Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

 Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review

Kid Safe: Low (2.5  / 10)                             Game Quality: Very High (9.0 / 10)

Genre: First Person Shooter / Open World RPG
-          This game is characterized by the viewpoint and the weapons used in the title. In a first person shooter, you are looking down the barrel of a gun as though you yourself are holding the weapon. On top of this, players are able to explore a "world" where choice is everything; rather than providing a dead-set story that a player has to follow, they are provided a world that they can explore. Finally, as an RPG, or "Role Playing Game", players are given the ability to customize the appearance, weaponry, special skills, and abilities that their character uses in order to create a unique individual.

Internet Requirements: None Except for PC/Computer
-          Unless you are playing on the PC/Computer, Deus Ex: Human Revolution does not have any necessary internet requirements. This title does not contain any kind of online multiplayer or score-tracking service, nor have I heard of any kind of additional downloadable content to extend the gameplay. However, if you are playing this title on computer, you will require a constant internet connection to play this title as it functions off a internet-based program called Steam.

Story Summary: In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you take the role of Adam Jenson, the security
manager for a major bio-tech company called Sarif Industries in a futuristic Detroit where biotechnical "augmentations" on humans has created strife among the general populace. When Sarif Industries is attacked by a group of unknown assailants and all of the lead scientists are killed, Jensen is left in pieces and his body is replaced using these augmentations to make him bigger, stronger, and faster. Now 6 months later, Jensen is back on the job and he is called forth to investigate what happened to the facility, who attacked them, and why? Little does Jensen know, he is getting wrapped up in a mystery far larger than just Sarif Industries that will be taking him from to Detroit to Canada, China, and more as he realizes that there is someone out there trying to influence human evolution itself.

Kid Safe: Low (2.5 / 10)
-          Foul Language: Very High - Not Recommended for Children
o   Deus Ex: Human Revolution features a very high amount of foul language in the form of the following words: "d*mn", "h*ll", "b*stard", "s*it", "a*s", "b*tch", "f*ck", and "d*ck". Most of these words are heard regularly throughout both dialogue and general gameplay, especially "d*mn", "s*it", and "f*ck". These words are most commonly spoken by enemy individuals that include gang bangers, mercenaries, and guards who speak them threateningly or in annoyance. While several characters are a bit more foul mouthed than others, generally these words are used in situations of combat or extreme frustration/fear.

-          Violence and Gore: High
o   Deus Ex: Human Revolution features a high amount of violence and gore. To start off, as a first-person shooter, there is a strong emphasis on the use of firearms and weaponry to disable or kill your enemy. To this title's credit, it emphasizes a matter of choice in how to approach situations, therefore allowing a player to engage in either a lethal or non-lethal approach to downing enemies; i.e. enemies can be disabled without being killed. Players will use a wide variety of weaponry and tactics that includes, but are not limited to, hand-to-hand combat, stun guns, tranquilizer guns, bladed augmentations in the character's arms, pistols, submachine guns, shotguns, assault rifles, heavy machine guns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, land mines, and a number of science fiction weapons including an explosive that destroys everything in a 360 degree radius. Players will be engaging other human beings (primarily mercenaries, guards, gang members, etc.) as well as robotic beings and sentries. Players can attack and kill civilians, however this has major negative effects on gameplay.

o   When in combat, as we said earlier, players are able to choose whether they engage in lethal or non-lethal means of disabling an enemy. If they choose to disable an enemy versus kill them, two options present themselves. Players can engage in hand-to-hand combat where an enemy will be thrown, punched, etc. and therefore knocked out. Players can also use non-lethal weapons like stun-guns or tranquilizer darts which will cause the enemy to simply pass out and lay on the ground. Bodies remain where they are and can be woken by other enemies.

o   If players use lethal means of disabling their opponents, there are again two options. Using the hand-to-hand combat option, players will utilize bladed augmentations built into their characters arms to slash or stab their enemies. This results in a large spray of blood and the character dropping down dead. Players are also able to use any variety of firearms which will result in a rather small spray of blood when the enemy is shot followed by the enemy collapsing to signify death. Bodies remain where they are for the rest of play.

