PC GAME REVIEW


24/12/11


"DEUS EX 3: Human Revolution" (2011 Release) PC/Console Game


Developer: Eidos Montreal, Square Enix, Nixxes Software & Feral Interactive(Mac)

Publisher: Square Enix, Feral Interactive(Mac)

Writers: Mary DeMarle, James Swallow

Composer: Michael McCann

Platform: PC/Mac, XBox, PS3

Rating: MA15+


                                                Review by Warrick Fraser










Computer games & it's specific interactive entertainment are a worldwide phenomena (similar but) surpassing the Hollywood movie

industry in the past decade & demanding similar sized budgets in it's complex development. And like a younger talented cousin of

the moving pictures industry, it has arguably suffered the problems of story dilution & streamlined simplicity to reach greater

mainstream audiences & age demographs. But, despite these demands in ratio to greater financial risk, there are always exceptions

to the rule. And risks of a respected creative nature begin to take lead with possibly greater payoff.


To those familiar with game culture, the general consensus is of a 'golden age' in gaming quality & innovation between the mid 90's

& early 2000's. Games such as the classics Half Life, Thief 2, Planescape Torment, Quake, System Shock II, Goldeneye,

SimCity, etc. might fit into this category. One that stood out, and to this day is considered the best game of all time in many reviews

& official compilations, was the original Deus Ex (2000).


For years, Deus Ex was momentarily hailed as the bench mark for true 'open area' or 'freestyle' technique that cleverly allows

multiple ways to play it, but then slowly pushed aside for more mainstream novelties, like cutting edge graphics or ultraviolent themes. Nobody complained about such things, except the need for better story & less obvious exploitation of the cultural status quo.

Some games have since aimed, & a small number succeeded at such things. The mainstream market still has a void of such quality.

Deus Ex remained aloof, it seemed.


Like few other mediums, the Ghost in the Shell TV series for example, can demonstrate a close representation of our possible future.

Where we may be, in the world of encroaching fascism into broad governmental interests & technological revelations. What the first

Deus Ex game did brilliantly was combine a mass of many conspiracy theories & conspiratorial facts with actual technological &

geopolitical developments into a prophetic novel-sized world, set in 2052. This allowed an invitation, and a giant fan-based hunger,

for more development in & around this world.


When Canadian developer Eidos Montreal announced the making of Deus Ex 3 as a prequel, the viral spread of audience hype

quickly reached fever pitch. The questioned remained, can they make it as well defined & beautifully complex as the first classic in a commercial demograph now demanding a more sleek, quickly digested product? Anticipation was already skyrocketing for this sequel.

On it's release, the answer grew to a fairly resounding 'yes'.





                                                                                    You are security expert, former SWAT commander fired for moral conflict of orders,  

                                                                                    Adam Jensen. Year 2027. Now, working for one of the leading 'human enhancement'       

                                                                                    cyborg implant developers, Sarif Industries.


                                                                                   You are plunged into a world of geopolitical conspiracy & subversive heavyweights,

                                                                                   with emphasis on corporate sabotage involving incredible weaponry & powerful tech.

                                                                                   This is a volatile time of both advancement & greed.


                                                                                   Starting as almost a homicide victim of these elements, saved only by Sarif's 

                                                                                   technological transplants, the plot immediately thickens. The dramatic players include

                                                                                   an array of mercenaries, scientists, CEO's, anti-augmentation activists, crime bosses

                                                                                   & a difficult relationship with a certain scientific pioneer, that is not only reason

                                                                                   for adventure but holds a revelatory key in human/cyborg development.





                                                             The key to Deus Ex is solid in-game systems & a successful hybrid of game types.

                                                             The first games innovated it the best. DE: HR has continued this trend, with some

                                                             advancements & newer techniques. Most do succeed.


                                                             The main key is options of gameplay styles, within realistic boundaries set by the game world.

                                                             And, generally speaking, it does it in style. Do you remain stoic & wander through the masses to

                                                             talk to the necessary gatekeeper? Slide into the shadows & remain unseen toward your targets?

                                                             Reroute the tech Safeguards toward your advantage? Unholster your weapons & plan a strategic

                                                             assault? All of these & more, are viable options at every turn.


                                                             But it's how the adventure plays out is what makes it endlessly interesting. And the world is

                                                             wonderfully realised, full of atmosphere, with obvious cyberpunk references. Loads of

                                                             voice-acted interaction, side quests, interesting architecture & a fairly large world that just

                                                             manages to fall short of the scale of the original game. There were minor bugs, completely

                                                             different people with exactly the same dialogue, some rare animation freezes,

                                                             but hardly distracting.





Hacking & generally subverting all computer or security systems, a staple of this game, is satisfying.

Simple but more inventive then the original. Upgrading around time restraints & decreasing on-line

presence via augmentation & gadgets. Although it didn't feel completely like hardcore sound security.

Between persistence & a 'reload save' option I found access not too trying even on the harder difficulty.

On the other hand, if you really need to access something behind that locked door & don't have a key,

think about how much impact would loosen it.


The dialogue options allow an intelligent use of language, not simple 'good vs bad' exchanges. An aug

upgrade will allow further insight into possible responses. I did enjoy the dramatic detective work,

without too heavy noire-stylisation you would expect in this despotic sci-fi theme.

Although it does wear the cliche well.


