A Game I Should Have Played Sooner! 😎
Release Date: October 22, 2013
Original Release Date: August 23, 2011
Rating: M 17+
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform I Played On: PC
Platform(s) Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, WiiU
Genre(s): Stealth, Action
Difficulty I Played On: Give Me a Challenge
Taken from the official Square Enix Site
You play Adam Jensen, an ex-SWAT specialist who’s been handpicked to oversee the defensive needs of one of America’s most experimental biotechnology firms. Your job is to safeguard company secrets, but when a black ops team breaks in and kills the very scientists you were hired to protect, everything you thought you knew about your job changes.
Badly wounded during the attack, you have no choice but to become mechanically augmented and you soon find yourself chasing down leads all over the world, never knowing who you can trust. At a time when scientific advancements are turning athletes, soldiers and spies into super enhanced beings, someone is working very hard to ensure mankind’s evolution follows a particular path.
You need to discover where that path lies. Because when all is said and done, the decisions you take, and the choices you make, will be the only things that can change it.
Why You Should Play: The Shortened Version
>> You get to play as Adam Jensen, enough said 😎
>> Linear story progression
>> Story that keeps you engaged and intrigued
>> Really neat in-game lore and world
>> Stealth is the way to play! (I love stealth oriented games 😍)
Beware there may be minor spoilers below depending on one’s qualification of a spoiler. Read at your own risk. In my opinion, this review should not spoil any new player’s experience with the game~
Disclaimer: This is my HOBBY blog with my own opinions, please take that into consideration~
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game I am honestly shocked I didn’t hear of it or played it sooner! For many years I was missing out on a game with a great story, protagonist, and in-game world. I had stumbled across this on steam and bought it at a significant sale price and have really enjoyed my first introduction to the series!
The game is set in the year 2027 in a world where we have fused both machine and human flesh, a cyberpunk-esque alternative future. The ability to become an augmented human enhances and can fundamentally change the natural abilities of humans. The in-game lore is that augmentation is still not widely accepted amongst the general populace and in some cases quite frowned upon. The topic of augmentation is always having an underlying presence within the game and is addressed throughout various portions of the story.
The very opening sequence of the game pulled me in with the false sense of security and plunging you into the heart of a highly violent and unsuspecting attack at Sarif Industries. As the synapsis states, because of this attack, Adam Jensen essentially becomes a highly augmented individual (not by choice) and essentially you cannot fully trust anybody because let’s face it suspicion is in the air.
The game consists of 14 chapters and keeps a fairly decent pacing story wise. I liked that there are somewhat clearly defined chapters that we can see on the loading screen and it gives you a sense of where you are in the story. After the opening sequence I did think there was a somewhat slow period but once the plot started thickening. I was definitely on board and ready to see what happened next. The game essentially starts Jensen on a journey to uncover the reasons behind the attack and one lead turns into another and he gets pulled in deeper to something more complex and somewhat sinister that was never meant for the likes Jensen to unearth.
This game does take a bit of “catching on” in that I really didn’t understand the who, what, where, or how at first when I was playing. I was really confused after the opening cutscene I was thrown into the streets of Detroit with no other guidance. The game certainly does not baby you and expects you to find your own way. I think after the first Detroit section I finally got the grasp of the plot, the journey, and that we truly didn’t know the “why” or the “who” until much later in the story. One thing that I think did make me a bit more perpetually confused for a longer time was due to the fact that I did not play this game in one setting but on and off over the course of a few months. I won’t dock many points off because the game does come together and by the end, I pretty much understood most of the plot and basic terminology of the game.
Both the main story and side quests contain dialogue opportunities with a few options for Jensen to choose from. I never had any earth-shattering reactions from my dialogue choices but maybe that’s because I had good instinct? 😂 Mostly the dialogue choices contain confrontational, appeasement, thought provoking tactics. You can even get a skill set to help you gauge the situation (I didn’t get this skill until on a whim I decided to test it out). Dialogue is something the adds to the overall experience of the game but does not dominate the story or ability to explore.
There are two areas we can do some moderate free roaming exploration: Detroit and Hengsha. In the beginning of the game, I definitely got lost while exploring Detroit (felt like a dunce the whole time 🤣) to the point that I honestly was ready to leave that area just due to the frustration and not fully understanding the game’s mechanics and plot structure. Once I reached Hengsha I had gotten my bearings and actually enjoyed almost all the weird exploration opportunities within the city. Let’s just say upon returning to Detroit the second time I was not nearly as frustrated when I began the game. Hengsha as a whole is my favorite exploration place in the game. I can only imagine how bustling the city could have been with modern capabilities~
There are a few side quests in each of these areas that you can do but they are essentially optional. However, if you want to make money that is pretty much the only way, so I’d recommend doing them. Money is a key component in some side quests and is pretty sparse throughout the game, so save up! Most of the side quests are doing favors for people that either require general stealth, getting information, or preventing something from happening. I will fully admit that I liked the quality of the side quests in Hengsha better than the ones in Detroit. The Hengsha one’s were just more interesting and appeared to have a better variety of tasks. The side quests never dominate the game and feel like an appropriate amount to give a bit of opportunity to see the two areas a bit closer and just gain more context of how this in-game world and lore are presented.
