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17Sep/111

No Cigar: Deus Ex 3 Review


The original Deus Ex was one of those rare legendary games. It redefined the first-person genre by blending it with role-playing and stealth elements. Beyond that it's story made us question what it is to be human and rethink our ideas of freedom. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a prequel to the original's story (Ignore Deus Ex 2 invisible war as it is a bad game). Let's get down to it.



The Good: The atmosphere the graphics give is dark and futuristic. Fits well with the story. The lighting and physics engine are excellent. The combination works well to keep you engrossed in the world. The new cover mechanic (third person when in cover) is a great idea for the stealth elements in-game.

The game play itself is fun and varied. The ability to go about a mission in different ways gives the player the choice of game play he/she desires. From the gun-toting Rambos to the stealthy Solid Snakes and sometimes even the avid word smith, the options for tackling a problem are plentiful. Even a single style can have options, break through the front door john woe style? Or death from above?  The hacking and speech mini games are enjoyable. The speech in particular is fantastic as I have not seen anything like it in any game. It only happens a few times during the game but when it does it is something to remember. Your oral opponents need to be convinced and only particular answers that play on their personalities are the correct ones.

The shooting mechanic (after-all it is an FPS at heart) can be frustrating at first to shooter enthusiasts. That's why, like the first deus ex, you have to think of it as an RPG. When you begin you are a poor shot but as time passes, and certain abilities are upgraded, you can become a crack shot even whilst running or jumping. The weapons available are well made (sound and "feel") and because of the inventory constraints you should pick a couple and stick with them for the rest of the game. They can also be upgraded with some interesting modifications. Even if guns are not your style hand-to-hand combat is an option with some cool animations.

The story is deep and like its predecessor makes us ask some interesting questions about humanity. Although the tale is not as epic as the first deus ex it is still engaging and keeps you coming with some interesting twists.

 

The Bad: Facial animations and some bland textures sometimes pull you out of the experience. The model animations during a takedown is unrealistic in a room full of enemies as they stand around waiting for you to finish their friend.

The bosses suck the life out of the very essence of the game. They remove all choice and it comes down to a slug fest that usually consists of you running and gunning. This can be especially frustrating if you have spent all of your experience points into stealth, hacking, and speech.

Last but not least the protagonist seems totally detached throughout the experience. The voice actor and situations in which you are involved remove strong emotional connections that should have existed. The next mission always seems like business.

 

The Ugly: The AI is simplistic in combat, usually content with trading fire rather than flanking. Although you are fragile compared to other games (you cannot take a full burst from an enemy) you can still out wit the suicidal foes. Looking around a corner at a doorway (choke point) you can simply wait for the enemies to enter your hail of bullets. Be careful though, ammo is realistically limited.

The way the game rewards the player experience is utterly disastrous.  This, imho, is the biggest failing in the game. Players who stealthily take opponents down, and especially in close quarters combat without killing them, are given more than double the experience from simply shooting a foe. This removes the incentive to play aggressively. As an RPG fan, for me at least, it limits choice as well.

 

3.5/5   GOOD


Almost but not enough for greatness. If not for the Ugly this game would be beautiful. I commend Eidos for not creating a total failure as most sequels these days seem like simplistic remakes or complete fuck ups. Some things in this game can even be said to be better than the original (cover/speech system). At the end it makes the player think... a novel idea...about truth and its price.

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  • Ignatius Black

    Excellent review. I like the template and depth of analysis. Reviewers these days seem too forgiving to big franchises. Fallout 3 was a crappy game for example. Yet it seemed to get such high praise and review scores. I believe it got a 9.0 and Editor’s Choice on Gamespot.

    Thanks for being realistic and objective. It’s very refreshing. I just wish you mentioned some of the things you think they could have done differently going forward.

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