I know what you’re probably thinking. Deus Ex is almost a year old. Why is this guy talking about it? Because friends, I just, maybe 15 minutes ago choked through the last bit of this unpalatable “meal” and am, going to throw up my opinions about the ramifications of this mess of a sequel, which robbed me of any love for the franchise. spoilers, of course, follow.
Sadly, this is the best example I can come up with to describe my full playthroughs (yes, I slogged through this shit twice) of this game.
Microtransactions, Buggy gameplay, half-baked story, and an uninspired final fight that went from completely unfair against me, to completely unfair against the final opponent.
I hated this game. On more than one occassion, I lamented playing through it the way I had, leading up to me doing something I rarely, and am loathe to do; erase the save, and start from scratch. Thankfully, the main campaign is not long at all. even with the handful of side-quests just to get my praxis points, I rushed through it in about 10 hours. I was on a mission, telling myself that I would be rewarded in the end, that all of this would be justified with an epic, hard won fight that would’ve made it all worthwhile. instead...
In just over 2 minutes, I go from disabling cameras and setting a couple of mechs to friendly fire mode, and I am literally watching them destroy the end-boss. I wasn’t sure what was happening, as you see in the video. I waited for my foe to best the two Mechs and go back to running around looking for me. That was not the case. I heard an explosion, switched x-ray vision on, and saw Marchenko’s red corpse for an instant before a cutscene played. Are you shitting me? I thought. Nope, I was victorious, and it wasn’t even me.
That in and of itself is a testament to the difficulty curve this game throws at you. The final battle, which does not make sense storyline wise (A bulky man who’s got all the trump cards is going to risk it all on a fight with you. OKAY!) and is literally a map littered with traps, 2 turrets, 2 mechs, 2 flying drones and a hulked out asshole with giant frickin’ laser hand, titan armor, and the ability to dash quickly. This is overkill. the first run, after the 6th or 7th death, I was convinced I was not adequately prepared for this fight. the second time, after my 6th or 7th go, I realized that the deck was thoroughly stacked against me, and not in a challenging way, in just a way that was slapped together, meant for the player to search the map, frantically flicking x-ray on and off, going invisible, to avoid detection. I spent a good 15 minutes in a vent pinned down, trying to protect myself while taking the opportunistic shots with EMP and Armor piercing rounds. Nope, I’d peek my head out, and be quickly drained by drones, or a mech or two, or those goddamn turrets. Fuck, was this annoying. But I digress. I could spend ages screaming about how much this fight pissed me off. Let’s move backwards.
I spent hours working on the prior mission methodically picking off guards that I failed to the first go around. Oops, caught. restart. Successful kill, save, fail, reload, repeat. For hours. The game was so unforgiving, and frustratingly so. I lowered the difficulty, and I was seemingly still penalized over and over. This stopped being a game worth playing, and just a chore, a matter of my frenzied mind to overcome. I did it though, but I wasn’t happy. This seemed to be the theme of the game.
I did. Specifically, a $4.99 “Assault pack” with a rifle, 40 rounds, two EMP grenades, two frag grenades, and a praxis kit thrown in for good measure. Uh-huh. So, all of a sudden, that’s worth almost 10% of the original purchase price, and 25% of my price. Bear with me, but I actually looked at this during the latter half of the game, noticing it was increasingly difficult to pick up ammo that I needed. luckily, I had found a store that carried somewhat sufficient ammo for my final battle. Not that i’d end up needing it. But I found myself constantly switching between weapons my attackers were carrying, often coming across EMP rounds to the point where i’d be throwing them away to make room for the 4 or 5 rounds I’d accrue through a battle. My point being this.
Ammo and Money were damn scarce in this game. and when I say scarce, I mean as opposed to other games that increase the number of bullets you’d find on a felled enemy, or the cash you’d come across in game, I kept finding 1-2 bullets or for cash, at most 80 credits per card. and there’s a part where there’s a hub lockdown. suddenly, those shops I largely ignored (due to a mentality the game built where I could survive on the enemy drops, until I could not) were inaccessible. I didn’t want to risk suicide by cop in game attempting to flee to another shop, just to watch them watch me be gunned down as I was trying to make a simple fucking ammo purchase. This was a shitty situation, and I don’t doubt the powers that be had the game press you for real dollars.
I’ve been playing games for a long damn time. I’ve played a lot of games which have caused me to angrily quit, or plow through and manage to feel no small sense of accomplishment. But this game stole that from me. Sure, I can go back and replay that boss fight, and kill him on my own, but considering the cheap deaths on both our parts, I don’t want to. I don’t want to play Mankind Divided again. I may not play another Deus Ex because of it. Which is a damn shame, because I feel like even Mankind Divided had its merits. Merits which are far outweighed by the glaring problems it has. I’m filled with anger, and bitter disappointment in the end of the game, which only served to end its own meager story and not flesh out the illuminati story at all. It was boring, bereft of story or growth for Jensen, The game actually ends on a dour note, which reflected my own feelings for the game. Jensen and I were one in the same as we were both bitterly resigned to the ending of this game. Sure we’d been through something but were not any better for doing so. (forgive the use of the tired quote) He didn’t ask for this, and neither did I.