Deus Ex: Human Revolution Impressions

By RPS on February 3rd, 2011 at 4:05 pm.

Jensen watched cooly as Steven, Harris and Joe the Human Explosion entered the room.

Last week Alec and Quinns were tasered, blindfolded, put in a black van, tasered again, tasered one more time for good measure and taken by Eidos for a hands-on session with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The whole thing was very rude, our men report. At last they have recovered from the publisher’s powerful sedatives, and present to you a discussion about what they played and Wot They Thought.

Quinns: I think I should start by saying that it’s been a long time since I’ve been quite this excited going into a playtesting session.
Alec: Me too. It seemed absurd. We’re going to play a Deus Ex game? C’mon, that’s got to be a joke. That’s impossible.
Alec: IT WAS NOT IMPOSSIBLE. What’s odd is that the further we get away from DX and the closer we get to DX3, the more DX2 just disappears
Quinns: I was about to say. DX2 is nothing more than this radar smudge in my mind. It’s not tangible, and DX3 isn’t tainted by it in the slightest. Partially because everything I see of DX3 speaks of powerful competence, and partially because DX3 is (in terms of setting) a prequel rather than a sequel.
Alec: Anyway, we probably shouldn’t hang around that point or the entire thread will fill with people bitching about Invisible War again.
Quinns: Point.
Alec: Let’s note at this point that the evil Dr Embargo has prevented us from discussing most of what we played until Feb 24th, but we can now talk about the introduction, tutorial and marvellously gruesome credits sequence. What were you expecting? Did it match it?

Quinns: Well, I was thrilled to find out that we’d be playing the first couple of hours of the game, rather than a couple of disjointed levels. That was a relief. But when we got to playing, what I found most striking is that the game’s flavour- the art design, the dialogue, the characters, the architecture and fashion- is even better than I hoped. And I was hoping for a lot.
Quinns: I was transported. What Eidos have done here is nothing short of beautiful, and that’s all the more interesting because- while Deus Ex did an incredible amount- beauty was not its focus.
Alec: Yes, there’s a real urge and satisfaction to looking around, soaking it in. There’s remarkable distinction between even incidental NPCs, which is something I hope they can maintain throughout the game. The lab you’re lead around near the start was a helluva sight – so bright, busy, cheerful. Sort of the exact opposite of DX1′s dingy, sparsely populated spaces. Such a bold statement of “here is our brave new world.” Which in turn means it’s more affecting when that lab gets the smackdown a few minutes later.
Quinns: Mm. Believable is the word I’d use. Without wanting to give anything away, the game’s tutorial level sees you being steered around your company’s laboratory, meeting some of the more important members of the game’s cast (who are all on edge as your biotech firm is about to go public with some heavy shit) and then being fed all the combat mechanics when the building reports some intruders. The annoying part of all this is that the levels afterwards are still under embargo, so all we can do now is report that the tutorial was extremely linear. But then, so was Deus Ex’s.
Alec: I’m pretty sure that no-one’s going to get cross if we say the game is a lot less linear later. But yes, this is plot setup, and an introduction to some basic controls – including the nuts and bolts of stealth.
Quinns: Oh my god the stealth.
Alec: That’s something I found immediately rewarding, even though Jensen is without any superpowers at this point. It’s not a darkometer or guards with radars above their heads. It’s hiding, watching, waiting, timing, running. Totally organic, based on observation and caution.
Quinns: It’s some of the most satisfying stealth I’ve ever encountered. Again, I’ll use the word believable. Peering over desks, going lurching from hiding place to hiding place. It’s like you say- no darkometer, no mechanics. Just the simple act of a man trying not be seen, with the player given enough spatial awareness to do it well. (Or balls it up amazingly.)
Alec: That said, I found it sliiightly fussy on when it would let you press the ‘dash to next cover’ button. But the structure of it was splendidly real and subtle.

