“Treat people like animals long enough, they’ll start acting like animals.” –Adam Jensen
Viktor Marchenko ambushes Jensen at the G.A.R.M. facility, injecting him with the Orchid agent and leaving Jensen to his death. However, Jensen’s genetic makeup means that, while he is nonetheless incapacitated for a period of time, the Orchid has no long-lasting effects on him. He escapes the G.A.R.M. facility and returns to Prague, which is under a curfew as a result of an augmented uprising. Making his way through the rainy streets to TF29 headquarters, Jensen learns from Miller that the mercenaries had cleared G.A.R.M. out of anything useful. When he mentions the Dvali have some sort of connection to Marchencko, Miller sends him deep into their territory and Jensen learns of Marchenko’s plan to strike businessman Nathaniel Brown’s Safe Harbour Convention in London. This is where the Human Restoration Act will be passed, and Marchenko plans to stop it before augmented rights erode completely, but ironically, as Brown stands to lose a vast sum of money, he himself is also opposed to the bill. As Brown is instrumental to stopping the Human Restoration Act, Miller immediately organises the TF29 to head for London, with the aim of stopping Marchenko and uncovering the conspirators behind the Human Restoration Act’s passage.
The Human Restoration Act (officially “United Nations Resolution 3507”) is a policy that would require the removal and downgrading of all overly powerful and any unlicensed augmentations. Once enacted, it would require people with mechanical augmentations to have a control chip inserted, and to have official papers regarding their augmentations, while individuals resistant to the terms would be incarcerated. This act is surprisingly similar to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in that both motions are hidden behind closed doors, with the few making the decision for the many. In the TPP, the most disturbing clauses stated that, nations ratifying the TPP would be forced to conform with American laws, allowing large trade associations to pursue piracy cases independently of the signatory nation’s internal laws. In its excesses, the TPP is said to have been intended to allow these associations the power to seize and destroy equipment suspected of being involved in piracy, as well as the arrest and suing of individuals allegedly involved in piracy: corporations could then abuse these laws to destroy electronic equipment of anyone that challenged them, resulting in a future fraught with censorship and information control. Fortunately, the TPP does not appear to have much support in the United States and is unlikely to be ratified, but its implications would have had far-reaching consequences. The scope and scale of these treaties is immense, and therefore, it is unsurprising that there are parties in settings such as that of Mankind Divided, that are willing to use force in order to halt these highly detrimental policies from seeing the light of day; while perhaps well-intentioned, the use of force begets a ceaseless cycle of violence, and in Mankind Divided, I’m going to try and finish the game in the way I know best: with the CASIE mod and liberal application of non-lethal methods.
Screenshots and Commentary
- This is my 760th post. I played through the G.A.R.M. facility a little more than a week ago, and was in the throes of a cold that was intensifying. Having spent the day at work, I was coughing up a storm, but other than that, I was well enough to complete this mission. The foes here are augmented, and will immediately cloak or activate their Titan Shield at first sign of trouble, but they aren’t tougher than other opponents against the stun gun and other nonlethal means.
- Thus, armed with the tranquiliser rifle, I hopped onto the service crane and made my way across the ceiling, using the darts to quietly and non-lethally stop all opponents. Once everyone in the room was downed, I dropped down and looted all of the unconscious guards, then hacked everything in sight to acquire a vast amount of experience points.
- The tranquiliser rifle does not appear to suffer from any bullet drop, and unlike the stun gun, is capable of defeating light body armour, although the tranquiliser agent will take a few moments to kick in. Naturally, landing headshots will speed the process up, and with a reasonably high accuracy when aiming down sights, this is my go-to weapon for any long-range engagements.
- I ultimately kept the combat rifle around with the aim of dealing with robots: although I’ve fully invested in the remote hacking augmentations (which allows Jensen to disable robots, turrets and cameras for up to thirty seconds), there come points where it’s more useful to blow up robots and turrets. Armour-piercing rounds will defeat these implements very quickly, and even on a non-lethal playthrough, I found that having an effective weapon against these opponents would prove useful.
