The Infinite Zenith

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Category Archives: Deus Ex

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.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided- Review and Impressions Escaping G.A.R.M. and The Prague Curfew

“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.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided- Review and Impressions Returning To Prague

“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!

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided- Review and Impressions after Golem City

“A lack of casualties would be a show of respect to someone like Rucker.” —Adam Jensen

After arriving at Golem City, Adam Jensen enters the home of his informant, Tibor, to find that said he has been arrested by the police. When Jensen locates Tibor, he finds him too worried about his family to be of much use, but still learns enough to find that the Augmented Rights Coalition’s turf can be accessed through an area called “The Throat”. He encounters Viktor Marchenko, a high-ranking ARC member, who advises him to turn back, but undeterred, Jensen pushes forwards through ARC turf. He eventually reaches Rucker, and despite Rucker’s objections that Jensen had engaged his men en route, the lack of lethal force puts Jensen in a reasonably secure position to negotiate with Rucker. Convincing Rucker that the right thing to do is accompany him, Jensen wins the debate, and Rucker hands Jensen some evidence. However, before Jensen can take him in, Rucker’s augmentations begin failing, and he dies before Jensen’s eyes, forcing Jensen to return to the extraction point empty-handed. This is where I presently stand in Mankind Divided, and the Golem City mission has been an absolute blast, allowing me to make use of Jensen’s augmentations in order to complete the objective. Whereas I went with an intermediate combat-stealth hybrid in Human Revolution, this time, I rolled with the stealth approach, making use of non-lethal weapons to clear an area before moving onwards.

In this middle section of Mankind Divided, the single aspect that stands out the most is the level design of the Útulek Complex, known informally as Golem City. A ghetto for augmented citizens, it is presented as a haven where quality of life is reasonable, but upon entering, it becomes apparent that this impromptu settlement, with its poor living standards and high crime rates, is a deplorable place. In fact, the tightly-packed living quarters, narrow corridors, exposed electrical wires, haphazard pipes and clutter greatly resemble Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. Even though Golem City is in the Czech Republic, that it draws inspiration from the Kowloon Walled City is apparent. Informal networks of passages and passages line Golem City, offering numerous means of reaching a destination. The narrow alleyways are illuminated with fluorescent lamps — as with Kowloon Walled City, the high-rise constructions meant that sunlight did not reach the ground in many places. Golem City offers a glimpse at what Kowloon Walled City was like, providing a virtual environment that is superbly designed for further emphasising just how divided the world has become since the events of Human Revolution. I was highly impressed at the details in the environment, and to see a different interpretation of the Kowloon Walled City come to life was quite fascinating. My parents were Hong Kong citizens, and back when the Walled City had not yet been demolished, my grandparents had warned them to steer clear of the Walled City for fear of the nefarious activities that occurred within its confines. This was an area where crime was so rampant that police refused to enter unless in force, and even after a major operation in the 1970s, the image stuck, even though most of its inhabitants who lived as tightly-knit communities to overcome hardships. Consequently, it was rather interesting to be given the tools to enter an equivalent, simulated Kowloon Walled City with a mission and explore what such an environment could be like had it been built for housing augmented individuals in a society where apartheid has taken hold.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Immediately after arrival in Golem City, the design of the cityscape and elements inside immediately evokes imagery associated with Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. With its narrow corridors, ad hoc construction, exposed wiring, pools of water on the ground and haphazardly placed fluorescent lights, the only differences between Golem City and Kowloon Walled City is that the inhabitants speak Czech rather than Cantonese, and there is a substantial police presence in Golem City, compared to Kowloon Walled City, which largely belonged to the Triads until the mid 1970s.

  • The light effects in Golem City are incredibly well done, and I found myself staring at the different fixtures in the area, as well as their reflections off the surfaces. While the narrow passageways through Golem City seemingly present a highly linear environment to move through, the level design is exceptional; it is possible to make use of vertical routes to move between different points, as well.

