Deus Ex: Human Revolution was an unexpected pleasure for me. I didn’t play the original Deus Ex games, though they’d always been intriguing to me, and I gave Human Revolution a miss on release because I was wary of all the brouhaha surrounding the boss fights. Then along came the Steam Holiday Sale of ’13, and the next thing I knew Human Revolution’s Director’s Cut, with it’s “new and improved Boss Fights” and included DLC, had snuck through a credit vent into my library. I fired it up, and what followed was some 80 hours of brilliantly engrossing stealth and exploration, cloaked in a plot of revenge, global conspiracy, and a spectrum of ethically grey corporate interests. And Adam Jensen, one of the coolest protagonists I can recall.
Human Revolution shines as a stealth game, but tends to fall a little flat in the action and shooter departments. That is, the game just doesn’t feel like it’s open to being played as an gun-toting action romp. The controls come off as too stiff for the quick play needed to be really satisfying for good gunplay. They work well for the slow, methodical stealth movements that made up the majority of my playing though, so that was alright.
Choice is a high point for Human Revolution. There are almost always multiple pathways through a level to an objective, and in the rare case where there aren’t, the abilities and skills you gain by upgrading Jensen’s “augmentations,” the game’s role-playing system, will typically open up some alternative path or otherwise provide some other, less obvious means to progress. The levels are also filled with with little nooks and crannies to explore, with plenty lore and story tidbits to discover as well as secret pathways and locations to root out. Added to that, there are often multiple ways to complete most objectives too, be that through dialogue, force, stealth, or something else. You also get to “choose” aspects of Jensen’s character and indirectly affect the world through the actions you take, such as whether you choose to go guns-blazing, silent and lethal, or silent and non-lethal, which changes how NPCs react to and interact with you.
That said, during some cut-scenes and unavoidable dialogue it can feel like some of the player’s agency is removed and choice isn’t available, which can be jarring at times.
Overall, I highly recommend the Director’s Cut of Deus Ex: Human Revolution to anyone looking for a very solid stealth game set in an intriguing and nigh-believable future world of corporate espionage and human enhancement.
Pro’s: great stealth gameplay; excellent level design with lots to explore; choices everywhere; lengthy campaign; Adam Jensen is a badass
Con’s: “stiff” controls don’t work well for gunplay; some pointless augmentations; some annoying backtracking through levels; cut-scenes remove player agency
Originally posted on Steam