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I’ve been playing Deus Ex: Human Revolutions for the past few days, and like most other video game critics I’m finding it to be a pretty solid experience, but I’m not as coo-coo for CoCo Puffs as some of the other reviewers out there.  Deus Ex: Human Revolution deserves most of its praise, but it’s not without flaws.  It’s a game that is either going to appeal to you greatly, or turn you off depending on how you like to play games.  If you’re a fan of stealthy action games that require the greatest amounts of precision to conquer then Deus Ex: HR is going to be right up your alley, but if you’re a gamer who gets discouraged at the thought of tiptoeing around your foes so you don’t get wasted quicker than a fat guy eating a tub of ice cream, then this game may make you want to punch some babies.

 

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

EB: 7.8 out of 10 Buddhas

The Awesome: Interesting Universe, Replayability, Musical Score

The Not so Awesome: Controls, Brutal Stealth Sections, Budget Graphics, Retardedly Long Load Screens

 

The Awesome

Interesting Universe

One of the biggest allures of Deus Ex: Human Revolution (DE:HR) is that it is set in a very interesting world.  It’s almost Blade Runner like if you’ve ever seen that classic sci-fi film, but rather than focusing on synthetic beings, Deus focuses on synthetic human body enhancements, and the controversy that can arise from playing God.  You take on the role of Adam who is the lead security agent of the firm responsible for discovering these technological breakthroughs that allow humans to mod their physical body and minds to become in a sense more evolved.  Through circumstances out of Adam’s control he inadvertently becomes implanted with these new augmentations, which serve as the basis for the entire game.

Human Augmentations are the Basis of the Entire Game

DE:HR touches some controversial subjects in its Universe, which makes it semi thought provoking for an FPS/RPG.  The subject of human augmentation is the basis of this game, and at the same time it’s the star of the game.  Once Adam gets his new pair of arms is when this game takes off and separates itself from other stealthy games like Splinter Cell.  These versatile tools of destruction can be used both lethally and non-lethally to progress Adam through the game, and the task of upgrading them becomes one of the driving forces in deciding how you’ll play each level.  The DE:HR world is definitely interesting with the topic of augmentation reigning supreme as the main plot thread throughout the game.  If you’re into moral dilemmas like this then Deus Ex’s world should intrigue you like the time you first learned what your privates were to be used for.

Replayability

Just like Crysis 2 DE:HR offers multiple ways to progress through each level.  In fact, it’s a much more in your face decision than that of Crysis 2’s various options.  Before missions you’re given the option of proceeding in lethal, or non-lethal ways.  This means you can try to go in like Rambo and kill them all while God sorts them out (good luck with this method), or you can go all ninja and sneak your way past the enemies inhabiting each stage.  You can take this as far as not killing a single person in the entire game if you choose to, which will net you a cool 100G cheve in the process.  Trust me though, these decisions are much harder than one would think.  Sometimes your play style will punish you regardless of which method you take to dispose of people, so be prepared to restart missions more often than you’d like.

Stealth or Guns A Blazing?

On top of how you choose to interact with the bad guys there’s also a plethora of decision based conversations which can completely alter the way you play the game versus your buddy.  These conversations take place in a Mass Effect conversation wheel style, but they seem to hold much more weight than the space opera.  You may find yourself restarting entire section because you didn’t execute a particular conversation a certain way that prevented you from scoring some loot, or a much easier path to victory.  Depending on the type of gamer you are this could be extremely appealing to you, or quite frustrating, but the amount of options in Deus Ex: Human Revolution are enough to give you multiple unique playthroughs if you so choose to squeeze every last penny out of your purchase.

Musical Score

For me an awesome musical score can make or break a game.  Luckily for DE:HR it has a great soundtrack.  If you’ve ever played Mass Effect the score in Deus has that same type of feel to it.  During cut-scenes and actual gameplay levels the music compliments the action on screen perfectly.  The score is very sci-fi, but serene at the same time.  I don’t know if people fuss over videogame music as much as I do, but it’s a very important aspect of what makes a great game to me.  I’m not ready to say that Deus is on the same level as Mass Effect, Halo, Gears, or other games that have great musical scores and gameplay, but DE:HR definitely has a unique soundtrack.  As with any type of music the score in DE:HR will instantly take you back to where you were while playing the game for the first time just like the 20th Century FOX opening in front of movies makes you think about Star Wars (what, hearing those drums doesn’t make you think about some galaxy far, far away action?).

 

The Not so Awesome

Controls

I’m sorry folks, I know this game is getting jerked off by those in the mainstream gaming media, but Deus’s controls alone are enough to make me cry foul on some of the glowing reviews.  This game is meant to be played in the style you like, but due to some sh*tty controls it’s not always easy to be both a stealthy ninja and a gun toting killing machine at the same time.  The cover mechanic requires you to squeeze L1, which is an odd feeling for gamers that are used to that trigger being the zoom button.  This usually results in me looking like someone on crack while I trying to remain out of sight while also eyeing up my foe’s positions.  At the same time if you’re trying to creep bye someone while in cover you have to hold A to remain in cover while bending around corners.  For me I found myself getting stuck more often than not using the shady cover controls in this game, which really hampers the experience because you have to restart sections more often than you’d like.

