Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the fourth game in the Deus Ex series and a direct sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It was developed by Eidos-Montréal and published by Square Enix Europe in 2016. You once again play as augmented super-spy Adam Jensen and the story is set two years after Human Revolution.
In Mankind Divided you are a double agent for Interpol and The Juggernaut Collective, two of various factions vying for the upper hand in a futuristic world of technology, money, mega corporations, high fashion, violence and intrigue. Other factions involved in the story include The Illuminati, Task Force 29, The Augmented Rights Coalition, The Picus Group, and The Jinn, and it is a bit of a headache keeping up with all these different organisations, what they represent, and what they mean to you. Thankfully the game explains what they are during intermission loading screens, which does help.
The game can be played at three different difficulty levels, plus one more that can be unlocked after completing the game once (called “I never asked for this“). As in the previous game: at the beginning you can choose to take a lethal or non-lethal approach to the action, which dictates what kind of game you’re going to be playing. If you choose the latter then you’re basically going to be chasing stealth achievements instead of general action-based achievements, which gives the game a degree of re-playability.
The first thing to note about Mankind Divided is that the graphical fidelity is much improved over Human Revolution, and therefore the demands on your PC will be higher. On ‘Ultra’ settings the game looks incredible, with stunning lighting, visual effects and HUD graphics, but it requires some serious GPU grunt to run smoothly. Even on ‘High’ (and lower) graphical settings the game looks amazing, and this is down to how Mankind Divided has been designed.
Adam now has a cool new augmented smart vision mod that shows enemies, weak points in walls, gas and other dangers, and also important objects that you can interact with. He also has a new ‘cushioned fall’ augmentation, called ‘Icarus‘, that allows him to drop from any height without damage (he can even use it as a vertical attack), and these two new ‘augs’ are shown off to great effect in the first mission. Unfortunately, after things go wrong during the opening mission, Adam loses these new augs due to a malfunction in his systems, which means that he has to buy them back again using Praxis Points (the currency for unlocking augmentation abilities, awarded for reaching experience milestones), after getting them fixed. The fixing process does, however, uncover a secret in Adam’s augs: a set of hidden experimental powers that have been planted into him without his knowledge. Once these have been discovered they can be activated like his other augs, but they increase his overclock rating and therefore power consumption. Initially Adam is warned not to activate too many of these hidden augs as they may cause him to overheat, but he’s also given a mission which will eventually lead to him being able to use them without restriction.
Stealth movement has also been upgraded, now showing more detail and offering more options as Adam moves from cover to cover. While it is an improvement, in some respects, over Human Revolution it does still have a couple of niggles related to it, like sometimes not offering takedowns from cover (as it should), and a slightly troublesome toggle between taking cover and moving. Hacking and takedowns are more or less the same as previously, but with a few small differences. Hacking, for example, now has extra software that can be collected in the field and used to help in cyberspace. Even the iconic Deus Ex ‘multitools’ are back, which you can craft using spare parts found while exploring. Gun usage from cover is also pretty much the same as previously and shooting stuff is just as satisfying and challenging as it was in Human Revolution.
Overall, Mankind Divided is a significant upgrade over Human Revolution in terms of gameplay and visuals and it continues the trend of Deus Ex games improving exponentially over previous games. I have read some people saying that Mankind Divided “isn’t as good” as Human Revolution and that may be down to this game being marginally more “talky” than its predecessor. The Deus Ex series has always been on the ‘dialogue-heavy’ side of gaming, but I guess the subject matter dictates that, considering all the futuristic and technological concepts that it deals with. Story-wise I think Human Revolution and Mankind Divided are on a par with each other. Both have their highs and lows, although the high points significantly overshadow the low points and the drama and situations are generally tense and gripping, with a subtle sprinkling of dark humour to lighten things up on occasion. And as well as the main story there are also three separate playable spin-offs, called Jensen’s Stories, that are available from the main menu. The game does warn you, though, that they may spoil the main storyline if you play them first.
Mankind Divided shows just how strong a developer Eidos-Montréal is – to make something as good as Human Revolution and then to better it with this is magnificent work. I really do have to congratulate everyone who worked on this game, for doing such a great job. This is top class game development. Mankind Divided I wouldn’t say is the best game in the world, but it’s certainly up there with the best.
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: Mankind Divided on Wikipedia
Steam: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on Steam
GOG: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on GOG.com
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