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Tag Archives: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided- Late Impressions from the E3 Reveal

“The promise of a golden age is over!” — Viktor Marchenko

I might be late to the party, but I’m still the life of it- the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo was back in June, and has been one of the more solid ones in recent history, showcasing titles such as Star Wars Battlefront and DOOM. However, for me, the pièce de résistance was easily Edios Montreal’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Revolutions. When I completed it last summer, Human Revolutions took the spot as my favourite game of all time. Here was a title that had a very compelling story about the implications of technology, a richly developed world and abundance of choice. Players were free to complete the game in any manner of their choosing without penalty, and the game rewarded players for exploration. These elements together formed a title that was superbly memorable and entertaining. The ending I received for completing Human Revolutions was satisfying, so it did surprise me to learn that there was a direct sequel in development. Set after Human Revolutions, Mankind Divided deals with a world where augmentations have been viewed as harmful, and augmented individuals have been segregated from the remainder of society. Adam Jensen returns as the protagonist, assigned with stopping terrorist attacks and all the while, confront the individuals responsible for guiding the world into its present state from the shadows.

From the E3 gameplay alone, I’m already anticipating Mankind Divided. The developers explain that, as with Human Revolutions, their game can be approached from a multi-path, multi-solution perspective. This allows players to approach a situation in the manner of their choosing without penalty, and also encourages exploration. The footage also shows Mankind Divided as having superb graphics. While the new graphics are a bonus, they also enhance the sense of immersion: clutter in the environment and subtle details, such as the items in a room, really give the sense that Jensen is moving through a ghetto for augmented individuals. Features to gameplay not present in Human Revolutions include improved hacking, and all-new augmentations that allow for new approaches towards a problem. Adam Jensen can now lock onto and stun four individuals using stun darts, knock electronic enemies out of the air with a hand-mounted PEPS, and even fire explosive nanoblades to engage enemies behind cover. Hacking also appears to be given an upgrade; it feels familiar enough, but there are nuances that will make it a more engaging, challenging experience. In showcasing some of these new features, the E3 demonstration does much to build my anticipation for Mankind Divided, which is set for a release somewhere in “early 2016”.

Screenshots and Commentary

  • The first bit of gamplay shows that the UI’s been given a complete overhaul. It’s much cleaner and simpler than before, with key augmentations being accessible by shortcuts. There is a trove of information about Mankind Divided: it’s to be set in 2029, two years after Mankind Divided, and apparently, Adam Jensen’s found a new employer: he’s a part of Task Force 29, an Interpol Department that specialises in counterterrorism. However, Jensen does not fully trust them and occasionally leaks information to the Juggernaut Collective.

  • We recall that in Human Revolutions, combat was underwhelming in comparison to stealth. The developers state that combat’s been improved, so hopefully, that means firefights will be much more enjoyable. Similar to Crysis, it is now possible to customise weapons on the fly, and here, the developers switch to EMP pistol rounds to quietly disable a security camera.

  • Similar to the original Deus Ex, players can now receive conflicting missions and will be forced to make their decisions as to whom to trust. Boss fights will see improvements, which hopefully means that under some cases, there will be opportunities to negotiate with bosses, rather than forcing players to kill them in a straight-up fight. This was one of the few limitations in Human Revolutions, and was somewhat remedied in Director’s Cut, but it will be nice to have the full spectrum of options.

  • Several new augmentations were shown in the E3 demo: these are tesla darts that can lock onto up to four targets at once to silently stun them. Because augmentation abilities now figure greatly in the game, the notion of batteries have been dispensed with. Instead, there is a single bar for energy that gradually refills to a certain level, and consumption of certain resources can allow for the battery to recharge fully.

  • Improved spatial options are also available, allowing players to rapidly profile their environment for threats, pathways and resources. This tool could be especially useful for full stealth runs, allowing players to immediately figure out where enemies are and plot a path accordingly. However, Edios Montreal also states that a full-on combat approach will be a possibility, as well.

  • Remote hacking was one of the coolest new features to be implemented: with it, it’s possible to take control of and override elements from a distance. Successfully hacking something remotely will be intended to unlock shortcuts, allowing for stealth as Jensen bypasses heavily patrolled areas to minimise combat.

  • The ICARUS system makes a welcome return, and as with before, can be used to produce a hard landing that stuns everyone within a certain radius. It was one of the most useful augmentations in Human Revolutions, allowing Jensen to drop from heights without fear of death.

  • While there’s remote hacking, traditional hacking also makes a much welcome (and necessary) return. The new and improved hacking system sports visual improvements, but also is said to have additional tricks that make hacking more engaging and challenging. In Human Revolutions, hacking alone yielded substantial experience bonuses that made it easier to purchase praxis points for unlocking new augmentations. I wonder what augmentations will be available in Mankind Divided right off the bat, and which ones will need to be unlocked.

