|©Copyright 2009-2011 Out Of The Blue.
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How Deus Ex: Human Revolution restored my faith
For gamers, this has been a long summer. Without a single memorable
release to embrace, we sat on our couches, sweating and playing greatest
hits from Gamefly. In fact, PSN’s disgraceful early-summer breakdown proved
to yield one of the only highlights worth mentioning: a free copy of inFAMOUS
which, luckily, I had yet to play.
Like many PS3 owners, I spent my summer collecting trophies from the
games of yesteryear, eyes glazed and fingers blistery. By the end of July, I
could after all these years of gaming finally understand why gamers are so
jaded. It was Killzone 3 that did it for me. It arrived in my pretty orange Gamefly
envelope, and damn was it beautiful. It looked like a shiny diamond on top of a
smelly turd—amazing graphics on top, but the same old damn shooter I’ve
been playing for years festering just underneath. Normally I wouldn’t complain,
but after a whole summer of beautiful garbage, I just couldn’t defend video
games any longer. What good are amazing visuals (visuals I never imagined
possible when I first plugged in my NES) if the gameplay has been stagnant
Then comes the second week of September. Right before I decide to unplug
my console for a few years, in walks Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I have to
admit, I approached the game hesitantly, having been burned by
advertisements with my unfortunate purchase of the worst game of the year,
Brink. I hadn’t purchased a brand new game since, and I was about to skip it
altogether when I started picking up chatter from the message boards about
Deus Ex’s possible bid for "Game of the Year."
That was two weeks ago. I haven’t put my controller down since.
Developed for a decade by Eidos Montreal and distributed by Square Enix,
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a beautiful game, and it doesn’t even look
beautiful. Compared to Killzone 3, Deus Ex has little to offer in the graphics
department, but intentionally so. The world of Deus Ex is stylized cyberpunk,
and believe it or not, that’s a compliment this time around.
It’s 2027, and you are Adam Jensen, a Keanu Reeves-ish security specialist
for Sarif Industries, one of many biotech corporations leading the charge in
human augmentation. Why settle for a normal arm when you can replace it
with a biomechanical arm that never gets tired and has a sword inside of it?
Biotech corporations are the new superpowers of the world, and their security
forces wield more power than the police or the military. Think Ghost in the
Shell meets Blade Runner meets Robocop. But this game is more than just a
tribute to 80s and early 90s cyberpunk—it may damn well resurrect the genre.
And there aren’t any vampires, thank God.
The mythmaking going on in this game is smart. Super smart. So smart it
may be biomechanically augmented. Sure, the voice acting is a little stiff
occasionally, and the story itself appears way more complicated than it
actually is, but it makes the player think, which is an amazing accomplishment
for a big studio game these days.
And the gameplay. The gameplay is easily the best I’ve experienced in years.
This game has been categorized as a first person shooter, but that doesn’t
give it justice. In actuality, it is a first person/third person action RPG shooter
puzzle game. I know, easy to see why it gets pigeonholed. When Adam
Jensen is exploring, he does so in the first person, but during combat he’s
also third person, making use of cover and stealth tactics to clear rooms of
baddies. He may also choose to hack terminals, which involves a fun little mini
game that rewards him with plenty of experience points. Jensen gains levels
by further augmenting himself: faster legs, better eyesight, and falling with
In terms of length, I could have gone with a bit more playtime, but modern
games aren’t concerned with length. Rather, they are concerned with how
many times a player is willing to play through the game. I hungrily started my
second playthrough as soon as my first one ended.
Even though, yes, the ending is underwhelming. To say the least. Which
brings me to the few disappointments I have with the game. As huge and
exciting as this game is, I can’t wait to see Human Revolution 2, which I’m
sure (right, Eidos?) will have a larger playing field with more free-roaming,
better voice acting, and a slightly more believable world—I’m sure
augmentation is a big deal, but does it really have to be the only thing that is
ever on every character’s mind?.
And one word of warning. Jaded gamers will tell you this game is getting tons
of press because of the crappy slow summer we just went through. But don’t
believe them. This game is solid on its own, without the benefit of a boring
summer. It’s a fanatastic start for the fall gaming season, and for this gamer, it
makes all the difference. At least I can say I was a jaded gamer for one month.
Thanks for saving me, Deus Ex.
|For The Fans, By The Fans. Look Beyond The Mainstream.
|REPORT CARD: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Beautifully stylized, but a bit rough around the edges.
Sound: Amazing score with memorable, evocative electronic
music throughout. Almost worth buying as an album. Voice
acting occasionally subpar, but enjoyable overall.
Gameplay: A successful (!?) combination of first and third
person action. Superb level design, but a bit claustrophobic.
Multiple strategic methods for solving tasks.
Story: While some jaded gamers are whining about the lack
of character-driven narrative, I'm not expecting my games
to be literature. The story is awesome.
I predict 3-4 playthroughs minimum.
Overall: Dues Ex is a remarkable experience. It falters at the end
in ways that remove it from the "Game Of The Year" shortlist, but if
you're a gamer, this is a one playthrough mandatory minimum!