The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games, academia and life dare to converge

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided- The Pacifist Playthrough and Final Reflections

“The world has changed. The old rules no longer apply.” —Adam Jensen

Upon arrival in London, Jensen and Miller meet with Brown. In light of the credible threat that Marchenko and his men pose to the conference, Brown decides to push forwards with the event, asserting that security has been improved. However, Marchenko’s forces have already infiltrated the event, masquerading as security detail and are planning to poison Brown and his guests with the Orchid. While investigating, Miller is attacked by Marchenko, but is saved by Jensen — despite Miller’s protests about the antidote being useful later, Jensen administers it to Miller and promptly makes his way to the delegates, managing to warn them before they drink the poisoned champagne, saving Brown in the process. Marchenko discovers Jensen’s intervention and demands to meet with him, announcing that he’s rigged nearby residential blocks with explosives. Despite his wish to fight and eliminate Jensen, Marchenko is defeated after Jensen knocks him out, leaving him for the authorities to apprehend. After the event, Brown proves instrumental in repelling the Human Restoration Act. Jensen and Vega meet to discuss the Illuminati influence, and Jensen requests a meeting with Janus. This marks the conclusion of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, a game that, while perhaps not quite as rife with thought-provoking content in its story as its predecessor, has proven to improve on every gameplay aspect that was available in Human Revolution.

Owing to its presentation, Mankind Divided suggests that hunting for the truth is generally involved than initially apparent as a consequence of the intricate networks between individuals in a position of power: by utilising their resources to place people everywhere, it becomes difficult to know who to trust. Jensen’s psychiatrist, for instance, is shown to be closely tied with the Illuminati leader and is therefore able to obstruct Jensen’s quest for the truth in a subtle manner later on. The notion of a person behind a person is one of the thematic elements in Mankind Divided: because of how well-organised the Illuminati are, they are able to greatly challenge Jensen. Marchenko is presented as a major antagonist in Mankind Divided with the aim of fighting for Augmented Rights even if blood is shed, but ultimately, he’s a mere pawn. With the game over, there are no more enemies to take on as of yet, reflecting on how in reality, individuals who seek the truth must be fully committed to their cause, as the journey is a very tricky one. The execution of Mankind Divided means that there will likely be a continuation in the future, but for now, I’ve found Mankind Divided to be a very enjoyable game: the story was modestly engaging, but solid game play allows for players to complete objectives in novel ways that are now equally viable. I’ve opted for a stealth/hacking/non-lethal approach, and in the end, was rewarded with one of the most prestigious achievements for my troubles: the Pacifist Achievement

Screenshots and Commentary

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  • The London skyline looks amazing and brings to mind the golden filter that Human Revolution was best known for. Supposed to evoke imagery of a golden age, a renaissance of human augmentation, that period came to an abrupt end at Panchea, and as Marchenko says in the trailer, the golden age has ended. Appropriately, the golden hues dominating Human Revolution‘s colour palette is gone.

  • Unlike Panchea, a large facility for processing water and managing climate change, the convention center in London is a glitzy locale. After entering the building, one will notice an abundance of restricted areas that Jensen cannot ostensibly enter (that is to say, cannot enter without being fired upon). Because I opted to spec Jensen out for a stealth loadout, sneaking around through these areas and knocking out everyone who sees him is the most efficient way to move through these areas.

  • The bodies of security detail assigned to look over the event can be found at various places in the tower’s offices: several gold masks are also found, and Jensen alerts his higher-ups that the party has already been compromised. Because the impostor guards cannot be immediately identified, I chose to continue on my course, knocking out all opposition and sneaking to the objective.

  • An abundance of non-lethal options mean that I have much more than just the stun gun and tranquiliser rifle to dispatch opponents. The P.E.P.S. cannon proved to be an effective tool for clearing out rooms, while a smaller number of targets could be dispatched using the T.E.S.L.A. darts. Coupled with gas grenades, knocking out everyone is perfectly viable, and at no point in Mankind Divided did I ever feel that I was under-prepared to handle a non-lethal playthrough.