  • The updated graphics in Mankind Divided look amazing, featuring dynamic lighting, better textures and reflections. Human Revolutions excelled in its gameplay, so when I went through the game, the slightly older graphics were not a concern, but if Mankind Divided is able to match or surpass the story and gameplay of Human Revolution, this is going to be a title that will be remembered. Of course, if the graphics prove too much for my aging GPU, it might be time for an upgrade.

  • Most of the enemies featured in the E3 demo were themselves augmented, contrasting the unaugmented guards and soldiers that comprised much of Human Revolution‘s enemies. The presence of augmented enemies means that the possibility for combat diversity will be much greater. Some enemies have exo-skeletons, exotic weapons and unique abilities that is sure to liven up direct engagements. Given that Jensen has upgrades of his own, this could make fights more interesting, and here, the demo shows off the explosive nano-blade, which provides a means of engaging enemies behind cover.

  • According to some sources, all of the setpiece events in Mankind Divided will occur dynamically in response to the different decisions and choices that Jensen makes; nothing is scripted. Here, Jensen is using a shield that protects him from all harm for a short period: it was first showcased back during the March reveal trailer.

  • If the E3 demo is to be believed, combat will handle like a proper first person shooter now: besides the boss fights, I always felt that the combat rifle and shotgun in Human Revolutions were woefully underpowered, taking entire magazines to down a basic guard.

  • Remote turrets also make a return: here, Jensen makes use of an EMP grenade to disable it, before finishing it off with AP rounds from the combat rifle. I never did bother with the augmentation that allowed me to take control of turrets and robots, preferring to either sneak by them or using EMP grenades to stop them.

  • Being able to switch up a weapon’s attachments on the fly is going to be an immeasurably useful ability, allowing players to immediately react to different events and threats on the battlefield. Weapons customisation could very well be a large part of the game, enabling players to tailor a weapon towards their combat style, and admittedly, it will be nice to be able to swap between different sights and attachments for the different weapons.

  • Edios Montreal has stated that while the events of Human Revolution might not be entirely canon, they are planning to continue expanding this universe. There are no plans to make an MMORPG out of the franchise, but truth be told, that’s for the better. The Deus Ex franchise excelled in giving players choice and a highly immersive story, so an MMO with fetch-quests and mundane side missions could undermine the immersion.

  • While I’m ordinarily a somewhat impatient gamer and skip cutscenes, the conversation and social system in Human Revolutions marked the first time I was interested in listening carefully before making a choice. Whenever these conversations occurred, I strove to deliver responses closest to how I would personally react. Such an element contributed to Human Revolution‘s immersion, allowing me to project myself into Adam Jensen’s character, and it looks to make a return in Mankind Divided.

  • The HUD in Mankind Divided no longer has a golden-yellow finish, and also dispenses with the MMO-style inventory displays. While the weapon status and health/energy displays are still in their usual sports, the mini-map’s been moved into the upper right hand corner, and the lower left hand corner is now dominated by a display for augmentation shortcuts. It appears that augmentations will replace items as the elements in the game, although one would imagine that collecting things could still be important.

  • The amount of detail in the environments is quite stunning, and it’s sections like these that lead me to wonder whether or not my aging rig can still run it. As the demo showcases what would happen should Jensen fail the conversation, much combat ensues. The weapons sound much more powerful, and feel like they could actually cause some damage now. If this is indeed the case, then Mankind Divided will merit at minimum two playthroughs, one each for the combat and stealth.

  • This short demo has not given too much of the story away, but in the trailers, several characters make an appearance, including Victor Marchenko and a mysterious augmented youth responsible for a terrorist attack. The story is set in the Czech Republic, and much of the E3 demo is set in a decrepit area reminiscent of the Kowloon Walled City, a lawless settlement in Hong Kong that neither Britain nor China wanted to claim responsibility for. The ghetto showcased in Mankind Divided is composed of shops lining the streets and temporary housing units are stacked on one another, reaching upwards toward the sky to create a very claustrophobic atmosphere similar to that of the Kowloon Walled City.

  • Michael McCann will return to compose Mankind Divided‘s music: the trailer already features a fantastic piece that captures the dark, brooding feel of the Human Revolutions universe, and with the game set to come out in early 2016, I’m über-excited about this title’s release. In the meantime, there’s still plenty to do (read “Metro 2033 ReduxDead Core and Sakura Angels still need to be completed”), so for the present, my initial impressions of Mankind Divided have come to an end.