There are a few other areas that are more map focused such as traversing through a complex that has multiple buildings and floors (especially the ending sequences). These areas are the areas where using stealth is paramount because there are enemies lurking around various places. In the more confined spaces there are typically a few methods of getting to one place such as utilizing convenient vents, alternative passages, knocking out people, or just shooting one’s way through. Essentially one can utilize a frontal assault method, stealth, or a combination of both. I personally found a stealth more of a challenge (with my augmentation choice I died way to quickly in a frontal assault approach 😂).
Depending on how you play the game there are a potential of four core endings with each having three potential monologues depending on your choices in the game. So yes, there are 12 endings but there are still only 4 outcomes. The monologues differ depending on if you went the pacifist, neutral, or violent route. There are no indicators in the story but basically how you deal with the main missions and how you generally play Adam Jensen. I completed the game in roughly 40 hours and that’s including all of the side quests and redoing some areas because I died prematurely and apparently didn’t save at a reasonable time 🤣🤣😭😭
I liked the premise of the ending because we never fully get to understand everything in the story and I think that’s how it should be. Many of the events that occur in the game are so out of Jensen’s control and league that how could we, Jensen or the players, even attempt to understand all of the ramifications of various entities and how they affect the world? I will say this, overall, the game does make you think of science, technology, and humanity and how they should (or should not) relate to one another. Let’s say after watching all of the four endings there is a clear philosophical undertone with deeper questions about society that are quite thought provoking. As I have stated in other reviews I’ve done, I like it when a game makes you think, and this game certainly contained many topics and philosophical issues that warrant thought.
Supports the Plot // Some Interaction // A bit Confused about some Villains
All the characters in this game were appropriate to the established plot and the world. Given that the game you are pretty much a lone wolf in most missions the characters were mainly used to further the plot and in-game world.
There are some characters who are associates to Jensen and primarily help via audio calls and there is a bit of established respect or in one case rivalry with Jensen. The minimal interaction we get with other people during small dialogue or cutscene portions does help propel Jensen’s character and who he was before the attack and his augmentation.
There appear to be various tiers of villains in this game which became somewhat confusing to me at first virtually knowing nothing about the game. Let’s face it, in the very beginning I had no idea what was going on 😂 I think in part is that some of the boss battle people I was fighting I had no idea who they were (or couldn’t remember how they fit into the plot) and simply went into a blind fight mode instead of knowing who and why I was fighting this particular person (I have no idea if that is a problem with others or if it was just me 🙃 maybe when I replay it will make more sense). I would have liked just a bit more introduction to some of the villains and not just accepting that they are somehow evil. I can say as the story progressed the villains became more interesting. You could see who the main offenders were, and I think that’s how it should be.
Our Protagonist: Adam Jensen
Cool // Man with Experience and Expertise // Pacifist or Violent
I can say I felt so cool while “being” Adam Jensen throughout the entirety of the game. He exudes a cool, calm, and collective manner. The way they wrote his dialogue and his overall mannerisms embody that of a man who has many experiences and is a highly capable individual. I mean he is an ex-SWAT team and head of security? I would hope he is fully capable and appears to have these experiences 🤣 That being said I liked playing as a man who is already an expert at his craft opposed to some green rookie who happens to stumble into something not within his league). This established expertise really helped the “cool” element of Jensen.
One can loosely choose for Adam to be a pacifist or confrontational through some subtle dialogue choices or simply by choosing not to actually killing people during missions. I got the feeling that Adam has definitely seen some stuff, so I chose that needless bloodshed and violence wasn’t necessary. This also matches the stealth components of the game quite well. If Adam is good at stealth and whatnot, does it make true sense to at least not want needless bloodshed?
I like that through the main plot and in certain side quests we get to find out more about Jensen’s past. In some cases, we get to interact with people from Jensen’s police days and see how in many cases people respected Jensen or we get the opportunity to right a past mishap. In other instances, we get to find out about certain aspects of Jensen’s past that even he does not know about. All in all, I think there was a good balance in finding out about Jensen’s past and character which solidified his status as a well-crafted protagonist.
