Fans have been diving into the Deus Ex series for almost twenty-years now. Over the course of two decades gaming has gone through a lot of fads, game engines and different platforms, but the series itself has continued to offer a futuristic and interesting universe for players to explore. The original Deus Ex launched just after the world was introduced to the film ‘The Matrix,’ and one could argue that the popularity of the film, and it’s iconic Neo character, was a direct influence over the game’s initial design. Since then the world has moved away from Neo and his Matrix, but Deus Ex remains.
Not all of the franchise’s releases have been as popular as the ‘Deus Ex’ original, or the more recent ‘Human Revolution’ installment, but the newest game certainly builds on solid mechanics, and offers a rather intuitive control-system. The newest game is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and it was just released this month for PC, Xbox One and PS4. Eidos Montreal once again threw their unwavering support behind the franchise, and the game seems to be an overall improvement. It certainly brings along many of the fan-tested gameplay mechanics that were popular from Human Revolution, and in many ways succeeds in improving them.
Once again players will rendaivu with Adam Jensen, hero of the previous installments. Players meet with Jensen roughly two-years after augmented humans were unknowingly programed to turn violent. The augmented humans did not willingly turn into murderous mobs, it was part of a much larger plot at the time, but it did set into motion a series of events that lead to this new game. While the previous incident was controlled, the vast majority of non-augmented humans grew to distrust their augmented counterparts. That’s the setup for Mankind Divided, and partly where the title comes from.
Jensen is of course an augmented human, and you can improve those augmentations through the XP points that you get for completing story and sideline quests throughout the game. The system isn’t much different from Human Revolution, and if you enjoyed crafting Jensen into a stealthy super-spy, then you should be happy to know that you get to do it all again.
The game certainly favors the cautious approach. Your augmentations will allow you to move more stealthily, hack security instruments, or rip enemies to shreds. Those are the upgrades, though heavily simplified, broken down to STEALTH, TECH and STRENGTH. You will have to be well-rounded though to take full advantage of each tier. For example, some vents and pathways that are a perfect solution to slip by an enemy patrol unnoticed, might first require the strength to move a pesky fridge to gain access. The game offers dozens of entrances, exits, pathways and obstacles to overcome while you play. The number of options for each mission seems limitless when you begin, but as you progress things get a little simpler, and you become a little more attune with how the game operates.
Cities and locals are wonderfully crafted and simply stunning to explore. This is achieved through a small-scale design, at least when compared to open-world games. The smaller scale means finer details, better level crafting and more hidden surprises. The world felt ‘full,’ the litter on the street could be hiding power ups or entrances, the alleys that roped around locations could lead to fire escapes, back doors, or alarm codes, and an open-window might lead you to an apartment with extra gear or ammo. While pretty, the setting was also carefully constructed, and useful, nothing was just filler around a main objective.
“Deus Ex is one of the most beloved franchises in the game industry, and working on it for nearly 10 years has been a huge responsibility and a tremendous privilege.” said David Anfossi, Head of Studio at Eidos-Montréal. “With Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, we aimed to bring the franchise to another level, with the goal of giving the fans the gaming experience they have all been waiting for”
As I said before, the game favors the cautious and the cunning. While you are free to break through walls and tear through guards, there are so many glorious ways to tackle obstacles, that discovering them becomes a lot of the fun.
The game also offers a simpler, yet interesting storyline to follow. That doesn’t mean that you won’t have dialogue choices or twists, but the writing and progression of the plot-points are much more fluid than previous games. There’s less being thrown at you, and more to discover on your own. Combat is upgraded, though much of the systems are borrowed heavily from Human Revolution. For a quick-look at the game, let’s watch the official launch trailer.
Coming from a background that includes a few Deus Ex titles, I think long-time fans will thoroughly enjoy the new storyline and upgraded mechanics. The styling of the new game is terrific, with wonderful details put into the lighting and textures of the city streets. With all of those graphical extras in-play, the game certainly chews through GPU processing power. If you have the horsepower to run the game on PC though it’s worth the upgrade, but from what I’ve seen on PS4 and Xbox One playthroughs, not too many extras had to be shaved to get the game running on consoles.
While the majority of the game is an enhancement of Human Revolution, I think if you are expecting to many overt changes than you could walk away hoping for more. Human Revolution was a big hit for Square Enix, and I think the overall goal when designing Mankind Divided was to improve the mechanics of HR, and not reinvent the wheel.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is now available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Windows PC. You can checkout the many editions the game is offered in on authorized retailers like Amazon.com.