Because of my overwhelmingly positive experience with Human Revolutions, I am considering pre-ordering Mankind Divided. The decision to pre-order a title does not come lightly, and my typical modus operandi is to wait until a sale before picking up a new title. This way, I have time to determine whether a title is worth my while, and the savings are quite good. However, Mankind Divided appears to be a completely different beast: if the E3 demo is anything to go by, Edios Montreal has shown that Mankind Divided will be the a finely-crafted combination of story, gameplay and visuals. Most titles in the present age excel with two elements at the expense of a third, but Mankind Divided appears to have all three in abundance. These elements mean that the cost of pre-ordering would be offset by a title whose value justifies the launch price: fully exploring this game’s areas and playing through twice (once for stealth and once for combat) could yield some 70 hours of gameplay if the campaign was as long as that of Human Revolutions, a reasonable amount of gametime for a title costing an anticipated 70 CAD. Of course, it’ll be on me to finish my not-impossible Steam backlog before Mankind Divided‘s launch date is announced, before I’ll make a concrete decision.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Final Reflection

“These past few months, I was challenged many times, but more often than not, didn’t I try to keep morality in mind, knowing that my actions didn’t have to harm others? Time and time again, didn’t I resist the urge to abuse power and resources simply to achieve my goals more swiftly? In the past we’ve had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few. But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again? What if the path Sarif wants us to take enables us to hold on to higher values with more stability?” —Adam Jensen

Previously, I left off in Montreal, having defeated Yelena Federova and was set to return to Detroit, where a riot was awaiting, plus the revelation that the Illuminati were behind a conspiracy to damage augmentations, citing it as a danger to humanity. As I continued digging to the bottom of this case and made my way to Panchaea, a massive artificial island in the Arctic that was designed to combat global warming. Through it all, Deus Ex: Human Revolution never loses any of its immersion; now that I’m fully aware of my preferred play style, a unique hybrid between making use of non-lethal take downs, silenced armour-piercing pistol shots and hacking, I’ve selected all of my augmentations to accommodate this particular approach. The remainder of the game was spent finishing any side quests, speaking with people and otherwise doing my best to get places without lighting anyone up. Once I reached Panchaea and listened to Darrow, Taggart and Sarif’s viewpoints, I was ready to make my final decision regarding which broadcast to make.

  • Upon returning to Detroit, I immediately went about selling my heavy rifle, sniper rifle and shotgun, which had hitherto been wasting previous inventory space and got a few credits out of it. By this point in time, I had the armour piercing upgrade for my pistol, and the explosive ammunition for the revolver. Besides the main quest, I also completed all of the side quests that were available (having missed Prichard’s), and on my return to Jensen’s penthouse, was surprised to find the machine pistol and stun gun still there from last time.

  • Having the CASIE augmentation makes conversations almost a little too easy, but also allows me to make choices about conversations without worrying that I’ll say the wrong thing. Such an augmentation would probably cause a lot of mistrust in real life, since it would enable the user to manipulate or exploit personality traits to their advantage, and although I did not use the CASIE mod on Malik back during my first trip to Hengsha, it turns out trying to use it is pretty amusing.

  • During my return to Hengsha, I found that a minimal arsenal (consisting of a pistol, revolver and combat rifle) was more than sufficient for most encounters. The pistol, now equipped with the armour piercing rounds, downed the Belltower guards in a single shot to the head, and even after they deployed a 80-X Boxguard, I merely switched to my revolver, and blew it away in six shots. These weapons, though basic, proved immensely effective, and I was able to save Malik without any difficulty at all.

  • After the events in Hengsha ended, Jensen finds himself at a facility in Singapore. This is where the Sarif Industries scientists are held, and by this point in the game, I’m forgoing stealth for combat efficiency. The armour-piercing and explosive rounds for the pistol and revolver really make a difference. There are some enemies that require two headshots to down even with the AP-rounds, but the pistol is sufficient for the job. In fact, I might forgo a combat rifle on my next play-through and only make use of the pistols.

  • By maxing out my hacking capture and stealth capabilities, every terminal in the game becomes child’s play to hack, and tougher terminals can be handled by making use of the stop worm or nuke virus, which stops the trace for a few moments or captures a node instantly, respectively. These items are remarkably easy to obtain, and even though there are a fewer number of them lying around in-game later on, they can still be acquired by capturing data stores while hacking.

  • Ultimately, I found that equipping every weapon I had with a laser sight, and then firing from cover, was the absolute best way to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution as a shooter: shotoing from the first person just wasn’t effective at all, while the precision afforded by making use of cover meant that even distant enemies could be downed quickly.

  • Against Jaron Namir, I made use of the laser rifle and the see-though-walls augmentation to wear down his health, before finishing him off using the Typhoon Explosive system. This is the fight that I had been preparing my loadout and augmentations for; it is imperative that players do not accept the biochip upgrade, otherwise, Zhao will be able to cripple Jensen by disabling it, making this fight significantly more difficult. Even though Namir is the individual who annihilates Jensen to begin with, defeating him does not feel particularly satisfying.