Quinns: Let’s talk a bit more about the cover system. Last time we posted about Deus Ex 3 I read some people in the comments saying that they’d be OK with the cover system as long as it wasn’t integral to the game, so they could play it like the original Deus Ex. That’s mad as a bag of hats. The cover’s great.
Alec: At the same time, it isn’t integral. I spent a lot of time simply running and hiding. But using the cover system enormously amps up your tactical capabilities. Peering around and over, squeezing off a quick headshot, doing a quick dash… It just makes you a bit better at being an assassin. But you can totally go without if you’re a big fussy oddo.

Quinns: I was talking to Kieron about this. The only part of the “Cover is shit!” argument I’m inclined to take seriously is that when the game swaps to a third person camera, you lose immersion. But having that extra bit of peripheral vision, being able to roll or slide to and from each piece of cover- that’s what I /want/ to be able to do. It’s what I believe Jensen /should/ be able to do.The boost to immersion from being able to make Jensen do precisely what I want outweighs the fact that I’m looking at him from behind, something I barely notice.
Alec: Y’know, I didn’t even think about that. Of course- it switches to third person. But they’ve done it so seamlessly I simply did not realise. My god.
Quinns: Haha. Did you have a favourite of the cast members introduced?
Alec: The headless robotic torso running on a treadmill.

Quinns: Did you see the packet of eyes?
Alec: Hah, no. Frankly, I’m not sure about the characters yet. Jensen has an interesting past hinted at, but he seems a bit Growly Videogame Hero #23432432. The weasley tech guy, Pritchard, was interesting though. The game really goes out of its way to make you dislike him, which I suspect is about toying with our suspicion and paranoia.
Quinns: That the game drops a clinical antagonist straight onto your team is interesting, yeah. I like the boss of the company. And his secretary. They’re a believable pair.
Alec: The boss was wearing a waistcoat which made him look like Kryten
Quinns: Yeah. We’ve got a picture of him, actually.

Alec: But yes, his ethics are clearly going to be a major undertone for the game. Essentially, he’s Tony Stark. OR IS HE?
Quinns: I enjoy that his secretary isn’t some cheerful bit of fluff, but a slim, ultra-professional sounding middle aged woman. He needed the best. He got her.
Alec: I won’t be happy until they get the angry blind old lady from Mad Men as an in-game secretary.
Quinns: Let’s end by talking about your love interest, Megan Reed. Because, uh- there’s a love interest. Which is curious in and of itself.
Alec: Yes, although they don’t go full on with it either. You’re not even totally sure, until those three little words appear during the credits. It’s just hinted at with touches and looks. It’s new territory for Deus Ex, and puts a new inflection on ‘human revolution.’ This is a Deus Ex game that might just explore humanity as well as philosophy and science.

Quinns: Yeah, those three little words. As I said to you on the way out of the session, it really struck me that at the end of the tutorial, during the horrible montage where Jensen’s getting all of his top-of-the-line, priceless implants, you hear Megan saying “I love you.” Those words gently whipped the carpet out from underneath me.
Quinns: It didn’t feel like an emotive extra to give strength to a scene. The delivery of the words was more desperate than it was cloying. It sounded like a statement of intent. Not least because when Jensen wakes up Megan’s… ah. Embargo!
Alec: the shutters are coming down
Alec: the gas is flooding in the room
Alec: we just need to tell you that…
Alec: [dies]
Quinns: She’s… Megan’s…
Quinns: [dies]

Deus Ex: Human Revolution still bears the clandestine release date of “2011″. We’ll be posting part 2 of our preview later this month. In the meantime, we have an interview, a trailer and blow-by-blow details on the first level.

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158 Comments »

  1. frenz0rz says:

    I SPILL MY DRINK!

    • Jsnuk says:

      I WHIP MY HAIR BACK AND FORTH!

    • daphne says:

      Do you have a job?

    • frenz0rz says:

      “Did you see the packet of eyes?”

      RPS quote of the week, for sure.

