Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the very first game in the rebooted Deus Ex franchise, which now focuses on an individual by the name of Adam Jensen. The game and its successor, Mankind Divided was developed by Eidos Montreal and was published by Square Enix. Originally released back in 2011 on the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360, the game received praise for bringing the much loved Deus Ex franchise back in to the modern day, without making it feel dated and that resulted in the game that we have today!
Set in the year 2027, the story takes place in a world where cybernetic enhancements and augmentations are the norm. What this means for the premise of the story is that many people you come into contact with have some kind of augmentation, be it a new limb or simply a chip that can increase their intelligence or mental efficiency. Despite this, cybernetic augmentations are still on their way to becoming widespread, so people of a certain class are expected to have them, whereas lower class people typically aren’t in any way able to afford them. These elements contribute directly to the sci-fi direction set by the game. The argument against augmentations isn’t always about the money; however, since this is still new technology the world has yet to get fully accustomed to/accept fully, there is a small stigma against cybernetics for that very reason. To get a better idea of the vibe, setting, and premise of this futuristic game, check out the cinematic trailer below!
Even now, in the real world, having a piece of technology inside of you that augments the way you think, act or feel is a pretty scary thought, but this is in a world where it’s slowly becoming commonplace. At any point during the game you could come across someone who hates even the thought of these augmentations and will violently fight against you to prove that point. It’s this setting and the moral dilemma the people in this world are forced to contend with that makes it so fascinating in the terms of the story.
The main story focuses on a man by the name of Adam Jensen, the chief security officer at one of the top cybernetic companies in the world. At the start of the game, the building is attacked by a small group of terrorists and Adam Jensen is severely injured during the attack, so much that he barely survived. His boss, David Sarif uses advanced technology to save Adam, fix his broken body, and give him superhuman abilities in the process. From here, it’s Adam’s job to take the lead on finding these terrorists, known only as the “Tyrants” and taking them on; something his new augmentations allow him to do. Each person you come in contact with can either be of great use to your mission or a complete waste of time, but depending on how you deal with each situation in the game, the overall outcome is subject to change.
Moving on to the gameplay, the game plays a lot like your typical FPS game with cover-based mechanics, with the only exception being that when you do go behind cover, the perspective of your character moves to 3rd person, giving you some advantage over the enemies. Depending on how you wish to take on each mission, you can decide on taking the more stealthy approach or you can go in guns-blazing, gunning down quite literally everybody you come into contact with; it all comes down to personal preference.
You can decide to takedown people in 2 different ways: lethal and non-lethal. Non-lethal uses tranquilizer darts, sneaking up to people and choking them until they pass out or just avoiding them completely; an option that is definitely viable in the game. Lethal playstyles have a bit more to play with, since you have a wide-variety of weapons to pick and choose from, be they sniper rifles, pistols or automatic submachine guns. When you sneak up on people, though, you get the much more entertaining steel blades that are housed within your cybernetic arms that make you feel like Baraka from Mortal Kombat.
If you’re not finding that entertaining enough, there are a bunch of cybernetic enhancements that you can pick and choose from as you level up – the only (real) RPG element in the game – and gain some really interesting tools to play with that can kill or knock out a person or be used to hack into security mainframes or jump and land from incredible heights by deploying a type of electromagnetic parachute from your back just a few moments before you hit the ground. These augmentations are what makes the gameplay so interesting and give the player the opportunity to cater to their playstyle, even if it does feel at times like there’s no real reason to worry about choosing between lethal and non-lethal because for the most part it doesn’t affect the game too much.
Looking at the game from an aesthetic standpoint, the game has definitely aged well in its 6 year lifespan, with both character models and environments fitting the overall setting very well; whilst looking good while doing it. Easily the biggest problem with the aesthetics however is just how yellow the entire game is. Upon release, Human Revolution was jokingly being called “Yellow – the Game” but while it may have been a joke, it did accurately portray how the game looked overall. Pretty much everything they could get away with making yellow, they would, and it’s just as noticeable now as it was back then. However, rather than holding the game back, the aesthetic elements actually helps accomplish a vibe that only such a well thought out futuristic sci-fi game could achieve.
Overall, Deus Ex: Human Revolution had a lot on its shoulders when it was first released; after all, the world hadn’t had a Deus Ex game in a long time and considering the franchise is a beloved FPS, Square Enix had a lot riding on their new title. Despite this pressure, the game did a great job of rebooting the franchise, especially when it comes to the story and the world revolving around it – a world that can’t quite decide whether it’s supposed to love or hate these new cybernetic augmentations – and that’s just one of the many things that makes this futuristic setting so interesting.
Gameplay is what you would expect from a solid FPS, whilst giving the player the opportunity to play out each mission however they please; with or without augments to help them. The yellow aesthetic can definitely get somewhat overbearing at times, but the overall experience for this game is a positive one and makes for an easy game to recommend. Even if you’ve never played a Deus Ex title before, this one right here is the perfect way to start! Check out the video below for the full gameplay trailer to get a feel the game’s various mechanics!