Actually the order of the games isn't necessarily so straightforward, as although this is was the third Deus Ex game released, it's actually a prequel set 25 years earlier in the timeline. But as prequels go, will this be another Snake Eater or will it be an Arkham Origins? More importantly, which game am I implying to be the bad one out of those two? Perhaps we'll never know.
Human Revolution was released on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2011, but it received a Director's Cut two years later to accompany the upgraded Wii U version. I'll be sticking with the original version though, mostly because it's what I've got sitting in my Steam library right now (but also because I want to whine about the original boss fights at some point).
(Clicking screenshots will bring up a slightly higher resolution version for you to scrutinize.)
Plus it doesn't even have Alexander Brandon's iconic Deus Ex theme! For whatever reason, incoming developer Eidos Montreal thought that getting XCOM composer Michael McCann in to write something entirely new would be somehow acceptable. He's awesome though, so they were right.
Also I surprised to find a box to adjust the FOV on another options page, amongst object highlight, automatic inventory management and quest arrow toggles. When it comes to tweaking your game experience, DX:HR has you covered it appears.
Hang on, I recognise that voice. Is this... Deus Ex 1 villain Bob Page? I think it actually is!
Unlike with JC Denton and Alex D from the last two games, there's no options to change Adam Jenson's skin tone, hair colour, gender or real name. I suppose these pre-rendered cutscenes make that kind of customisation entirely unfeasible, though I like him just fine as it he is to be honest. I'm envying his pointy beard.
He doesn't seem all that keen on augmentation in general, though his badass trenchcoat has apparently been augmented with chintzy sofa fabric across the shoulders. This Cyber-Renaissance style the designers have gone with could've easily looked ridiculous, but I think they've pulled it off. Things like Dr Reed's high ruffled collar, the leather chair, electric candles etc. add a touch of class to what could've otherwise have been a very generic looking game.
Dr. Reed keeps pestering me to leave with her already, but I'm going to rummage through her belongings instead. There is a ridiculous amount of stuff lying around in here; every surface is covered with piles of books and paper, even the floor. I've never seen a room in a video game look so lived in. It makes me want to start tidying up for her, though I should probably do something about the stacks of notes accumulating on my own real life desk first.
It can't have been cheap to get all those books custom printed with reversed text like that. Either she's showing off her incredible intellect, or the poor woman has had her optical implants installed the wrong way around. Or maybe she just collects misprints.
You know I should probably go talk to her so she can leave, before she comes over here and hits me.
Though being locked firmly onto rails for a bit does give me an opportunity to test something I've been wondering about. I've heard that for the Director's Cut they've stripped out the game's signature golden tint for no good reason (well, besides a few complaints about it being a 'piss filter'), and I'm curious about how true that is. Personally I like the colours just fine the way they are, so I think it'd be a shame if it turns out that they have screwed with them, especially considering that you can't even buy this original version from Steam any more.
It seems to me that the Director's Cut still has a yellow colour cast, but it's less monochromatic and a bit more natural looking. Though that's still just another way of saying 'it looks less yellow' I suppose.
Anyway we've arrived at Megan's floor, so she leaves me alone in the elevator with Pritchard, the cyber-security chief, who is doing his very best to firmly establish that he's my asshole rival in the limited screen time the intro allows. Well I say 'limited', this walk and talk sequence actually took five and a half minutes in the end.
Invisible War level on its own. I'm only exaggerating so very slightly.
Anyway I can't hang around here looking at stacks of books all day. The big screen is flashing red and whining about some environmental malfunction back down in the labs. Sarif tells me to use his personal elevator on the left and gives me a keycode to type in.
(Also they got the door code right: 451, as featured in Deus Ex, System Shock 2, Dishonored, BioShock and the offices of Looking Glass Studios. It's a four digit seal of quality!)
Jensen never goes anywhere without his trusty machine gun, and as head of security going Rambo on the soldiers' asses and single-handedly saving the day is in his job description... but I'm not going to shoot anyone. There's an achievement for finishing the game without a single non-boss kill you see, and it counts the enemies in this prologue even though I have no way of taking them down non-lethally.
So I'm going to be hiding a lot pretty much.
In Invisible War I had very little idea what the enemies were doing half the time and I spent way too long hiding in the dark trying to listen for footsteps, before sneaking out and stumbling straight into an enemy by accident. In this I know exactly what they're up to and can plan my moves accordingly.
The fight ends before it even begins really, with a gunshot to Jensen's head providing an exclamation mark to everything that has happened up to this point. Gotta say though, it was a good advert for robot arms.
Fortunately, like Max Payne and the Courier from Fallout: New Vegas before him, Jensen has too thick of a skull for a point-blank bullet to the brain to do much more than knock him out for a while.
This video reminds me a lot of the resurrection scene at the start of Mass Effect 2 actually, as they're both similarly stylised, with synth music and a lot of close ups of cybernetics. Though this is 100% more skippable, which makes it 200% more bearable.
SIX MONTHS LATER.
Jensen is supposed to still be recovering from being shot, mutilated and having metal rods shoved under his skin, but he's been called back to work early to deal with a situation. There's been a break in at a Sarif Industries factory and he has to deal with it. Alone.