o   Aside from combat, there are some gory scenes. Examples of these scenes include some brief scenes of a surgical process where blood can be seen pouring over flesh and into a dish. Likewise, there are situations where boss-enemies are shown laying on the ground with blood pulling beneath them. Finally, the initial scene where Jensen is gravely injured shows him covered in blood with shards of glass embedded here and there in his hands and torso.
-          Sexually-Related Content: Moderate
o   Deus Ex: Human Revolution features a moderate amount of sexually-related content which takes place primarily through sexual reference and themes. Starting off, there are several characters who wear revealing clothing that show off a fair amount of cleavage; however, these are uncommon. Instead, the majority of sexually related content comes from your dealings with prostitutes and individuals in a brothel. Players are unable to purchase or use the services of these individuals, however there is allusion to it. Players will often hear dialogue from prostitutes and street referring to possible sexual acts: e.g. "They want m to get augmentations...for the customer's pleasure. It's sick", "I'm not sure you can afford what I'll do to you.", " Do you have enough money for me, sexy?", " If you promise not to be too rough, you might just get a freebie.", and " You better make sure your batteries are charged cause I can go alllll night." On top of this, while in a brothel, players will see a sex toy laying on one of the beds.

-          Use of Drugs and Alcohol: Moderate
o   Deus Ex: Human Revolution features a moderate amount of drug and alcohol usage, primarily through reference to illicit materials as well as the use of prescription painkillers, alcohol, and cigarettes. Starting with the illicit materials, there are several missions in which players will interact with illegal drugs. In one mission, players are provided a pack of unnamed illegal drugs to place in a character's house so that they will be arrested. Likewise, another mission finds players locating and retrieving a package of unnamed illegal drugs to use as evidence against a corrupt cop. Finally, there is reference occasionally to marijuana in the form of "cigaweed".

o   Aside from illicit drug usage, there is a fair amount of legal drug usage. It seems like at least half of the population in this game smokes cigarettes or tobacco and will do so openly; players will see a decent amount of people smoking. Likewise, players will also be to collect and use both prescription painkillers as well as alcoholic beverages as health items to instantly heal damage that they receive while in combat. Painkillers do not have any side effect, however the usage of alcohol will result in blurred visions and a slightly shaky camera to represent drunkenness.

o   There is also reference throughout gameplay to a painkiller called Neuropozene which is apparently highly addictive due to the side-effects of augmentations. A number of characters in the game are addicted to this substance and either show symptoms or openly admit this fact.

Game Quality: Very High (9.0 / 10)
-          Graphics / Visuals: High
o   Visually speaking, Deus Ex has a pretty decent overall quality. This title's major strength, by far, is in the overall design of the environments and world that players will be exploring. As players will be exploring a number of different locations from across the world, the designers of this game did an excellent job in making sure everything had a very realistic and unique feel to it. Every city that you visit is incredibly different from the next; whether it be the double decker city Hensha in China or the dingy and dirty Detroit in America, every place feels varied and interesting.

o   Aside from just the concepts for this area, the amount of detail that has been put into making this a justifiable and explorable world is a whole other matter. Players are not only able to but encouraged to wander around these cities and see what they can find. Shopping centers, houses, apartment buildings, medical facilities, police stations, office buildings, science labs, storage facilities, and more are at your fingertips to go through. Every room, nook, and cranny has been pain-stakingly thought out and designed so you truly feel that every place you walk into actually has unique individuals that live and work there. Barely anything feels like it fell out of a cookie-cutter.

