“This isn’t about Augs versus Naturals, this is about terrorism. And in my book, there’s no excuse for the taking of innocent lives, no matter the reason.” —Adam Jensen
Upon returning to Prague, Jensen heads to the TF29 headquarters to see what Smiley had discovered from the evidence. As well, on a suggestion from Alex Vega, Jensen also decides to take advantage of Miller’s business trip to figure out Miller’s affiliations. He learns that TF29 director Joseph Manderley is working with VersaLife CEO Bob Page. They discuss the use of a biological weapon, “Orchid”, to murder Rucker, confirming their involvement. Jensen forwards the information to the Juggernaut leader, Janus. They learn that information about Orchid is stored in a secure vault in the nearby Palisade bank. At the same time, Jensen investigates the Prague attack and traces the bomb components to Allison Stanek, a former soldier turned religious fanatic. Jensen then learns that VersaLife is removing all of their data from Palisade and Stanek plans to commit ritual suicide with her followers to “ascend” to a purely electronic existence. Deciding the Orchid weapon is of greater priority, Jensen heads to the Palisade Bank and retrieves information on Orchid, along with other assets. Along the way, Jensen helps an old AI regain her memories, helps exonerate a man implicated in a murder, pay off a debt to Otar and helped several people leave Prague. Jensen also regains the use of all of his augmentations after Koller installs the neuroplasticity calibrator. With full access to his augmentations, Jensen heads off for the G.A.R.M. facility: despite his displeasure at Jensen for having disobeyed orders, Miller hears Jensen out and reluctantly agrees that G.A.R.M. is worth investigating.
There are three highlights in Prague after coming back from Golem Heights: the first is simply Prague itself. Beautifully rendered, buildings are lit up and people go about their business as best as they can under the laws imposed by the Mechanical Apartheid. Lights are reflected in puddles and diffuse into the night air as ambient sounds from parties permeate the streets. It is under this atmosphere that the second highlight is found; the side missions, seemingly trivial, are fantastically done, offering much insight into the lives of inhabitants around Prague and their situations. Delving into the is to explore a much more human side of Jensen as he tries to help those in need, and in doing so, players are able to truly experience the idea that Mankind Divided is much more than just using cool augmentations to beat up bad guys. The last highlight for me was the recovery of the augmentations that I’d shut down early in the game. Having made the mistake of disabling leg augmentations, I was unable to exploit vertical paths in Golem City. Though it would have been possible to restart the game at that point, I eventually decided to make the most of my situation and completed the Golem mission without feeling constrained. That Mankind Divided offers a plethora of options such that even making “mistakes” is okay is a strong indicator that the game is meant to allow players to experience it in the means of their choosing, and for me, it was another reminder that persisting even in light of a poor start can often result in success of some sort.
Screenshots and Commentary
- By night, Prague is beautifully lit; the Deus Ex series has traditionally taken place by nightfall, and Human Revolution was no different, with the only daytime mission being Panchaea. There’s a certain atmosphere to the original Deus Ex that makes the game quite compelling, and while I’ve not played through it myself, I would love to give it a shot at some point in the future, once things settle down and I’ve made more considerable headway in other titles I’m currently going through.
- I may be deficient in reading Chinese, but I do know that “鸡瓜酒楼” (“雞爪酒樓” in Traditional Chinese) does not translates to “The Chicken Foot”: that’s “雞腳” (or “鸡脚” in Simplified Chinese): instead, “爪” is a melon. Minor syntactical errors aside, one aspect carrying over from Human Revolution in Mankind Divided is the use of other languages, and while I do not speak Czech (therefore, I’m not able to determine whether what’s said is correct or not), I do note that Edios Montreal did a fantastic job with the Mandarin Chinese used in Human Revolution, so I can hazard a guess that the Czech in Mankind Divided is probably of an acceptable standard.
- Hunting down some of the side-quests in Mankind Divided can be tricky: while most of them show up and are therefore difficult to ignore, others, such as the mission 01011000, requires that one approach a malfunctioning map first. The string 01011000 itself is the binary representation of the number 88, and translates to “X” in ASCII encoding. Looking back, I think I missed one side mission during the first of the Prague missions.