  • While players can opt to leave Malik after being shot down in Hengsha, I chose to save her because it’s what needs to be done, and also, because it offers a fine opportunity to test out my new weapon modifications. Malik’s death will not cause a game-over, but instead, an alternative pilot will later be dispatched to pick up the scientists. Having Malik pick them up is quite rewarding, though, showing that saving her is the only thing to do.

  • I’ve finally arrived in Panchaea, a vast installation that was designed to reverse the effects of global warming by means of regulating the ocean temperatures. It is named after a Greek Island of the same name, which was described to be a Utopia on the Indian Ocean. Despite set during the daytime, even Panchaea has a yellow tinge to things: the lighting is supposed to be evocative of old manuscripts from the Renaissance.

  • The EMP shielding augmentation is a necessity, alongside maxed-out hacking capture, strength augmentations and the Icarus landing system. I still recall playing Deus Ex: Human Revolutions for the first time, and encountered an electrified hallway in Detroit. The only way to traverse the room was to find a pair of crates and walk across on top of them to reach the other side. There’s a switch to turn the electricity off, although on my second trip to Detroit, I had the EMP shielding augmentation and decided to, for old times’ sake, turn the electricity back on and walk across the electrified floor with no consequence.

Of the four possible endings, I ultimately chose the Sarif ending: in this ending, Jensen places the blame on Humanity Front, a pro-human organisation led by Taggart, subsequently allowing human augmentation to go on unrestricted by regulation. This choice has several implications; the first is whether or not telling a lie at someone’s expense is justified if it can be shown that the lie is beneficial to society. Here, Taggart takes the fall, and as a result, humanity is able to make use of augmentation technology to push itself further than it did before, providing accessible augmentations for all people, regardless of social standing and economic background. This segues nicely into the next implication surrounding accessibility of new technologies: this is a major issue in real-world topics, such as personalised medicine or genetic modification. For instance, personalised genome sequencing for disease genotypes is still somewhat expensive, meaning that only the more affluent members of society would have access to them. If we extrapolate this, and suppose that personalised medicine based on genetic information is going to be an expensive procedure, then only wealthier people would be able to access these methods to improve their health, creating a gap in healthcare access. Similarly, if genetic enhancement is a costly process, only the wealthy would be able to improve their genes for desirable characteristics, resulting in a positive feedback loop as the unmodified humans find themselves increasingly disadvantaged. This disparity could eventually lead to discontent and even conflict: such a point was the driving force behind the war in Gundam SEED, and as such, by choosing Sarif’s ending, at the minimum, Jensen would avoid creating such a divide in human society for the future. Under the Sarif ending, augmentations are accessible, and people would retain the choice of whether or not they wish to make use of it. By giving the option to the people, the Sarif ending is by far the optimal choice. The next best option, though seen as cowardly in some circles, is to destroy the facility and prevent the truth from getting out, thereby allowing humanity to decide for itself whether or not augmentation is something they wish to pursue. I believe that people should be free to make its own choices, and in fact, become irritated by the fact that people are so easily swayed by those in influential positions (especially the media), accepting things without giving it further thought. My own desire is for people to think critically and determine what’s best for them, but on the flip side, sometimes, people might make decisions based on short-term gains, rather than the long term, and may require a guiding force to push them in a direction that encourages long-term benefits. This ending gives people so many options that they might not be able to choose a decision that’s best for them. Taggart’s ending pinpoints the problem as a result of faulty Neuropozyne and provide a partial truth. Prima facie, this would be a decision I might have gone with; whenever challenging issues arise, I feel that society, though deserving to know the truth, may not be ready to accept the whole truth. The best solution here would be to present the truth, but only disclose what people are ready to hear. The Taggart ending puts augmentation research under government regulation, but this regulation is stated to eventually create a gap in society: knowing that the “morally correct” action ultimately causes suffering, I would not choose this ending: the Taggart ending represents a choice that is moral in the short term, but ultimately causes more disparity. The Darrow ending is something that stifles progress, and as such, I would not pick this one out of principle. However, for the achievement’s sake, I’ll pick all four endings.

  • I was actually looking to get this review out sooner, but on Wednesday, I was quite busy: one of my friends was leaving town to complete his graduate studies elsewhere, and a bunch of us threw a surprise party for him at a pub. It was wings night (a pound of wings for $3.50), and after ordering the honey garlic wings, I also decide to have a Smoke House Burger (a behemoth of a charbroiled burger with maple smoked white cheddar, fried onion and fried egg, with a side of fries), which was substantial and impacted my decision not to order more wings. I generally prefer pubs to bars, as they serve a wider range of menu items.

