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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review – Or: The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

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Yell! Magazine’s review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution:

As the 2011 gaming year starts to wrap up, a sizable wave of four-star releases is about to wash over us. Zombies will shuffle across the shuffleboard in Dead Island, Nathan Drake’s third anticipated outing will occur in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Batman returns for another go at his arch-nemesis the Joker in Arkham City and ID releases their latest blockbuster in October with Rage. Overall, it’s a great time to be a fan of video games. The long summer months saw few major releases, but the drought is reaching its end.

Before we rejoin the adventures of Marcus Fenix and Nathan Drake, we must first delve back into the world of an old favorite. The eagerly anticipated and long-awaited Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the first product out of the gates and the first to deserve an onslaught of accolades for the triple-threat of story, gameplay and production values. Oh yes, prepare yourselves, my faithful cybernetic, bio-organic and biodegradable readers, this will be a review filled with much praise and very little complaints. Brace yourselves, I’m about to gush like a red-cheeked schoolgirl experiencing her first crush. SQUEEEEAL!

This is Yell! Magazine’s review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, available for PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. For review purposes, the PS3 version was used, along with some highly illegal body modifications, invasive circuitry, a Diet Pepsi, and a Kit-Kat. What? I get the munchies in between bouts of hacking and terrorist perforating.

Adam Jensen
Screw this guy! He’s just another look-alike phony! Goes by the name Voltaire.

The Story

Taking place 25 years before the events of the original, Deus Ex, Human Revolution opens on a world in crisis. Nanotechnology, previously stuck firmly in the realm of science fiction, is now reality. Furthermore, human augmentation is now available on the open market to anybody willing to have a bunch of wires and circuits shoved up their naughty bits. Heck, that’s just a pleasant Saturday evening for yours truly. Unfortunately for the conglomerates manufacturing these scientific breakthroughs, there’s an intense backlash from pro-human advocates and the streets of major cities soon degenerate into open warfare between security forces and these activists.

Personally, I had trouble sympathizing with their goals. Human augmentation, as presented in Deus Ex, seems more beneficial than harmful. For example, Human Revolution’s main protagonist, Adam Jensen, is catastrophically injured during the game’s opening moments, his survival is only possible because of the millions of dollars worth of tech installed throughout his body. There are other examples of people’s lives being saved or made better. Yes, the technology can be corrupted and made dangerous, several villains pull firearms out of their various orifices and nano-terrorists are prevalent, but overall the pro-human groups’ position never pulled at my heartstrings. Whether you agree with them or not, it’s telling that Human Revolution’s story actually kick starts such philosophical discussions.

In any case, Human Revolution ditches the Denton clan of previous games and places you in the shoes of the aforementioned Jensen, a security officer for Sarif Industries, who seems addicted to wearing dark sunglasses, regardless of time of day.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution screenshot
Who knew that Timbuk3 song was so prophetic?

Following a vicious attack on his home turf, Jensen must unravel the web of lies and deceit surrounding a worldwide conspiracy, which will lead him to several different locations, including Montreal, Detroit, and Shanghai. The Montreal setting is a nice nod to developer Eidos Montreal. To say that Human Revolution’s plot is intricate is like pointing out that a dictionary is full of words. In keeping with the tone of the previous games in the series, Revolution’s story features underground groups, fictitious secret organizations, references to the Illuminati, Area 51… it manages to hit pretty much all of the paranoid conspiracy theories. Whether you find this intriguing or silly is up to you. I manage to muddle through life daily without the use of a tin foil hat so most of the game’s plot, while well-written, made me snicker more often than not. Still, the story is told with an earnestness that is pleasing.

Delving deeper in the game’s story would require me to reveal more spoilers than I’m comfortable with. Suffice it to say, the 10-15 hours you’ll get out of Human Revolution’s main story are worthwhile. While task repetition does set in fairly early on, you’ll always be moving the plot forward.

Read about the gameplay, graphics, and the verdict for Deus Ex: Human Revolution after the jump…

Deus Ex: Human Revolution

M for Mature:

Blood, Drug Reference, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Alcohol

Yell! Rating (x/5 Skulls):
Published by:
Square Enix
Developed by:
Eidos Studios – Montreal
Year Released:
August 23, 2011
Also Available On:
PC, Xbox 360
First-Person Shooter
Official URL:
Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Pages: 1 2

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  • Anonymous

    Decent review, but it’s worth mentioning when you said ” the 10-15 hours you’ll get out of Human Revolution’s main story are worthwhile,” you meant the 10-15 hours ONLY used by the main story. There are plenty of optional sidequests and exploration possibilities, clocking the game into anywhere from 30 to 40 hours (I personally clocked in at 37 hours by the end and always had something to do).

    Just thought some readers might be misled by your phrasing. There’s certainly more than 15 hours worth of true content here, not to mention the replay value of making different choices in repeat playthroughs which can yield small results or even things as big as saving the lives of major characters…

    • TheMatt

      True, the game’s playtime is considerably longer if one indulges in every single quest, closer to the 35-40 mark. But the phrasing was chosen to describe the game’s main plot only.

