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E3 2010: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Impressions)

Posted by: Tina at 6/29/2010 1:19 PM
One of the games being showcased at E3 this year that incited great anticipation for me was Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for quality Square Enix made trailers, particularly given the epic song it was complimented with (everyone should familiarize themselves with it). Seeing the game in action, however presented almost as much awe as the trailer did.

Adam Jensen, a security specialist working for a cybernetic organization (remember that this iteration is set pre-nanotechnology times). After the organization has been attacked, Jensen is left disfigured but almost conveniently so as he is able to take advantage of human augmentation technology as form of recuperation. After being equipped with dual machine arms that look like they can do just about anything, you set out in search of more clues.

Our demonstration began 6 hours into the game where Jensen is still on this search, and making his way to find a known hacker. His plan is to travel to Shanghai, but finds Hengsha island one or two kilometers just off the shore to make his way in. This first part of the demo shows off the exploration of the urban environment in looking for clues and socializing with the locals. Jensen scouts out a nightclub called The Hive that is known to be tied to the Triads, but is refused by the bouncer for reasons of monetary issues. Jensen can decide to pay up to get a VIP ticket in, or he can choose a myriad other ways of entering the premises. One way is by interacting with the NPCs, who go about their respective businesses, but will always react to the player’s behavior. No NPC is there to function as fillers for a crowd, they can all interact with you and even provide helpful clues to your dilemma.

There are alternative entrances to be found, too. Back entrances, the sewer system, and rooftops can be researched, or you can go the tried and true method of shooting/fighting the bouncer. There’s one of him and two of your ridiculously overpowered arms. Whatever way you decide to take the gameplay, the mission entails heading in the VIP lounge in search of the infamous Van Bruggen.

A confrontation with the apparent barman at the VIP lounge is the perfect opportunity to show off the game’s social psychological gameplay in terms of trying to fish information from people. Jensen goes about several methods of connecting with the man, all of which are shot down by snide remarks and an even snider expression. Finally, by eavesdropping on a couple security men in the club discussing their lost card containing security codes on it (conveniently, of course), Jensen is able to gain access. We sneak in on a conversation with Tong (who is actually the barman we previously saw) discussing Van Bruggen with a military general who you encounter in arms later in the game.

The latter half of our demo on Deus Ex: Human Revolution focused on the action, combat, stealth and offensive/defensive augmentations. The next mission at hand involved infiltrating a military base. There were two ways you could go about this scenario, we were told. One would involve the overt approach of attacking through the main gate, while the other requires stealthier behavior. Our guide decided on the stealth approach so that he could take full advantage of the take downs from your augmented arms.

After taking advantage of the hacking aspect of gameplay to turn off the security cameras around the compound, we’re told that hacking can also be used to open doors, reprogram turrets to work to your advantage, etc. While sneaking around crates and other obstructions convenient for our stealth approach, Jensen would perform various take downs from all angles. One of my favorites, which was shown in the trailer, is using an x-ray vision to track enemies and break through the wall to snap their necks. Jumping off a crate to two unsuspecting men, Jensen takes both down simultaneously. Although we’ve been performing lethal taken downs (and double take downs), you can choose to perform non-lethal ones that will only stun enemies. None of these take downs are scripted, either. They are all contextual, can be conducted at the time of your liking, and take full advantage of your various augmentations.

Of course, you can play the entire game without killing a single person. Using your augmentations - such as strength to lift heavy objects for optimal stealth placement - will allow you to sneak around the compound without the threat of hostile encounters. Coming upon our ultimate destination of the warehouse to create a distraction via explosives, we’re told that there are about four or five ways to gain entrance into said warehouse. Our scenario involves crashing down through the glass rooftop and landing in the middle of multiple enemies. Jensen conducts a crazy augmentations that shoots some sort of ammunition from his persons in a 360 radius, immediately killing every last target.

A miniboss soon appears, and he is a hulking robot with superb armor. Stumbling on a rocket launcher, Jensen uses his heat seeking upgrade to shoot and have missiles go straight for this robot miniboss. Being an action/RPG, upgrades to weaponry such as this one will be commonplace. Ultimately, Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes after certain gameplay pillars of its predecessors, that being centered on choices and consequences. By cycling through combat, stealth, hacking and social elements of gameplay, the player can play the game in the style of their choosing.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution will release in March of 2011 for the PC, 360 and PS3.