  • Darrow was the one person who I was not able to persuade using the CASIE augmentation: from what I’ve heard, those who successfully persuade him will be granted the access codes to shut down the Hyron project. However, the lockdown is disengaged, and after speaking with him, I sought out Taggart and Sarif to further talk to them.

  • Here is a moment with me using the combat rifle’s target seeking mechanic. By this point in the game, Jensen’s actions are set in stone, and taking down the now-zombiefied staff at Panchaea via lethal or non-lethal means will not yield any experience. While their condition is pitiable, there’s no way to save them, and they will quickly make short work of Jensen with their numbers, so it’s wise to take them out from a long distance. EMP grenades will not work on them.

  • There is a LIMB clinic on Panchaea, allowing Jensen to purchase a handful of Praxis kits. Because I more or less had all of the augmentations that fit my play-style, I decided to spend the rest of my Praxis points on extra batteries and aim stabilisation. I’ve also downed all the alcoholic beverages and special health items to boost myself to maximum health.

  • Between Sarif, Darrow and Taggart, or blowing up the station, I wonder what other gamers have chosen; different individuals choose different endings for different reasons, and although I wound up watching all four of them, I personally picked the Sarif ending, as it best fit my world-views. Of course, there is no “best” ending, or “correct” ending, for that matter.

  • The Hi-NRG plasma rifle is a directed-energy weapon that fires plasma rounds. The weapon fires slowly and has a short range but does massive damage, although its usefulness is quite limited owing to the fact that it appears so late in the game. It is first picked up from Namir, although ammunition for it isn’t found in great abundance until Panchaea is reached. Because the plasma rifle has a limited amount of splash damage, it is quite useful against the crowds of zombies later on.

  • I come to it at last: the fight with the Hyron project. Equipped with dermal armour, a maxed-out Typhoon system and an inventory filled with ammunition, this fight was a joke: I alternated between using the laser rifle to blast the turrets, the Typhoon system for the robots and the plasma rifle for anything that moves. With the right augmentations, this fight isn’t even a challenge.

  • In a manner reminiscent of older games, where one has to open something and then blast it; the plasma rifle is quite effective for this sort of thing. If I were to go back and play Deus Ex: Human Revolution again, I would probably do so with a much greater eye for exploration. I was seeking to finish the campaign by July’s end so I could get a start on Borderlands 2, but instead, I got to the Hyron project and stopped playing for a few weeks owing to various circumstances.

  • There isn’t another way, and even though it is immoral to do so, one needs to wipe floor with Zhao in order to finish the game. Those seeking to play for efficiency can supposedly finish the fight by using the laser rifle and fire through the glass protecting Zhao, by passing all of the other sections. Deus Ex: Human Revolutions was said to have a 25-hour campaign, and I finished it, plus most of the side-quests, within 27 hours over the space of a month-and-a-half. I thoroughly enjoyed all 27 hours of it.

  • For posterity’s sake, I’ve taken a screenshot of me about to select the Sarif ending. I realise that this post is one long spoiler, but given that it’s been almost three years since Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released, all the discussions would have calmed by this point in time; I might be late to the party, but the experience remains as exhilarating. If I were to summarise this lengthy read into a single sentence, I would say that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is probably one of most enjoyable games I have experienced, and that it is definitely worth trying out.

With the Sarif ending selected, it turns out that my own actions in Deus Ex: Human Revolution produced the good ending variations, regardless of ending I chose. Contrasting Metro: Last Light, it seems that the choices I made were the ones that lead to a good ending. Such an ending suggests that Adam Jensen, though resentful of his resurrection, can nonetheless make the most of things and turn his newfound powers towards helping people. Of course, other players may opt to shoot through the campaign or else brutalise anything that moves. The single most solid element in Deus Ex: Human Revolution lies not with the gameplay or graphics, but rather, just how significant choice is relative to the story; decisions that players make can have far reaching consequences later on, affecting the story. However, there is no such thing as a “bad” choice (in the sense that picking it ends the game); things simply progress differently, as they do in real life. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is, once everything is said and done, perhaps one of, if not the best games I’ve ever completed: the only complaint I can think of, besides the boss fights, is the fact that shooting in the first person is unintuitive, and aiming down the sights doesn’t improve accuracy. Having died frequently early in the game, when I was playing through it like a traditional shooter, I eventually decided to shoot from cover only and wound up with perfect accuracy. A game that only has two downsides is a game worth playing; Deus Ex: Human Revolution comes close to being a perfect game. Featuring a story that immerses players through a combination of decision-making, dialogue, various news articles and eBooks scattered throughout the settings, a combat system that emphasises choice (players can even opt to use stealth throughout the entire game and not kill anyone save bosses), level designs that feel futuristic, yet familiar and a brooding soundtrack, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game that does so many things correctly, making it a meaningful experience for anyone who considers themselves to be a gamer.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution- Midgame impressions