  • The silenced Zenith CA-40 10mm pistol with a laser sight becomes my go-to tool for creating a distraction, luring the occasional guard off his pre-programmed route into a more appropriate location for a takedown. With this in mind, I’ve not actually used it as an offensive weapon: in Human Revolution, it was a powerful asset when upgraded with armour-piercing rounds that allowed it to take out any non-boss opponent with a single well-placed headshot.

  • The primary utility of the Zenith pistol is actually the fact that it can be chambered with EMP rounds, which gives it the capacity to disable electronic devices for a few moments without destroying it. I make use of such a round here to sneak past a camera, and the utility for this weapon has gotten me through several areas with turrets: I do not have the hacking level required to override turrets or robots, so the ability to disable them is highly useful.

  • After making my way through the garrison and freeing Tibor, I obtain a passphrase that provides access into The Throat. Return to the streets of Golem City to seek out one Louis Gallois as per Jensen’s deal with Otar, I listened to his side of the story and preferred to spare him, earning another way into The Throat. I opted to take the elevator that one of Tibor’s associates were guarding, although the passageway that Gallois offers is equally viable.

  • Instead of the fishballs that some of Kowloon Walled City’s inhabitants produced, Czech sausages are this shop’s specialties. Stepping close to the shop will allow for the sizzling of meats to be heard, although the shopkeeper does not seem interested in doing business with Jensen.

  • Here, I’ve made it into the Throat and have finished a conversation with Viktor Marchenko. I’ve got a battle rifle here, a weapon that acts as a slightly less powerful sniper rifle. Because I’m going for a non-combative playthrough, this weapon is actually of limited use for me, so I opted not to upgrade it at all and when finding one, would pick it up so I could sell it. The weapon does take up quite a bit of space in the inventory, and I was later forced to swap it out in exchange for a sniper rifle.

  • Now that I’m armed with the Tesla charges, I am offered one additional avenue for dispatching opponents in a non-lethal manner. The base Tesla charges lock onto only one enemy at once, although the full-fledged variant can hit four targets simultaneously. This allows me to conserve on stun gun ammunition. While I am equipped with a cloak and can sneak past everyone, dispatching enemies only as necessary, I rather like looting everyone I encounter for credits and gear.

  • The downside to these predispositions is that any carelessness can result in a firefight breaking out, and with my playing Jensen in a strict no-kill manner, I am forced to become more creative in worming my way out of these situations. I will often hide and wait out my enemies, who enter a search pattern once Jensen is lost. When they complete their search patterns, hostilities will cease.

  • During a particularly onerous firefight, the ARC soldiers liberally used explosives, even killing their own in the process. I managed to lure most of them into a side corridor and took them out, one by one, using the Tesla charges, stun gun and non-lethal take downs liberally. However, some of the ARC soldiers had fragmentation grenades and tossed them into the room, killing the other ARC soldiers who were already knocked out.

  • The Glass-Shield cloak allows Jensen to move through laser emitters without any difficulty. When triggered, the consequences are varied, ranging from the release of gas, activation of an alarm or even an explosion. They can usually be deactivated from a terminal somewhere, although having the Glass-Shield makes it almost too easy to bypass them.

  • I’ve actually not encountered any combat robots in Mankind Divided yet: recalling that these robots were the bane of my existence in Human Revolution until I acquired the explosive rounds for the Revolver, I began stockpiling EMP grenades to make any future encounters easier. I generally prefer gas grenades for their ability to clear out entire areas without killing anyone, although they have proven to be quite rare in my playthrough.

  • In an office space leading up to Rucker’s private headquarters, I come across Marchenko’s private computer terminal. It’s protected with level five security clearance, exceeding my ability to hack it, but exploration earlier allowed me to read a communique bearing his login credentials, so I was able to break in no problem. The presence of utilities such as a multi-tool and alternatives means that it’s not quite so imperative to max out one’s hacking early on, although having good hacking nonetheless remains an essential asset in Jensen’s toolkit.