Check all your emails, messages, get into apartments, over rooftops, under every nook & cranny & you

will find a plethora of informational tid-bits to pad the vast story. Secrets, passwords, personality traits &

pastimes are there for the taking. And more on the general military's industrial evolution through this

world's commerce, made more convincing by the actual political climate on our conscious today.

Many hints & some revelations will be revealed to set the stage for the original DE.





Augmentations, the potential cyborg elements built into you, appear wonderfully varied. But in practice

several might be considered unnecessary novelty when needing desperate freedom from a tight,

dangerous corner. I didn't really see the point in certain visual enhancers or silencers. Depending on

how aggressive you decide to play will dictate these options. Hacking, stealth, strength options & others

assisted my choice of 'non-lethal' takedowns of combatants.


That's a choice you want to make to early & get used to that approach. Passive, 'Non-'Lethal'.

Or Lethal outcomes. Save certain folks at risk to yourself. Or prioritise the mission for other benefits.

It's that kind of choice you make in DE, that adds to your player's reputation. Same thing here in DE:HR.

And it will affect minor options throughout the game. It did have me morally recounting & reloading

situations for better results. That level of player commitment is gaming gold.





                                                                                   Combat eventually becomes exciting & fluid. Not as streamlined as a high budget

                                                                                   FPS, but very satisfying. All weapons, including non-lethal options, pack a nice

                                                                                   punch. And so do you, when applying hand to hand take-downs. All from

                                                                                   smoothly switching to a third person perspective & back.

                                                                                   This was a welcome advancement from the original game. Then carefully

                                                                                   dragging the downed opponent to somewhere out of the way to best assess the

                                                                                   next step without attracting more security. I did not appreciate firing a

                                                                                   anesthesiac dart from a distance to knockout an opponent, hit him in the head

                                                                                   & kill him though. But the close-quarters Stun Gun never failed.


                                                                                   Completely immersive espionage, with the occasional freeform assault is

                                                                                   absolutely thrilling once you get the hang of things. But, unlike the original, is

                                                                                   not always the best solution once you have noticeable ability & an armoury.

                                                                                   In fact, there are rare moments when a direct approach can be too effective

                                                                                   a trick, then to brilliantly circumvent a tough scenario. Still, if you stroll casually

                                                                                   into heavy combat you will simply be wiped out. Enemies will notice your

                                                                                   presence quickly, pursue & lock down immediate areas.

                                                                                   Thankfully this does not last forever.





                                                            I guess I should mention the new kid on this block - mandatory boss battles. These are now a

                                                            common modern component, but while quite enjoyable, do not fit this game's overall ethos.

                                                            By their very nature, control is taken from the player & sometimes exploitative methods to

                                                            combat are found. Practically all forums & reviews mirror this view, but strangely I didn't mind

                                                            the events. I just wanted the option for a non-lethal or conversational triumph against

                                                            the opponent. Sadly, there is none.


                                                            The varied world, though confined in certain areas, was believable & had several ongoing

                                                            dramatics moving around you at all times to successfully immerse you into believing it's reality.

                                                            Time develops new events. Riots in Detroit. Streets are alive in China with the distant thump

                                                            of a nearby futuristic nightclub. Conversations & compiled information quickly saturate the

                                                            well structured story. There is nicely unnoticed scripted moments & the art direction very solid.

                                                            One cannot get past the obvious parallels to the Renaissance in most cultural elements on

                                                            display. That allusion was symbolic & purposeful for this story's timeline & philosophy.





                                                            There is a complete use of a golden sepia tone used throughout the game world which was

                                                            not  distractionary, and artistically suited. (Note: There is a 3rd party patch that does

                                                            remove this golden filter, revealing the world in full colour at heavier cost to your

                                                            PC's processor)


                                                            Elevating the entire art direction, was the sound design & incredible score pervading

                                                            throughout & lifting all sense of curiosity & engagement. This was one of the highlighted

                                                            elements of this game. The synthetic catchy pulses that hid under the original DE, are

                                                            taken or used to influence the modern symphonic power of this score. All the other sfx

                                                            & folly elements seem to flow in & out of it. As if they were all necessary & one.

                                                            Intoxicating & simply marvellous.





This game might not actually suit everyone's tastes. But if you want a try a great fusion of

FPS/RPG/Action-Adventure with a feasible blend of these elements under a relentless,

semi-believable sci-fi theme. Go nuts! I admit, there was times the past hype rang true mid-game,

I said ' This might be the best game ever". For it's small few glitches, it surpasses on the whole.


The oozing of cinematic lush & elegant polish does it's best to distract away from the lack of real

open spaces & improvisational playground of the first game. There are the typical players & nemesis

of military espionage. Some ambiguity on a couple augmentation practicalities. It is definitely shorter

than the original & it leaves one wanting several more whole levels of play.





But for the most part, this reeks of the splendour of Deus Ex. In fact, I'm amazed it got made with

obvious homage & respect of the original. I've waited for this. Gamers rejoice.

Deus Ex has a sequel worthy of the name.


And, as a suggestion, only play it on the 'Give Me Deus Ex' Hard Difficulty.

It's not anywhere near impossible.

Damn challenging fun though!




Please watch the main trailer for DE:HR here. Powerful stuff.

It 'felt' like the world of the original game. Opt for 720p.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq5KWLqUewc

(I would note the main DE:HR score theme is almost identical to the main theme in Tron:Legacy.

Michael McCann wrote this before that movie)

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