“I never asked for this.” —Adam Jensen

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a title I had picked up last year during the Steam Summer Sale, but only got around to playing it properly at June’s closing. After the opening scenes rolled, I would take on the role of Adam Jensen, a security officer for Sarif Industries who is mortally wounded at the game’s beginning and is subsequently brought back to life with an array of augmentations. In the next few hours, I familiarised myself with the game’s mechanics and found myself at awe with just how much depth there is in the game. Whether it be the dialogue (and options to have Jensen respond differently), the conversations between various NPCs, newspapers, pocket secretaries or eBooks, the world in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is incredibly rich in detail and story. The question that invariably comes to the forefront of all discussion would be the ethical implications behind human augmentation and transhumanism. The conflicts in the game stem largely from shadowy organisations going up against mega-corporations, protesting human augmentation as a violation of the natural order. This ultimately kicks off Deus Ex: Human Revolution; as Jensen delves deeper into the investigation behind who was responsible for the attacks on Sarif that left him injured, questions arise as to whether or not augmentation is truly something humanity should pursue.

  • I suppose it’s time I actually started this game, and so, exactly a month ago, on a rainy afternoon, I finally opened the game for the first time and sat through the opening cinematics, which introduced the Typhoon weapon system. Set right on the eve of a major scientific conference, many themes about transhumanism and research ethics come into play here. Back during my undergraduate degree, one of my courses involved ethics in medical research, so I do hold my own opinions about what is and is not ethical.

  • With that in mind, I think I’ll hold back on the ethics discussions for the time being, seeing as I would probably be forced to refer to primary literature or textbooks in order to adequately discuss things. For now, this is a talk about what I’m enjoying in Deus Ex: Human Revolution so far, and I recall that early on, I was quite unaccustomed to the control scheme: typically, right-click brings up the iron sights, but right-click is used for cover in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I’ve kept it this way in Deus Ex: Human Revolution because cover is an integral part of gameplay.

  • Faridah Malik is one of Sarif’s chief pilots, ferrying Jensen around in a company VTOL. I’ve gotten a HUD as a result of the augmentations now (notice how there was no HUD in the earlier screenshots). Here, I am making my way to the first major mission in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which involves a Purist First, a group of anti-augmentation supporters who take over a Sarif facility holding the Typhoon weapons system.

  • Jensen will be given a choice to go non-lethal or lethal in order to secure the Typhoon, an augmentation that shoots out explosive ball bearings in a 360° direction around Jensen. It requires two Praxis points to activate, and a third to max out. Fully upgraded, it can destroy robots in a single shot, and eliminate any boss in two shots. I completed this mission with only one casualty, which arose after I ran out of darts for the stun gun and was cornered by a Purity First supported while low on health and battery. In the end, when I confronted Zeke, I chose to let him escape after convincing him to free the hostage, feeling that he was entangled in something.

  • The city hubs are the areas of the game with the most open feel to them: here, NPCs will offer side quests when approached. Completing these quests with a benevolent hand will yield experience points, credits and equipment, as well as giving greater insight into the Deus Ex: Human Revolution world. I find that the best approach to take for side quests is to play things as closely to the real-world as required: instead of sneaking about, sometimes, it’s easier to go through the front door and talk to people.

  • This is one of the LIMB clinics in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where players can go to purchase Praxis kits. Experience points and credits also go towards acquiring Praxis points: these points are functionally identical to skill points in other RPGs, allowing players to unlock augmentations suited for their style of gameplay. The augmentations make the game substantially easier, and there is an achievement in one of the DLCs for going through the entire game without augmentations beyond the default ones for vision and hacking.

  • Hacking is an essential part of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and is one of the fastest ways to obtain XP towards getting Praxis points. While real-world hacking does not work remotely like it does in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it adds a fun mini-game and rewards players for exploring. The system is very easy to learn and isn’t involved by any means, although some of the tougher systems will require augmentations in order to be hacked.

  • The combat system in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is completely optional, and when one chooses to take a combat-driven approach, they can do so using lethal and non-lethal weapons, as well as lethal and non-lethal takedowns. I find that a traditional first-person shooter approach, characterised by aiming down sights, doesn’t really work too well compared to taking cover and making use of a laser sight to accurately down distant foes. At closer ranges, I usually prefer non-lethal takedowns (which are quicker to perform, silent and yield more XP), or else just fire from the hip.

  • Lawrence Barrett is the first boss Jensen encounters, deep in the bowels of the FEMA facility. In the standard version of Deus Ex: Human Revolutionboss fights are mandatory and end with the boss dying, although The Director’s Cut allows for bosses to be spared. These fights break away from the option-laden approach in the campaign and turns the game into a 1v1 arena. Barrett is a mercenary hired by Belltower and is notable for having an integral chain-gun built into his suit. Those without a rocket launcher can best him using a combination of EMP grenades and headshots.

