Deus Ex is something of a legend in the gaming industry. One of the most acclaimed PC games of all time, the 2000 original is still hailed as an original, sci-fi masterpiece. Massively popular upon release, the game developed an enormous cult following that sees it comfortably sit inside many a “top games of all time” poll.
Despite a somewhat underwhelming sequel (Invisible War, released three years later), the fact that it’s taken almost eight years to return to the Deus Ex world is both a testament to the reverence that the original game is held in and the complexity of building a game with such an expectant fan base. But finally, with the release of Human Revolution, we can return to the stunning, future dystopia that is slowly starting to look more and more like our world.
Set a quarter century before the events of the original Deus Ex, Human Revolution tones down the overt nano-manipulated world of the iconic first game and focuses on the first step of human revolution, cybernetic augmentation.
Playing the atypical Adam Jensen, a highly-trained security professional with a mysterious past (aren’t they all), the world of Deus Ex is beautifully established through interactive introductions to some of the main characters and the game world in something akin to the legendary opening of Half-life 2.
With the narrative quickly and effectively establishing both motivation and the tools on which the gameplay is based on, Deus Ex Human Revolution wastes little time laying the ground work for what is to come.
After being ambushed and left for dead by mysterious, powerful attackers, Jensen is augmented beyond perfection, becoming the ultimate weapon/solution to uncover the motives and plans behind the conspiracy that crippled him in the first place.
It are these augmentations that give a lot of Human Revolution forward momentum as playing through the game opens up improvements and additional weaponry to play with. Choosing which direction to take your Adam Jensen is totally up to your personal choice with multiple paths through the 25-plus hours of gameplay expected, even encouraged by Eidos.
At the core of the Human Revolution experience are options. Even from the very start gamers are given the choice on how they want to approach any particular mission; run-and-gun or cat-and mouse? Choosing either stealth or brawn has benefits and drawbacks and gives each mission or scenario a flexibility rarely seen in modern, linear gaming.
Add to this the immense satisfaction in dispatching a roomful of enemies guns blazing or carefully avoiding a pack of alerted assassins, and Deus Ex presents an intense, thoughtful experience that hasn’t been seen since Batman Arkham Asylum, and is perhaps even better.
Deus Ex Human Revolution has managed to balance the hard edge RPG elements with an effective and stunning shooting mechanic to create a game that will appeal to fans of both genres equally. With a cover system that rewards aggression and manipulation and puzzle elements that emphasize lateral thinking, Human Revolution is mentally addictive like few games this year.
With the addition of some of the most striking and awe-inspiring visuals outside of Final Fantasy, Human Revolution is a feast for the mind and the eyes. The permanent neon glow of the mega-cities that Deus Ex travels through is astonishing and the beautifully crafted world is something to behold, even for the most jaded Blade Runner fanatic.
More Metal Gear Solid than Call of Duty, Human Revolution is the thinking-man’s shooter. With an astonishing story, mind-blowing visuals and more twists that M Night Shyamalan’s back catalogue, Deus Ex Human Revolution might just be the best hybrid game of a generation. No matter what label one might like to place on it, this is simply a game that must be played! [9.5]
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Eidos Montreal