I’d played and loved the original Deus Ex. Had bought Invisible War (the sequel), but only logged a couple hours before another game was released, and never got back to it; oh well, everyone says it sucks in comparison to the original.
Had completely forgotten about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the prequel to the original, which I had pre-ordered back in March. Until Amazon sent me an e-mail last week proudly announcing that they had shipped it.
This. Game. Is. AWESOME!
Before I get into the game itself, let me say this: The cut scenes are fucking awesome! If not the best cut scenes in any video game ever made, at least well within the Top 5. The prologue/opening credits sequence will just blow you away — you’ll swear you’re watching the intro to the latest hit blockbuster action movie! A few of the in-game cut scenes are less spectacular, although still rendered in amazing quality — it’s really just cliché scripting, but overall the cut scenes are just amazing. It’s almost more like participating in an awesome movie than playing a video game!
Game play itself is awesome. They’ve had the opportunity to stand upon the shoulders of giants in finding what does and doesn’t work with cover systems, and they have developed one that really shines! I’ll come back to this in a moment, but it’s what makes the stealth system so much better than any previous game I’ve played that’s built around stealth!
If I had to pick one single game play element that makes this game stand out, it would be the freedom. It’s more than being able to choose between run ‘n gun versus stealth, like other games have done (and don’t get me wrong, there have been some that do this quite well in their own right). DE:HR takes this to a whole new level. For starters, there’s two different axis: run ‘n gun vs. stealth, and lethal vs. non-lethal. That’s right, folks, this is a first-person shooter that will not only allow you to play the whole game without killing anyone*, but it will reward you handsomely for doing so!
But even within those 4 categories, there’s so many different routes you can take. For stealth, you can go strong toward hacking, opening up secret routes and even turning the bad guys’ own turrets and robots against them; or you can go for strength, lifting huge objects with ease out of your way to clear alternative routes or to find superior positions from which to take out your enemies.
I’m currently doing a stealth pacifist play through. This mostly involves, for me, simple sneaking past the bad guys, or quietly knocking them out if I can’t slip past ’em. A friend of mine is also doing a stealth pacifist play through; his approach is to clear every single room (non-lethally, obviously), then move on. Did I mention the freedom this game affords you for different styles of play?
Now I’ll return to cover. I’ve always loved stealth-based games — the Thief and Splinter Cell series easily topping that category — but I’ve always been frustrated by the shadow-based stealth systems they use: you could find the perfect spot to hide, but if you’re half an inch too far left or right, you might as well be wearing a big neon sign for all the good that shadow’s now doing you! DE:HR fixes that by simply eschewing shadow-based stealth altogether — in fact, most areas you sneak through are brightly lit! Instead, you use the cover system to avoid being within line of sight of the bad guys, and you watch for opportunities to duck and dive from one piece of cover to another to make it past them. Or to sneak up from behind and take them out.
And, of course, you crawl through air ducts. Lots and lots of air ducts. No one can see you if you’re inside the walls and ceilings, right?
Bottom line? I give this game a solid 10 stars out of 5. It’s possible that may change as I continue to progress through the game, but from everything I’ve heard it doesn’t weaken at all!