Thursday 1 September 2016

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

If you’ve been waiting for the latest instalment in the Deus Ex franchise, you’re not going to be disappointed. (The load times will keep you waiting for a lot longer anyway.) Adam Jensen is back in the first person RPG with a political twist, and he’s now working for Interpol in a continuation of the events that took place in 2011’s Human Revolution. If you’re thinking about dipping your feet in for the first time there’s a 12 minute video that will get you up to speed found in the menus.

Once more, the multiple paths and freedom allow for a malleable gameplay experience that left me searching every nook and cranny, while the story is forgettable enough thanks to the side missions and exploring you’re essentially expected to do. You’ll see a few familiar faces along the way, although the setting takes you to new locations as you attempt to get to the bottom of a conspiracy that threatens the entire world once again. One of the key problems is, the ending leaves you with more questions than answers.

The story itself is a little heavy handed in it’s theme, (with the heavy apartheid references found throughout) though it’s passable enough. Jensen himself is much the same as before, offering a gruff outlook on a world that seems to be falling apart at the seams after ‘the Incident’. That being said, the true fun is derived from choosing your method to complete the objective, with ramifications depending on what you decide to do.

For example, I’m currently going through a stealth/no kills run, and I don’t feel impeded by the fact I don’t get to use much of the vast array of weaponry on offer. (It just makes it easier to sell the guns for even more Praxis points, which are used for levelling up your skills.) Similarly, murdering everyone on sight is a viable option, and there are plenty of chances to do so. Vents and data pads are still found throughout the game, and they’ve obviously put a lot of thought into enemy placement and the general layout of the sections.

The augments that you level up now come in a wider array, although it’s arguable that the traditional ones are more important if you want to access a wider range of areas in the game. That being said, it’s still nice to have more to choose from. It’s a reasonably nice looking world, with the futuristic motif coming off well. Police officers can resemble Space Marines, while dark, dank buildings offer multiple secrets and traps in equal measure.

There were no bugs throughout my playthrough, although the load times were pretty unacceptable as the same cutscene looped endlessly while the game struggled to load on numerous occasions.  If you’re planning on quicksaving and loading a lot, be prepared, as it does serve to remove you from the action. On the other hand, completing a section does tend to give a great feeling of satisfaction if you do plan on using stealth.

There are still a couple of different endings depending on your decisions throughout the game. Microtransactions take some of the shine off the experience, but at least they’re ignorable for the most part. If you want to be uber-powerful from the get go, it’s always an option. As an overall experience, Deus Ex is a worthwhile addition to your collection. If you know what you’re in for, it’s highly recommended for fans of the series if you can deal with a disappointing finale that leaves you on a cliffhanger.

Rating: A solid return for the augmented agent. 4/5


James Milin-Ashmore

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