  • The trickiest part of the final mission was probably to knock out eleven of the guards to locate a keycard that would allow Jensen to enter the back rooms and move quickly towards saving the delegates. On my first few attempts, I did not disable the cameras, so on some occasions, cameras would spot the knocked-out guards and an alarm would go off, alerting Marchenko to Jensen’s presence.

  • After experimenting, I would eventually take out all of the guards undetected and could finally make my way to where Miller and the delegates were. The reception to the convention is set in a large, open area with a fantastic panoramic view of the London cityscape, and while there is somewhat of a schedule, I could not help but stop to admire the view for a few moments before continuing on with the mission.

  • The party is ornately furnished, feeling very much like the exhibition I attended back in March at the Laval Virtual Conference. So as long as Jensen does not attack a disguised guard in front of the event’s attendees, he will remain undetected and here, notice the presence of a submachine gun on the ground towards the screen’s lower left side. The submachine guns, I found to be utterly useless for taking up inventory space and not being of much use to someone playing a non-lethal route.

  • In this playthrough, I was not going for the “Foxiest of Hounds” achievement, which is even more diabolical than the “Pacifist” achievement in difficulty: it entails playing through the entire game without being detected and with no alarms set off. If Jensen has the appropriate stealth augmentations and a player has enough patience, it would be quite doable, although I admit, I lack that sort of patience.

  • By this point in time, I’ve got several Praxis kits from experience points, although I was more interested in completing the missions: the Praxis kits gained here do not disappear with the successful completion of a game, as players can unlock a “New Game Plus” mode where all of their augmentations carry over. While I’d certainly like to go through Mankind Divided with all augmentations unlocked, I’m pretty bad at returning to games: consider that I’ve still to go into Valkyria Chronicles and beat the DLCs.

  • I actually wonder whether or not anyone at the anime forum I visit actually managed to beat Mankind Divided: there was much talk on the technical challenges encountered and complaints about the game, but now that I’ve gone through the whole of Mankind Divided, I’ve actually got very little to complain about with respect to its length: playing through the main and side missions, plus exploring infrequently, gave me a total play time of around thirty hours, which is three more than Human Revolution.

  • Another shortcoming in Mankind Divided was the weapon diversity: Human Revolution had some epic weapons, including a rocket launcher, laser rifle and plasma launcher, while Mankind Divided seems to have fewer weapons, replacing them with illustrious weapons instead. A lethal playthrough would be markedly more fun with a laser rifle and plasma launcher, and their inclusion in Human Revolution contributed to why I abandoned my pacifist run there.

  • I figured it wouldn’t be much of a Deus Ex post unless I featured at least one screenshot of Jensen sneaking through a ventilation duct. These ducts provide convenient access ways for players to sneak around, and are especially useful if one does not have the Glass Shield Cloak. Looking briefly at the Steam ratings for this game, I am tempted to write a positive review to offset all of the negative ones surrounding the microtransactions: not once did I ever make use of them, feel disadvantaged from not having them or felt compelled to buy them, so I conclude that people who hated the system are complaining for complaining’s sake.

  • The grenade launcher that Marchenko was shown using in the first trailer makes a return from Human Revolution: its small size makes it an attractive item to carry around, and it can be configured to fire explosive or gas rounds. Upon spotting a group of hostiles from a distance, I equipped the grenade launcher and fired my only grenade of the game: a single gas round to knock everyone out, followed by remote hacking to buy myself thirty seconds of breathing room from the turret.

  • After saving the delegates, I had but one objective: to stop Marchenko. Players have the option of stopping Marchenko first, but I figured that the delegates would probably be more important. Having chose to save Miller, I have no more antidote, but making haste will also allow for the delegates to be saved. The best possible results in the final mission is: Miller lives, the delegates live and Marchenko is stopped, and the outcome can only be achieved by giving Miller the antidote.

  • I got lost trying to reach the exhibition hall to fight Marchenko, and during the time spent wandering the halls of the conference venue, I knocked out virtually all of the remaining guards for experience points and loot. I note that, even though I spent a fair bit of time here beating up ARC guards, Marchenko did not detonate the bombs (probably because I was still under ten minutes as Marchenko stipulated).

