Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review (PS3)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is Robocop. It’s Metal Gear Solid. It’s Blade Runner. It’s Akira. It’s Syndicate. It’s cyberpunk. It’s sci-fi. It’s the Renaissance. It’s playing god. It’s transhumanism. It’s noir. It’s moral grey areas. It’s progress. It’s power. It’s conspiracy. It’s so many influences even a six-page review can’t fit them all in. But it is absolutely, resolutely it’s own thing. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is Deus Ex: Human Revolution – not to sound too pretentious, but hey, when in Rome. Or future-Detroit, actually.
Any fears we had that Human Revolution wouldn’t be a ‘true’ Deus Ex have been forgotten, and the hopes we had that this would be a ‘true’ sequel have been met. This is the game we wanted it to be, and super-mad kudos has to go to Eidos Montreal for making something that hits so close on the Deus Ex-o-meter (we just made that up; it doesn’t exist).
For those unaware, Deus Ex is ostensibly a first-person shooter. You see the world through your eyes, you carry guns, you (can) shoot people – simple, right? But it goes a bit deeper than that, allowing players to put a fair amount of themselves into the game and mould the experience as you see fit. On approaching a situation where a company warehouse needs to be infiltrated, guarded by around ten hostile mercenaries and with seriously under threat hostages inside, what do you do?
It would be ridiculous to claim your choices are unlimited, but from a base of three, four, five different ways to approach a situation you can build from there, mixing and matching as you go along. What begins as a stealthy incursion into unfriendly territory could become a brief, stand-up firefight before returning to a cloak and dagger approach. You might go in full-force, realise you’re overwhelmed by enemy firepower and have to retreat – but how to get past these now-agitated guards? You could always hack a security computer to turn their robots and turrets against their masters, clearing the way without you having to pull the trigger anymore. What’s that? You’re a pacifist? So were we, at least for the first four or so hours of the game – in fact there’s a trophy available for getting through all of Human Revolution without killing a single person (bar bosses, but more on that later). It can be as simple as the choice between taking a stun gun or a rocket launcher into a fight, but every single time you can change your mind on the fly – and that’s what makes this a ‘true’ Deus Ex game like we hoped.
A favourite example from our playthrough goes as such: a corridor with two enemy troops at the end of the hall, one a light grunt, the other carrying a heavy assault rifle. Thinking the larger of the two was safely looking away from his tiny chum, we tranquilised said grunt, only to be met by the cry of his larger friend, who was obviously looking at his now-unconscious friend all along. On seeing us hastily reloading our non-lethal rifle, the heavy trooper began bearing down on our position, ready to tear us a new one – and believe us, enemies in Human Revolution will make short work of a careless agent leaving himself exposed. Armed with a tranq rifle and a pistol, the odds were not in our favour, until we noticed a fire extinguisher that had been displaced, landing on the floor near the heavy. One shot to pop the gas out of the container was enough to stun the trooper, and not a second later he was lying on the floor, unconscious as a result of a Massive Punch To The Face. How much of that did we plan ahead of time? None of it. And how much did the game railroad us into doing? None of it.