E3 2011: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Preview
Ok, look. We’re well aware that what most people want to know about Deus Ex: Human Revolution is whether it can live up to the legacy of the first game. With the title having been pushed back from a February release window to August, the poor old employees at Eidos Montreal have had to repeat and reiterate the same marketing phrases and pieces of information time and time again since about mid-April. The detail-trickle will no doubt build to a full on spurt before we reach August, but for now it’s all getting quite familiar.
So let’s get definitive. Will Human Revolution contain those warm, all-enveloping Deus Ex traits that help you get soundly to sleep at night when you think about them in your comfy bed (which you do, frequently)? Read on, and learn.
Does it have a protagonist who will do anything in his power to wear sunglasses in a dark room. At night. With the curtains drawn. While he has his eyes closed. And does his voice sound like a dog barking at a belt sander?
You bet it does. His name is Adam Jensen. He gets into an unfortunate (and unavoidable) accident early on in the game and needs to be rebuilt with the finest in flip-out sunglasses and arm-mounted blade technology.
Can I take multiple approaches to solving a level?
It certainly looks that way. From all the footage shown before, during and probably after E3, Human Revolution will contain just as many pathways and approaches as Deus Ex did. People have been getting by with pure stealth, they’ve been going in all guns blazing. They’ve even been throwing fridges at people. Much like the first game, the levels look linear-but-open. They’re self contained but have various access points by which it’s possible to reach a destination. You might go via a rooftop, you might take a sneaky side route or you might just stroll up to the front door and ask to be let in before you shove an arm-mounted blade up someone.
So does that mean there’ll be plenty of crawling along ventilation shafts?
You’d better fucking believe it.
How about hacking? Sometimes I like to get things by hacking.
The systems in Human Revolution will be subject to more hacking than a website with the word Sony on it. Hacking pops up a mini-game, where … woah, hey, stay with me here. The mini-game actually looks pretty decent. From a set starting point, you have to move along open nodes, trying to reach the marked destination point in your hack. It appears that during harder hacks, you’ll run a much higher risk of detection leaving you with only a limited amount of time to scramble through a clear pathway before you get locked out. Now, that looks (and probably sounds) confusing, but it’s the type of system that’ll be second nature after a few attempts. Honestly, it seems like it’ll beat pressing a ‘hack’ button like in the original. The key with mini-games like this is to prevent them becoming tedious halfway through the game (Bioshock fell foul of this by accidentally switching its hacking game with a Pipemania challenge at the last minute). It’s difficult to be sure if Human Revolution will suffer from this, but the hacking examples shown so far have seemed relatively varied, so that will help.
Is it possible to max out my augmented super legs and bypass large parts of levels by simply bouncing really high across vast distances like at the Ocean Lab in the first game?
Unconfirmed. But you’ll definitely have access to an awful lot of upgrades. Cloaking, Silent Running, kinky Robot Domination, Improved Radar and even an ‘Emotional Intelligence Enhancer’. All that good stuff will cost you praxis points, which are either given out as rewards or can be found through exploration of levels.
How’s the AI?
Not quite as wacky and unpredictable as in Deus Ex. AI foes will get a little bit upset if they stumble across the unconscious (or dead) form of one of their buddies, so it’s important to drag bodies into hiding so they don’t raise any suspicion. And in the game too. Enemies will also be attracted by sounds of gunfire, so it’ll be important to utilise gadgets like the taser and stun grenades if you want to remain stealthy.
I don’t want to remain stealthy, I want to cause bloody mayhem. But I’ve heard Human Revolution will switch to third-person when I’m in cover and performing takedowns and stuff, will this kill MY IMMERSION?
No need to shout. It’s fine to shoot people to bits too, that’s all part of the multiple approaches design. Honestly, the switch to third-person for hiding behind cover looks fairly fluid and I think everybody will be able to get used to it. The takedowns feel a bit more problematic, the playing of what amounts to a short cinematic every single time could get old. On a brighter note, the ‘non-lethal’ takedowns look to be joining Batman: Arkham Asylum and Alpha Protocol in the ‘non lethal takedowns most likely to leave the target wishing you’d just killed him instead’ awards.
That’s all great, but what I really loved about Deus Ex were the ridiculous accents. Does this game stay true to the horrors of Hong Kong and Paris?
It sure looks that way. While there’s an alarming amount of competent voice-acting on offer, I’m happy (well … maybe not ‘happy’) to report the presence of an African American lady whose stereotyping may well spark a race war. Some of the other actors seem to dip in and out of a Canadian lilt at unannounced moments and I’m predicting great things for a chap who sounds a bit like Patrick Stewart on downers too. No sightings of a teenager with a dodgy French accent who’s desperate to tell you where she lost her virginity as yet, but you can’t have everything.
I’m almost satisfied, but I need a silly plot featuring the illuminati trying to take over the world by giving everybody a bad cold. Where’s my silly plot!?
Is a transhumanism theme silly enough for you? In truth, we just don’t know yet. Nor do we really want to, because that would be spoiling things. We can find out together when Deus Ex: Human Revolution comes out this August.
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