- Following my return to Prague, my first goal was to activate all of the side missions first. Subsequently, I proceeded to finish the main missions, which involve delving deeper into the investigation pertaining to the terrorists behind the attack at the train station. An augmented young man clad in a yellow hoodie was featured prominently in the trailers, leading me to supposed him to be of importance in some way, but so far, I’ve not interacted with this individual or even seen him.
- Shortly after finding a secret room and gathering the intel, a trap was triggered and a toxic gas began filling the room. While players who chose to activate their implanted rebreather will be given some time before they succumb to the gas, for me, it was a matter of quickly finding an exit before death followed. On my first attempt, I died, but I managed to find an exit tucked away under some boxes beneath the desk.
- Miller’s apartment is unsurprisingly spartan, and here, an Australian flag is visible as a reminder of his past with Australia’s Tactical Assault Group. Taciturn and fiercely dedicated towards his job, not much about Miller’s personal life is known. However, there are computer terminals in Miller’s apartment that can be hacked, and unlocking them will reveal that his private life is a tumultuous one; he’s going through a divorce, entangled in a battle for custody of both his adopted children and other possessions.
- While I’ve been upgrading my weapons to increase their versatility, I’ve actually not made use of them for the most part, save the pistol’s EMP rounds to temporarily disable cameras. Against the flying drones, I’ve also used a shotgun to destroy them, but beyond this, stealth in conjunction with the non-lethal weapons is how I’ve elected to go through Mankind Divided. I recall saying that I would play Human Revolution a second time, and while I’m unlikely to do that in the foreseeable future, in retrospect, since I played that one by going weapons loud, it would make sense to play through it again using stealth.
- Prague in Mankind Divided is full of surprises, and the meeting with Janus takes place underneath the city in an abandoned subway tunnel. After meeting JANUS, Jensen finds himself ambushed by security drones. Rather than confronting them head-on, I chose to activate my cloak and snuck past them undetected. I’ve noticed a strange bug in the game, where my energy automatically gets refilled to maximum capacity without my consuming any bio-cells. I’m not sure if this is a bug or feature, but it has proven to be useful.
- Any player familiar with visual novels would know to save right before this point in the game, where things branch off: Jensen only has time to figure out the bomb-maker or obtain the Orchid sample before staff remove it. In the long run, Orchid seems the better choice; while Miller will be displeased with Jensen for disobeying orders, it appears that the bank mission yields a sample of the antidote for Orchid, as well as a plethora of items that will prove most useful for Jensen in the game’s later stages.
- Apparently, there’s a way to sneak inside the vaults without entering the bank itself owing to ventilation ducts in the parkade, but I did not notice and so, went into the parkade to obtain some gear necessary to complete the mission. Owing to my stealthy setup, I was able to obtain everything and leave the area undetected. If memory serves, there was a section in Human Revolution where Jensen likewise has to make his way through a parkade in order to complete an objective.
- Once inside the bank, it’s a matter of making use of the Glass Shield cloak to bypass all of the security implements and knock out anyone who stands between Jensen and the vault. By this point, I did not have the second level of remote hacking unlocked, otherwise, it would have been a simple matter to turn off the cameras in the area. Once clear, I began looting the desks and lockers for gear before moving on: in this manner, I’ve found a vast number of bio-cells without having to craft any from my stockpile of crafting parts.
- There as a similar mission in Human Revolution where Jensen had to sneak his way through a room filled with laser trip wires, and as I had not been building my stealth augmentations back then, it was an exercise in agility and patience to fully navigate the room without triggering the alarms. However, having invested Praxis points into stealth this time around, getting through the bank’s security system was as simple as cloaking and walking casually towards the objective.
- I manage to reach the safe holding the Orchid intel and collect it, taking my time to loot everything else that was available, as well. In the long run, the Orchid seems more important than the bomb maker: the bomb maker signifies chasing shadows as a result of following orders, while the bank mission is being proactive in figuring out new threats that could be important later on. With this in mind, I should go back and see what the bomb maker mission is like at some point in the future.