      Damn am I looking forward to playing this. Love interest? Third person cover system? A peaceful beginning where you’re introduced to the main characters, then suddenly everything goes to shit? This is starting to sound like a certain spaceship-related Bioware game of which I am very fond. Sure, its Deus Ex, and the fact that it apparently plays like Deus Ex is getting me really stoked. But with all this wonderful new stuff on top? I think my poor bewildered brain might actually implode with joy.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      “Did you see the packet of eyes?”

      “No, but I found a packet of Milky Ways!”

    • frenz0rz says:

      Oh not that again.

  2. westyfield says:

    So is this why you got Richard Cobbett on the team – to take over now Alec and Quinns are no more?

    Also; am excite about DX3.

    • Dlarit says:

      I thought we were on dx11 now??? The internets hurt my head…

  3. Schaulustiger says:

    I so hate embargos… everywhere it’s just teasing. “Man, I could tell you something about this and I sooo want to do it, but I’m not allowed until the Mayan calendar ends.”

    • Hunam says:

      Try being under an industry level NDA, embargoes are childs playthings in comparison.

    • Thecreeperskg says:

      I could telll you about the time when I was under NATO TOP SECRET protocol on the U-214 submarine programme, but then I’d have to kill all of you..(and I’m really lazy for that)

  4. Icarus says:

    Not a shame! Looking forward to this game even more now. It sounds wonderful.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      Don’t forget, it is coming out on consoles as well which will actually make it completely cunt.

  5. fallingmagpie says:

    YAYSIES!

  6. Qjuad says:

    Hurray!

  7. noobnob says:

    I FORGOT TO WEAR THE GOGGLES

    MY EYES

  8. CMaster says:

    Not so sure that a “dash to cover button” is really necessary – what’s wrong with just holding crouch and moving? But if it flows, it flows. This is starting to sound ever more like a really interesting game. It sounds like it will still fall short of the original in terms of “immersive sim” elements – but what sounds like much better artistic vision and character work than the first game could make it great in its own way. Could.

    • Dominic White says:

      Can we kill this ‘immersive sim’ nonsense right now? In the original Deus Ex, you played as a Floating Gun Arm, which occasionally awkwardly poked people in the back with a cattle prod. Stealth involved exploiting the hilariously dumb/blind AI, and you really never knew how much of your body WAS covered. You could be crouching behind a wall, and enemies could still see you because your model actually continued for some distance above your field of vision.

      Third-person cameras and stealth elements are a very, very good combination. Being able to peek around corners, and know exactly how much of your body is exposed at a given time is a HUGE step forward over awkardly doing it in pure first person.

    • Stevostin says:

      Agree. Unfortunately without immersion art direction alone is pretty pointless.

    • sebmojo says:

      Thank you Dominic.

      I mean Deus Ex was great, and important, and even fun… but it was also in many ways bad.

    • BennyLava says:

      To be honest, I much prefered the system in the thief games where leaning in first person allowed you to peek around corners rather than switching to a third person camera. The latter always seemed a bit like cheating to me.

    • gwathdring says:

      It’s a little like cheating … but duck behind something. You aren’t always sure you’re completely hidden, but you can usually tell where your head is. We have, generally, fantastic sense of position. We know where all our bits are. In an FPS … we don’t. That’s why games can decide not to give us legs and it can be immersive until the moment we look down. So it’s sort of cheating … but when you’re supposed to be super assassin stealthy as opposed to average guy playing hide-and-seek stealthy, the game has to give you some way to make up for the loss of kinesthetic perception. I think smooth third person shifting is a nice balance. If well handled, it doesn’t have to allow the player to wiggle the camera all over the place and check every enemy’s line of sight perfectly, but it can still let you see if your head is sticking over the edge, which is something that you can tell a fair part of the time in real life. I mean … hair is always a problem when hiding behind counters and such I guess … but short of VR with full-body force feedback, I think subtle 3rd person shifting is nice middle ground.

