I loved the style and mood delivered by Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Eidos Montreal pitched a convincing future where the definition of humanity was challenged and built a compelling world with numerous approach vectors to flesh out said future. There were well documented issues like the infamous boss encounters but in the end the title’s charms wooed me.
Pre-ordering Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was a no brainer for me; all they had to do was continue to build on top of the well established foundation of Human Revolution. In many respects that’s what exactly what Eidos Montreal did with Mankind Divided. They created a more seamless world with fewer load screens. They expanded and refined Adam Jensen’s capabilities to match modern sensibilities. Most importantly, they continued to develop the world after the events Human Revolution. Unfortunately, unlike Human Revolution, they ended it with far too many unanswered questions. I felt like I played through 20 hours of build up and just as the first domino was pushed over, the credits rolled.
The PlayStation 4 version of Mankind Divided suffered from stutters while wandering throughout the streets of Prague but outside of that “overworld” and into the buildings and complexes, the game performed admirably. Some assets and models were not up snuff but the overall fantastic art made up for these technical shortcomings. As an example, the time honored tradition of NPCs appearing less detailed compared to the protagonist continued in this game as well. I liked the designs the characters but the animation and model quality for anyone that wasn’t Jensen was noticeably inferior. Who knows? Maybe Adam was the only one who can afford overly detailed trench coats.
Some may see the loop of hacking and reading fellow employees’ e-mails rote the second time around but it’s been long enough that I felt it was a good refresher into the events and happenings of that universe without having to be blatant about it. The events of Human Revolution have shone a very negative light on augmented humans. They were seen as danger to normal humans throughout the world. What was once a burgeoning and progressive field of human advancement was derailed indefinitely. No one trusted augmented humans anymore and the game did its best to reinforce that fact. Augs were discriminated against by local authorities and ordinary citizens alike. The only reason Adam Jensen was able to walk around without a care in the world was because of his employer, TF29.
As an agent of this international anti-terrorist agency, it was Adam’s job to untangle plots of terrorism between the increasingly hostile populace. Prague was a hot bed for said tensions because of the government sanctioned segregation of augmented individuals. As an augmented individual, Adam was asked to traverse on augmented only subway trains subjected to stringent security checks. I found it was a decent portrayal of oppression and discrimination that’s a reflection of what many individuals face today let alone the past. However, I also believe they skirted much of the inconvenience and hardships that Adam should have faced by giving him the TF29 badge.
The main story thread had Adam deciphering leads after an undercover operation went awry in Dubai and a terrorist bombing took innocent lives in a Prague subway station. Like I mentioned earlier, this main story thread didn’t lead to satisfactory conclusion. There was a finale but with so many other questions raised, finishing one thread felt short. The sidequests were often more interesting in nature. They dealt with elements in human trafficking, document forgery and other illicit activities that oppressed people face. The sidequests tackled more interesting and varied topics but they often involved Adam dictating outcomes based on my own personal beliefs. It often boiled down to if I should sympathize with “my own” kind or follow the letter of the law. They weren’t tough choices.
Despite its familiarity and impotent ending, I would easily go in on another Deus Ex title. I find the game’s imperfections endearing and the team’s drive to create a plausible but troubled future refreshing. I don’t know if I would get augmented legs or arms but I cannot wait for the time where our phones will be made out of a sheet of glass. I look forward to unearthing weird conspiracies and secrets by rummaging through people’s personal lives. I want to break open the game by overdeveloping my abilities before the first major story beat. I love the idea of ignoring a robust and intricately designed weapon’s system because I chose the non-lethal route. There aren’t many titles that I want to revisit with the “new game+” option but Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is one. There are a few paths through this game that I left unexplored that I would be glad to revisit. I just hope there’s a path towards a sequel in the near future because it desperately needs one.
I like it