    • RetroGEN

      Side missions are cool, but I personally don’t consider them story missions. Developers just add them in as an easier way to deliver gameplay hours. I haven’t played Deus Ex yet, but if the side missions are built like any other game (ex: inFAMOUS), I’ll pass on them. PURE GARBAGE! Just my opinion.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t get you. They’re part of the game, and in this game at least, I found them to be a lot of fun, uncovering many new parts of the world otherwise left undiscovered. Many of them relate to characters in the main plot progression as well. They’re just as much a part of the game as anything else.

        • SpleenThief

          Generally in games I’m much more inclined to not do side quests because I feel that they don’t really add to the story. However, in Human Revolution I actually enjoyed the side quests here because they add to the storyline.

        • RetroGEN

          I kinda meant what SpleenThief said, if the side mission are only inclined to accumulate points to unlock badges, bonus points for weapons, etc… I don’t really care for them, and still don’t consider story missions (you can completely avoid them, and finish the game), however if the side missions are a lot more connected with the story, and allow you to discover more necessary story bits which can affect the main missions, then that could be something I’d enjoy toying around with. 

          • Anonymous

            That’s a very limited way at looking at a narrative medium, perhaps because most people are used to a linear one (even if chronologically jumbled or with multiple convergent plot functions) thanks to the prevalence of passive media, referring of course mainly to popular modern media such as film and TV format, or even on-rails linear game design which has been hammered in as the “norm” for the better part of three decades now in a variety of depths and formats.

            Picking up a box of ammo down the hallway is an in-game activity that can be avoided; it does not prevent you from “finishing” the game as you call it. It is however part of the game experience, and especially indicative of the strengths of interactive media in that you have the CHOICE to do or not do something (and hopefully choice in more complexity than that). In that same respect, a “side mission” is the same; it is completely avoidable, but is equally as much a part of the game as any other element that becomes the player’s choice. It is the player’s attitude towards the goals of the game that change the essence of the so-called side mission – is “finishing” the game really the goal? In arcade games, there was simply one goal, to reach a high score or beat a certain fixed number of challenges (IE stages/levels). As games progress, players should re-examine their goals in the experience.

            For myself personally, finishing the game may have been an aim, may have been a driving force and a railroad for me to follow, but my goal with the game was to enjoy the mechanics and plot and atmosphere etc. In fact, I didn’t want it to end (provided that it continued to keep up a momentum of quality endlessly, which is of course impossible, so at some point I probably would want it to end).

            Now I know that you probably also have similar goals with the game – a slow and steady enjoyment of the process, and are not single-minded only about “getting to the finish line.” I simply wanted to make a point. Now my conclusive point here is that you are mistaking the idea of an unenjoyable game experience for what is traditionally the “side mission.” Most game devs, you’re right, simply put in crappy fetch-quests and other disposable garbage to get you playing longer and tell us their game can last 400 hours. And YES, frankly none of us want 400 hours of fetching the dragon-king his morning coffee, thank you. But if it was 400 hours of detailed, affecting, entertaining adventuring that WE COULD HAVE SKIPPED IF WE WANTED TO and still completed the game?

            Well then, we probably wouldn’t skip it, would we? And THAT experience would be central to our enjoyment of the game, not at all separate from the “core plot,” and something that would in essence make that game experience our own. It’s all part of the game, and the beauty of the interactive medium is that every part of your engagement with the individual work of art is totally up to you, the player. Human Revolution offers entertainment and depth, both within what is “required” of the player and what is not.

            But then again, it also champions choice – and that’s yours only. But you’d be missing out on some great content.

            /End rant. :)
            …sorry ’bout that

          • RetroGEN

            That’s the BEST counter feedback I have ever received on the net, and I thank you for it. You def make an EXCELLENT point to this. Sounds like I need to shut up, and try this game out for God’s sake. Eitherway, if the side mission are GOOD, I still can’t manage to play that many hours lately, but will see if I like it. I’ll try and return some feedback as well after playing the game. Thanks man!

          • Anonymous

            Haha no thanks needed, I think I just had a rant in my system and needed to get it out somewhere. And certainly I don’t want anyone to shut up about their opinions :)

            I’m just passionate (or artsy-fartsy) about videogame philosophy/possibilities.

            Hope you enjoy the game, you may find that the optional material/side missions are or aren’t to your liking, but regardless, bottom line it’s one of the best games in a few years so definitely worth checking out either way. Cheers!

  • Not-A-Guest

    - there are no nano-augmentations in the game, only mechanical augmentations;
    - the glasses are for, you know, “my vision is augmented”… not for show :)
    - you actually CAN achieve all the augmentations with a completionist exploration/stealth playthrough, with hacking, ghost/smooth operator bonuses and double takedowns as many as possible, no kills at all. I only performed double-takedowns where there were those groups of 2 enemies, and I came only 2 praxis points short. This style of play is needed because of the huge XP bonus for non-lethal gameplay (50 XP/non-lethal takedown vs. 10 XP/kill).

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