- I decided that I should probably hit the hay to more effectively fight off my cold and so, for the second hanger, I wanted to move through it much more quickly; I activated the cloak and snuck through the area undetected, returning to the surface and the helipad for an extraction back to Prague. The decision ended up being a wise one: I went to sleep, woke up at around nine the next day, ate some breakfast, went back to sleep, woke for lunch and went back to sleep. By the late afternoon, I was on the mend from the cold, and by the time dinner ended, I was in good enough shape to push out the Shuumatsu no Izetta final discussion.
- Back in Prague for the last time, the streets are hostile as police patrol the streets, punishing citizens who have broken curfew; the curfew was imposed with martial law after augmented citizens begin rioting. If memory serves, there was also a riot on Jensen’s return to Detriot. The city hub areas were much smaller in Human Revolution and could be explored very quickly, while it takes around five minutes to get from one side of Prague to the other. In exchange, Human Revolution had more city hub areas.
- Under the moody evening skies, rain falls, and police will not hesitate to open fire on Jensen if he remains in the open for too long. After entering the LIMB clinic and talking to Alex, I tried finding the Praxis kit stashed away in the ceiling crawl-space. After trying for a quarter-hour to enter the space from within the derelict clinic, I gave up, activated my cloak and got in from a vent on the outside.
- I did end up finding a revolver in one of the garages in Prague, and while I loved the Human Revolution revolver for its explosive rounds (allowing me to destroy any robot in seconds), the revolver in Mankind Divided is rather more balanced. It can be customised, but in a non-lethal playthrough, I never found much use for it. Otar has a custom revolver with a mounted 4x scope on it that can be looted from him, but doing that too early in the game will lock Jensen out of several quest lines.
- In the future, holograms are common place, and here, I evade officers firing upon me by ducking into the church that I would have visited had I chosen to confront the bomb-maker. Compared to Palisade, the loot here is not quite as good and could be explored much more quickly. I wonder if it’s possible to return to the bank while Prague is under curfew, but with the interest of wrapping up the side and main missions, I decided against revisiting the bank.
- Knowing that I won’t be returning to Jensen’s apartment again for the remainder of Mankind Divided, I clear it out of all remaining items, crafting parts, and then headed downstairs to sell everything I didn’t need before returning to talk to David Sarif about the mystery augmentations. He offers no insights as to who installed them but, since they work, advises Jensen to make full use of them. Unlike my playthrough of Human Revolution, I did not keep an eye out for buying weapon accessories: I probably should’ve added a laser pointer to both my stun gun and tranquiliser rifle to bolster their accuracy.
- “The Last Harvest” is one of the three remaining side missions to complete, and requires a few trips between the districts of Prague. I opted to go for the lengthier but more rewarding path to save Daria, using the CASIE augmentation to talk her out of a fight. I’ve heard that Daria can be confronted directly, making her a mini-boss of sorts, and in my case, I managed to use diplomacy to settle the issue. On my first try, I tried hacking one of the locked cages and Daria instantly opened fire, leading me to reload: while kicking her ass would’ve been easy, it may have also voided my no-kill playthrough.
- The side missions in Prague become much more challenging to complete, if only for the fact that it’s quite difficult to freely move around. The subway’s been shut down; while loading different zones, earlier loading screens depicted Jensen sitting on the train, but with the curfew in place, Jensen simply jumps onto the tracks and walks to his destination. Here, I spring K from a prison after speaking with Little K in the sewers on the “K is for Každý” mission.
- Even with Jensen’s inventory space maxed out, there are many cases where one is forced to pick which items they keep. Most weapons retail reasonably, so it’s worth hanging onto them for selling later on, and here, I find a Devastator, an automatic variant of the shotgun that fires armour-piercing rounds. While I’ve found stealth to be the most effective way of moving about, one wonders how players who’ve invested in a combat build would handle the turrets and drones, so great are their numbers.
