seek only self gain, while there are some who seem to play the villain due to their extreme devotion to their own cause. It's definitely a nice thing to see, compared to the bland and two dimensional characters found in many modern games.

The graphics, while not exactly ground breaking, are definitely beautiful, and give a real sense of walking the dark and dirty streets. Character models are hit and miss however. Some non-player characters definitely have a cut and paste look to them, while others are fleshed out in great detail. This tends to give you a quick idea of which characters are important, and which are only bit players.

Through the game, you'll have many choices in how to approach a situation. Many including conversations, which you guide through various styles of speech. Choosing to be honest, confrontational, demanding, and many other possibilities. While certain choices lead to better results, the game gives you a lot more depth than the simple "good or evil" options most games present. Each NPC will react differently, and you need to carefully gauge how the conversation is going as you make your choices.

The main problem with the game, and where is fails to live up to the standards set by the original, is in how your choices affect the world. In the original Deus Ex, every choice you made had an impact. Be it saving people or not, whether you choose to kill the bad guys or let them live, everything had meaning. And your ending would change based on what you had done. Sadly, for HR, your choices mean nothing in the end. While you may get a slightly different conversation from certain NPC's, the overall gameplay won't change. And when it comes down to it, the ending is simply selected by a literal push of a button. With all four endings being accessible to you, regardless of how you played the game. This makes your actions meaningless, and hinders any real purpose in replaying the game.

That flaw aside, the game delivers a solid experience. In a thorough run, players can expect a good 40+ hours of gameplay. And the ride is definitely an enjoyable one.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution definitely gets my recommendation as a "must have" game of 2011. It should please fans of shooters and RPG's alike. While there is still room for improvement, it's good to see that Eidos is bringing some depth back to modern gaming.

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