If there’s one thing we hate to do in real life, it’s make the hard decisions. For some reason though, we love to sit down with a video game and spend hours making decisions. Maybe it’s because the decisions we make in video games don’t impact our mortgage, family and friends. But videogames often fail to make those decisions really matter in the actual gameplay. Many games have tried to make decisions matter. The Fable franchise comes to mind. Yet rarely does a game really show the results of the choices you make during play. This is exactly what Eidos’ Deus Ex: Human Revolution tries (quite successfully) to do.
Developer Eidos Montreal has created a title in which practically every choice made has consequences. And we’re not talking about silly outcomes like the color of your boots. Sure Human Revolution isn’t the first game to have game impacting choices. Mass Effect, Heavy Rain and Final Fantasy join titles like Fable that try to provide branching paths of gameplay. Human Revolution takes it to another level though. Combining eye-popping visuals with one of the most immersive and suspenseful soundtracks to hit games in a long time, the latest Dues Ex title really delivers.
A true testament to this game is that you never want to put the controller down. After spending just a little time in the shoes of Adam, you really take an interest in his outcome and where the story will lead you. Working as a security officer at Sarif Industries, the world’s leader in human augmentation, you’ve got a checkered past that really sets up a story worthy of the big screen.
Things don’t go well for you early on. Sarif isn’t doing well and before you know it, you’ve got more artificial components inside of you than a next-gen console. The choices from here on are all very important even if they don’t appear so at first. The best thing about the way decisions are laid out before you is how natural they feel. Nothing feels forced, which isn’t something that can be said about the other franchises mentioned earlier.
Choices vary from simple text-based conversations that could be seen as trivial to major decisions that impact where the game goes from there. Sometimes the choices are a mixture of both. Maybe you choose a route that requires conversation or maybe you choose to be sneaky and avoid interacting with NPCs all together. The choice is yours and that’s why this game is so good. You never feel forced to go one way or another. Even side-quests are optional.
It’s not just the way the options are laid out. Dues Ex: Human Revolution supports the story with great imagery and sound. The environments are all very well detailed and provide a genuine experience. Unlike a lot of games, each building and area looks different. Too often we come across a game where the set pieces look like they came out of a cookie cutter. Human Revolution focuses on the little details to ensure the big ones don’t suffer. Little things like objects on desks all being in different configurations add to the overall realism. You end up wanting to explore every inch of the environments you encounter.
Everything isn’t perfect though. There are certain times when you want to interact with something like a box or bag only to find it’s just a static set piece that’s only there for “mood”. When you come across these, you’ll feel a little frustrated because everything else is interactive. So these rare instances can take away from the experience and create a sense of inconsistency. You’re never pulled out of the story that Dues Ex weaves though.
The combat is a mix of smooth movements with a solid cover system. The gunplay is spot on and will have you feeling right at home in no time. The hand to hand combat isn’t as strong as the weapon-based action, but there is something very satisfying about sneaking up on an enemy and killing them before they even know you’re there. There are some animations issues with the way stealth kills are displayed, but again it’s a small gripe.
The upsides far outweigh the downsides, although the negatives are present. In addition to the stealth kills being a little “off” and the inconsistencies with interactive objects, there’s the issue of one major choice not really mattering. You can either stun or kill an enemy, but this doesn’t seem to matter. Once you incapacitate a baddy, they never wake up. So why not just run around wacking everyone in site? In a game with so many choices and avenues for your character to go, you’d think killing would be a choice that has consequence.
Dues Ex: Human Revolution offers up decisions. There’s no debating that aspect of the game. One of the things that really stands out while playing, but might get overlooked is the way in which everything is displayed. The interface is so nicely done that you almost forget how well everything is laid out after a few hours of gameplay. This includes the way augmentations and their stories are presented. There’s so much to like in Human Revolution that the minor faults it contains are forgivable. It’s rare to find a game where everything from the menus to the environments are clean and beautiful. This game pulls it off with a great story that you write as you play. The first decision is whether or not to pick this one up. It’s also the easiest choice because it’s a “yes”.