The original Deus Ex released around the time I was 4 years old. I never played it until recently, but even then I can still understand how great of a game it is. I could also understand why there were a portion of fans who felt that Human Revolution didn’t quite live up to the Deus Ex legacy, though it did a better job of being a Deus Ex game than Deus Ex: Invisible War. Mankind Divided, however, improves upon Human Revolution in every way and brings Eidos Montreal’s incarnation of Deus Ex ever closer to the originals standards.
Right off the bat, the game throws you into this conspiracy filled world. After the events of Human Revolution, people don’t trust augmented citizens anymore. They’re treated as less than human. Fear rules the world and those in power are more than happy to take advantage of this. Adam Jensen, the returning protagonist from Human Revolution, is now entirely aware of this and has made it his personal mission to track down the 1% of the 1% that make up the Illuminati.
The atmosphere of this game is just incredible. I can feel the hopelessness of the augmented people, ARC’s desire for reform in the charismatic speeches of Talos Rucker, the disenfranchisement of Victor Marchenko, characters feel just as genuine as the world they live in. And this is why I’ve put in more than 10 hours already and have barely scratched the surface of this games story. I’ve indulged in every side quest, ventured into every nook and cranny of Prague, and completed only a few main story missions. And the best part is that when I do get around to the main story, I’ve wary of everyone. I don’t know who I can trust, I have no idea how the story will branch if I make one decision over another. Do I trust Jim Miller, Jensen’s boss at Task Force 29? Or do I trust the Juggernaut Collective? Or maybe I don’t trust either of them. That’s a decision I have had to make at the point in the game that I am at and I don’t know if the decision I made was the right one. There’s just so much uncertainty and mistrust baked into the story of this game.
Putting the story aside, the gameplay is absolutely fantastic. When looking through the augmentations I can unlock there’s a fine line between lethality and stealth. And what augs you choose to unlock and when influence the strategies you can employ on missions. Most missions give you variations in terrain that allow you to tackle a problem from multiple angles. If I want to I can find a way up to the second floor of a two story building, open a window or a climb through a vent, and work my way around enemies. Or I could go guns blazing through the front door. I’m a stealth player so I carry around a Tranquilizer Rifle, Stun Gun, and EMP-ammo loaded 10mm Pistol. I move like an apparition through enemy forces, knocking them unconcious as I go and climbing up a floor or down a floor depending on the density of enemies. I learned the hard way that exo-suits are not easy to incapacitate. If you try a takedown normally, the exo-suit will block it and retaliate, exposing you. If you fire a stun gun round at it first, it will put it into a stunned state that it will recover from after a few seconds. If you use that time wisely, you can get around it, or perform a successful takedown on it since the suit cannot react.
As for the new augmentations, you could consider them overpowered, and the developers knew this. So to balance it, they introduced the ability to disable augmentations, making sufficient power available for the new, unstable augs. However, there is a side quest that you can follow that will, eventually, allow you to use all augmentations together without disabling them. That being said, I have yet to reach the point in that quest where that is possible. It stretches out over the course of the game apparently, probably to keep you from becoming too OP early on.
The soundtrack is also REALLY good. It has emotion, it has the cyberpunk feel, it suits the game really well and is a welcome accompaniment to my strolls around Prague.
The art style is also a lot cleaner than before and obviously the graphics in general have jumped up several levels. Everything looks real, not like before where everything looked kind of like plastic. Of course, the lip syncing could still use some work and performance on PC is debatable. My game stutters a lot with all settings(save MSAA) maxed out at 1080p with a capped refresh rate of 60fps running on a Core i7-3770, 16GB of RAM, and a GTX 980ti. Hopefully the upcoming DirectX12 patch will optimize the game enough for it to become fully stable on my more than adequate system.
And lasty I wanted to bring up the games microtransactions. Yes, they exist, no, you do not have to use them. The game is very generous in terms of credits, hypostims, biocells, and praxis kits/experience. The microtransactions are there simply as a way to heavily boost yourself early game or get yourself out of a jam when you can’t acquire valuable consumables. I haven’t had to use them yet and I’ve already got most of the standard augs unlocked, and I’m not even halfway through the game. I’m also rich from quests and finding credit chips everywhere, you can craft biocells and multi-tools using crafting parts. Which, by the way, multi-tools will become your best friend. Hack any device with no problems. Simply look at what you want to hack and hold the trigger with your multi-tool out. Bam, hacked. Of course, it gets consumed in the process, but it isn’t too hard to make another, though finding enough parts can prove troublesome, they’re rare in the world, and expensive to buy if you happen to find one in a shop.
But anyway, those are my impressions of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. It’s my new favorite game and I cannot get enough of it. Hopefully they skip a new Thief game and just make the next Deus Ex title.