Unfortunately, the shooting controls aren’t much better.  Deus Ex: Human Revolution claims that you can play the game anyway you want, but I can promise you that if you don’t go stealth you’re going to get butt f*cked by the bad guys.  Trying to aim by clicking the thumb stick bites worse than a shark biting off your weenie.  Adam seems to move extremely slow while aiming, which makes him vulnerable to gun fire.  The aiming controls seem more similar to the tank like controls of a survival horror shooter than a FPS like Halo, or Killzone 3.  They feel as if the devs wanted you to be more of a ninja than a cowboy, which to me goes against the mantra of this game.  If I’m supposed to be able to walk into a room and shoot the living piss out of everyone in it then don’t make my shooting controls wonky, and especially don’t make the enemies have bullets that can kill you in one or two shots.

Cover Controls Blow which Result in Unfair Gun Fights at Times

Brutal Stealth Sections

Like I mentioned above you’re going to be spending much more time going stealth in this game than balls to the wall.  Due to this some of the sections of this game can become very brutal when it comes to stealthily avoiding those d*cks trying to kill you.  Hell, within the first mission I probably had to restart 20 times just so I could make it through the whole level without being seen.  Some stages offer little to no cover in open spaces where you have to avoid upwards of 6 bad dudes to get past it.  Sometime you can find a lucky vent here or there, but for the most part you have to rely on the less than stellar cover controls in DE:HR to sneak past those hunting you down.  I may be biased on these stealth sections, because it’s definitely not one of my favorite tactics in gaming, but they seem unfair at times.  If the devs want to give us choice then the balance between the two should be equal.  I should be able to sneak through a level just as easily as blasting my way through it, but this is not the case in DE:HR.  To be honest with you due to the crap shooting controls, and the brutally hard stealth sections this game may only be for the most hardest of core shooter fans.

Budget Graphics

I was saddened to see that DE:HR didn’t have the same high level of graphics that are being seen in a majority of games coming out these days.  Due to the sepia like tone that this game has adopted most of the cut-scenes seemed washed out and fuzzy.  It’s similar to seeing HD video being stretched out on screen.  The entire world just doesn’t seem crystal clear, which is very disappointing for a game being released in 2011.  I was expecting some high level visuals in a sci-fi oriented game, but what I got from Deus was middle of the road at best.  The visuals are bad enough that they cause me to dwell on them, which effectively takes me out of the game world.  Not to mention that after playing L.A. Noire any game that focuses on tons of dialogue with those robotic facial animations just look so 2010.

Hi, I’m a Robot Pretending to be Human. I Wish I Looked This Crisp In-game!

Retardedly Long Load Screens

One thing that makes having to redo sections of this game over and over such a huge pain in the a*s is the fact that the loading screens take way too long for people with patience issues.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to die multiple times trying to sneak past some guards then make sure to not make me stew about my demise for longer than a few seconds.  I can’t stand long loading times, and after trying to get the Ghost achievement I thought about throwing this game out due to waiting in load screens for what seemed like eternity.  Installing the game to the 360 HDD doesn’t help a bit either, so it’s something that needs to be dealt with.  Long loads will immediately kill any sense of immersion in a game, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a major offender of this rule.  It’s a shame because the game world is very enjoyable when you can get into it, but the moment you require a load screen you’ll find yourself watching the seconds tick by excruciatingly slow while you contemplate smashing the game disc to bits.

 

The Final Verdict

I’ll agree with the mainstream gaming media that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a solid experience in a unique Universe, but I’m not going to proclaim it as being in the running for 2011 GOTY.  I feel like the less than stellar controls are enough to knock this title out of that contest not to mention the cruddy visuals, brutal stealth gameplay, and loading screens that will take years off of your life.  I really believe if you’re a big fan of stealth games then you’ll love DE:HR, but don’t believe what you read when people are saying you can play this game anyway you like, because it’s a crock of sh*t.

In my time with this game I’m finding that it’s one of those titles that gets all kinds of mainstream attention, which sets it up as being the next greatest thing since sliced bread, but in reality this game is not for everyone.  Sometimes I wish I could get on the bandwagon of certain games like the rest of the followers out there, but I’m finding that I have very distinct tastes in gaming genres with stealth not being high on that list.  If you’re looking for an entertaining story set in an interesting world, but one that will cause you some pain in the form of long loads and frustrating stealth sections then Deus Ex: Human Revolution is for you.

Because I feel like I’m just not into the stealth genre I’m giving this title and EB 7.8 out of 10 Buddhas.  I realize that it’s a decent game and that my hatred for stealth may be influencing my review, so I’m not going to sell it completely short.  I really thing it’s one of those games that people are either going to love or hate depending on their gameplay preferences.  I don’t feel bad for buying it and I do look forward to playing it again, but I’m not going to hold it in the same light as the rest of the media is.  I’m real b*tches, it is what it is.  You’ve been wondering if I’m full of sh*t or not on this one…

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Launch Trailer

httpvh://youtu.be/leVmyy9iXTk

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he's not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB's Star Wars Time podcast show.