The Art of Deus Ex Universe review

8.8

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I’m sure by now you’ve completed at least one play through of Deus Ex Mankind Divided, and if not…why not? If you have played through the excellent campaign, tackled Jensen’s stories or jumped into the Breach, then you may want to invest in the official guide to get the upper hand for when you take on the one life ‘I never asked for this’ difficulty – better yet – pick up The Art of Deus Ex Universe, which includes a variety of concept work from both Deus Ex titles.

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If you’ve an appreciation of art and love the world of Deus Ex as much as I do, then Titan Books’ collection of work from the games is the perfect edition to your collection. The book is introduced with a foreword from Warren Spector, Director of Deus Ex at Ion Storm Austin, which is a nice sentimental touch and an introduction from Jonathan Jacques-Belletête, Executive Art Director of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided / Art Director of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

The book is split into sections – characters, weapons and tech, locations, Breach and in-game adverts – but with no clear signposting you need to be clued up on your Deus Ex knowledge to recognise whether the work was from Human Revolution or Mankind Divided.

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Over the 208 pages there are all kinds of artwork to pore over and study from the various stages of the design process – sketches, 3D renders, and alternative character and weapon skins – I found it fascinating to look at the working drawings of the different versions of Adam and then read about how the team came up with each design.

Extended picture captions include further insight into the design process, the challenges that the team faced and how they choose the final design. This insight into what makes it into the game is fascinating and gives a great appreciation for not just all the hard work that goes into the game, but the artistic qualities of every pixel and the thinking that goes into them.

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I love seeing how concept artwork comes together, and while some of the pages show working sketches through to finished artwork, I would have preferred to have seen far more of the early roughs, rather than pages of glossy beautiful concept art – although I appreciate that the book would have probably doubled in pagination.

One of the best things about the book is getting a closer look at all the small details that you may have missed while playing the game – like the many excellent posters that are littered throughout the world or the close up details of character costumes and augments. I particularly enjoyed the locations chapter, which I pored over in some detail before returning to the game and going to those same locations.

The Art of Deus Ex Universe is a fantastic collection of artwork that is not only beautiful to look at, but is a great read. The snippets of insight into how the studio put together of the artwork is truly overwhelming and the thinking behind how an object should be designed is quiet surprising – who would have thought such in depth industrial design would go into creating in-game weapons and tech.

Deus Ex Human Revolution is certainly up there for Game of the Year contention, and if like me, you were hooked from the moment Adam jumped down onto the rooftops of Dubai to the point where the credits rolled, then I highly recommend you pick up a copy of The Art of Deus Ex Universe and become immersed in the world that Eidos-Montréal have created.

Thanks to Titan Books for supporting TiX

I've been gaming for longer than I care to remember and spent four years writing for another XCN website leading a 10 strong team. Now I'm in charge of TiX alongside Dave Moran – I hope you enjoy what we do!