Some Complications at First // STEALTH // Adaptable Game Mechanics
Options: Keyboard or Controller
When I first started this game I was confined to a keyboard setting. Let’s say I played the first opening sequence and immediately decided that this game was meant to be played on a controller. When I finally got a new controller, my suspicions proved correct. The keyboard controls felt clunky and I was definitely suffering movement wise. When playing this game on a controller I can say that everything felt much more fluid. At the very minimum, the controller gave the allusion that I had more control over the character. I can honestly say I never have the ambition or notion to try this game on a keyboard ever again 🤣
When I first booted up the game there were two complications. The first was simply getting the game into a full screen setting. The in-game settings were simply not allowing me to have it at a full screen and kept kicking me into windowed mode. I looked on the Steam forums and found that others had the same issue. Once that was resolved my second issue came up where after the opening sequence the game simply crashed on me. I started the game three times and luckily the third time the game didn’t crash. Ever since then I have had no issues with the game, glitches, crashing, or otherwise. I would say because of the age of this game just expect there to be potential issues on running the game on a modern PC and that most issues are topics on the steam forum or generally online if you run into trouble.
We primarily play the game in first person with occasional moments of third person such as ladder climbing and hiding behind walls. Many of the dialogue scenes were also done in third person so we can see Adam interacting with the people.
Stealth is a really important factor in this game. I honestly think going in guns a-blazing is a huge mistake in most of the missions of the game. I haven’t played games that relied heavily on stealth for a while and this game made me realize that I missed playing games like this. The fact that I had to think about how I moved around, being stealthy, how I take down opponents, and looking alternative routes in order to progress to a location was quite fun. I really enjoyed the number of vents I could crawl through to completely bypass certain areas. The stealth made the game fun and made me think more about the overall situation opposed to mindlessly shooting everything in my way.
This is a game from 2011 and with that comes the technical abilities of the time. The overall jumping abilities are probably what makes me realize this is definitely of a certain time period. Jumping can sometimes be cumbersome if you do not have the jumping skill (which I didn’t get until way later in my playthrough, a tragic mistake on my part 😂) and you have to balance things just right otherwise you might fall to your death very easily. The concept of pulling oneself up simply does not exist in this game as well as jumping across things versus up/down. This was by far the most noticeable aging factor to me in terms of character movement but as you play the game you can adjust to the overall restrictions fairly easily and it isn’t super frustrating.
Augmentations are the various skill sets you can apply to Jensen through points given as you progress through the game and via the procurement of a praxis kit. Many are related to specific body parts in terms of actual augmentation hardware, but some are practical skills such as the ability to hack easier. In the game I don’t think it’s possible to have every kind of augmentation so choose wisely when considering upgrades for Jensen. One of my favorites had to be the cloaking capabilities because you can just waltz through areas without enemies taking notice for a short while. There were some that I applied later on and wished I had done that skillset way earlier in the game, such as punching through weak walls (for the limited time I had it, it was quite handy). Overall, the skill sets really can change the outlook of how one could play out each mission depending on one’s personal preferences.
This game hosts an interesting system for your storage capacity. Instead of being weight driven its essentially a grid in which certain items are a certain number of squares and what you can fit is what you get. This is all encompassing from you weapons, ammo, grenades, upgrades, and health items. I am definitely the kind of person to hoard all of my things, so this system forced me to discard so many items throughout the game haha. Word to the wise, if you have an upgraded weapon don’t accidentally discard it thinking the next one will somehow magically have the same upgrades 🥴
The actual shooting mechanisms are fairly straight forward. Simplistically, you aim and shoot. Tbh I just adapt to the mechanics whatever the game gives me and I did just that in this game. Depending on the weapon there are varying degrees of swaying, range, power, and damage. There are also some non-lethal options as well such as a tranquilizer gun and a stun gun. As a person who prefers distance shooting, I really liked the sniper rifle and the tranquilizer gun. My other weapon of choice was the trusted pistol (with many upgrades). There are some other options too such as a machine gun or shotgun, and for the very industrious person a rocket launcher. However, I typically liked using the stealth element for most areas of the game instead of direct combat. There are also opportunities to upgrade your weapons throughout the game so you have the ability to not be stuck with elementary weapons all the time. The main types of upgrades I observed were sighting, ammo capacity, recoil, and damage. The upgrades did seem to make a difference when you utilized them strategically.
If I were to give one word summarizing the whole gameplay aspect of the game it would be Strategic. You have to be strategic in this game in order to really enjoy the experience. Down to the storage capacity to the augmentation upgrades it’s all a fine balance of how smoothly one can play the game. Not a mindless shooter which I really liked!
