Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal, 2011) is a “cyberpunk-themed first-person action role-playing stealth video game” (Wikipedia) set in a run-down 2027 Detroit. The player is placed in the role of Adam Jensen, the augmented security manager for Sarif Industries, who needs to find and stop the people who gone done blowed up his girlfriend. Okay, they also blowed off Jensens arms and legs and some research and stuff too.
As I’ve mentioned before I don’t really get into FPS games all that much but DeHR had enough RPG elements to peak my interest; plus I’ve never really played a stealth game before and I wanted to give it a try. I also admit that having the same name as the main character added a completely unfounded personal connection between me and the game. Also plus the art style reminded me a lot of Bladerunner, except the game seams to be in a perpetual Matrix-esque darkness. Well, that, and Jensen sounds like Neo… And there’s this whole ‘chosen one’ vibe…
Flippant sarcasm aside, I am actually enjoying DeHR. Having played most of the weekend and in the evenings this week Steam says I have played 16 hours so far and I’ve unlocked 12/59 achievements. Overall, it’s a fun game. This is mostly due to it being greater than the sum of its parts. The story, for starters, is passable; fairly predictable but interesting enough for me to enjoy it. At this point the story has lacked an “OH MY GOD! THAT CAME OUT OF LEFT FIELD!” moment, but makes up for it with enough “hmmm yea okay” moments. The character interactions are good, especially with the social augmentation which you can add with “Praxis Points” (which are basically points you get when you get enough XP points; i.e. leveling up). Speaking of augmentations I thought it was an interesting way of tying in the RPG elements into the narrative.
Augmentations basically serve as a mechanism to apply points to certain skills such as your fancy eyesight, computer hacking ability, or your uncanny ability to carry a crazy number of guns without a backpack. Where other RPGs I’ve played simply go “yay you’re a master lockpicker even though you’ve never picked a lock in your life” DeHR ties these skills into the game’s narrative by turning them into augments that you install in yourself.
The game-play is your standard FPS fare, but balanced in a way that favours stealth and choking out bad guys from behind a washing machine (not sarcasm, that happens in the game). What stood out for me was how you are able to take cover behind walls, poke your head around corners, and make stealthy jumps and somersaults between gaps without being detected.
I tend to enjoy games that offer multiple styles of play and I think DeHR allows for that. The level design does a really good job of giving Jensen a reason to be stealthy. Of course, you could also Rambo through the levels with guns blazing, but for me the stealthy route was the way to go.
As it stands there’s a good chance I will finish the main storyline (as I said I find the stealth missions fun) but I must admit that I am getting an itch to try something else for some reason; which could be due to the game, or just my mood. Maybe I should table this game and play another, going back to it when I’m more in the mood for Bladerunner: Reloaded.