o   The only major problem that keeps Deus Ex has visually is in its character models and resolution. Starting off, cutscenes, while most definitely beautiful and well done, always have a grainy feel to them. Despite the high quality of visual picture and resolution that gives the game a clean, sharp appearance, cutscenes always seem a bit subpar. Likewise, the character models stand out as being almost a bit cartoony compared to everything else. While generally everything in the game searches from a strong, realistic presentation, a large number of the character models are just poorly done and look antiquated compared to everything else around them
-          Audio: High
o   Deus Ex, much like its visual department, does its audio and music rather well. Starting off with voice acting, I can't really think of any real major complaints. Most every actor delivers themselves well; nailing such normal topics as emotion, tone, pacing, etc. These actors truly help bring every character to life with an excellent performance. Likewise, there are a number of radio programs and conversations that you will hear as you are exploring the world; equally very well done. Voicework aside, the music in Deus Ex is really worth noting. While not present throughout a fair share of the gameplay, when it shows up, you know it. Tense, hard rock beats, edgy techno tunes, and even classical Deus Ex pieces from the original game show up here and there and really add an oomph to the gameplay; complimenting the moods perfectly to heighten tension and action.

o   Sadly, there is one problem that stands out, and that's a matter of repetition in voice acting. While the voice acting is well done, it would seem that the team did not have ENOUGH voice actors or something of that nature. A fair number of random characters and people off the street will simply share lines, making it so that you can talk to 12 people and 3 or 4 of them say the exact same thing in the exact same voice. While generally this isn't worth nitpicking, the fact that the team put so much focus on building a varied and unique world where literally every apartment is different, this discrepancy really stands out; making most unnamed characters seem like their bedrooms have more personality than they do.

-          Gameplay / Playability: Very High
o   If there is one single thing I could praise about Deus Ex, it would be its absolutely incredible gameplay. But of course, we shall start off with playability. Deus Ex does a good job, if only a little clunky, in introducing most all of the gameplay to the players in a safe, controlled manner. Using videos that players can pull up at anytime, Deus Ex will demonstrate things like running, shooting, hiding, sneaking, hacking, etc. with actual videos in game and an audio explanation of what to do and how to do it. This worked out pretty well for introducing most areas of gameplay, although it's a bit frustrating since it essentially forces a player to stop playing altogether to learn how to play whereas most titles introduce gameplay through playing rather than watching someone else play. On top of that, there were one or two areas of gameplay that I had to find out about on my own, namely the ability to buy and sell weaponry and ammo; however this was a relatively minor issue.

o   But now the gameplay...Oh the gameplay. Open World titles like this generally give the player a fair amount of choice in how to handle situations, but Deus Ex takes it to a whole other level. Starting off, players are able to wander a number of cities in first person, as if they were actually there. They are provided any number of missions that they can or cannot follow if they want. There are ALWAYS multiple ways to approach a situation or problem; e.g. you need to get past a locked door...you can simply hack the door panel or you could find a vent to crawl through, you could punch your way clean through a wall or you could find the passcode in an e-mail or "pocket secretary" handheld device. As we mentioned before, you get to decide how you want to engage in combat; whether you want to be lethal or non-lethal, engage in close combat or at a range, if you want to hack an enemy's robotic allies so they attack each other, or if you want to completely avoid a fight all together. The game also hosts hundreds of publications, e-mails, notes, journals, and logs for the scholastic player to read and enjoy. Hundreds of rooms, dozens and buildings, and lord knows how many nooks and crannies to explore.
o   Finally, players get to decide exactly how they want to develop. With a rather well-sized list of "augmentations" that they can build upon, players will slowly but surely be able to upgrade themselves so that they will have unique and interesting powers. Whether it's the aforementioned ability to punch through walls, the ability to turn invisible, fall from any height without being hurt, x-ray vision, whatever; it's all at the player's whim.
-          Dollar-Value: Very High
o   Overall, Deus Ex: Human Revolution has a very high dollar-value. So long as you are alright with some of the more adult themes in this title, a single play through of this title will take somewhere in the range of 40 hours of solid gameplay. When you also factor in that the game has incredible replay available since you can ALWAYS approach situations in a different way or even gain access to completely new missions and areas, you will most definitely get your fair share out of this game. If you are looking for a title where choice in everything IS everything as well as a strong, compelling story than this is the game for you.

-          Very few games will match this title in the sheer amount of realistic gameplay. If you are looking for a less mature rated title, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic would certainly be an excellent choice. Other, more mature rated titles, might include Alpha Protocol, Dragon Age Origins, Mass Effect, and the previous Deus Ex titles.

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