E3 2011: Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Impressions)

by: Tina -
Game: Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Release Window/Date: August 23rd
What works: Protagonist Adam Jensen is equipped with powerful augmentations to his body that allow him to perform impressive take downs like the Typhoon that essentially turns Jensen into a human claymore. Animations during his performances are cat-like, and Jensen is clearly very swift and dangerous.
What needs work: Although the conspiracies have yet to be fully revealed, I want to learn more about the storyline and some of the other characters/corporations before passing judgment on the allegedly mysterious conspiracies. For all we know, the storyline could prove to be a dud in comparison to the gameplay.

Square Enix and Eidos Montreal clearly know what the strength in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is. Every demonstration, trailer, screenshots, etc. that I have seen produced from the game always highlights some of the abilities Jensen’s augmented body can perform. The E3 demonstration on the showfloor this year was no exception. The developers took us on a stealth adventure to gain access to Tai-Young medical. Of course, the game has already been boasted as being able to be completed without killing anyone save for the bosses. You can choose to run in guns blazing, bribe people to your advantage, or find alternative methods to gaining entry to each part of the mission. There are essentially four pillars of gameplay as explained by Eidos Montreal. These include combat, stealth, social interactions and hacking, all of which you have at your access and at the ready should you decide to use it to your advantage.

The team opted for the stealth route to show us just how far you can get without causing too much destruction and mayhem. This tactic will oftentimes involve using your augmentations, particularly the ability to see through walls to determine your movement based on the location of your enemies. You can also burst through walls that are weak with cracks, but you’ll have to have these augmentations equipped during the time of your mission. Using Praxis points, the developers at the helm bought augmentations that helped them progress. These included the Icarus landing system to brace for long falls, X-ray vision to see through walls, cloaking to hide from guards, sound suppressor to be even stealthier, and various other augmentations that increased inventory space as well as Jensen’s strength in picking up (and throwing, potentially at enemies) large objects. As these abilities and take-downs are used, Jensen will have to consume nutrient bars to fill up his energy levels.

Jensen’s augmentations not only help him see through walls, but they also prove useful during combat. Jensen will have to face well-armed enemies, including mechanical combatants, but his augmentations can have powerful impacts. The animations of these moves are always impressive, and clearly fun to show off.

I’ve already been convinced that playing the game for combat will be fun. What I wanted to see more of, however, was the revenge and mystery story that is always only referenced in passing. The demonstration focused on the possibilities for trespassing and infiltrating, but it also dove into some key storyline elements. The demo picked up with Jensen infiltrating Tai-Young medical, a competitor and suspected to have been the one to attack Jensen’s company, Sarif Industries. The two-tiered city is gigantic, and you’ll have to sneak (or rampage) your way through the lower city up to the Pangu storage area that leads to Tai-Young medical headquarters.

While climbing up the ramps and sneaking through ventilation shafts, we see large cryo pools sustaining their biotechnical research. The small parts of the storyline revealed to us in the demo was primarily through visual storytelling like this. Our ultimate destination is the data core room several levels up, where we suspect we can find the evidence we need to reveal a major portion of the conspiracy at hand. As we infiltrate the headquarters to access this room, Jensen uses a myriad of take downs against his enemies - both human and mech alike.
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