Deus Ex: Human Revolution has been long in the making, with the last title in the series having been released in 2004, and development taking place over the course of 4 years. The legacy of the franchise and the long development time have led to certain expectations for the new first-person RPG, set to release August 23rd. Whether or not it will meet those expectations is a question that can be answered next week, but for now, let’s see what kind of game Human Revolution will be.
You play as Adam Jensen, a security consultant for Sarif Industries in the year 2027. Having just been ambushed and attacked by an unknown black ops team inside Sarif Industries, Adam has been heavily injured, and therefore, heavily augmented with mechanical limbs and weaponry. After six months of recuperation, Adam is tasked with discovering who is responsible for the attack. As Adam finds out more about the attack, conspiracies of a much larger scale are unveiled. Since this is a prequel, familiar organizations, villains, and friends may appear or be referenced.
Throughout Human Revolution, you’ll explore the environments of Detroit, Shanghai, and Montreal, with each area taking approximately 10 hours to complete. Unlike it’s predecessor, the original Deus Ex, Human Revolution doesn’t follow a linear level progression, allowing you to explore hub areas. In these hub areas, you can talk to NPCs, accept side quests, and explore for information and weapons. If you want to ignore those additional objectives, you have the option to proceed straight to the main storyline objectives.
No matter what missions you’re completing, you have several options as to how to accomplish an objective. For instance, if you want to enter a police station for some information, you can convince the guards to let you in, hack and sneak your way in, or shoot everyone in sight that opposes you. Each of these playstyles have different gameplay mechanics and skills that can aid you.
If you want to be a hacker, you can use praxis points (Human Revolution‘s skill point equivalent) to increase your hacking skills, such as how much time you have to stealthily access computer information. To hack a computer, you have to capture nodes in between your starting node and the objective node. It’s not that simple, though, as there are security programs which will try to trace your connection. The node maps get more complicated over the course of the game, with special node types which can give you XP boosts and slow down the security’s trace. You can also deploy special abilities such as Nukes, which capture nodes with no chance of detection, and Worms, which briefly halt computer traces entirely.
If you want to be more of a smooth talker, you have to pay attention to the NPC’s personality in order to convince themto help you. Each NPC will react differently to your dialogue options, commonly including “reason” and “CRUSH”, two options which definitely explain themselves. If you use praxis points to upgrade your speech, you can gain pheromones, which, when activated, constantly update you on what personality traits the other character is exhibiting, so that you can easily make him/her see things your way. There are three personality types that pheromones alert you to. Alphas tend to be confident, strongwilled, and bullish. Betas are more flimsy, unsure of themselves, and omegas are just as insecure as betas, but try to cover it up with threats. With every line of dialogue, pheromones will update you on which personality traits are being exhibited. It will also tell you which dialogue options please certain personality types. Again, this is only if you upgrade your dialogue augmentations.
If stealth is your playstyle, there are several abilities that you can acquire which can help you sneak efficiently. There’s X-Ray vision, which highlights enemies through walls, an ability which lets you see the sightlines of both enemies and cameras on the map and in-game, a limited invisibility mode, and a footprint tracker which can make enemy patrols easier to navigate. If you’re playing stealth, you need to drag bodies, stay out of sight, and look for alternate paths through areas which can allow you to do so.
There are flashier, combat-oriented abilities which can help you if you want to go in guns blazing. There’s an ablity which lets you throw explosives around the room, incapacitating many enemies a once, an ability which lets you throw objects with force, and a significantly more powerful jump.
All of these abilities have limited uses, represented on the HUD by battery icons. The way you can replenish these abilities is to eat consumables found in the environment. This is especially important for stealth characters.
The combat itself is a mix of first-person shooting and cover-based third person shooting. You’ll play from the first-person most of the time, save for when you go into cover or enter a dialogue tree. There are several ranged, close quarters, silenced, loud, non-lethal, and lethal weapons to utilize against enemies during missions. Of course, if you don’t want to shoot, you can always walk up to someone and stab him in the face with your blade arms.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is obviously taking many lessons from the 2000 classic. If all of the ideas are executed well, then this could be one of the best RPGs this year. I’m highly anticipating next week, when Deus Ex: Human Revolution will release, and when we’ll post our review.