Developed by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix, Deus Ex Human Revolution was released on Xbox 360 back in 2011. For me and many others, it was a strong contender for game of the year and was a refreshing return to the classic style of allowing the player to control how they chose to play the game by not limiting the choices in gameplay style and giving the level of freedom of movement in order to explore the world presented in the game. This Director’s Cut is a release of the original game with its DLC ‘The Missing Link’ now incorporated into the story instead of being a separate add on and the issues found with the original game in terms of boss battles now tweaked and improved on.
Human Revolution is set in the year 2027, 25 years before the events of the original Deus Ex game released back in 2000. Multinational Companies have grown powerful, even stronger then World Governments. Advances in science have allowed human cybernetic augmentations with Sarif Industries the leading Biotechnology Corporation in the World. In fear of the potential threat of protests against the use of augmentation by political movement Humanity Front, Sarif Industries hire ex swat member Adam Jensen as Head of Security.
The opening to the game leads the player into the role of Adam Jensen who escorts Megan Reed, (Head of Research for Sarif Industries) through the research labs giving the player a look into the biotechnology being looked into including a military project Typhoon system, on route to a meeting with David Sarif (founder and leader of the corporation). Terrorist’s attack and Adam finds himself battling through the facility never coming in direct contact, but able to see the attackers who are all all augmented soldiers. As Adam makes it to Megan’s office he is brutally sideswiped and literally hit through a wall leading to multiple injuries and the prologue ends with a gunshot to the head finally putting Adam down. The story then picks up six months later with Adam having undergone major augmentation surgery in order to save his life and called back from recovery early in order to deal with a hostage situation at a Sarif Industries plant.
The opening serves as both an introduction to the world of Deus Ex but also a tutorial for the movement and combat in the game. It shows off a cyberpunk world very much in the tone of Sci Fi greats like Blade Runner and very much in the familiar style of the Deus Ex series.
The beauty of Deus Ex Human Revolution is its open choice world. The player can upgrade and add new levels of skills via the augmentation that can be catered to suit whichever play style the player has in mind. The game has four key areas for augmentation. Combat, Stealth, hacking and Social. There are augments available in each category that can be enhanced during the game for stronger abilities that will aid in any situation the game throws at you. It is the theme of ‘choice’ that runs through everything in Human Revolution. As the player you choose which and how you upgrade your augmentations, you choose the style of play using more stealth or guns blazing combat or a blend of the two. It is rewarding which ever style you pick up but for me, going for stealth and a non lethal style of combat gave the game more of an edge.
The freedom to choose goes beyond more than just character development and combat. The environment itself also provides multiple choices for the player. If a mission calls for you to enter a building surrounded by enemies you can choose to try and infiltrate the building using stealth by discovering different entry points such as roof access or discovering a ventilation system access that will avoid encountering the enemy. Or you can take out the enemy and hack your way into a building. The hacking mini game is made easier with augment levelling up in the right areas or with tools collected alone the way such as viruses you can use in the mini game to hamper the security program or to speed up your hacking. Doors, computers and security systems can be hacked and it is an integral part of the game’s style. I found it quite tedious at times especially when it came to hacking computers, hoping to find some secret to add to the experience but often only to find mundane emails which added nothing to the actual story but had me using up various programmes collected.
Interacting with characters can open conversation chains that will help uncover information which can be used later in the game. Choosing the right reply is key to gaining such information, and it is something that some of the side missions you can undertake in the game rely on. Sometimes you will be asked to get information from characters but choosing the incorrect response can lead to that character refusing to help you any further. Reading the character right is paramount to gauging which responses will be the most successful although in some circumstances, even failing the conversation will not mean failure in the side mission as the game can offer other ways to obtain the information such as discovering the character’s apartment, gaining entry and then hacking their personal computer station and reading emails that will reveal the information needed.
Human Revolution has lost none of its greatness in the two years since its original release. The story and freedom of player choice still stand out as best examples of their use in an RPG of this generation of gaming and returning to it after two years for me as a player still felt fresh. The Directors Cut did improve upon the boss battles as far as the enemy AI has been fine tuned to give a better fight for the player then just throwing grenades but sadly the Typhoon system the player can augment their Adman Jensen with still makes the battles a quick affair. Visually the game is one of the best on the Xbox 360 and one of the most poignant musical scores in a game.
Sadly not all the new additions to Human Revolution work well though. The game now comes on two discs instead of one, and there is no option to install them to the console hard drive (either from the disc or even from the dashboard) which means you have to put up with the noise of the disc spinning in the drive during play unless you use a gaming headset. With the game being on two discs means some disc swapping and rather annoying load times for game sequences. Smartglass was also added to the game, so that the hacking parts, entering codes and reading emails could all be viewed on a Smartglass device, but sadly I never managed to get the ‘Dual Play’ mode to work! The Smartglass on my Windows Phone just would not trigger the features and the game sadly lacked an option to just turn it on.
Deus Ex Human Revolution: The Director’s Cut is a must have for any Xbox 360 collection, the original version certainly was and despite the new two disc format and lack of working Smartglass feature, with the DLC now incorporated into the main story, this is the most complete version of one of the best RPG’s on Xbox 360 this generation. The story is rich and dark, plenty of choices which leads to replay value to see how other choices would affect the game and with up to 20 hours of gameplay in a playthrough, this version is definite value for money for RPG fans.
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