  • While I’ve maxed out my T.E.S.L.A. darts to increase the number of maximum targets and lock-on range, I’ve yet to actually unlock the achievement for locking onto and taking out four opponents at once, but this augmentation has been, alongside remote hacking, one of my favourite of the new ones.

  • Today was New Year’s Eve, and that means this marks my final post of 2016. I woke up to moody grey skies that gave way to a light snowfall by the time I set out for a morning walk, and spent most of the afternoon playing Sim City 4. There’s a Flames game tonight at the Scotiabank Saddle Dome against the Phoenix Coyotes, and I look forwards to an interesting match, since the Flames seem to have a bit of difficulty with the Pacific Division’s bottom-most team: each game we’ve played them this season, fights have broken out. Although we’ve bested them every game this season, three of the four games were decided by a one-goal difference.

  • The pacifist achievement is not voided if Jensen destroys turrets, and armour piercing rounds are ideally-suited for that purpose: five to seven rounds is all it takes to turn a turret into a flaming pile of wreckage. Unlike their predecessors’ effects, EMP grenades no longer cause robots or turrets to explode, and the security robots in Mankind Divided are much less intimidating than the large war droids I fought back in Human Revolution.

  • While Jensen no longer has a laser rifle, it seems that Marchenko has access to a directed energy weapon that handles similarly to the fuel-rod guns of Halo: Combat Evolved. When this boss fight started, I immediately bucked behind cover and destroyed the turret at the center of the room, then used remote hacking to stop the drones Marchenko deploys. By this point in the game, I had accumulated some thirty bio-cells, so I stopped to regenerate, then activated my cloak.

  • As Marchenko walked by, I uncloaked and fired my stun gun, then proceeded to knock him out with a punch to the face. I subsequently pulled the Praxis kit from him, ending the game. I was disappointed when the achievement popped up, saying I had completed the game, and wondered where I accidentally caused a death, but then the credits began rolling. When they finished, I unlocked several achievements, including the Pacifist achievement. With Mankind Divided now in the books, I’ve beaten all of the 2016 games I bought this year (DOOMBattlefield 1 and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided), so moving into 2017, I’ll divide my time between Far Cry 4Sim City 4 and Battlefield 1. That’s pretty much it from me: I’ll be dropping by tomorrow with my New Year’s post, and until then, Happy New Year!

Stipulating that Mankind Divided must be completed without killing anyone, the Pacifist Achievement is one of the most tricky ones to accomplish (besides “Foxiest of Hounds”, which involves beating the game without triggering any alarms) because of the game mechanics: despite diligence from the players, enemies can nonetheless die in strange ways even when dispatched with non-lethal means. However, I count myself as lucky: I made use of the non-lethal weapons and augmentations exclusively. In conjunction with judiciously checking to make sure no one died by my hand (and reloading if anyone was killed), I eventually reached the Marchenko fight. While seemingly an overwhelming opponent armed with a powerful laser weapon and melee skills surpassing Jensen’s, I ended up cloaking, sneaking up behind him, tasering him and then delivering a simple non-lethal takedown: by this point in the game, my augmentation loadout was optimised for stealthy combat, making the boss fight a very easy one. I was quite happy about the fact that, even though this was an arena-style fight similar to those of Human Revolution, there is a non-lethal option. One would wonder how non-lethally taking out bosses would affect the storyline had Mankind Divided been longer, but with Marchenko defeated, and each of the delegates saved, I managed to get the best possible ending in Mankind Divided. After three months of playing through Mankind Divided, I’ve completed the game now, and it was quite an impressive journey: although not quite as memorable from a narrative perspective, Mankind Divided is nonetheless a fantastic addition to the Deus Ex series, and I look forwards to seeing what lies ahead on Jensen’s quest to stop the Illuminati. My final verdict on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a simple one. I had a fantastic time in the game, and it was well worth picking up as a pre-order.

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