  • I never showcased the CASIE mod in my talks for Human Revolution, but the time has come to rectify this. Making use of the response level and the personality analysis, the mod allows players to play on an individual’s traits to pick the response most likely to elicit a positive response. It’s the closest thing to cheating in the Deus Ex series, although its utility cannot be understated. If players are able to convince Rucker to turn himself in, Rucker will also give Jensen a keycard to a saferoom containing evidence, as well as a Praxis kit. I’ve heard that failing can result in Rucker summoning his soldiers before he dies.

  • Regardless of how the conversation goes, Rucker will die as his augmentations fail, and although Jensen’s pilot will ask him to pick up the pace, there’s actually no rush if the office is still peaceful. I took some time to explore its intricately detailed interior, which matches the clutter and complexity seen in Makoto Shinkai’s films. At this point in time, I’ve seen Your Name for myself now, although in the absence of a high quality home release, I’ve not done a review for it yet.

  • It turns out that in the E3 Demo back in 2015, the parts of the game that were showcased were in The Throat leading up to, including the discussion with Rucker and then Jensen’s escape. The demonstration showcased the combat side of things, including the Titan Shield (which renders Jensen invulnerable to damage) and nanoblades, although I’ve opted to go with a more stealth-driven approach. Like the E3 Demo, I make my way through a greenhouse where tomatoes are grown. The HUD’s been given a complete overhaul, though, and I rather like this one.

  • There are a couple of drones floating about here, and although I am equipped with the means to deal with them, here, I prefer to keep quiet and dispatch any opposition quietly, rather than go in guns blazing. I’ve been steadily ascending through the different floors of Golem City, and, near the top, light actually reaches the constructions, standing in stark contrast to the dark corridors and alleyways of the regions below.

  • Going in non-lethal here will still trigger a firefight of sorts, although I use my augmentations liberally to quickly dispatch all threats without any kills. A stray grenade thrown by an ARC soldier kills one of their own, and I’m hoping this won’t affect my Pacifist playthrough in any way. During the intense firefight here, one of the ARC soldiers shoot through some cucumbers being grown, which allowed me to unlock one of the more unusual achievements in the game, which was supposedly the result of Executive Art Director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête remarking that there were a large number of cucumbers when seeing the clutter in the environments.

  • From the looks of it, there are many achievements in Mankind Divided, so I will probably have to go back through on a second playthrough to collect all of them. I make use of the shotgun to blow away to drones firing on me: a full magazine of standard buckshot is enough to take one down, and after that, it’s a simple matter of making my way to the extraction point. In the distance, the sunset can be seen, along with steel towers that presumably act as the support core for future constructions in Golem City.

  • Golem City is now in the books, and as the rays of sun illuminate the entire area, it’s time to return to Prague. As Jensen takes off, he comes under small arms fire from other ARC soldiers, only for Marchenko to show up and quietly motion for a ceasefire. He’s the antagonist of Mankind Divided, and some nineteen months after the first trailer was revealed, it’s been amazing to be able to actually play through this game. I’ve been excited by this game since April 2015, and surmise that, had the game released as per Square Enix’s original timeline in February 2016, I might have been too distracted to finish my thesis on time. On the topic of my thesis, everything’s more or less reached a conclusion — I’ll be walking the stage quite soon for convocation.

