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Video Game Review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Espionage, augmented humans and cybernetic abilities combined to create a unique blend of spy/action gameplay – We can only be talking about Deus Ex, where today we’ll be checking out the most recent incarnation, Mankind Divided. If you’ve never played a Deus Ex before, like me, then read on for what I thought about it, along with how it typically plays out. It’s time to get our cool shades on!

Overview

Developer Square Enix
Platforms PC (Windows, Mac & Linux), PlayStation 4, XBox One
Initial Release August 2016
Genre Action/RPG
Price on Steam £19.99 (Steam)

Review

Story

You take control of Adam Jensen, who I thoroughly enjoy pronouncing as ‘yen-sen’, as much as both the game and Jake disagrees. He’s an Aug – an augmented human – giving him an array of benefits, which makes him both feared and hated by non-Aug humans. Following on from the events of Human Revolution, Adam works for the Interpol unit, Task Force 29, where he assists with capturing a terrorist group of Augs.

However, that’s not all that’s going on in Deus Ex. The Augs caused uproar after the “Aug Incident”, through no fault of their own. The Illuminati had implanted a control device within Augs, to allow the cult to control the Augs in secret. When one rogue Illuminati member took control of some Augs, they caused the Augs to turn violent, causing the “Aug Incident”. As such, Adam looks to unravel the Illuminati in an attempt to expose them for their crimes against the Augs.

Gameplay

Deus Ex is a series well known for its dark and gritty world for you to travel and in Mankind Divided, this world feels expansive and vast. There are plenty of side-missions to do whilst wandering around, as well as plenty to do during the main missions. As such, it’s worth chatting to just about everyone as you explore – Besides, who doesn’t like chatting to a seemingly crazy man getting you to go and speak to the leader of a cult that lives in a sewer?

Whilst going about missions, or indeed just wandering around the open world, you are able to go into a Stealth mode. This mode allows you to be pressed against walls, lunging over small obstacles such as boxes and walls, sneaking around corners and keeping in a crouched position. With this mode, you can get up close and personal, allowing you to grab and subdue, or kill an enemy as you see fit.

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, if you approach an enemy you can try to either subdue (typically knocking an enemy unconscious), or kill them. From the very opening segment of the game, you are given the opportunity to choose the sort of path you want to take, as going into missions means you can decide the sort of path you wish to commit to. It’s fair to say you can go between playstyles, if that suits you more, however I’ve seen people advise this game is best if you stick to a path, such as a kill path or a subduing path. I’ve opted for the stealth approach, subduing enemies along the way. Besides; the loot seems no worse!

Interestingly, as you go through the game, you have to skill up in hacking terminals, giving you access to computers, or breaching doors with security codes. The higher the level, the harder these tasks are, giving you a type of mini-game. Most interesting is the hacking mini-game, where you can hack into various bits of equipment and you have to get through the nodes in as timely a fashion as you can.

An example of hacking

As another note, as well as combat and hacking, you have a crafting facility, allowing you to create bombs and the likes to assist you on your journey to uncovering the truth. As well as all this, there are plenty of characters to chat to, with lots of dialogue, which makes people react in different ways.

Graphics

I love the art direction of the game, although I have to admit the mouth movements are kind of funny to watch at times. With that ever so slight niggle aside, it looks truly stunning, in a moody kind of way. If you’re new to Deus Ex, the dire situation their world is in will be a stark contrast to most titles we’ve played here:

Audio

The audio is good, in that it sets you up for getting through the game; from simple non-invasive audio during the normal scenes and much faster paced music throughout the battles. However, the audio truly excels when it comes to the voices – Even though Adam sounds like the type of man who has imitated Christian Bale’s Dark Knight one too many times, it’s fair to say that voices make this game great.

Plus, there’s something strangely fascinating about having this loud-mouthed man come blaring out of my PlayStation controller, swearing at me for being slow. Certainly woke me up!

Overall

I’m thoroughly enjoying Deus Ex, even though I’m not very far into the game. So even though I really cannot comment about the full game, I can indeed let you know what you can expect from it – and if you’re a fan of a game that encourages stealthy play, along with some great combat, then this might be the game for you. There’s enough challenge in it, to where you won’t just breeze past it, unless you’re an expert at these kinds of games, but it’s easy enough to pick up in one of the harder modes; even when it’s your first time playing any of the Deus Ex franchise.

If you can get it, it’s worth picking up, but only if you can manage to get it on sale. I was fortunate enough to pick this up from the January PS Plus exclusive free games, so I was very happy with this one. I’ve noticed some places selling it for £9.99, which honestly, is about what I’d recommend picking this up for. I’d say £20 at a push; because as far as I’m aware, the game is pretty short. However, if you’re looking for a raw action role playing game with great stealth elements, then you might want this in your collection. A shame though, as general poor sales and generally average reception has marked the game down quite heavily.

Now it’s up to you to share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below, or over on our Facebook or Twitter pages. Was this game just a cash grab, or is it a great addition to the franchise?