      Although, I do like the quirkiness of 1st person stealth. It gives a little feel of trial and error that can be fun and refreshing. I suppose Thief had a lot of little elements that whether by mistake or design added a quirkiness to the game that wasn’t really lifelike, but was so refreshingly far from feeling videogamey that the same task other stealth games wanted you to achieve were suddenly more fun. But just like the Deus Ex comment above, Thief had plenty of problems and plenty of immersion breaking. I understand that things like the light gem don’t need to be realistic to be immersive. That’s why fantasy works. I can get totally immersed in games that don’t in the slightest try to be realistic or don’t have shiny photo-realistic graphics. But there were things in Thief, like the lightgem and like certain guard behaviors, and a lot of things that are difficult to name because they are subtle and don’t pop out at me … that feel especially meta-gamey or immersion breaking. The game was pretty damn immersive as games at the time went … but all things considered I would also like an explanation of this “immersive sim” buisiness.

    • Muzman says:

      We can debate DX’s clunkiness and where it gets its immersiveness. It’s mostly from content, I’d say. However I still don’t see any reason to leave first person today. They can do all the things they couldn’t do 5-6 years ago that tended to make things difficult in that perspective.
      First person never seemed quite as fundamental to DX to me though. But they really better not try that garbage with Thief 4.

    • battles_atlas says:

      @ Muzman

      If you know a way of simulating proprioception with a mouse, keyboard, monitor and speakers, then you should share it with the gaming world, because I’m sure everyone would love to hear it.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proprioception

    • Muzman says:

      I’m not sure where that came from or why it would be necessary. I do know that third person will never do what first person can do. It’s essentially impossible. Given that one point of view is superior for certain types of gaming experiences, I’m sure they could figure out some way to make body awareness animations play ball if they really wanted to these days. Or at the very least, they should try if the game warrants it. (Not to sure about DX:HR at this point. I have no particular investment in that aspect of it)

  9. supacoo says:

    This preview was remarkable at telling us virtually nothing about the game. Oh, it has a cover system and opens up after the tutorial? What a revelation.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Told me enough to decide its worth breaking my no-preorder rule. SOLD.

    • Wizlah says:

      This preview tells me some bits of stuff, then says

      “that the game’s flavour- the art design, the dialogue, the characters, the architecture and fashion- is even better than I hoped”

      That’s kind of all I need. I trust Quinns.

    • supacoo says:

      “that the game’s flavour- the art design, the dialogue, the characters, the architecture and fashion- is even better than I hoped”

      Such great detail. I can truly get a sense of how each aspect impresses him.

      This is basically the equivalent of going “that game is cool.”

    • Fox89 says:

      Supacoo: The title says “DX3 impressions”. If you didn’t want to read an article about what the players thought of the game, maybe you shouldn’t have come into an article with that title. If you want more actual information, why not go to the first level blow-by-blow the next article over?

  10. daphne says:

    Ok, I’m pumped now. I gotta ask: Are the characters and their interactions in this game any reminiscent of the natural, flowing behaviour I distinctly recall the PS3-exclusive (sorry!) Uncharted 2 as having? I would really love to expect that from DX3 now that you are discussing something of a love interest for the protagonist. That believability should be a new standard for games.

  11. Wizlah says:

    When Quinns says the atmosphere is great and beautiful, I immediately shudder, ignore my puny bank balance and hit preorder.

  12. Teronfel says:

    удивительный!!!!!

  13. skinlo says:

    Looks pretty awesome!

  14. abigbat says:

    I’m so excited.

  15. Linfosoma says:

    Great, I couldn’t possibly be more hyped about this game. I want to pre-order this on steam, now!

