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Sunday, May 14, 2017

"It's A Video Game!" - Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Next up for the month is a return to something cool. Back in 2011, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released. It was a first-person shooter/stealth RPG that was heavily influenced by cyberpunk. Imagine someone mixes Robocop, Blade Runner, and a few other sci-fi properties together. I heard good things about it and tried it out one day. I’ve tried it out a few more times since then.  I even have it’s predecessor/sequel, Deus Ex, on my computer. If I had a good game controller to play the thing, I’d be set. A couple of years ago, I talked about DE: HR here and I had good things to say about it.

Around the time of my review, I heard that a sequel was finally coming down the line. Of course, I was hyped.  Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was eventually released in August of 2016. I didn’t get to play it until a couple of weeks ago. It takes place two years after the events of Human Revolution. At the end of that game, the Illuminati (yes, The Illuminati) wanted to halt human progress, so they created software to cause all augmented people to go mad. The event was known as the “Aug Incident.” Don’t get it mixed up with Marvel Netflix’s “Incident.” You (as Adam Jensen) were able to stop them before they did any more damage. Afterwards, something happens and you’re out of commission.

The game picks up with Adam two years later. Because of the Incident, Augs are now outcasts to society and treated like crap. Adam is now working for Interpol in Prague. He’s also secretly working for the Juggernaut Collective, a hacking group who’s wants to take down the Illuminati. When a terrorist bomb goes off in Prague, Adam has to do what he can in finding the true culprits. Not only do you have to deal with anti-Aug problems, you also got Augs stirring up trouble. Adam also has to deal with things related to some new upgrades he mysteriously gotten to his body.


PROS

While it has some pitfalls, this is a pretty good game. It’s great to be back in this universe playing as that pretty cool cyborg. Yes, Adam Jensen has the personality of a well-painted wooden door that smokes, but that’s how RPG’s work. A lot of the talk mechanics are back for this. A lot of the stealth mechanics and action mechanics are back too. It’s all been polished up a bit. You can even use the original controls from DE: HR if you wanted to. You also get some nice new abilities to play around with too. If you’re sad that you didn’t get to use that one move, just know that there is a “New Game+” here that’ll let you keep the upgrades you unlocked in your first playthrough.  The boss battle… yes, “battle” is a good and sweet one to face as well.

I do like the story for the most part. It continues with what was played around with in Human Revolution. Jensen’s on an active hunt for the Illuminati while doing his best to save lives. A lot of the social commentary from the previous game is back in a major way here. Augs are pretty much outcasts to society and regular humans (“naturals”) let them know it. They get put into sections of to themselves and have law enforcement looking over them at all times in Prague. Obviously, Edios Montreal took a lot of ideas from previous and current times when involving the treatment of augs. It’s interesting to see.

While the main story is okay, the side missions were pretty interesting. They were a mix of styles. One of my favorites was one where you were on the chase for an Aug killer. You even run into a couple of weird cults in Prague. As for Prague itself, it’s a cool place to play around in. You will spend the majority of you time there, but it does have enough to keep you satisfied. You do get travel to other places like London, Golem City (an Aug ghetto), and Dubai. You’re mostly contained to buildings for those though.

The graphics look pretty good. They’re on par with current-gen stuff for the most part. I will say that I miss the gold and black hue Human Revolution had. The character designs also mesh well with the previous game’s looks.  Of course, the music is pretty good. Michael McCann comes back to compose the score, so you’re getting some good stuff. I’d have to listen to the soundtrack more before I say it’s better than Human Revolution’s, though.

There are also extra things to play other than the main game. First, there’s Breach Mode. It’s essentially taking the game mechanics but applying them to an actual virtual world. In it, you’re supposed to steal data. You do some of this in the main game as well. I liked it but since it didn’t tie into the main game, I didn’t play it much. Then, there are Jensen’s Stories aka “DLC stuff that cost money.”  I’ve only played “System Rift” and it was actually pretty cool.


CONS

While I liked this game, it does have flaws. As I said above, the main story is okay. It kind of lacks the punch Human Revolution has. The social commentary also felt a little weird at times. Maybe it’s the times we live in or something.  It also leaves some plot threads hanging out there. I think Edios is supposed to be planning another Deus Ex game, but I’m not sure. I will say the ending did leave me wanting more. I also was taken aback by the lack of boss battles. As I said above, you really only get one and it’s at the end. While I enjoyed that boss battle, it would have been cool to see more like it spread throughout the game.

 While I liked the visuals, they were some times where you’d get some weird ones. Sometimes, the audio wouldn’t match the characters’ lips either. I also ran into a couple of glitches too. One wasn’t too bad, but there was one that pretty much broke everything. After one move, I fell through the floor and apparently entered the Matrix. I’m not kidding either. Another thing that irked me was the fact that I couldn’t use my upgraded self in “System Rift.” I had to start over and that was kind of annoying. I bet it’s like that in the other DLC parts as well. Other than those things and a couple of nitpicks, the pros still outweigh the cons.

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Overall, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a good game. However, I can’t say that it’s better than its predecessor. Something about Human Revolution makes it a game that I can go back to. Maybe I’ll feel the same way about Mankind Divided when I play it again. At least it left me wanting to see more. Well, I’m out for tonight. It’s back to the split shift, so you know what that means: weirdness with sleeping. For now, Peace, God Bless, and be careful out there.

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