Graphics & Artistic/Aesthetic Style
Not Highly Dated // Dark and Grungy // Mildly Futuristic
For a 2011/2013 game this game really didn’t feel too off-putting in terms of the older graphics. Sure not everything had a hyper amount of detail but overall this game did not feel as aged as some of the time period. Nothing graphically ever glitched out the game overall was really stable. The animations in non cutscene portions had a strong possibility of being a bit stiff and just overall limited. I will say the quality of hair physics is somewhat amusing and probably one of the more clearly outdated components of the game. I think this is once again, just due to limitations of time frame the game was made and released.
The overall aesthetics I would say are dark and grungy. There is not much color going on in this game save for various shades of greys and browns. This does seem to be a trend from many games that came out during that period. This is not a bad thing because I think it does match the overall tone of the game, as its not quite a cheery atmosphere. I think out of the games I have played that had the grey/brown filter this one makes the most sense. I could see if they were to remaster this game, having more blues and greens to electronic components to make it appear a bit more “high-tech” but I digress.
I think what dates this game most are the people and the hair and clothing designs. The hair is… graphically and technologically appropriate given the time period… I honestly could see more hair variety and styles in a different time period. The clothing is also interesting… I don’t mind many of the outfits. Jensen’s outfits (civilian and mission) are both fairly normal looking even by today’s standards. However for the other characters, sometimes I got more steampunk vibe opposed to futuristic which was a bit interesting (not complaining but just found this to be an interesting design choice). I do wonder why so many of the major women in the game had collared ruffs?? One person is fine, but multiple ruffs? I definitely don’t think of ruffs as a cyberpunk aesthetic but rather steampunk or pseudo Victorian or Renaissance inspired. I won’t claim to dislike this, but rather just found it to be interesting and somewhat unexpected. Who knows ruffs might make a comeback in the distant future 😂
For a futuristic game I appreciated that not everything was sleek and modern or terribly run down. I liked the combination of trying to use older building styles with a mixture of modern interiors. It felt just different enough from our world but enough similarities to not feel unfamiliar. I mean let’s face it, sometimes a warehouse can just look like a warehouse. Given the timeframe, many places are sparsely furnished and there is not much detail work in every single location. While sparse and somewhat repetitive it does not look or feel highly dated. In general, I think the game’s artistic and aesthetic qualities do a wonderful job at visualizing the alternative futuristic world given the limitations of the time period.
Would I Recommend?
Deus Ex Human Revolution is a game is a game I really wished I had played sooner! The overall plot, execution, and gameplay are all quite stellar and made me forget that this is a game from 2011/2013. I really felt like a cool dude playing as Adam Jensen and I think his character and overall aura felt natural and appropriate to the story. The overall plot while at first a bit convoluted, progressively made more sense as the game progressed and, in the end, got me thinking about greater philosophical questions.
I liked that we got to play as an established character with his own backstory and clear ambitions from the get-go. I liked the overall usage of dialogue and how in simple terms can make Adam Jensen be a pacifist, neutral, or more violent character while still keeping the core character and aura of Jensen the same. While there are some core decisions that we the player can make for Jensen there is a lot of weight and heavy considerations that ultimately mark most of them in the morally grey territory. Overall, Jensen definitely has a place in one of the more memorable main protagonists due to the execution of his character in tandem with the story provided.
The overall gameplay ran smoothly and did not feel overtly clunky or highly aged. While many games have evolved since 2011 there is a charm in the shooting and stealth gameplay present within the game. I particularly liked the stealth components of the game because the actual methods of stealth and construction of the overall maps made for a well-crafted stealthy experience. The game makes the player look for the less obvious path or alternative methods from getting from point A to B. The ability to utilize vents, use a cloaking system, or simply using a tranquilizer gun all give opportunity to stealthily bypass otherwise sticky and combative situations.
I would not recommend this game if you don’t even remotely like stealth mechanics in a game. While you can attempt to charge in (and people can and have done) ultimately the game favors the stealthy approach. For some the “outdated” game mechanics may be an issue, however, I think once you adapt to the game these are not a huge issue and don’t hinder the overall quality of the game. I think the other main detraction for some would be that this game is primarily in first person so if you aren’t a fan of those this would not be an ideal set-up (though if you get the game at a good sale price you might want to try it out~)
I would recommend this game if you want a linear driven story, established protagonist (a cool dude), an alternative cyberpunk-esque future, and a thought provoking story line. Honestly I have many praises for this game and definitely am glad I played this game nearly 10 years after its original release. The story and protagonist are well crafted to even the side quests being an appropriate amount and an engaging content. If you haven’t played this game yet definitely give it a chance. If most of the positive things in this review or any other reviews of this game have remotely piqued your interest you shouldn’t be disappointed!