Playing through the Golem City missions was an immensely enjoyable experience, and here, I found that even though I was lacking the option to upgrade my leg augmentations (having disabled them earlier), I was able to make it work. Using a combination of the Tesla charges and Glass-shield cloak, plus a stun gun and tranqualiser rifle, I was able to both sneak through areas and engage in non-lethal combat as required. After reaching Rucker’s office and conversing with him, I found myself face-to-face with a beautiful sunset. Prague looked quite dapper, but the atmospherics and details in Golem City had been particularly noteworthy. To see the densely-packed city illuminated under the last light of a day really drove home the point that Mankind Divided looks amazing, on top of handling smoothly and featuring a compelling narrative. Having gone through Golem City, it is quite clear that by this point in time, hardware is definitely not an issue on my end; Mankind Divided loads rather quickly, and frame rates don’t drop noticeably anywhere in the game. With Rucker now dead from a yet-unknown cause, the mystery deepens, and Jensen is set to return to Prague by night to continue investigating the terrorist bombing. I’m definitely enjoying Mankind Divided, and look forwards to seeing where things will go.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided- Review and Impressions of the Prague Missions

“I tried to save the world; now look what it’s become.” —Adam Jensen

Set two years after the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (for brevity, just Mankind Divided from here on out) follows Adam Jensen’s journey to uncover the truth in the aftermath of the “Aug Incident”, where augmented individuals became violent and resulted in massive deaths worldwide. Now working for Task Force 29, Jensen is investigating terrorist weapon smuggling, while at the same time, is involved with the Juggernaut Collective, a hactivism group seeking to expose those behind the shadows. After returning to Prague from a mission in Dubai, Jensen finds himself caught in a terrorist bombing. Koller repairs his augmentations but discovers that new ones are installed. He confirms with David Sarif that these augmentations were not originally installed by Sarif Industries, and learns that the wave of terrorist attacks will be pinned on the Augmented Rights Coalition (ARC). Along the way, Jensen locates a neuroplascticity calibrator that would allow him to bring all of his augmentations safely online, takes down a fake checkpoint extorting citizens, as well as helping a Samizdat and his underground conspiracy news group reveal the truth about Picus News when they begin digging into TF29’s existence. With all of the side-quests that I can think of under my belt, I’m now ready to head into Golem City and converse with one Talos Rucker, the leader of the ARC.

While opinions of Mankind Divided seem to suggest that mankind is divided on whether or not Mankind Divided is a worthwhile game, I’ve so far put in around ten hours just exploring Prague and completing the missions as they are presented. The biggest difference between Mankind Divided and Human Revolutions is the atmosphere: whereas Jensen and other augmented citizens could walk around openly without too much trouble in the latter, in Mankind Divided, there is now a very heavy police presence, and numerous checkpoints that halt augmented citizens for inspection of their documents. Bathrooms and train stations now segregate citizens as either naturals or augmented, and trouble can be started if Jensen disregards the rules. The tone and manner that naturals now take towards augmented citizens is also quite harsh, doing much to emphasise that two years after the “Aug Incident”, the world has split down the middle into what the developers have called a “Mechanical Apartheid”. Although this term has apparently offended some folks, Mankind Divided manages to capture some of the atmosphere surrounding segregation in history, making players feel uneasy at times, even with all of Jensen’s augmentations. Consequently, its incorporation into Mankind Divided is a powerful one, exploring a direction that seems plausible should humanity explore the limits of technology without considering the social impacts of said technologies.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • Here I am at last, nearly three months after pre-ordering Mankind Divided: the game opens up in Dubai, and the mission is to get the drop on an arms deal where a mole is present. Despite the presence of a heavily armed opposition, I decided to roll with a non-lethal weapon. Whereas I opted to go for a close quarters weapon (a stun gun) in Human Revolution, this time, I elected the tranquiliser rifle for its range, reasoning that I would probably be able to purchase one later in the game.

  • It was the summer of 2014 when I first played through Human Revolution, and it was a time for many fantastical experiences as I experienced a game with a fantastic amount of depth and intrigue. At the time, I was working on the Giant Walkthrough Brain project, and it never ceases to amaze me as to how quickly the time’s passed by — even January’s Giant Walkthrough Brain presentation in Kelowna seems like a life-age away.

  • The visuals in Mankind Divided represent a rather noticeable jump from those of its predecessor: Human Revolution was no slouch in the graphics department, but Mankind Divided adds a range of new effects that give the game a new degree of  immersion. These new aspects drive up the requirements required for the game, and the recommended video card, a GTX 970, is only sufficient to play the game on “high” settings at reasonable frame rates.