- The last main mission in Prague is to enter Dvali territory and obtain information about how they’ve been assisting Marchenko. Because I chose to let Gallios go into hiding rather than kill him, the Dvali territory is hostile, and I would make use of stealth to make my way to Radich Nikoladze’s office. Had Jensen killed Gallios earlier, it would allow him to walk through the front doors and talk to Otar directly, at the expense of the Pacifist achievement.
- While remote hacking is incredibly useful, there are points in the game where I simply do not have the cover or time to successfully disable a turret: in those cases, I open fire on them. It turns out that it takes nearly two full magazines to destroy a turret when firing conventional ammunition, while some six to ten rounds of armour piercing rounds can do the same. With the drone destroyed, it’s a simple matter of activating the cloak and moving through the laser beams undetected.
- Here, I make use of a gas grenade to incapacitate an entire room without killing anyone. Gas grenades are, in conjunction with EMP grenades, the most useful of the grenades in the game for a non-lethal playthrough, allowing Jensen to clear out groups of enemies at once. Players might exercise additional caution if they lack the implanted rebreather augmentation, which allows Jensen to move for short periods in clouds of gas without being knocked out.
- Once Jensen has the intel, it’s time to take off. Having knocked out everyone en route into the Dvali theatre, it was a simple matter to walk back outside from here. by this point in time, I’ve knocked out most of the police elements patrolling the streets, meaning that the only real threat to Jensen are the turrets: shooting them with EMP rounds disables them for a few moments, but remote hacking allows them to be disabled for upwards of thirty seconds.
- Here, I look at the interior of the Dvali theatre once more, now that the air is not likely to be filled with hot lead from my presence. I’ve bought all of the attachments I could for the combat rifle, allowing Jensen to switch quickly between the reflex sight and ACOG, enable and disable the laser and remove the silencer on the fly. The new weapon modification system in Mankind Divided is modelled after that of Crysis, but is immensely effective, allowing Jensen to be ready for most situations in a very short period of time.
- Before taking off for London, I made my way to apartments in Prague’s northwest corner and sold off all of the items I would not be needing to one of the clerks. With Jensen’s inventory clear, and all of the side missions in the books, the time has come to begin the final phase of the game. Looking through the time I’ve spent in Mankind Divided, I’ve not had any of the issues that folks from an anime forum I frequent had: the game downloaded and decompressed quickly, and never lagged at all from either a CPU or GPU bottleneck, despite my machine being nearly three and a half years old now by this point (albeit re-outfitted with a GTX 1060).
- Before leaving Prague, I take one last look at the cityscape by night. Those large structures in the background are known as the Palisade Blades, data centers for the Palisade company. Players do not have an opportunity to visit their interiors in the main game, but an eBook in-game describes them as having highly sophisticated security features that render them nigh-impervious to intrusion. While I’ve not picked up the season pass or kept up with developments there, I believe that DLCs do feature a mission in these facilities. It’s not worth 30 dollars just to play two missions, however, so I’ll probably wait until the prices are a little better.
The G.A.R.M. mission proved to be much shorter than expected, and my existing set of augmentations proved to be more than sufficient to move through the facility. I expended a large number of my tranquiliser darts on guards in the first hanger, then switched to my cloak and bypassed everyone in the second hanger, making my way to the helipad and leaving the area. Despite being quite sick at the time, I finished the level on short order, returning to Prague for the curfew. No longer able to freely walk the streets without being shot at, I made extensive use of my Glass Shield Cloak and movement silencers, plus remote hacking, to move between places. After completing the remainder of the side quests and selling off any gear I did not need, I headed off for the helipad for the game’s final mission. At around twenty-nine hours in, Mankind Divided has had more content than Human Revolution, allowing the game to flesh out what’s been going on. Some individuals have decried the game’s short length as a deal-breaker, but overall, Mankind Divided has been exceptionally well-written, and moving forwards, it’s time to hit the London convention to stop whatever machinations that Marchenko has in store for the convention and the world at large.