Davor Josipovic Just another WordPress blog – rather tryout


Deus Ex: Human Revolution – some thoughts from a fan

Filed under: Gaming — Tags: , — Davor @ 20:36

I played the original twice. When I was 17, and later when I was about 22. I am not really into shooters – yes, I skipped the Invisible War – but this game is so much more. One gets immersed into the future as seen by its creator Warren Spector. To describe this “not the end of the world but you can see it from there”-feeling would take many pages. So I’ll keep it short. Beside the great gameplay, sound and story, Deus Ex confronts you with moral dilemmas and makes you think about human augmentation and just polity. Beside the entertainment value it also has some “educational” value.

So now we have a new prequel Deus Ex: HR. Usually I play a game 2-4 years after its release, when it’s close to bugfree and possibly improved by the mods. But after I saw the Deus Ex: HR trailer and the intro I just couldn’t resist… So here is what I liked and did not like about the game. It might contain spoilers.

The visuals are stunning and memorable. Some are simply jawdropping. The creativity involved in making the world look mystical, but at the same time futuristic and “Deus Ex” is really top notch. These artists definitely understand the original.

Just like the original, this Deus Ex has definitely a memorable soundtrack. Very futuristic and at the same time “Deus Ex”. The voice acting is also incredibly well done, for all the NPC, but especially the main character and main NPC’s.

Overall gameplay is good to very good/perfect. Although this game seems to be made for console, it plays very well on PC too. It simply feels right after you get used to the gameplay. It is also obvious that much time has been spent on making the gameplay flawless, and incorporating various ways for one to get to the objective.

The dialogues are much improved compared to the original. There is much more interaction and choice left to the player. The social interaction aug is also very well implemented. The thing that bothered me were the sometimes shallow facial expressions.

Story is OK for a Deus Ex game. Whereas the first Deus Ex dealt with the just governmental system, the subject of HR is more about the dangers of augmentation and human transcendence. From that perspective it seems that the end of HR was pushed to resemble the original Deus Ex ending where one could choose – and play God. I did miss some depth and consistency. The story seems artificially prolonged because the plot is too simple, and at times becomes boring. So although the plot of HR is good and has great potential, the presentation of it seems far less to me. I think I missed the message during my 60h play. The original did better here, although it didn’t had as much content – I think.

Quake-like boss fights? Well, I don’t think they have a place in a Deus Ex game. Also it is a pity that these bosses are completely void of personality – in contrast with the other NPC.

The skill system is removed, and now completely replaced with the augmentation system. I really liked the skill system: it gave one a certain level of specialization that is unrelated to augs. Like better aiming with weapons you specialize in, faster movement with heavy weapons, staying longer under water, some hacking skills, medical skills, etc. So, to me this was definitely a big loss. An unique playing experience could be highly increased with a skill system.

The augs now get unlocked with XP-points. Most are well designed and well implemented in the game. The fact that you already have them all removes the “wauw” effect of finding one though. Auto-recharging one battery is a good improvement from the previous series – now one can experiment without permanently using up the bio-energy. But recharging only one seems inconsistent: having two charged cells and taking one enemy down will “waste” this second cell, while doing the same with one cell will not – the empty cell will reload eventually.

The praxis packs (and other items) scattered through the game on sometimes strange locations… it could have been better. Same with the empty lockers…

I also missed a way to replay (or re-read) the conversations I had with people. Sometimes there is much information at once, and you don’t want to miss a thing… I though the original had a log for this.

The hacking is improved – resembles System Shock (?) – but is imbalanced in my opinion. With a few aug-points one can hack everything and get money and XP for free. One can misuse this eventually. On hardest settings I had eventually more than 40 stops! and viruses in my backpack, and gathered very much gold. Even the toughest terminals went down easily. Such hacking makes searching for passcodes completely irrelevant.

Hacked turrets and robots have no cameras. They could have them.

The stealth difficulty could be higher. The patrol routes could be extended, randomized, etc. Now the guards usually don’t go just far enough to see you. Also, the AI during alarm or hostile faze could be better. The guards don’t go too far in their search, and if they do, they sometimes go alone, which makes them easy to take down unnoticed. Guards also don’t notice when some of them are missing for a long time.

The third person view unlocked with the right mouse button is interesting but lacks explanation – certainly for a game that is trying to look as realistic as possible. How come Adam is able to have such a “field of view”?

At the same time there are much eBooks scattered through the world that refer to real-life happenings. It’s kind of strange… it doesn’t feel right.

The DLC – Missing Link – doesn’t run from the main game. This is a pity. The pre-order special text in the weapon descriptions I also found very bothering.

Replay value? Not so if you ask me. But hard to tell why though. Maybe because the game tries to be so realistic your every decision feels like it is definite. The game feels more like an onetime experience… which sticks!

So does it live up to the name? I think it does. To be honest: there are flaws. But the vocals and visuals are stunning. The experience is unique. The story is OK. The gameplay is quite ambitious, and speaking of value: it is definitely worth the money. I am happy that de developers also tried successfully new things and didn’t simply brought us the original in a new package – like with HL2 (!!). I think they should have gone even further – although this is always a big risk. Because of this, I find it not as “redefining” as the original was, but at the same time I cannot look past its aspirations. So, although there are definitely things that could have been better, these shortcomings don’t measure up against the love, care and attention for detail that have been put into this game.

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