  • It took me a bit of time to acclimatise to the controls in Mankind Divided: the new features in the game give Jensen access to more abilities than before, and for ease-of-use, some active augmentations can now be accessed via shortcuts. In the Dubai mission, Jensen is equipped with the cloak, Typhoon system and silenced movement, as well as the ability to see through physical obstructions to gain a better sense of nearby threats and assets. In this mission, I manage to save the contact in time after the transaction goes south.

  • Jensen’s new apartment interior is spartan but nonetheless feels like home: here, volumetric lighting creates the sense that the apartment is quite dusty, as light beams stream into the interior from outside. I spent a few moments looking around and getting more familiar with the controls, taking stock of my surroundings before getting in touch with David Sarif, Jensen’s former employer.

  • Sarif Industries went under after the Aug Incident and was absorbed into Tai Yong Medical during the two years that have elapsed. Sarif gets in touch with Jensen to clarify some loose ends, and for me, it was welcome to see Sarif again. In Human Revolution, I picked his ending owing to how well his outlook aligned with mine, but it seems that none of the endings can be considered canonical.

  • There are several areas in Prague to explore: Prague seems much larger than the combined areas of Detriot and Hengsha in Human Revolutions, and is intricately detailed. There are people on the streets, browsing shops or relaxing at a café. The cobblestones were a nice touch, and I was quite impressed with the effects. I later learned that bump mapping was used, allowing for more detail to be created without increasing polygon count.

  • After snooping around, trying to find a way into Koller’s workshop, I eventually snuck through an open window, quietly knocked out two goons guarding the top floor, requisitioned their weapons and made my way into the bookstore’s inner rooms. This shotgun is equipped with a holographic sight, and although I was tempted to try it, I was going for a non-lethal playthrough, so I promptly holstered the weapon.

  • The terrorist attack knocks out Jensen’s augmentations, and after Koller resets them, he discovers a slew of ultra-high end augmentations in Jensen. These new augmentations initially can create some minor problems for Jensen, but a neuralplasticity calibrator can be obtained to alleviate these issues. Despite my stealth-driven approach, I will stick with a pistol and combat rifle to ensure that I’ve always got options: weapons can be used as distractions to lure guards for a take down, or else engage robots.

  • Once Jensen is back online, it’s time to visit the TF29 headquarters, located underground and accessed via a secret elevator in the back of a store. Here, I utilise hacking for the first time to break into the server room and place a special device that allows the Juggernaut Collective to intercept TF29 data. One of the thrills about Mankind Divided that was absent in Human Revolution was a protagonist whose hunt for the truth leads him to play on both sides of the fence.

  • Completing missions is the fastest way to earn experience points that go towards Praxis points, which are used to unlock and upgrade Jensen’s augmentations. After talking with Koller, I picked the remote hacking and the Tesla abilities, inadvertently locking myself out of leg augmentations. Gaining the power to take control of distant elements and taking on multiple opponents in exchange for high jumps, I suddenly realised that I would have to live with my mistakes until I complete the quest where I can obtain a neuralplasticity calibrator.

  • After making use of the CASIE mod to negotiate my way through acquiring a neuralplasticity calibrator, I am able to enter Otar Botkveli’s casino without being shot at to pick it up.  If the conversation is unsuccessful, players must resort to stealth or force to obtain it, but being able to talk through something is an immensely useful option. Consequently, the CASIE mod is a must for those looking to complete Mankind Divided, since it could allow Jensen to avoid unnecessary combat.

  • Of course, players who’ve already got the Pacifist achievement can play the game however they please, and I might go back later to play the Rambo technique, shooting my way through things rather than sneaking and talking to victory. Here, I’ve equipped the combat rifle, a 5.56 mm assault rifle making a return from Human Revolution. It was a rather ineffective weapon there, and I’ve yet to test it out, but I’m hanging onto it and testing its armour-piercing rounds on robots before deciding whether it’s worth keeping.