- I use my remote hacking here to open up all of the vaults in order to create a series of platforms that I can use to exit the labyrinth. However, I’m not done here yet: having spent some time hunting down the keycards for each vault prior to starting this mission, I entered each vault and cleared them out of their gear. The easiest way through this part is actually not through use of remote hacking, since hailing will result in the deployment of drones.
- Because I’ve been playing the no-fatalities route, most of the weapons in Mankind Divided were useless to me, and so, when I acquire weapons, I sell them off to vendors for cash, which I turn towards buying weapon attachments for the weapons I do need, and any Praxis Kits. Coming in at 10000 credits per kit, they’re more expensive than their Human Revolution incarnation, although every Praxis point earned can potentially go towards unlocking an augmentation, so purchasing them when funds are sufficient is usually a good idea.
- Ultimately, it was not the custom combat rifle or ammunition I was interested in, but the abundance of Praxis kits and Neuropozyne that proved to be the best loot coming from the vaults. Each bottle is worth a thousand credits, and because Jensen intrinsically does not require it, their main use is to boost Jensen’s finances, but whenever I find Neuropozyne in large quantities, I save a few bottles in the event that it might prove useful in a transaction that could help Jensen get more intel out of someone quickly.
- After completing the main story missions, I made to finish any side quests: inspection of my HUD here shows that I’ve now got my leg augmentations back, as well as the PEPS Launcher. At long last, I was able to take the neuroplasticity calibrator to Koller, who uses it to balance out Jensen’s augmentation system. No longer with any locked augmentations or running the risk of overloading my systems, I spent the accumulated Praxis points and at this point in the game, I’m beginning to feel like weapons beyond the Zenith pistol’s EMP rounds are unnecessary.
- I saved the trickiest side mission for last, which involves sneaking into Dvali territory to recover Dominik. The Dvali are hostile to Jensen, so it seemed best to utilise stealth. After spending a quarter-hour looking for a way in through the sewers, I suddenly recalled I had access to Jensen’s leg augmentations, permitting me to execute high jumps. Thus, I was able to leap onto the rooftops, scanned the area, and then moved down towards my destination undetected.
- Despite the increasing number of means for Jensen to dispatch his opponents in a non-lethal manner now, the stun gun remains my favourite. Despite its short range, it negates body armour and will down any opponent instantly. Once the area is cleared of Dvali enforcers, it’s time to find Dominik, knock him out, and carefully make my way to the locker. One must be careful that Dominik is not dropped from a great height, and further to this, care must be taken to maneuver Dominik around: he got stuck in the geometry and required five minutes of negotiations to pull out, but it was worth it, as I finished the last of the side missions.
- It’s now time to take off for the G.A.R.M. facility, and looking ahead towards upcoming posts, besides the remaining two Brave Witches episode discussions, my aim to do a season reflection for both Shuumatsu no Izetta and Hibike! Euphonium has not changed. On top of that, I’m going to see about reviewing Getsuyoubi no Tawawa and Stella no Mahou as time permits, as well as Enter The Matrix. For the present, however, it’s time to kick back and see what Mankind Divided has in store.
I believe I am about halfway through Mankind Divided by this point in time, and so far, have accumulated roughly twenty hours of time spent in-game. This time includes exploring different resources and stopping to help folks out; I’ve heard complaints that Mankind Divided was too short or else cuts off unexpectedly with its ending, but given the amount of time I’ve gotten out of Mankind Divided, the game’s proven to be quite satisfactory in terms of its length, even compared to Human Revolution (which I beat over the course of twenty-seven hours on my first and so far, only play-through). At present, with all of my augmentations back online, and having finally spent all of the Praxis points on augmentations that fit my play style (on top of looting everything I could to bolster my inventory), I’m ready to make use of the information obtained from Palisade Bank and head off to the G.A.R.M. facility to investigate what Orchid is, as well as continue investigating the mystery behind the individuals responsible for the chaos seen in this world. I’m looking forwards to seeing another new area of the game, so with that being said, let’s get it!