Deus Ex is a series I always meant to check out – it had everything I always wanted: Guns and RPG elements in a slick FPS presentation. Now that I’ve seen the game in action, I see that it has all of that and more, creating a slick cyberpunk-esque game that has a lot of visual gusto, a lot of ambition and a lot of solid gameplay, creating something that’s extremely appealing and has a whole lot of promise.
The game stars Adam Jensen, a cybernetically enhanced private security agent, charged with the safety with a cybernetic corporation’s most valued secrets. When someone breaks in and steals some of the most sensitive materials the company has to offer, Adam must investigate the theft and recover whatever he can in an adventure that takes him all over the world. During our demo, it was explained to us that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is comprised of four pillars of mechanics: Combat, stealth, hacking, and social, and after seeing the different elements within the game, it’s safe to say there’s a nice variety of gameplay styles, allowing many a gamer different approaches to a given objective.
The first stage shown focused on exploration and social elements, as you’re dropped into a metropolitan island and you must speak to some sort of a crime lord. As you wander the city, you’ll see a huge amount of NPCs going about their business, but they’re not just running in a static cycle. Rather, these NPCs will react to what you’re doing. Pull out a gun and a character will reach for the sky. Bump into someone and they’ll yell at you – that sort of thing. Eventually, we tried to infiltrate a club called The Hive. Here, you can either try to talk the bouncer into letting you in by using a conversation wheel, but in our demo, Adam failed, and the bouncer sent him on his way. However, this isn’t the only way to get into this joint – in our case, we paid our way in, but you’ll also have the opportunity to break in through a vent or hop in through a window. There’s always another way to accomplish your goal – you just have to keep your eyes peeled.
The second part of our demo focused on stealth and combat as we’re dropped into a warehouse area, complete with plenty of crates to hide behind. One of the first things we saw in this portion of the demo was the augmentations system (which is basically a skill system) where you can upgrade your different cybernetic parts. In this specific example, we could have run in guns-a-blazin’, but we had a strength augmentation equipped, so Adam was able to lift a crate blocking a vent, allowing us access directly into a structure without alerting the guards. This isn’t the only augmentation as you’ll be able to upgrade pretty much all of your parts in ways that will effect your overall experience. Adding further to the customization is weapon upgrade options, allowing you to tweak your hardware, or even the ammunition to suit any challenge. One example came with heat seeking missiles – while you’ll still need to lock on a target, you’ll be able to point wherever you’d like (even if it’s nowhere close to the target) and the missile will curve around to find it’s mark.
Once inside, we caught a glimpse of the takedown system, which is pretty much a stealth-based attack to silently dispose of your opponent. While you can definitely be as lethal as you’d like, shanking an enemy with blades that pop out of your arms, you’ll also be able to use non-lethal means. Along with that, there’s a huge amount of variety with these takedowns – point of fact, during the demo, I didn’t see a single takedown animation more than once. Another point worth mentioning is that you’re not required to kill anyone in the game (save for the bosses). Lead writer and narrative designer Mary Demarle pointed out that you can complete the entire game without a single fatality outside of boss encouters, which is definitely a distinction worth making.
The game also comes with a cover system, allowing you to duck behind obstacles, jump between cover, and even round a corner, all with the push of a button. Complimenting that is a stealth ability, which more or less looks like active camo from the Halo series, but you’re able to use it whenever you like. Obviously there’s finite amounts of energy, so you’ll need to conserve it as much as you can, but you’ll be able to fade in and out of an enemy’s vision with the greatest of ease, allowing you to get the drop on them, even if they’ve already seen you.
While there’s a huge mass of FPS games coming out, it’s looking like Eidos is on the right track to making something that stands out. What I’ve seen from the game looks slick, and considering that it’s still a good distance from it’s launch date, it’s only going to get better. As I’ve said before, I’ve yet to try out a Deus Ex game, but this one is definitely on my to do list. Will I let my chance to get into the world of Deus Ex slide by when Human Revolution is released? No way – it's one of the best games of E3 and I can't wait to take it for a spin when it's released next year.
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