Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Cover
Platforms Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows
Genre Augmented RPG
MtAMinutes to Action 5
Keep Playing? Yes
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As a prequel to the original Deus Ex, which I've replayed numerous times—well, mostly that beginning level set on Liberty Island—Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a difficult task ahead of itself. It has to be more visually advanced than the 2000 offering, with updated gameplay mechanics, and yet keep things less technological in terms of story, as this is a time before JC Denton took on the Illuminati with his wild and crazy nano-augments, when augments were glorified.

Deus Ex is one of the earlier examples of fusing RPG elements with shooters, often allowing players to not even fire a gun so long as they upgrade their character correctly. Nowadays, with titles like Fallout: New Vegas and just about every shooter with a name implementing some kind of RPG leveling system, it's hard to say how tall Deus Ex: Human Revolution will stand.

Well, its opening hour is upon us; hope I upgraded my enjoyment augmentations enough.

Minute by Minute

00 - Orange polygons are breaking apart and reforming to make a face, most likely that of the main character's. Starting a new game, and we have three difficulty settings to pick from: Tell Me a Story, Give Me a Challenge, and Give Me Deus Ex. Um...the middle one, I guess? Loading screen time!

04 - Introductory cutscene. It's a bit like the opening from the original Deus Ex, with some nefarious dialogue between a shadowy businessman and tweaked voices over computer screens. Don't really understand what they are all talking about, but it reeks of plot and betrayal and bad things. I'm sure all will make sense in due time.

Deus ex Human Revolution Adam Jensen

05 - Now in control of Adam Jensen and looking around Megan Reed's office. Found a datapad on the nearby couch, which has cryptic text about the even more mysterious Patient X.

06 - Reading her emails. Deus Ex. However, understandably, Dr. Reed is berating me for this. Well, maybe log out next time! Get with the times. It is 2027 after all.

07 - Another cutscene, but this one is on rails, meaning I can still look around the world as people talk to me and things happen. Basically, Jensen is following Reed around Sarif Industries' biotech laboratories, listening to her conversations with other scientists. Seems like they are working on something big, something that could possibly change everything. At one point, we hop on an elevator up to David Sarif's high-rise office, interrupted slightly by this guy Francis Pritchard, who obviously does not like Jensen too much.

12 - Some dialogue between Jensen and David Sarif, his boss. Suddenly, an alarm goes off, warning of an elementary accident. Back in control again. The boss wants Jensen to check on what's happening down in the labs. Will need to take the elevator below, and he verbally reveals the ride's passcode. Input it manually, and down we go.

13 - For some reason, I have a gun now. Not gonna fire it. Gotta find out where Megan is. A pop-up screen informs me that a tutorial is available for watching, and so I watch it. Teaches me how to crouch, jump, and sprint, all of which will surely come in handy during my time in futuristic Detroit.

15 - Moved a dead scientist out of the way by holding the X button over his body. This doesn't look like a simple accident. Wonder what happened down here. Found a few more dead smarties. Seems like a massacre or something. Turning a corner, I witness some soldier murdering two more scientists without any hesitation.

Deus ex Human Revolution Laser Shootout

16 - Learning to move in-game objects via another video tutorial. Tossed some boxes out of my way and hopped into a vent, just like the good ol' days.

18 - Combat tutorial. Not too interested in this as I'm definitely going to try for a more sneaky, less confrontational approach to all missions. If Jensen can talk his way through, all the better. Though I might have to use a tranquilizer dart gun now and then or a silent takedown. But full firefights? Nope, not for me.

19 - Moving stealthily from cover to cover with the push of a single button. It works, but can look a little clunky. Gotta be aware of soldiers' lines of sight when moving across open spaces.

23 - Died trying to sneak up behind some enemy soldiers. Couldn't do a takedown or anything...unless I missed a button prompt. Or maybe Jensen lacks the jujutsu just yet, and I'm trying to get through the entire game without shooting a lethal weapon at anyone. C'mon, loading screen. Hurry up. Okay, made it past the soldiers stealthily this time by rushing into the room before they could move about, hiding by a staircase, and then slipping past them as they came down.

26 - Ah, another big room filled with patrolling dudes. Must sneak through. Wish me luck.

29 - Made it to the end of the room, but then got caught hopping from behind one crate to another. With no way to defend myself or hide, I just ran forward, zooming through the closest door. Guess these futuristic soldiers don't comprehend doorknobs as nobody pursued.

Deus ex Human Revolution Augmented bar

30 - Died. Don't ask.

32 - Man, sneaking is really hard in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Was a lot easier when, say in Metal Gear Solid, your radar actually showed you the lay of the land and cones of vision. Died again. Pro-tip: don't bother trying to hide out in the open.

