Video Game Blog: The Rebirth of Deus Ex
When we decided to review Deus Ex: Human Revolution for the readers of this video game blog, we were admittedly excited (the visuals we’d seen so far looked cool), but also apprehensive due to the once-bitten twice shy mentality that countless high brouhaha series sequels of late that have fallen flat. However, we wanted to be understanding and to look at the game objectively. After all, with so many things having changed in the years gone by, it would perhaps be wise for the denizens of this video game blog0 to get rid of baggage from past Deus Ex games before we judge the latest iteration. Or so we thought.
Video Game Blog: Challenges Galore
Ion Storm, the celebrated game development firm that was the breeding ground for the earlier Deus Ex games among other highly acclaimed games, no longer existed; Warren Spector and Harvey Smith, mainstays of the original team, have long moved on to bigger and better things; after two delectable games in the series, and a long gap since the second, fans have been clamoring for the third iteration and the expectations are high. These and more were the challenges that developer Eidos Montreal faced when they decided to revive one of the most widely loved series in video game history. They met all of them head on, and came out with Human Revolutions.
To begin with, Eidos does well to stick to the age old wisdom that dictates- “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”- and offers a gameplay that tastefully merges the best elements of stealth, combat, exploration, with the overall game progress structure seamlessly merging all the features of a role-playing game such as upgrade and conversation systems. Your tactical approach in a given situation can impact the storyline as well as further gameplay experience on many levels: narrative sequence, goodies you can plunder, shape of the game world can all be varied. Regrettably, though, it has been observed on many a video game blog that all game components aren’t equally well-polished; and we have to agree with that assessment.
Video Game Blog: Story & Gameplay
The storyline is a rich, well-written narrative that starts off 25 years prior to the events of the first Deus Ex game, a prequel to the current storyline. Its an era where the society is still coming to grips with the marvels of mechanical augmentation of the human body and the ethical questions it presents. The answers to these questions, however, are unfortunately going to be decided by the corrupt biotechnology firms. The player takes on the role of ex-SWAT officer Adam Jensen, who’s now a security consultant with one such firm. An attack by a rival firm leaves our protagonist badly hurt and in the unenviable position of being a guinea pig for the augmentation technology.
There are those among the readership of this video game blog who’re coming from the Metal Gear Solid school of hard knocks for stealth gaming and would appreciate the sneak tactics implemented in the gameplay of Human Revolution. The cover mechanic is well designed, while the AI is unpredictable enough to keep you on your toes. Any video game blog worth their salt would tell you that being a mere shadow among other shadows as you move through enemy strongholds can do your adrenaline levels as much good, if not more, as going in guns blazing.
The conversations system lets you control the tone and the tempo as well as the direction of conversations and negotiations, ala Mass Effect. The conversation can be gradually built up through choices that let you take a given approach. Besides these choices, body language also plays a role. The conversation system is a product of writing ingenuity, and all of the writing within it is world-class.
Video Game Blog: The Good come with The Bad & The Ugly
There are blotches too, as noted by the resident gaming experts who populate our video game blog. Jensen’s mechanical arms, for instance, run on cheap batteries that drain after every stealth takedown. Since he’s without a spare one for most than half the game, he has to stand by and charge in the eventuality of a stealth takedown. You don’t really need a video game blog to tell you that that sucks. Upgrading these augmentations gives you immense advantages that makes you wonder what the designers were smoking when thinking of weapon balance mechanics.
Speaking of upgrades to the augmentations, this part also influences how you ultimately shape up for the game; how Jensen’s abilities develop by progressive upgrades is also how the narrative shapes itself. The gamers on our video game blog finished every side mission they came across and were not shy about exploring, and still had about 30 upgrades unactivated at the game’s conclusion.
The computer hacking mechanics also suffers from balance issues. It is fairly easy to get to hacking stealth level 3, which dramatically hampers his chances of getting caught (lessens the excitement, duh) the thrill of hacking is gone for good until the fag end of the game when you’re up against level five security rating terminals toward the end of the game. Hacking in this video game is a huge portion of the gameplay rather than just optional side-missions, as it is used to break into systems without proper access. Breaking into security systems can be a lot of fun when it’s balanced just right but the gamers at this video game blog are sad to say that’s not always the case in this video game.
Video Game Blog: Blaze of Glory
There’s a school of thought on many a video game blog (adherents of which would probably send this video game blog “Stealth sucks” messages) who think Rambo was a pussy in the First Blood 2 movie because he used stealth in a couple of places. They need not turn away from Human Revolutions as they can choose to engage in firefights as well; weapon design is cool and gun mechanics are responsive enough. Be warned though that alerted enemies, by some stretch of Murphy-esque logic, seem to lose their intelligence (maybe they just get nervous) and behave in ways that only serve to embarrass the developers. They’d either rush our hero or just get into cover, bobbing up long enough to get picked off one by one. This, however, is balanced by the fact that Jensen cannot take too many bullets before he goes down, as also the fact that ammo is a commodity that’s hard to come by.
Video Game Blog: The Final Analysis
No matter how much we may dwell on the faults of this game, we cannot take away from it the fact that this is a solid offering by Eidos who have managed to take and conquer the challenge of taking another franchise, one as well-loved as Deus Ex, and making it all their own, all the while remaining true to the original. All in all, something to enjoy for the fans as well as those who’ve not played the previous video games.
Goodbye till the next time, then. For more game reviews, keep watching this video game blog space!