  • After Barrett is defeated, he tells Jensen that what the latter seeks is in Hengsha, before blowing himself up with grenades in the hopes of taking Jensen with him. Upon meeting up with Malik, Jensen heads to Hengsha (横沙), an alluvial island in the Yangtze river delta transformed into a bi-layered city. Known as the Pearl of the Yangtze, Hengsha is home of the Tai Yong medical company and holds clues into the attack at Sarif months ago.

Insofar, I’ve beaten the game up to the confrontation with Yelena Fedorova, who was wiped out with liberal use of the heavy rifle. From a gameplay perspective, Deus Ex: Human Revolution handles like a role-playing game with first and third person shooter mechanics, as well as the option of stealth. There are items to collect and experience points to earn, which are subsequently translated into Praxis points and used to unlock augmentations. Depending on one’s play-style, augmentations for combat, stealth or hacking can be picked. Those favouring combat will find that the game can be approached as a first or third person shooter: in practise, since Jensen is quite fragile even with the dermal augmentations, I prefer doing most of my shooting from the third person. Of course, it’s quite possible to go through the game without killing anyone (save bosses and certain NPCs), but I find that a combination between stealth, non-lethal take-downs and firefights works best for me. In fitting with my preferences, I’ve chosen to upgrade my hacking capture level and stealth to hack terminals and computers more easily. As well, I have all of the strength upgrades to fully use my inventory, punch through walls and move heavy objects. For exploration’s sake, I also have the Icarus landing system so I can move around more easily without taking falling damage, and I picked up the social enhancer, because talking to people to enter restricted areas or allay suspicions is far easier than sneaking about.

  • Here, I’ve completed the Shanghai Justice side quest Malik offers. For me, Hengsha was a particularly entertaining section in the game, evoking the “Asian City” feel perfectly. Though it’s nowhere near as crowded as Hong Kong, the street-side shops, dialogue, signs and atmosphere are perfect. The Chinese characters speak Mandarin Chinese, which I only have some familiarity with, but it does feel good to be able to mostly understand what people are saying without the subtitles.

  • I’ve busted into the Tai Yong medical center and are getting closer to one of the secured severs here, in a room filled with laser security beams. As these beams follow a pattern, it’s reasonably simple to remain Oscar Mike until the end of the room is reached. There’s a switch to shut this system off. Readers will note that I am jumping ahead a fair bit with the photographs: this is because there is quite a bit to talk about in  Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and if I were to do a full walkthrough, there’d be enough content for me to start a separate blog.

  • This is the Longsword Sniper rifle, a weapon that occupies a fair portion of Jensen’s inventory and is intended for long range combat. Installing a laser sight makes the weapon woefully inaccurate unless firing from cover while zoomed in. Typically, I pick up sniper rifles to sell for credits; at this point in the game, a combat rifle with a laser sight, coupled with non-lethal takedowns and a stun-gun are my preferred way of combat early on in the game.

  • Besides hacking augmentations, one of the earliest upgrades players should opt for are the strength ones to boost the inventory size, allowing for Jensen to hold onto more stuff. While we’re doing strength, it’s also good to boost lifting capacity (which allows Jensen to lift and toss things like vending machines and dumpsters to find hidden passage ways) and punch through walls to expose new paths. By Hengsha, I also have dermal armour, EMP shielding, the Icarus landing system and maxed out hacking capture and stealth.

  • After a confrontation with Zhao Yun Ru, the building’s entire security detail will be all over the map.Because I’m forgoing stealth for combat, I slowly picked all of them off before making my way to the hanger, where two security bots patrol. This is before I acquired the revolver’s explosive ammunition upgrade and Typhoon system: I was scrounging around for EMP grenades and found some, allowing me to disable them. Previously, I just snuck past them to avoid being fired upon, but sometimes, direct confrontation is necessary.

  • I suddenly realise that, throughout Deus Ex: Human RevolutionI’ve finally used all of the weapons that were subsequently ported to Team Fortress 2 for promotional purposes; the shotgun, sniper rifle and revolver are were included as weapons for the engineer, sniper and spy class. I acquired all of these weapons through drops in Team Fortress 2, but for one reason or another, I haven’t played very frequently since last summer ended. For the most part, though, the combat rifle, pistol and revolver are the game’s most practical and effective weapons: even at close range, the shotgun may require two shots to down an enemy, while the sniper rifle is only useful in a few contexts and otherwise occupies precious inventory space.

