Lasting First Impressions of Deus Ex: Human Revolution from SquareEnix
August 23rd, 2011 was a great day for gamers. It was a highly anticipated day long in the waiting. It was the release date for the SquareEnix published title, developed by Eidos Montreal, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The third title in the Deus Ex franchise, this new title is a prequel to the original and is looking to be as much a hit as its predecessors.
I had never actually played the original Deus Ex, or its follow-up title, Deus Ex: Invisible War, but I understood the impacts and influences they had on the gaming world. In 2000, Deus Ex was one of the first games to merge elements of first-person shooters, RPGs and adventure games to create one cohesive, enthralling experience, allowing for an unprecedented level of choice in gameplay. Closely thereafter, in 2003, Deus Ex: Invisible War took these elements to new heights with the addition of reinforcing player choice through dialogue trees. This particular element was also used by classics like BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic and has most recently been made famous in their Mass Effect and Dragon Age titles. It is this dialogue tree and player choice element alone that truly creates a distinct game each and every time it is played.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an absolutely marvelous game right from the moment it is launched. The music used on the “Press Start” screen is so intriguing, I spent a few minutes just enjoying it (while watching the cool animation included) before launching the game. The incredible soundtrack doesn’t end there, however, as this game is full of an emotionally driven score. This game is about story and the soundtrack is there to enhance it fully along with the wonderfully gorgeous imagery; Deus Ex is a beautiful game. The artists spared nothing when designing this fully immersive world and it definitely paid off.
I was drawn to Deus Ex: Human Revolution because of the stealth gameplay and the RPG elements. I love these styles of games and really enjoy the challenge of moving through a level undetected. Having the option to carefully snipe the enemies from a distance, sneak my way through an area without being seen, or even suddenly incapacitate an enemy from the shadows, truly makes the game your own. No two games will be played the same. Both the gameplay and the story are all about player choice, who to trust, how to act, who to kill and who to save. This is the style of game I can truly spend dozens of hours exploring and, once completed, even start again to experience a different way through.
Everything about Deus Ex is in the player’s control. Combat can be approached from a distance in cover, or you can take it up close an personal in a full frontal assault. Careful planning will still be required, however, if you don’t want to find yourself face down in a pool of blood quickly. Alternatively, you can choose to go the stealth route, moving from cover to cover, timing dives and runs when the enemies look the other way, and striking silently from the shadows with your hands. As mentioned earlier, even the social aspect of the story is in your control; you choose how to handle a situation or what to say to your friends and enemies to either diffuse a situation or make it worse. On top of all this, how Adam Jenson, the main character, grows is up to you. Every augmentation he has can be upgraded or enhanced in whatever order or configuration you desire to achieve the end result. So many combinations of these game elements ensures that no two playthroughs will be the same.
During my first hour, I was immediately drawn into the intricate story and the disparate characters. I truly enjoy games that can seamlessly flow from gameplay into cut scene and right back again, and Deus Ex does it magnificently. I truly felt like I was in the story and I had full control of the character. The control scheme is flawless with the exception of using the X-button (on XBOX360) to select items/begin conversations instead of the standard A-button, but that is a minor complaint and easily became second nature and I progressed through the narrative.
As usual, I aim to play a game for an hour before I write my reviews but, to be honest, this game was difficult to stop after that first hour. I was completely drawn into the game, the narrative, the characters, and the sheer joy of the stealth action and RPG elements that I didn’t want to put it down. The story and missions flow incredibly well from one to the other. Just when I think a mission is complete and I’m going to get some kind of cut scene that will take me from my current location back to a central hub, it doesn’t happen. Yes, the current mission may be over, but there’s no auto-relocate going on here. You have to get there yourself and I think that’s great. This is what truly engulfs the player in the role of Adam Jensen. At no point did I feel like I was taken ‘out of the game’ and that is something most games could take notice of and learn from.
This is going to be an epic journey. My first hour of play only scratched the surface of what’s to come and I am definitely sticking around to complete this adventure. I highly recommend Deus Ex: Human Revolution to anyone who enjoys fantastic action, indepth character development, and an absolutely engaging story.
SquareEnix, I gave you an hour and I am wonderfully IMPRESSED. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I really must get back to playing.