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January 01, 2012

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review


There’s a common saying on the Internet that every time someone mentions Deus Ex, someone, somewhere re-installs it. This obvious exaggeration is a testament to the game’s popularity among old school gamers who love it with all their heart cherishing every pixelated moment even in 2011. Now nearly a decade later, developer Eidos Montreal have attempted a franchise resurrection attempting to please both old school fans as well as newcomers alike with Deus Ex: Human Revolution (HR), an intense action RPG (Role Playing Game) that does not disappoint.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Reviewed on video


In HR, you play as Adam Jensen, the security head of Sarif Industries, a company that deals with human augmentation in the not so near future. After a horrific accident at the start of the game, Adam finds himself augmented with all sorts of mechanical parts in a bid to survive. It turns out he was only an unfortunate incident in the larger picture of things that you’ll have to uncover over the game’s 20-odd hour campaign. Yes, it’s a huge game and even though I rushed through most of it to finish the review ASAP, it took me nearly 24 hours.
Size does not matter
Size does not matter


The game like any RPG is full of content be it in its side quests or chunky story. Like its predecessor, the game favours stealth heavily and if sneaking around a game for hours on end doesn’t sound too appealing, this obviously isn’t the game for you. Unlike the Splinter Cell series that revolves around staying hidden in the shadows, HR is all about moving in and out of a place undetected. The game’s essentially played out from a first person perspective but while taking cover, it switches to a third person perspective allowing players to survey their surroundings before making a move. While the cover system itself isn’t as fluid as the one we’ve seen in Splinter Cell Conviction, it does fit in rather well with this game. 

Sneaking behind a person allows you to either knock them out or take them out permanently using contextual takedowns. And for some weird reason, every time you take someone out, you drain an entire battery in the process. Drain all your juice completely and you’ll be unable to execute a takedown till it refills automatically. This for some reason seems counter-productive as on one hand the game does want me to use stealth but on the other it’s scared I may abuse the Takedown function.
Ready for war
Ready for war


Since you’re already augmented to a certain extent, Jenson can further enhance his abilities by upgrading or purchasing augmentations using Praxis points. These include the ability to cloak temporarily, move around without making a sound, jump from heights without taking any damage and lots more. You have to make sure to choose the upgrades that reflect your play style. If you don’t prefer stealth and would rather go in guns blazing, you’ll require a different set of upgrades such as recoil reduction, a bigger inventory through which you can carry more ammunition, better armour etc. 

While this sounds fair on paper, in reality the game is pretty rigid. It may look like it’s offering you the freedom to play as you want but it secretly pushes stealth down your throat. That’s largely because combat in Human Revolution is tough so even though Adam Jensen is an augmented badass, he can’t withstand a lot of damage. And considering most places you’ll infiltrate are teeming with enemies, sentries and turrets, you’d rather sneak past them or take them out quietly as opposed to constantly dying. Even hacking is kind of a mandatory skill you should learn ASAP or you’ll have to shell out some credits on auto hacks or hunt around for pass codes that can be picked off dead/unconscious enemies.

Throughout the game you’ll encounter a few bosses all of which either feel repetitive or plain cheap. On one hand the game encourages you to be stealthy and sneak around but when it comes to boss fights you’re expected to stock up on ammunition and weapons and go to town with whatever weapon’s available. If only the game allowed some sort of stealthy approach to boss fights as well, it would have been real swell instead of the clichéd shoot him/her till they stop moving.
Sam Fisher would be proud
Sam Fisher would be proud


Besides the story-based missions, you’ll have access to certain hubs where you can take up side quests or upgrade your weapons from the Black Market dealers. Unlike games like GTA IV, the side quests in HR aren’t exact replicas of story-based missions so you never feel you’re really doing the same thing over and over again. Completing these quests will grant you XP that will eventually allow you to purchase better augments using Praxis points. Cash earned from such quests can be used to deck out your weapons like increase its damage, reload time and so on.

Visually the PC version is definitely better than its console counterparts and if you happen to own a powerful enough rig, you can enjoy the game in all its DX 11 glory. I unfortunately belong to the unlucky bunch of people who had quite a few issues with the game such as low frame rates, stuttering and random crashes. And speaking of crashes, every time I enabled AA, my game crashed. I’m not sure whether that’s an issue with the game or with NVIDIA’s latest drivers but either way, my eyes started bleeding with the jaggies. Character models weren’t too impressive as well and lip synching in this game does feel a bit off. There are quite a few low res textures present throughout the game world as well and objects in the distance are just low res pictures as opposed to rendered objects.
This will only hurt for a minute
This will only hurt for a minute


All issues aside, HR can get real intense once you get the hang of things. Sneaking around a base only to hack a turret to use it on your enemies is highly satisfying and such moments easily wipe out any frustration brought on by the game’s flaws. Sure it can feel a bit restrictive as it heavily favours stealth, but it is still a very chunky, tightly woven single player experience that’ll keep you busy for hours on end.

COSTS:Rs.2,500

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