  16. somini says:

    Any information about being a Steamworks title or not? I would pre-order the Augmented Edition RIGHT NOW if it was. I want the benefits of real bonus and auto-update,yada yada from Steam

  17. The Sombrero Kid says:

    The cover system is a very worry-some point for me, I hope It either works well enough for me to use it or i can ignore it, but i feel immersion is more important for me than it is for all the journalists i’ve heard report back from, i played Rainbow Six Vegas, & i can say from that experience that it should be in a hell of a lot of FPS games i wouldn’t want to see it in any immersive sims, but i will defo reserve judgement till it’s out.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      Agree, the idea of a cover system can be very hit or miss. Mass Effect 2 was an epic fail because it was so insanely predictable where a fight was going to take place by the arrangement of cover, vs Vegas where you had to make due with what was naturally around you and you still had a CROUCH key.

      I hope DX3′s level design doesn’t reflect the absolute need for cover else it might end up being tired and predictable by the end of the game :(

  18. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Sounds… promising.

    I’m distrustful of how stealth will work, and although this sounds good, I’ve still got reservations about it.:

    It’s not a darkometer or guards with radars above their heads. It’s hiding, watching, waiting, timing, running. Totally organic, based on observation and caution.

    But it’s not as if Deus Ex did stealth brilliantly either: it was a bit pants in that. In fact, most of Deus Ex’s mechanics were a bit pants, so any improvement on them is good.

    I’m cautious, but still excited about this game. I preordered it some time ago, regardless.

  19. drewski says:

    Sounds great. Hurry up and finish it already, Eidos!

  20. Faldrath says:

    Did you guys play it on a PC? I ask because Alec’s Eurogamer article is tagged as X360.

  21. Ian says:

    EXCITED.

  22. Mr_Hands says:

    A bomb.

  23. airtekh says:

    Between this and PCG’s coverage of DX:HR, I’m getting really excited. My most anticipated game of 2011, without a doubt.

  24. Teddy Leach says:

    Excited. Excited. Excited. Excited. This genuinely sounds great.

  25. juandemarco says:

    Am I the only one who liked DX2 as much as the first chapter? Ok, it was a sequl so there was no ‘OMFGWTF is this thing, it’s blowing my mind, it’s so new and original’ effect, but the story was good and the gameplay as well. Buggy as hell, but still.

  26. Dominic White says:

    Those worried about third-person cover for combat and stealth need to go back and play the original Deus Ex to remind themselves that both the gunplay and stealth in the original were completely terrible. Most combat in DX1 involved enemies akwardly strafing around, kneeling a bit, shooting at you and repeating, while you stood there waiting for your painfully slow reticule to tighten enough to hit something.

    Stealth was even worse. Enemy AI was brain-dead, and they couldn’t see beyond about 20 feet in front of their noses.

    Any improvements to those are going to be greatly appreciated. And a third-person camera is pretty much mandatory for any game with stealth elements these days, as it gives you vastly better body-awareness.

    • supacoo says:

      “And a third-person camera is pretty much mandatory for any game with stealth elements these days, as it gives you vastly better body-awareness.”

      Which is nonsensical since you’re supposed to be playing as a specific character in first-person. If he doesn’t have some detached, third-person view of his own body, the player shouldn’t either. You can keep cover systems in first-person and still have them be effective. It also makes it so you can’t slightly move the camera to peer around entire corners while your character remains invisible.

    • Dominic White says:

      “You can keep cover systems in first-person and still have them be effective.”

      No, you can’t. With a first-person camera, you can’t tell if your elbow is poking out of cover, or whether your foot is vulnerable to enemy fire behind you. Those are things that peripheral vision and physical awareness of our body provide us in reality, but you can’t effectively do in a game unless you’ve got a third-person camera.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      I’m in agreement with Dominic here, third-person-in-cover is an acceptable abstraction as far as I’m concerned. Especially as they’ve plumped with the Rainbow 6: Vegas system, which has proven to be a joy to use.

    • Stevostin says:

      If TPV is mandatory for stealth, I guess aimbot is mandatory for fights ?

      Oh wait…

    • Collic says:

      Yeah, Deus Ex was a fantastic game, but as an fps/stealth/rpg/sim it was a laggy, unresponsive and often frustrating thing to play. The fact its so beloved is a testament to how great the story, freedom and sense of discovery was.

