Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ten ReasonsTo Love Deus Ex: HR

You know how much I loved Deus Ex – and how much I was looking forward to playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution (it's an acquired taste though... check our review - Ed)? Well… having played through it again, I felt compelled to answer my previous Wishlist article with a top ten, as writing the word ‘Awesome’ ten times isn’t really very enjoyable for the reader – despite its accuracy.

With that in mind, here’s another Top Ten... the things I love about Deus Ex: Human Revolution!


10: Sunglasses/HUD
JC Denton looked cool, with his augmented blue eyes hidden behind dark shades (even though he looked a berk wandering around at night with them on), and Adam Jensen – Human Revolution’s protagonist – follows this trend – but while Denton can slip off his specs, Jensen has them bonded to his pointy-bearded face…

As well as looking damn cool, the glasses also allow Jensen’s augmented body to display health and armament information, a funky map and other assorted trivia. I’d quite like one in my day-to-day life… although it would need a ‘tea’ bar, rather than a ‘hit points’ bar…

9: Arm blades
Though impractical for opening a can of tuna, Jensen’s retractable arm blades looks cool – and are as deadly as you’d expect. Capable of extending forwards or backwards from his mid-forearm, the oddly square lengths of the blades can slice through enemies or doorways with ease, as well as looking pretty damn cool to boot. Shame it takes up one whole energy cell to use them!

8: Icarus Landing System
Icarus being a central theme of this game – flying too close to the sun and getting burned – the inclusion of the Icarus Landing System is rightfully sitting in my top ten. As both a useful life-saving device and aggressive method of stunning your enemies, the Icarus augment is a fantastically cool way to get around, sheathing Jensen in a ball of electricity as he plummets to the ground, before bringing him to a safe landing – and making him look badass at the same time. I find combining Icarus with the ‘Typhoon’ explosive system to be a great way to make an entrance…

7: Side missions
Aside from the main storyline, Human Revolution includes a huge number of side missions, which vary from criminal investigations to breaking-and-entering, assassinations and ‘gopher’ tasks. Of course, this being Deus Ex, each of the tasks can be tackled any number of ways – do you charm your way through the security gate, sneak in round the back, or kill everyone in the room? The choice is yours. My personal favourite was a murder investigation carried out in the bowels of Hengsha – a megacity off the coast of China. Atmospheric and exciting in equal measure…

6: ‘GlassShield’ cloaking system
Who wouldn’t want to be able to turn invisible at the drop of an augmented hat? Yes, Jensen’s ‘GlassShield’ cloaking device is the infiltrating agent’s best tool, combining complete invisibility with the ability to pass through the game’s many laser grids, dodge probing robots and – of course – look awesome as you punch enemies to the floor, their shocked expressions a sure sign of their fear.

5: Malik/The HeliJet
Deus Ex had the Black Helicopter and it’s New Yoiker pilot, Jock, Human Revolution has the Helijet, and it’s wisecracking, soulful pilot Farida Malik. Damn, I want one of those. Just to tootle around in. Imagine showing up at your friend’s house in a helijet, crushing the flowerbeds as you set down. Of course, provided it had as interesting a character as Farida Malik in the flight deck, I’d probably never land. It also reminds me of Thunderbirds’ helijets as well...

4: Soundtrack/Nods to Deus Ex
Deus Ex was known for its atmospheric music, which added character and depth to the myriad locations JC Denton travelled to, from bars in New York to chateaus in France. Human Revolution continues this trend, offering a wide selection of musical themes for Jensen’s travels, most of which match the mood of the map perfectly. For me, though – as a long-time Deus Ex fan – I was overjoyed at Square-Enix’s stellar fan-service, after I discovered than in-game radios occasionally play tracks from the original Deus Ex, and NPCs sometimes whistle the Deus Ex theme – and at one point, right at the start, the game’s soundtrack jumps back to the opening of the previous game, just for a moment. Made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up….

3: Plot
Human Revolution’s plot, which covers the nature of humanity, evolution and civil unrest alike, was a well-written exciting affair, which kept me hooked for hours. Although too little was made of the ‘hand behind the throne’ which underpins the story, and the twist was let down by pretty poor characterisation, I still loved the game’s cyberpunk, murder-mystery chase through the underbelly of a world on the brink of a new age.

2: Locations
As the plot is so fantastic, it’s no surprise that the locations the game takes you to are also brilliant. Starting out in the former motor-city of Detroit, Human Revolution’s sweeping story takes you to China, Canada and several other places I’ll keep secret for now. Each location has its own feel, be it the dirty, decrepit city of Detroit – where beggars search the bins in the shadow of industry skyscrapers – or the vertical city of Hengsha. Hengsha is by far my favourite location – a sprawling city atop a city, where the rich and powerful sit amid an endless sky – and the downtrodden poor are conveniently forgotten in the warrens of the lower city.

1: Characters
As with any good story, the heart of Human Revolution revolves – first and foremost – around its characters. In a world of grey, where right and wrong are blended into one whole, these people offer Adam Jensen (who is himself something of a mysterious character, being as dark as the world around him) advice and guidance – or misdirection and misuse, if you prefer. From David Sarif, the brilliant – if misguided – visionary of augmented evolution, to the strident voices of the terrorists (or ‘freedom fighters’) fighting for or against the evolution of humanity, each of Human Revolutions’ characters is dripping in personality, and a fantastic addition to the world of 2027.

Of course, Jensen is also a fine dancer… (the action really hots up one minute in to the video!)