The Revolution

On a lighter note, a highly anticipated game dropped Tuesday. I’ve been playing the hell out of it.

The original Deus Ex was considered an astounding game for a lot of reasons. The graphics weren’t hot, even at the time (released in 2000), but they were made up for with well-handled gameplay. Players were given plenty of choices for dealing with situations: the full on attack approach, the stealthy tactics, hacking security systems to allow access (or to kill enemies), etc. There were deeper choices as well, such as whether or not to use lethal tactics. And unusually but brilliantly, those choices mattered in the larger story.

And what a story! The developers grabbed pretty much every conspiracy theory cliche you can think of. The Illuminati, Majestic 12, Area 51, Echelon, Men in Black, aliens, Knights Templar, Bilderberg Group, and the Chinese Triads to boot. Several twists and turns, blah blah. All of this was centered around larger questions about what it means to be human, and whether or not technological evolution is possible, or even ethical.

But here I’m gushing and not talking about the new one. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a prequel that sets up the first game. There had already been a sequel to the original, which fell quite flat, but DX:HR is incredible to play. Quite aside from the fact that the graphics are brilliant, the story is very much in the style of the first, as is the gameplay. All of the updates to make use of the evolved concepts of gaming fit in perfectly, beautifully even. It’s a joy to play a game of this quality.

And it asks some of the same sorts of questions about humanity. It centers around the player as a nearly-killed agent who is saved only by completely overhauling him with Augments, tech bits grafted on. He works for a company that had been doing cutting edge research on the tech behind it, and his near-killing came when it was attacked, presumably by pro-humanity forces. The quest since then has been to find out who did it, and the journey to do so takes one into a very deep rabbit hole.

It’s hard to put into words how much I recommend the game. Anyone who enjoyed the first would love this, and plenty of folks who never played the first should like it too. The quality of it is exactly the sort of thing that should be demanded from most of the super-hyped games that do come out, but is in fact rare.

I’ll end with the three meager things I’ve found wrong with it. One, unskippable and unfixable intro logos, like 8 of them. Hate that. Two, some of the voice acting is pretty lame, though once you get used to it it’s not too distracting. And three, the load times are abysmal. But that’s really it.