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Human Revolution - minor issues, major depth

By Stuart Andrews
Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score

8/10

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Review Price £34.99

The storyline and setting, meanwhile, work like a treat. Set in the years before the original Deus Ex, Human Revolution is a tale of humanity at the crossroads. A security officer at a cutting-edge cybernetics company is almost killed in an assault on company HQ by persons unknown. Revived and augmented with the latest cyber-tech, he’s set on the trail of the mercenaries who attacked him, and who killed a scientist he had some unresolved relationship with. The visual style is designed to mix renaissance motifs with the trappings of cyberpunk, and at times the game carries this off extremely well. Neither your hero or the supporting cast have the charisma or personality of the stars of, say, Mass Effect or Red Dead Redemption, but there’s a decent story here to get your teeth into.

Human Revolution

But Human Revolution still has its share of faults. In the early stages, while the game is busily feeding you tutorials and starter missions, it can feel curiously unengaging. The opening Detroit hub gives you masses to do, but not always a lot of motivation to actually do it. The graphics are heavily stylised, with some beautiful design and pseudo-Renaissance flourishes, but they can also look oddly dated. Put Human Revolution against a Killzone, a Gears of War or an Uncharted, and neither the characters nor the scenery look cutting-edge, though the design is just as considered and coherent. Audio brings up other issues. The score itself is fantastic, hitting all the right sci-fi and action notes, but stilted dialogue and repetitive samples let the game down, spoiling the illusion of a living, breathing future world.

And while Human Revolution can work brilliantly as a stealth game, particularly with a few choice augmentations and a patient attitude, it falls down slightly as a shooter. On the easy and medium difficulty levels the AI is smart enough to patrol and search in a convincing fashion, but not really smart enough to make for exciting opponents. Your character and your weapons can also feel underpowered in the early chunk of the game. Despite an effective cover system, take on enemies in any numbers and it will only be a few shots before you’re dead. Up to a point, this is in keeping with the think-before-you-blast approach of Deus Ex, but it also makes the game frustrating unless you want to spend your life cowering in a vent. Meanwhile, boss battles where key enemies can take dozens of shotgun blasts to the head really have no place in a game like this. On the plus side, as your character gets upgraded, the combat improves with it. We've had some fun playing a badass, but also some fun playing sneaky sniper with a silenced pistol, and there's nothing like using mines to turn hunters into hunted – or recently exploded.

Human Revolution

Despite these problems, it’s worth persevering, because this is one of those games that gets better and better the more you play and the more time and energy you put into it. By the time we’d infiltrated an underground base and started to uncover the conspiracy at work, we were hooked, and more of the old Deus Ex magic started to kick in. It’s at this point that the hours begin to bleed into each other, and you’re starting to think about your next augmentation, or how you might get up on that fire escape, or whether you could sneak into the security room and co-opt the security bots instead of fight them, instead of worrying that it’s three in the morning and you have work the next day. And most importantly, you’ll get many, many nights like this. The main storyline alone will take you upwards of twenty hours to work through, and once you throw optional sub-quests and objectives in the mix, the total just keeps going up. While your average Call of Duty is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it affair, Human Revolution is a long-term relationship. It might take you a while to realise that you love it, but once you do it’s a love that lasts.

Our Score

8/10
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meeto 0

August 24, 2011, 1:19 pm

Im glad they poured more resources into art direction then technical achievement. THe games you compared it to on the graphics front all have too many common similarities in look that most shooters start to look generic. Big bulky american running around with massive guns and so on. They even start to look like they are all using the same engine

ClivePounds

August 24, 2011, 4:19 pm

Hopefully the dev team have provided a decent control system for the PC and it's not some half-arsed console compromise!

stranded

August 24, 2011, 6:38 pm

I believe big gaming companies offer gamers a gameplay and visuals that have died a long time ago, if they ever existed.
It's 2011 and game developers give us laughable attempts like this game. Feels like it's 10 years ago, nothing has changed for big awesome comps.

nanite2000

August 25, 2011, 3:41 am

So you've played the game then? Oh no, that's right - you haven't. Doesn't look like you read the review either.

By all accounts, the game developers spent more time on the gameplay and plot than the visuals. If so, then I applaud them for that.