35 - Cutscene! Found Megan, but before I could save her, that super soldier from before comes busting in and really messes up Jensen. Like, he's barely alive after this beating. Megan tries to intervene and pays for that, too. Should I count this as death #4? Sure, why not.

40 - Six months later...Jensen's alive! And brimming with augmentations. Good for him. Incoming transmission from David Sarif—you know, the founder and CEO of Sarif Industries—has a very important mission for Jensen and that he should get to the helipad ASAP. However, something's wrong one of our leading lad's visual augments, something Pritchard could probably fix real fast.

42 - Spoke with receptionist for a bit. I like receptionists.

45 - So many people to talk to! Seriously, in the Sarif Industries main lobby alone, there's at least fifteen or so mouth-breathers. Not all are deeply interactive, but everyone says something when prompted or stood next to. Many are just so glad to see Jensen back amongst the living—so to speak. Found Pritchard's office and, after some growling and general contempt, got that visual augment fixed. Now the game's HUD isn't flickering like crazy.

Deus ex Human Revolution Sneaky Science

47 - Another incoming transmission from Sarif. He's not too happy that Jensen's been taking his sweet time instead of getting to the helipad. Is the game really paying attention to details like that? I wonder what would've happened if I went to the helipad first with a broken HUD. Will get to the helipad shortly, I promise; trying to find Jensen's office, most likely because he'll have some goods stashed there.

49 - Okay, found it. Logged onto Jensen's computer, but otherwise, nothing too interesting about his office. Made a beeline for the helipad and spoke with Faridah Malik, a pilot employed by Sarif Industries. She's ready to take me away, and I'm ready to go.

50 - Turns out that terrorists have attacked a Sarif Manufacturing plant and taken hostages. Main objective is to stop the criminals, with the secondary option of rescuing those poor hostages. David Sarif is on the helicopter with Jensen and offers him a free weapon: stun gun, assault rifle, or handgun. Went with the stun gun, which should hopefully help with the stealth approach.

54 - On top of the plant's roof, back in control of Jensen. Spot a door, but look around trying to find an alternative entrance. No such luck.

55 - Menu tutorial on how to use...the menu screens. Really?

56 - Just inside the plant, a trio of police officers are waiting for orders to move in. Looks like Jensen's arrival puts them on hold even more. Chatted with one of them, and this police officer is officially a dick. No other way to put it. I spend the last four minutes of Deus Ex: Human Revolution's first hour talking to him, saving my game progress, tossing a cardboard box at his head, and then being shot down for such crazy criminal activity.


Deus ex Human Revolution Mech Shootout


First Hour Summary

Minutes to Action: 5

Number of deaths: Five. Four were my own fault, and one happened due to storyline reasons. For those playing along at home, I also died five times during the first hour of Minecraft. Make of that what you will.

What I liked: I like the ethical debate behind human augmentation and see both sides of the stance. Personally, I'd love some enhancements, especially for my eyes. I'm tired of wearing glasses all the time and have a hard time putting in contacts (fear of touching my eyeballs), so something to snap those babies to perfect vision would be wonderful. Also: want to see through walls. I think this is the crux of Deus Ex: Human Revolution's story, and I'm looking forward to seeing how Jensen, a heavily augmented man with no health drawbacks, fits in.

What I loved: That moment when you totally avoid a huge firefight by sneaking past the guards or through a vent or going the long way around. Totally worth it all. I also dig a lot of the Blade Runner-like visuals, with lots of interesting commercial ads and billboards to read. And while others might loathe it, I enjoy the inventory system; it's the same found in Diablo and Diablo II, wherein there's a limited amount of space available and acquired items need to be moved around to fit. A puzzle game all on its own. Luckily for my Jensen, he won't have to worry about making room for lots of fancy guns as it is tranquilizer darts and silent takedowns from beginning to end.

What I hated: The game suffers from tiny text syndrome, making a lot of item descriptions, ebooks, datapads, and emails a strain to read. Thank goodness for voice acting during conversations. Also, the long loading screens are not going to be fun, especially considering how many times I died in the first hour alone. They definitely range from long to too long. This game is better played than stared at. Even if it is a little too orange at times.

I feel like I also need to comment on Jensen's voice. Elias Toufexis gives a solid performance, and by that I mean solidly the same. Dry and emotionless, and this is even before Jensen gets all hardwired and loaded with augmentations. There is little range here, and I've now come to openly mock his voice, using it in my daily for saying mundane things like, “I'd like toast now, toast with jelly.”

Would I keep playing? Yes, most certainly. Can't wait to actually tackle this first main mission—the intro level doesn't count as that was clearly more of a tutorial and lacked fun augmentations and options—and see how Jensen does sneaking past terrorists and saving hostages. Plus, Jensen really needs a lozenge; that's a side mission of my own making, but vital nonetheless.