  • When one of the TF29’s IT staff realise that someone is snooping around, Jensen is tasked with figuring out what’s going on. It turns out an underground group is looking for news stories that present the truth to their viewers, but doing so could compromise TF29. Utilising the CASIE mod, I managed to convince the leader to stand down, but as a gesture of goodwill, I agree to help the group out with another project. I general, I am not fond of the media, since they tend to present a substantial bias and do not disclose everything. I prefer being presented with the facts in whole and make my own decisions based on what is given.

  • It is for this reason that I don’t get along with the more popular folks from my old high school, but that’s a story for another time. Back in Mankind Divided, I’ve taken on a mission to help some citizens obtain forged documents to leave Prague, after listening to a forger’s story, I decided it would be more worthwhile to help out. While I was disappointed that I could only save one person, that’s life. In general, I usually make a judgement after I’ve heard more information, and consequently, I don’t make decisions on the fly very often.

  • Even with something like Battlefield 1, I’ve done enough research to ensure that I am getting value for the money I spend: I bought Battlefield 1 today and began trying out the multiplayer. It’s been quite fun so far, and I look forwards to unlocking different weapons for the classes that will enable me to experience Strike Witches/Brave Witches in the Frostbite Engine. The campaign also looks like it’ll be a blast. Of course, this isn’t a Battlefield 1 post, so I’ll be returning to Mankind Divided, where I’ve entered the Palisade Property Bank to obtain intel on Picus News.

  • Remote hacking is remarkably useful, allowing Jensen to shut down and alter items from a distance. Although its initial applications are seemingly limited to turning radios and TVs on or off, it’s actually a powerful ability; Jensen can close blinds remotely and obstruct views into a room, making it easier to sneak around and complete one’s goals.

  • For the time being, holograms appear to remain within the realm of science fiction, but augmented reality technologies have begun taking hold of the consumer market. This could drive forwards innovative uses for AR that previously remained in prototype stage, making it easier to accomplish different tasks. Of course, the military has utilised AR for a few decades: fighter jets have a HUD that projects information about a pilot’s surroundings without needing the pilot to look away.

  • I look over the streets of Prague after completing the mission to broadcast the truth about Picus. With all of the side quests complete save for one, I returned via train to the starting area to finish the last objective before heading off to Golem City.

  • The trick to taking out Drahomir is to speak with a female police officer, who will then lead a squad of police to shoot out Drahomir and his fake checkpoint. If Jensen should fire on anyone, the cops will also mark him as a hostile, so the best thing to do here is to let the cops do their job, and then loot the corpses afterwards. Because the cops cause the deaths, rather than the player, this should not affect the pacifist run. The break offered by the delay in Brave Witches‘s release turned out to be more advantageous than originally expected, but scheduled programming should resume in the upcoming week. The only question that remains now is whether or not Battlefield 1 may affect my progression through Mankind Divided.

Ten hours into Mankind Divided, I am reasonably impressed with the gameplay and how this new world is presented. The new augmentations and how Jensen is reverted into a more limited state is cleverly integrated into the narrative, and it feels fantastic to be playing through the game. I recall stating in my Human Revolution discussion that I was interested in playing through Human Revolutions without getting any kills, and although time was a major contributor to hindering that particular endeavour, this time, in Mankind Divided, I will be going for the Pacifist achievement. So far, I’ve made extensive use of oatience and non-lethal equipment to deal with my foes. I’m rather curious as to whether or not I’ll be able to unlock I do not believe I’ve killed anyone or allowed any direct deaths by my hand yet, and to make it easier to complete this particular style of gameplay, I will likely continue investing points into the stealth augmentations to better my capacities for sneaking through entire areas undetected, allowing me to try a style of gameplay that I do not often successfully execute.