Like many people I’m a huge fan of the original Deus Ex, it’s a game that totally blew me away and I find myself reinstalling it and diving back into that world again and again. There’s something irresistible about a game that gives you the freedom to approach every situation from different angles and succeed VS the usual blow everything up option (which is still available). The gameplay was solid, multiple endings and the story was compelling – plus it keeps going whether you succeed in your objectives or not. Most games would force you to restart a mission in those circumstances, but so long as you survived you can press on – it make for an interesting, reactive world with lots of replay value – advancement is not necessarily contingent on you completing every mission or how you complete them. Make no mistake though, there are consequences to your choices and your failures. You could play this game 10 times and have 10 completely different experiences. It’s a work of art.
I never got around to playing the sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War but by most accounts it was an inferior game – I’ll have to play it one of these days to see for myself.
Human Revolution, the third in the series and a prequel, has been a long time coming. It’s one of the few games that I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on, usually I can wait…not this time – the trailers alone are intense and visceral – to say nothing of the game itself. By the time I made it to the introduction video (you play through the prologue) my heart was pounding and I was sweating, this thing had me hook, line and sinker – it’s as great as you hope it is. I’m not all that far into the game and I already have plans for how I’m going to play it differently next time around.
So far, I’m playing things as stealthy and non-lethal as my skills and situations allow, I’m not sure if I’ll up my hacking skills or keeping going the stealth route…maybe I’ll go hardcore gank & tank next time…I’m trying to play Adam as a somewhat nice, optimistic and warm character – next time maybe it’ll be cold, bitter and detached or somewhere in between. There are so many options and routes to take – these are the kinds of decisions you need to make and there are consequences to all of them. The character interactions are arguably just as important as combat, sometimes your choices and limitations are smacking you in the face…sometimes you have to dig to find alternatives or you can just blast through brute force and ignorance.
Like the original game, the story is deep and engaging – it’s like playing the role of the protagonist in an great book, you just can’t put it down and like a great book; it’s story asks real questions about our world and society. What are the ethical boundaries around human enhancement? How far is too far? What are the repercussions, both good and bad, of developing a technology that would allow someone paralyzed to walk again or reverse neurological diseases?
Deus Ex: Human Revolution doesn’t seem to take sides in these questions – but they are thrown at you regardless. Your character, Adam Jensen, is alive only because of such a technology – but the choice was made for you. You experience the power and advantages of such enhancements, but at what cost? How much of your own flesh would you sacrifice to be, effectively, superhuman? You see the hypothetical good, bad and ugly of such a world in this game – where does your humanity end and the machine begin?
…it’s a cerebral experience that goes beyond the game and that is perhaps the greatest replay value of all.
A taste of what you’re missing:
I’m not a person who usually gets his hopes up, so if this game falls on it’s face by the time I reach the end I’ll be a little crushed – but I don’t see that happening. The blood, sweat and tears that went into this are apparent from the get go, and I sincerely thank the entire development team for the experience.
* Heh – it would appear I can still blog after all – HUZZAH!