E3 2011: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Hands-On Preview

By Lauren Alessandra on June 20, 2011, 7:36PM EDT
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Eleven years have past since the first Deus Ex was released. Its unique design brought on massive amounts of praise from critics, making it one of the best PC games of all time. Since then the game has had only one sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible Wars, which was released in 2003. Unfortunately, it wasn't given the same accolades. Now in 2011, the Deus Ex series is back again with Deus Ex: Human Revolution and, based on the demo, is looking better than ever.

Instead of continuing the story of the first two Deus Ex titles, Human Revolution will be a prequel. Taking place in 2027, nearly 25 years before the original Deus Ex, we meet Adam Jensen, a private security officer with Sarif Industries. The nanotechnological augmentations, as seen in the first two games, have yet to be developed whereas biomechanical augmentations have. After surviving an attack on the company, Jensen is left critically injured and is required to undergo the augmentation procedure which is where this story begins.

As this is a prequel and nanotechnology has yet to exist, players have access to mechanical augmentations instead which gives this Deus Ex a bit more of a cyberpunk vibe. Players will be able to upgrade these bad boys under four categories: Combat, Stealth, Technology, Social. Depending on what gets upgraded, these augmentations can help Jensen sneak past enemies or, if players choose to be more passive, help schmooze talk his way to success. Jensen

While the game is primarily a first-person RPG, the camera will pull back to third-person view at times to showcase little things like taking cover, climbing a ladder, or snapping somebody's neck. As the devs have stressed countless times, Jensen can proceed with a mission however he wants, be it stealthily or through an all-out assault, or a combination of both. The game is open enough to support various play-styles.

If Jensen ever gets into a rut, there are plenty of weapons to choose from, each with distinct ammunition types. Ammo isn't given out for free either, Jensen will have to search every body and weapon to pick up extra ammunition. Also, with every enemy group, there's always a squad leader who directs the team's every move. Kill him, and the other enemies will become extremely confused. Enemies will also react to your decisions such as a change in behaviour or change in weapon.

While it's not entirely like the lock-picking in the first game, Jensen is able hack doors, as well as enemy AI units like sentry turrets and computer terminals.

One of the more controversial additions is the health regeneration module. Instead of searching high and low for health packs, the player will be able to heal themselves simply by standing still. However, developers claim that this decision was made in order to not disrupt the game's flow and also to keep players from getting stuck due to low health. Highlighted objects will also help players find the objects they can interact with much easier. Though, if you find the game becomes too simple because of this, the developers have given you the option to turn it off.

The exciting thing about the world of Deus Ex is that there is so much to do. If you were to go for the linear story line, that's fine, however, there are many other people you may talk to that could give you an extra leg up when dealing with guards. For example, in the demo there was a side mission where you are tasked with helping a scientist who has trapped himself within a room filled with poisonous gas. If you help him out, he gives you his name which you can then use to get past one of the guards. There are also instances where all you have to do is eavesdrop on NPCs as they spew out helpful information such as entry card locations. Further more, if you don't help someone out, it could end up hurting you later, which offers many different ways of exploring what this game has to offer.

The Deus Ex franchise is known for offering players tons of content with its choice-based gameplay and, from what the demo featured, Deus Ex: Human Revolution will not disappoint the game's many fans. This title offers an interesting take on the beginnings of nanotechnological augmentations.

Deus Ex fans, brace yourselves for Human Revolution's release on August 23rd for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.

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