  • After leaving Hengsha, Jensen requests Malik drop him off at Montreal’s Picus Communications center. Here, the 2027 Montreal skyline can be seen, and it’s good to see a Canadian city in a game: given that Eidos Montreal developed Deus Ex: Human Revolution, it seems natural that their city be featured as one of the levels. However, there is no city hub here, as the entire mission is set inside the Picus Communications building.

  • I spent most of the Montreal mission digging through every single drawer and hacking every computer in office areas. Insofar, I’ve only bought one Praxis kit from the LIMB clinic: all of my other augmentations were unlocked via experience points. I don’t think I’ve mentioned the music yet, which I found to add significantly to the game’s atmospherics. The Deus Ex: Human Revolution soundtrack was nominated for many awards back during 2011 for its dark, brooding tones, attesting to its quality, and I especially love the main theme, “Icarus”.

  • There’s more to the Picus center than meets the eye, though: after Jensen discovers that Eliza Cassan is an AI, he finds a way to the building’s subterranian levels to learn more about Cassan and the Tyrants. Over the past month, I’ve been helping looking after a relative’s lionhead rabbit; we usually clean the pen twice a day, and give food in the morning and by evening. In the latter, I’m typically playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution when the time comes for the rabbit to be given lettuce, so I’ll pause the game, get said lettuce and give it to the rabbit, who then happily eats it. Because this is so adorable, I’ll watch the rabbit eat all of the lettuce before returning to whatever it is I’m doing.

  • I admit, I was not expecting a boss fight with Yelena Fedorova at the level’s end, but my FPS instinct kicked in after I found a room filled with heavy rifles. These support weapons fulfil the role served by LMGs, and although powerful, isn’t very practical because of how unwieldy it is. Against Fedorova, though, the weapon performs quite well with the EMp shielding augmentation: she makes use of a Typhoon knockoff and will accidentally damage the servers, sending sparks into the room and stunning her. Some 100 heavy rifle rounds later, here’s another boss fight I beat. For the next bosses, I’ll probably use the Typhoon system.

The first thing that comes to mind in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the level of immersion and degree of freedom the game offers. Besides the variety of approaches one can take towards finishing missions, players can also interact with the dialogue, picking different responses Jensen can make during a conversation. This mechanic allows players to truly feel like they’re a part of the game; I play Jensen as calm, reasonable and adapting to his augmentations. This was particularly rewarding during the earlier missions, where I talked Zeke Sanders into releasing his hostage and leave quietly without much incident. Beyond conversations and various tidbits into what is going on in their world gained from the main mission and scattered throughout the game, there are also side quests that can be completed to gain further insight into what has transpired. These elements alone gives Deus Ex: Human Revolution a very involved story that captivates the player; it’s certainly kept me playing through the game and exploring every nook imaginable, and I can’t wait to see what awaits me upon a return to Detroit for the second time (well, there’s a riot over augmentations, but there are also things to get done).

Steam Summer Sale 2013

There’s only a half-day left in the Steam Summer Sale 2013 at the time of writing. This event has become somewhat of a tradition, but this year was my first participation; I’ve long expressed a desire to get Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and a game that would be similar to Deadly Premonotion. This game would be fulfilled by Alan Wake. During the summer sale, Skyrim was offered at half-price, while the entire Alan Wake franchise enjoyed a 90 percent discount, I also purchased Audiosurf and, on the spur of the moment, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. No, I adamantly refuse to call it a Summer “Seal” for any reason. That joke is not amusing and was never funny to begin with. However, what is amusing is how excellent the deals are.

  • I originally intended to buy Magicka and Trials: Evolution alongside these games, but I came to the horrifying realisation that between just the four games here, I would probably never finish all of them. I’ll pick up these games during the Holiday Sale that comes in winter only if I somehow manage to make good progress in Alan Wake (Skyrim is an open-world game and will probably be something I do wherever I feel the want to explore to my heart’s content).

  • Badges for the Summer Sale 2013 must now be earned, and with the sale rapidly drawing to a close, I’ll need to hunt down people with the right cards so I can craft my Summer Sale badge. At the time of writing, I am at level 8 in Steam, and strange as it sounds, wish to get to level 10 solely for the purpose of getting a red ring around my level number.

In previous years, the lack of a powerful PC precluded the possibility of capitalising on such excellent deals. Specifically, I did not have the GPU power to make the most of all these sales, and lacked the RAM to keep the game running alongside my OS. There is one final note I have: the day before the Steam Summer Sale 2013 kicked off, all of the Half-Life games were on discount, allowing me to buy Half-Life 2: Episode 1 and Half-Life 2: Episode 2 at 2.49 USD each. As noted on one of my earlier posts, a bus ticket costs more than that. During the Summer sale proper, the episodes somehow cost more than they did previously. With this in mind, it’s not difficult to understand why Valve has such a number of repeat customers.