Do you also whine that Angry Birds isn't cutting edge graphics?

stranded

August 25, 2011, 7:06 pm

@nanite2000
I have played many games like this and the previous Deus Ex games. Open gameplay is good, but all other aspects of the game are mediocre or bad. There is no meaning for me to have complete freedom to do whatever i want, as long it is nonsense. Graphics and gameplay are too shiny and fashionable for me and are better suitable for console teenagers (i hate consoles). I think Call Of Duty space zombies look more exciting compared to this game.
The previous Deus Ex games were not masterpieces, they had some good elements that were not found at other games of their time, but they had many shortcomings too.
I think we are still some decades before a proper shooter-adventure game being released.

nanite2000

August 26, 2011, 1:43 am

Specifically, it is still decades before *your* idea of a perfect shooter-adventure game gets released. From your own words, it doesn't need shiny graphics and gameplay (even though these were the very things you felt it lacked in your first comment).

You say that, apart from open gameplay, "all other aspects of the game are mediocre or bad". Can you be more specific? I'm interested to know how you formed this opinion since you haven't actually played the game.

True, previous Deus Ex games had their shortcomings. But those shortcomings didn't detract from what was an amazing game overall. By all accounts, this game is an improvement in every respect. You seem to suggest developers should never release a game until it is perfect in every aspect, but I believe games should be stepping stones to continual improvement. Should they have delayed the release of the original Half Life until they had better graphics, sounds, gameplay, etc...?

stranded

August 26, 2011, 1:19 pm

@nanite2000
At my first comment i didn't say i wanted great graphics, the new Deus Ex game has very good graphics from a technical point of view, i only said that i never liked that console kind of graphics. You perceive my words the way you like and feel suitable for you.
I don't suggest developers to stop releasing new games, they are free to create tons of them, i just don't buy and play them. I don't care.
Throughout the gaming history, only few developers created great and solid games that advanced this art. There are many game categories and subcategories. I can't deal with any random super hyped game.
I live my own life and this is my opinion. Sad thing is there are infinite different lives and opinions on this planet. Thank God all people are not the same one homogeneous thing.

MrGodfrey

August 26, 2011, 4:01 pm

@stranded: Obviously you are welcome to live your own life and hold your own opinion, no-one is trying to assimilate or homogenise you. All we're trying to do here is have a discussion. If you want to go beyond a vague whinge, I would be quite interested to hear what you look for in a game, and what exactly you perceive to be the shortcomings of current and previous generation games. While Deus Ex 2 was somewhat disappointing, the first was in fact widely recognised as a classic (a masterpiece if you will) for the approach to gameplay but also for the atmospheric design and sense of immersion in the game's world and story. If you're not impressed by one of the finest games of the past 15 years then maybe you have very high standards and I would respect that, however if you're prepared to dismiss its new sequel as "laughable" without having played and without giving any reasons, that's not much of an opinion.

stranded

August 27, 2011, 10:14 am

@MrGodfrey
I think Deus Ex 2 was better than 1. I liked it much more.
The new Deus Ex is just a typical generic console shooter with some sci-fi surroundings to persuade the 10 years old gamer that it is cool and advanced.
If you play Prince Of Persia or Deus Ex you feel no difference.
Call Of Duty, Crysis, Doom, Far Cry and other craps are recognized as classics, am i forced to say they are great games?
After you have played 1-2-5-50-100 games that looked exactly the same, you start to have a tiny little bit of distrust.
I am not a big shooter fan, i find 99% of them ultra boring. I usually play strategy, racing and old style arcade games. I don't like Hollywood blockbuster movie style games.

nanite2000

August 28, 2011, 5:10 pm

Have you actually played 'Deus Ex: Human Revolution'? I suspect you haven't, since it was only officially released a few hours before you made your original comment (but please correct me if I'm wrong). If you have, then you are entitled to your opinion, though I (and @MrGodfrey it seems) are entitled to disagree with you. If you haven't played 'Deus Ex: HR', then I think it's only fair you make that known. That way, people can decide whether to follow the advice of an experienced games reviewer who has played the whole game from start to finish, or a jaded games player with no firsthand experience of the game whatsoever.
And if you think Prince Of Persia and Deus Ex (I'm guessing you mean the original?) play the same, then you have obviously not played them both.

stranded

August 29, 2011, 9:44 am

@nanite2000
Deus EX HR is a good game, but it's ultra boring for me. I don't care about experienced reviewer advices, it's supposed to be my opinion, i am not a pro game reviewer and i don't get paid for this. Old Deus Ex games are boring for me too now, anyway, i wasn't very excited when i played them some years ago. It's 2011 (2012 soon) and i expect something more than just a nice sequel. Big gaming companies are lagging so much behind that it's not playable anymore, they must be kicked.
Online ads and infinite different game versions? You expecting me to play THAT, are you kidding? We are talking about big money and i am not giving.

DrDark

August 30, 2011, 7:54 pm

"Throughout the gaming history, only few developers created great and solid games that advanced this art."

So, what are some examples of the titles which have impressed you personally?

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