First though I should go do something about this flicking interface. Graphics bugs are so much worse when they're inside your head.
I want to snoop around everywhere but my boss is very insistent that bad things are going to happen if I don't go out and fight terrorism immediately, so I'm going to speak to tech bastard Pritchard, get him to fix my flickery HUD, and then head straight out to the helipad.
Okay, flickery HUD has a little arrow saying 'turn right and walk forward 6 meters', so I'll give that a try. This quest arrow is entirely optional by the way, so everyone's happy. Well apart from the people who hate options I guess. They're out there, I promise you.
Sarif is waiting on board to brief me on the situation personally: pro-human purists have invaded one of our factories just hours after a secret prototype weapon called the Typhoon was brought there. Also there's hostages etc, but Sarif makes it clear that the recovering the Typhoon is my number one priority.
He also offers me a choice of what lethal or non-lethal weapon I want to take. I decided to go with the non-lethal long distance tranquilliser rifle, and waited for Sarif to drop the punch line and then give me the rest of my guns. Nope, seems like he can only spare the one. I guess him and Malik are going to use the others for target practice while they wait for me to finish up.
Anyway I've been dropped off at the factory now, sans trenchcoat. There's a SWAT team already hanging around looking miserable, but Sarif has just enough influence to ensure that they won't raid the place until I've done what I came here to do.
Man, it pays to be friends with the head of the leading augmentation company; Jensen's got the most stylish looking artificial arms that money can buy. His tech looks more advanced than the implants special forces cyborgs will be wearing 25 years later:
|Deus Ex (PC)|
After I've done chatting with SWAT, Pritchard phones me up to inform me that the back entrance to the factory is pretty well guarded, but there's another way inside up on the roof if I can find my way up there. I think I'll take the high road, as it'll keep me out of sight and I'm still trying to play this without fighting anyone.
Maybe not on my first try, but eventually.
MEANWHILE, IN A PARALLEL UNIVERSE.
I'll tell you one thing: fights in this are over with fast. Headshots are an instant kill, and being caught out of cover has much the same effect on me. Enemies are smart enough to fall back and find something to hide behind and if I don't do the same I'll be out of the game by the count of three every time.
There's no door keys in this, but pocket secretaries often contain key codes so that's basically the same thing.
By the way, ammo is back to being old fashioned boxes of bullets, instead of Invisible War's universal energy packs, or whatever that game used. This is a good thing for a number of reasons; for one thing firing the rocket launcher doesn't eat up all your pistol rounds. Also gun reload animations are just satisfying to watch somehow.
On the other hand, ammo takes up space in the inventory now, which I'm not sure about. It kind of feels like I'm being punished twice for choosing to bring along more interesting guns, seeing as they usually take up a fair number of squares themselves. I need that space for my candy bars dammit!
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE NON-VIOLENT RUN.
By the way, those icons you're seeing up there indicate that I'm standing close enough to the enemy to use a takedown move on them, either lethal or otherwise. Of course I'm playing this 100% stealth right now, so having any kind of contact with the enemy would break my self-imposed rules of engagement!
I was trying to decide what I thought about how this feature affects the gameplay, but then I got distracted by the number of QTE button presses I had to hit in turn to pull it off. Which was zero.
BACK TO THE NO-KILL RUN.
Okay here's how the hacking minigame works as I understand it (and I understand it surprisingly well after watching the tutorial video): I start off at the blue sphere and I want to get to the green sphere (or spheres), by capturing icons along the path in order. Capturing takes a second or two and comes with a chance of detection, and if the system learns that I'm screwing around with its nodes it starts tracing its own path towards my sphere from the red stack of boxes. Once I've captured a point I can choose to fortify it further to slow the computer's own hacking line down, but that comes with a high chance of detection, so I have to decide how far I want to risk pushing ahead before setting up defences. It's pretty frantic, as I'm capturing or fortifying multiple nodes at once to get to my target before he gets me.
See, this is why I love the video tutorials: my words are clumsy and rubbish, but if you saw it in action it'd make sense immediately. Man, I've been wasting my time these last four years writing articles instead of making youtube videos! Anyway: best hacking minigame ever.
By the way, there are no lockpicks or multitool items in the game anymore. In their place are viruses I can use during the minigame to give myself an advantage. It definitely helps to solve the problem that Deus Ex had, where you'd occasionally have to choose what mystery box to spend your valuable finite resources opening and risk getting a crappy reward. Plus I believe there are places in Deus Ex where you can get hopelessly stuck if you're out of lockpicks/multitools, which is a bit crap.
By the way, I'm very appreciative of the fact that I don't have to hammer the button to prise the vent cover off, Arkham Asylum style. I mean seriously, if there's any developers reading this, I've done a quick study and it turns out that it is NEVER FUN in any game.
But at least I've finally got the Typhoon prototype I was sent here to retrieve. That's 250XP in the bank, plus double that as a Ghost bonus for not being seen. That definitely helps to offset all the 10XP rewards I missed out on for leaving people standing. It's an interesting design choice though, considering that the original Deus Ex only gives XP for results, not methods (and Invisible War doesn't give you jack shit.)
Well that's my primary mission complete, but I'm not done here yet. I still need to go after the leader of the terrorists.
Continued in part two!