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15 responses

  1. One thing I miss from Human Revolution that wasn’t brought over is the black & gold theme on the ui and overall world aesthetics. Though I suppose it fits better in that game as it’s part of the look & feel of the cyber implant “golden age,” with mankind divided being more of a dark age, or at least darker.

    Liked by 2 people

    February 2, 2018 at 10:18 am

    • Much darker. The series has gotten progressively more grim. I hope we get another!

      Liked by 1 person

      February 2, 2018 at 10:19 am

      • There should be another coming,the one ending Adam’s tale and bridging over to the original Deus Ex. Have you played that one?

        Liked by 2 people

        February 2, 2018 at 10:40 am

      • Nope – maybe I should!

        Liked by 1 person

        February 2, 2018 at 10:49 am

      • It’s rough on the visuals but it’s a masterpiece. So much freedom, including shooting friendly NPCs, which at times leads to shifting allegiances

        Liked by 2 people

        February 2, 2018 at 11:10 am

      • Kariyanine

        It might be a long wait on another one. This one grossly underperformed and Square tapped Eidos to work on multiple games based on the Avengers.

        Liked by 2 people

        February 4, 2018 at 5:51 pm

      • Very sad, as this is my first foray into the Deus Ex franchise – And I’m loving it!

        Liked by 1 person

        February 4, 2018 at 6:13 pm

  2. Kariyanine

    What do you consider short?

    The game took me about 20 hours to finish and I mostly mainlined it. I probably could have stretched another 10 or so hours out of it if I did all the side content. So plenty of content for my monies worth.

    Liked by 2 people

    February 4, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    • It’s worth noting that a lot of people said paying full price, which at the time was £40+, was far too much for the amount of time played (20 hours rings true to what a lot of people have said).

      Having said that, I mentioned how I’ve not completed the game myself :) I think 20 hours is decent, albeit probably not £40 decent (when you can get a game like Diablo which definitely lasts longer, or indeed a free to play like Dungeon Defenders 2. £10 like DE:MK is today is certainly excellent value!

      Perhaps there should be a study in game length and quality over value?

      Liked by 2 people

      February 4, 2018 at 6:12 pm

      • Kariyanine

        Value vs. time is always going to be a personal take. For me a 20 hour game that features a strong narrative is worth the price of admission, whereas a 100 hour game that can’t keep my attention may not be. It’s one of the problems with judging game time vs. price for me. For example Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is priced at $20 on Xbox Live right now and I’d recommend it to anyone even though its only a three, maybe four hour game but some people just can’t see spending so much for what they deem as so little, even if what the little it offers is of a higher quality than another game you could sink another 90+ hours in to.

        Liked by 2 people

        February 4, 2018 at 6:38 pm

      • The issue here comes in the term quality, though. One person saying quality doesn’t necessarily equate to quality; so we’d have to look at what actually -is- quality in a game. Presumably a lack of bugs, solid graphics (for the chosen style), a strong narrative (if story-based), good music (and so on).

        And whilst from what I’ve seen of Brothers, it does seem to be of a high quality (and $20 isn’t so bad..!) when you start to throw money of like $60 at a game? It’s got to be more than just a few good hours, in my opinion :)

        But then again, another side is… How much do you like the devs? Haha :P There’s sooo much behind sinking money into a game. I feel this really could be a huge discussion piece, so I’m going to go away and do some research for an article on this.

        Would you mind me including some of what you’ve said today in the article?

        Liked by 2 people

        February 4, 2018 at 7:27 pm

      • Kariyanine

        Feel free.

        Liked by 2 people

        February 4, 2018 at 7:37 pm

  3. When I reviewed Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, I was pretty amazed at the visuospatial awareness the team must have needed to create such a Gordian Knot of tunnels, vents and alternate paths. It did think it was weird that the city of Prague could only hold about 20 people at a time before the frame rate collapsed. Still, I felt like the MD had a density to it that other games rarely match, any given path leading to a secret or new story.

    Speaking of which, I really like the side missions better than the main ones. Dealing with individual struggles with post-Incident oppression felt more gripping that fighting The Illuminati, and how weirdly casual everyone was about taking that organization seriously. It’s like if someone told me, “We have to fight Cthulhu,” I’d be like, “Okay…” before moving to a bus seat further back.

    Glad you like it though. I’m looking forward to more of this, even if I’m not looking forward to Square Enix’s monetization schemes.

    Liked by 2 people

    February 10, 2018 at 6:17 am

    • Honestly, every little nook and cranny is so worth exploring, making it such a thrilling game for side-quests. Although a few cases, having so much to explore meant it was sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack for the next part of the mission, as it were.

      But, absolutely, this game is all about them side-quests as opposed to the main story. With the whole Illuminati thing, to me, as a casual newbie to the franchise, it felt sorta just “thrown together”, almost.

      Liked by 1 person

      February 12, 2018 at 12:00 am

  4. Pingback: Top 10 Stealth Games | GeekOut South-West

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