Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It's a Revolution, Baby (Deus Ex)

Tonight on the way home from work I picked up the much anticipated Deus Ex: Human Revolution for 360. After a couple hours of playing, I figured I'd give my impressions for anybody who is on the fence about this game.

If you've never played the original Deus Ex, you should be ashamed. Go to your room and spank yourself! If you have, then Human Revolution will feel pretty familiar. Actually if you've ever played a FPS-RPG hybrid, then you should feel pretty comfortable with the mechanics. You can sneak up on dudes and perform stealth kills, shoot them in the face, hack computers and upgrade your stealth killing, face shooting abilities.

The story starts out pretty standard. Some science guys are working on artificial robot arms and some other guys don't like that I guess? So then much shooting and exploding happens and your girlfriend gets kidnapped. Also you get your shit blown up. But then you get brought back with a bunch of robot parts. Like a less cool version of Robocop. Except your sunglasses have become part of your face.

Overall the story is somewhat interesting so far. I do find the concept of transhumanism and human augmentation very intriguing. Unfortunately HR seems to fumble awkwardly with it, stopping every so often to beat you over the head with some moral quandary. It just never has any of the impact it should. In my opinion, these themes have been explored to much greater effect in other media. But maybe I'm firing off prematurely (I have that problem a lot), I don't think I've experienced enough of the story yet to come to a real conclusion.

Gameplay feels very streamlined, like most RPG franchises ported to consoles. Not that it's a bad thing, as much of the tedium has been removed. You're free to use stealth or brute force, and are rewarded appropriately for each. The levels have some very nice branching paths, which bring back good memories of the first Deus Ex. There are lots of items and weapons to find, and overall the game just feels very cohesive.

Sadly in some areas the game doesn't feel as fleshed out as it could be. NPCs will repeat the same lines of dialog over and over. I was trying to defuse a bomb and they all kept yelling at me "HELP GET US OUT OF HERE!" "HELP GET US OUT OF HERE!" Maybe if you'd shut your god damn traps so I could concentrate here... Anyway, Enemy AI doesn't seemed to have changed much since the original, goons are still dumb as posts. I guess that leads me to my biggest disappointment. Overall it doesn't seem like the franchise has evolved very much. I mean, it's certainly more approachable. But sadly nothing that I've seen so far has surpassed what I played a decade ago in the original.

Don't get me wrong, it's still a very worthy game. Just maybe not the Revolution we were hoping for. Haha ha oh man, I was holding onto that one all night!

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