Deus Ex: Human Revolution: A Sequel We Always Wanted

Article Index

Elements of Gameplay, Artistic Design


DX:HR makes liberal use of a 'cover' system that allows players to hide behind convenient bits of scenery before leaning out to return fire. The company bills the cover system as optional, which may be technically true, but isn't very accurate. Select the right augments as you level, and Jensen eventually becomes the sort of behemoth who juggles tyrannosaurs before eating breakfast, but the keyword in that sentence is 'eventually.' Until you've earned a level or two and invested "Praxis Points" in the appropriate augments, making effective use of the cover system is a necessity. While it's less important for stealthy characters, switching into cover mode changes the camera from first-person to third and lets you see your surroundings in much greater detail.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution allows gamers to indulge their inner Arnold, but it rewards precision playing and thoughtful approaches far more than brute force. Simply gunning down a thug earns 10 XP. Taking him down with a well-placed headshot earns an additional 10 XP for marksmanship. Kill the redshirt with a takedown and you'll earn an award for expediency, while using a non-lethal move / weapon grants a 20 XP bonus for being a 'Merciful Soul.'


Some missions drop Jensen into a specific area, while others involve traveling across the game's current location. Side quests can be picked up and performed without significantly detouring from main quest objectives, though there are some limitations here. Side quests can expire once Jensen completes enough primary objectives, but the game warns the player before this happens.

Secondary quests offered in Detroit, the game's first mission hub, include an opportunity to research the attack on Sarif Industries that kicks off the game, an option to assist Detroit PD with an undercover investigation, and the chance to help a co-worker who's being blackmailed. The secondary quests are interesting without dragging too much focus away from core gameplay.

The primary quests move the game forward at a good pace and keep the action flowing. Players who want to take their time and explore environments are free to do so, but there's very little standing around while waiting for something interesting to happen.

Music, Voice Acting, And Artistic Design:

DX:HR's soundtrack echoes Deus Ex's main theme enough to link the two titles, but shines in its own right. Background music shifts depending on location and activity but the composer, Michael Mccann, kept Deus Ex's techo-driven roots. The result, dare we say it, may be better than the original.

The game's voice acting is unfortunately hit-and-miss. Elias Toufexis voices Adam Jensen in a monotone that at least surpasses Jay Anthony Franke's version of JC Denton but this damns him with faint praise. Toufexis deserves an Oscar compared to some of the game's other voices; one of the first NPCs Jensen encounters in China sounds like an American doing a bad impression of a Chinese accent. The game re-uses certain NPC voice-overs in multiple locations; accents that sound perfectly normal in Detroit are rather jarring when heard in China.

Human Evolution keeps DX's urban environments and gritty realism but portrays the mechanically augmented somewhat differently. In Deus Ex, mecha-augs are generally viewed as outdated has-beens. They, in turn, resent the superior capabilities of the nano-augmented, particularly since nano augmentation is far less physically noticable and doesn't carry the same social stigma or loss of physical attractiveness.

Gunther and Navarre from the original game are above left; Adam's fully artificial arms and more stylized augment design is on the right. In the original DX, even mecha-augs with full replacement limbs showed multiple implant scars and external mechanical components surrounded by living tissue

Mecha-augs in Human Revolution tend to have discrete mechanical and physical components. Even when this isn't true, the mesh between living tissue and mechanical augment looks more like something you'd see in a futuristic doctor's office and less like one of the Borg. Jensen's eyes are clearly mechanically enhanced, but he avoids anything like Gunther's inhuman stare or Navarre's glowing socket.

Even in the most drastic cases, the augmented aren't quite as...well, icky. Sadly, there are no skull guns

The game hints that the difference between the two may be the result of age and flaws in the mechanical augmentation process. In Human Revolution, nearly all of the augmented end up needing an expensive anti-rejection drug called neuropozyne. It's entirely possible that the mecha-augs in Deus Ex look the way they do because medical science was never able to solve the rejection problem or repair the long-term collateral damage to associated tissue. The game even hints that some augmentation-happy individuals suffer from a form of body dysmorphic disorder, which might explain why both Hermann and Navarre look like walking nightmares.

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