|System: PC, Xbox 360, PS3|
|Dev: Eidos Montreal|
|Pub: Square Enix|
|Release: August 23, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol, Sexual Themes|
by James Trujillo
Do androids dream of electric sheep? Well, how about a severely augmented human being? In the year 2027, Sarif Industries are at the forefront of a groundbreaking new technology, during what can only be described as a transitional period for all of humanity. Deus Ex: Human Revolution precedes the original game by twenty-five years, bringing an all-new focus on biomechanical augmentations, rather than the further advances of nanotechnology in the first game. We got some hands-on time with the very beginning, or, introductory level, of the game to give us a broader sense of how Eidos Montreal will introduce you into their newly crafted world.
In the shoes of protagonist Adam Jensen, a private security officer for Sarif Industries, we began an on-rails walkthrough of the industries lab. Normally, an on-rails sequence won't strike me with much flair, but this one felt a bit different. A woman, Dr. Megan Reed, was guiding Jensen through the facility while a variety of lab experiments and testing procedures filled the background scene. It instantly reminded me of the opening to the original Half-Life. Needless to say, I was already drawn in. Fast-forward to a few moments later and we're now in the office of David Sarif, proprietor of Sarif Industries and Adam Jensen's boss. There has just been a security breech within the research labs, and shortly thereafter Jensen is sent off to assess the situation.
During the opening sequence of events, there is only a small glimpse of how combat will work in the game. It starts off looking like a basic first-person shooter with standard cover mechanics, however, this is all before Jensen becomes augmented and granted new abilities. After his accident and augmentations have taken place, the game becomes something entirely different. The combat is far more intricate than it first lets on, as you'll have a plethora of weapons, ammo types, and even a vast amount of newly acquired strength at your disposal.
With my initial playthrough, I decided to take a more passive approach in terms of my assault tactics. One of the earlier missions in the game tasks you with invading a warehouse overrun by terrorist. I chose to make my way through without firing a single gunshot if it was at all possible. Luckily, the cover system worked like a charm, and I was weaving in-between crates at the blink of an eye. Even during situations when I thought I would be discovered by a patrol at the last moment, there was a method in place seemingly specific for that occasion. As the guard wandered nearer to my location, I was able to stay within cover while moving around all four corners of a fixed location. It felt much like Splinter Cell: Conviction, but with a little more control.
As I progressed through the stage I took down impassable enemies with a non-lethal chokehold from behind, or by throwing environmental objects to distract them at a distance. Anything from canisters, crates, or even entire vending machines can be picked up and moved depending on how invested you are in strength augmentations. Luckily I decided to throw a few points into that category for my stealth playthrough, because certain alternate routes in the area wouldn't have been found otherwise.
For my next playthrough I decided to heed the warnings against a "run and gun" approach, while I tried to look at the game with more of a shooter mentality. To my inevitable surprise it stood well in that regard, and the only reason I survived was because of two simple reasons: tactics and unnecessary idiocy. If you think that you'll be able to play this game and go in guns blazing, and without your wits about you, then you'll be in for a huge disappointment. The game is hard, and severely punishes those who can't think fast in a gunfight.
Although it was an early build of the game and the AI still had its quirks, enemies can be quite unrelenting if you don't devise a plan within a matter of moments. This is where the environment also plays a role in your survival, in addition to how you maneuver in cover. There was a moment where I entered into a room containing four enemies, two on patrol and two babbling to each other in the center. As I burst in "guns blazing", I instantly killed the two standing in the middle of the room and executed a quick slide maneuver to reach cover at a nearby desk. During this time the two on patrol instantly engaged me, and began to slowly creep forward while remaining slightly behind cover. Two other guards heard the commotion and began to storm the room; while luckily; I noticed a green canister had rolled over off of a desk. I took a quick shot at it as they ran in and an explosion of poisonous gas filled the immediate area, killing all but one who was almost upon me.
This was the moment where I realized two things. I'm glad I boosted the augmentation that improved aiming stability (I was using an SMG at long range), and, I should probably move fast before I get shot. I began to crawl around the desk that was my initial cover, and between others, to reach an area just out of reach from the gas. The enemy in my pursuit wasn't quick enough to notice where I had gone, and went into confusion, but remained on high alert. After the gas had finally cleared, I was able to move around to a better vantage point and quickly dispatched the lone terrorist with a shot to the head.
Of course, there are plenty of occurrences that can happen depending on how you handle a particular style of gameplay. Whether you begin based with stealth, combat, hacking, or social abilities, you can change methods on the fly without starting a new game. Luckily, just about every augmentation was designed to work well under different circumstances.
Even though we got to spend roughly six hours with the beginning level of the game, it certainly didn't feel long enough. There was still plenty of hacking and exploration to be done during the moments before the warehouse mission, which I did, but I won't spoil those interesting tidbits here. However, I will say this. With all the multiple paths, social interactions, actions, and consequences to be revealed during your time with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it will be hard not to get completely immersed in this experience. My only minor complaint is that the graphics appeared out of date. Although, considering that it's still in the early debugging stages, I'm hoping the developers will have time to polish them up a bit.
CCC Freelance Writer