ERSB Rating: Mature
Devloper/Publisher: Eidos Montreal/Square Enix
Released: August 2011
Platform: Featured, PC, PS 3, Xbox 360
Content at a glance: Some bloody violence, strong language, player enters a brothel, some sexual references.
Note: This review does not cover any DLC.
Created by Eidos Montreal and published by Square Enix, Deus Ex: Human Revolution puts players in the shoes of Adam Jensen, head of security for the biotechnology corporation Sarif Industries. After a terrible incident leaves Adam near death, he is implanted with augments, biomechanical enhancements, to save his life. He must use his enhanced abilities as well as all the skills he possesses to track down those behind the attack.
The game is a FPS/RPG hybrid like that of the previous games in the series. You travel around extensive cities talking to people, going on quests, gaining experience points and collecting items. The player can upgrade Jensen’s augments with “praxis points” gained by leveling up and buying praxis kits. These can be used to improve or unlock various augmented body parts to make you faster, stealthier or more resistant to damage.
The game is played mainly in a first person perspective, with it switching to third person when in cover. To accomplish each objective the player has a choice between stealth and the direct approach, as well as lethal and non-lethal means of takedown. Besides traditional combat you also engage in “social battles”, battles that uses your persuasive abilities to gets others to see your way of thinking.
Besides some stuff animations the graphics are good. The sprawling cities are very detailed and believable. The problem comes with exploring the cities themselves, as they lack many meaningful buildings to explore and NPCs to interact with. For instance, some the few sidequests in the game have you going to the same apartment building over and over again. This makes the game lack the “open world” feel that similar games have, such as Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines, and is a real missed opportunity for the developers.
Voice acting is average, but combat is top notch and entertaining with a variety of weapons and augments at your disposal. The only thing lacking is the infamous boss fights, which were outsourced to another company in their creation. While the combat in the game is geared towards using cover, the bosses do not use this approach. Instead they are neigh invincible walking platforms of death, who can easy reach Jensen and kill him in several hits.
The story is an interesting tale filled with conspiracy theories, sinister plots and tough choices for the player to make (which have a small but noticeable effect on the game.) While nothing completely revolutionary it mostly avoids the clichés of the genre. Sadly the plot falls apart at the last moment all the choices seem irrelevant as the player literally gets to choose which ending they see.
But the biggest part of the story is its discussion about the use of biotechnology to enhance human abilities. Should the non-disabled augment themselves to enhance their physical and mental capabilities? Would doing so create a rift between those who are and are not augmented? Is augmentation immoral, against how we were created by God? All these issues are explored, and the game does a good job at showing not only the black and white of the issue but also the many shades of grey in-between.
The standard FPS combat is a fairly bloodless affair, however if the player uses special takedowns they get more messy. Lethal takedowns has Jensen using his arm blades to slice into his opponents, accompanied with a generous spurt of blood, while non-lethal ones knocks the enemy out by such means as knocking their head against another opponent, suffocating them until they pass out, and breaking their arm. The player can attack civilians, but this is never required and is more dangerous than anything else.
Gore is kept to a minimum, besides one part in the game with a body on an operating table with part of its head exposed. It can get pretty bloody and intense in the cutscenes however, and sometimes blood is scattered around the environments.
One mandatory part in the game has the player entering a brothel, complete with semi- scantly clad prostitutes (who also appear in other parts of the game) who try to lure Jensen with suggestive comments; there are also images of pole dancing displayed in the brothel. You cannot purchase their services and nothing is shown, however you can sneak into a room of a couple after they had sex and hear the prostitute engage in a humorously philosophical and totally out of place monologue with her partner about augments. They also discuss with Jensen how their employer wants them to get augmented for better enjoyment for their patrons. The ESRB mentioned a “sex toy” appears in the brothel, but I never noticed anything fitting that description.
Also in one email message you find at a corporation says how, as a prank, people are putting “farm porn” on a person’s computer (nothing is shown or gone into detail). Finally one NPC has a “69”at the end of his computer’s user name and a famous reported shows a bit of cleavage in her strange outfit.
Deus Ex has a lot of dialog and with it a lot of strong language. None of it is out of place with the dark atmosphere of the game or its characters. Nevertheless the player will experience almost every word in the book dozens if not over a hundred of times in total, up to motherf****r and the misuse of God’s name.
The main detractors of augmentations tend to talk about God in reference to augmentation being unnatural and immoral. I found God being mentioned in this way done respectfully by the developer.
Evolution is mentioned a couple times during the game. Those who use augments take a drug to keep their body from rejecting the equipment, one that can cause addiction and serious side effects. The player can engage in an optional side quests to get money owed to a shady mafia-like organization. The player must enter at least one bar and can drink alcohol, but is never forced too.
Deus Ex: Human revolution at its base is the story of Icarus, the ability of humans to use their wits and technological knowhow to reach great heights and fly above their limits, and also the caution of undertaking such actions. Like Icarus, this game may fly too close to the sun. Its wings may start to melt with some of the game’s small blemishes. Potential players must decide if it the content flies so high that it causes the game to plummet out of their reach.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Game Gallery[nggallery id=11]