Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a futuristic action RPG developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by Square Enix Europe in 2011. It is the third game in the Deus Ex series and is a prequel to the original Deus Ex.
Human Revolution is set in the year 2027 and in it you play as Adam Jensen, the security director for Sarif Industries, a company that has developed controversial artificial organs called “augmentations“. After an attack on Sarif’s operations Jensen sets out to investigate the organisation behind the incursion, which begins a cyberpunk-style story about the effect of large corporations and their impact on society.
Like the previous two Deus Ex games, Human Revolution features exploration and combat with stealth overtones. Technology plays a big part in the game and once again you can customise the main character, except this time it is done with so-called “Praxis Points“. These can either be bought using in-game cash (credits), or earned by accumulating Experience Points (apportioned to you for completing mission goals)
The game can be played at three different difficulty levels and the general plot follows a distinct path, but other elements of the game can change depending on your actions. At the start of the game you have the option to choose whether to use lethal or non-lethal force and are given the appropriate weapons and tech to achieve your goals. You can also find and use weapons dropped by defeated enemies if you need to.
Stealth plays a significant role in the game, and – has become custom in the Deus Ex series – hiding from enemies and cameras, and avoiding all line-of-sight encounters, is important. The way you can use cover in Human Revolution is a brilliant evolution in the series. In fact: the stealth and first-person shooter mechanics have really been dragged into the modern age with Human Revolution. If you compare this game to Invisible War, Human Revolution makes the second Deus Ex game look very old indeed.
Take-downs (lethal or non-lethal) are new and vitally important too. If you want you can kill someone by sneaking up on them; Adam uses these huge blades that come out of his bionic arms to skewer them. More subtle – and probably more useful (because it’s quieter and less likely to get you caught) – are non-lethal take-downs, where Adam simply uses his fists to knock someone out. As long as you’re not seen doing it you can then drag the unconscious person (or body) somewhere less conspicuous so that they’re not found by other patrolling guards.
Hacking, of course, plays a significant role in Human Revolution‘s gameplay too. Unlike in the second Deus Ex, you’re ready for basic hacking straight away and get to play a simple-but-effective ‘capture’ game to successfully hack doors, computers, and safes. If you fail a hack you’re simply locked-out from trying again for thirty seconds, but in general: hacking is easy to understand, not too risky, and fun to do. And as you gain more Praxis Points you can increase your hacking skills to make it easier – and also hack more advanced terminals. The main thing to remember about hacking, though, is that time doesn’t stop when you’ve got your face in a terminal. You can still be seen by patrolling guards or moving cameras if you’re in the process of hacking, so you have to be careful when doing it.
There are always multiple ways of reaching certain places and achieving your goals, though, so if you’re finding a door too difficult to hack – look for a nearby air duct to crawl into instead.
Human Revolution uses a branch of the Crystal Engine, developed by Crystal Dynamics, customised to suit this game specifically. The graphics are excellent – particularly the 3D modelling, animation and atmospheric lighting. The music is suitably atmospheric too.
The game has some great little touches, like people having a cigarette break outside the building when you return from a mission (who you can talk to for extra gossip and information); or unconscious guards getting back up if another guard finds them. Boss battles are pretty decent too. There are also plenty of side quests – some of which are hidden and must be found – so there’s plenty to see and do in Human Revolution if you put the time into it.
The only downside – that I noticed – was that the FMV cut scenes aren’t great quality and stand out from the in-engine stuff, and also that the production and character designs are a little “wanky“, in that: all the rich people seem to have sculpted hair and ridiculously ostentatious outfits designed by Jean Paul Gaultier (personally I would’ve preferred a more realistic, subdued look, but then that’s just my own opinion).
Overall, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a brilliant game – because the gameplay and mechanics are so good, which is what’s most important. As stealth action games go I’d say that it even eclipses Metal Gear, which is really saying something. Human Revolution is a fantastic evolution of the Deus Ex series and an exciting and absorbing game to play. If you like stealth/action/shooters there are few games out there that are better.
A direct sequel to this game, called Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, was released in 2016.
The Deus Ex series on The King of Grabs:
Deus Ex, Deus Ex: Invisible War, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
More: Deus Ex: Human Revolution on Wikipedia
Steam: Deus Ex: Human Revolution on Steam
GOG: Deus Ex: Human Revolution on GOG.com
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