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Games Review: Deus EX: Human Revolution

Human augmentation in the future: going beyond boob jobs
by Gelo Gonzales | Sep 1, 2011
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When the original Deus EX was released in 2000, the amount of praise placed on its shoulders was nothing short of astounding. People were in awe of both how the game blended RPG, first-person shooting, and action-adventure elements into an engrossing cyberpunk setting. That a lot of games now blend those same elements is proof of just how innovative the game was.

The same couldn’t be said about the sequel, Deus EX: Invisible Wars, which most people thought was a dumbed-down version. That’s probably a reason why the next game in the series, Deus EX: Human Revolution is only coming out now, seven years after.

But if that’s how long it takes to produce a Deus EX experience that’s as engrossing, then we’ll take it. Human Revolution boasts what we loved in the original game, and augments them for a modern, revelatory ride.

You’ve been cyberpunk’d
The premise of a future where augmentation technology can make humans stronger or faster couldn’t have been better pulled off than within the world that Human Revolution is set in. The atmosphere is excellent. Where most futuristic games borrow from the neon, synthetic tones brought about by Tron, this one feels oddly more industrial, adopting a gold-and-black color palette.

Such an atmosphere mirrors the game’s pervading conflict: do you stay 100% human or do you follow what seems to be the norm, and that is to “evolve” into an augmented?

Finding himself in the middle of this turmoil is the protagonist Adam Jensen, a security expert in a company that manufactures augmentation equipment, Serif. That company is attacked, leaving Jensen in no shape to continue on in the world of the living.

That is until he himself is augmented beyond humanity. This is where the fun starts, as Jensen sets out to discover who the attackers were, in the process, discovering that it isn’t as simple as industrial sabotage.

To go Rambo or not
You’ve got a pretty powerful fella in Jensen, and if you so choose, you can continue to augment him in ways that make him harder to kill, and stronger. In essence, a tank that can mow through enemies with ease. Feeling a bit of that Metal Gear itch?

You can modify Jensen in ways that make him more effective as a silent operator too. Slinky your way in and out of vents, hack electronic doors quietly, and step out of the shadows from time to time to snap an unfortunate guard’s neck.

The game gives you a lot of possibilities by which you can accomplish missions, and that’s what makes it compelling the entire 25 to 40 hours it will take to complete it. Being able to augment your character as you see fit as well as the game’s excellent level designs ensure a fresh, dynamic experience.

Extra augmentation not necessary
The core of what Human Revolution is—a tense, free-flowing, choice-oriented action game set in a future where society is shown to be at a pivotal crossroads—is truly appealing. There are a couple of flaws, the most glaring of which is the predictable boss battles that betray the game’s “play-the-way-you-want” manifesto.

It’s also not free of technical issues—load times can get long, the A.I. is weak, the facial animations aren’t spectacular, and there are slowdowns from time to time. But our verdict stands: Human Revolution is not to be missed.  

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