      I’m more than a bit excited about DX3.

    • Soon says:

      Could you not still have a “use cover” button to ensure limbs aren’t poking out, but keep it first-person?

      The third-person view does seem to give too great an advantage (as I’ve seen it implemented in other games, at least). You gain an impenetrable shield and eyes that can see around obstacles, and all enemies can do is shoot the barrier until they reload, then get shot in the head. Some of them should be taking advantage of you hiding and move themselves into better positions without you observing their every move, create a bit more tension and unpredictability.

      Edit: But I’m sure what they do have will be an improvement over Deus Ex, yes.

    • enshak says:

      Yes the steath in DX was a bit rubbish, but these very same people will be working on thief 4, a first person steath game, at least I hope it will be.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Have done. Crouch + lean trumps sticky-spines every single bloody time. Go back to your damn console.

      And put some damn points in the gun skill you’re using.

    • Casimir's Blake says:

      Ah, so it wasn’t just me the found Deus Ex to have horribly erratic gameplay. Full stop. It didn’t help that the UI was clunky, and the mouse aiming suffered from Unreal-lag.

      I still fail to understand all the love for Deus Ex. It may have historical importance, but playing the first game nowadays makes for such a tremendously iffy gaming experience, blighted by some of the weakest opening level design imaginable. Thief’s stealth is still fun. System Shock’s claustrophobic first-person-perfection is also still fun and satisfying. To be fair, I can’t really complain about Deus Ex’s story, trouble is I never could stand the bloody game enough to get far into it.

      Oh, and the sequel never worked for me.

      But this new one looks alright, I suppose. Can’t be worse than the first one, can it?

    • BennyLava says:

      Agreed. I mean, the stealth system in the thief games was purely first person, and in my opinion beats the one present in Deus Ex quite easily. If they were going to update the stealth system, shouldn’t they just use the superior one from thief? While we’re on this subject, what’s with all the lightgem hate?

    • DrGonzo says:

      Killzone 2 had a fantastic first person cover mechanic, as did Call of Juarez 2. Also, while it’s not out yet, Red Orchestra 2 has what looks like a brilliant cover system in first person.

      The entire point here is, taking cover should completely limit your vision. The advantage is you won’t get shot, the downside is you can no longer see very well.

      Of course it is fine for some games to use a third person cover system, and it may work very well in DX3. But it is foolish to say it cannot work in first person, when it’s already been proved it can.

    • The Innocent says:

      Also, I don’t think the notion of first-person immersion really applies to the DX series. It didn’t fastidiously keep you in first-person the way some games do — all conversations moved into framed third person. So the original game already has an example of shifting perspective when it was convenient for gameplay purposes.

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      @ LionsPhil: Lean can die a hot fiery death and quit hogging my ‘use’ key while it’s at it!

    • JackShandy says:

      I feel like dominic’s right- it’s just trying to simulate an awareness of your body of the kind we have in real life, but is impossible to do in a game.

      Still, I hope you RPS guys realise you’re opening a thousand-thread pile-of-worms from the HR forums.

    • WildcardUK says:

      Realistically an FPS cover system will give you no vision of the enemy, allow them to move to positions that cover your every escape and then wait for you to ‘lean’ like Michael Jackson and simple pop you between the eyes. Or indeed they flush you out with a grenade and mow you down the second you move.

      I’m with Mr White on this one. As a nice balance between realism (knowing where I am) and gameplay (not being slaughtered because I’m outnumbered 3 to 1) I’ll take a well implemented TPS cover system every day of the week.

    • Soon says:

      It’s like you’d have to use other senses and environmental feedback to judge enemy actions. And if only this was a setting where some sort of remote camera linked to your eyes through some sort of mechanical augmentation would be a believable addition to your armoury. Oh, and you had x-ray vision.

  27. Joshua says:

    “She was lost to me” < The Extended Trailer on Megan.

  28. Turin Turambar says:

    Good!

    But not the cover system. Why i don’t like the cover system?
    1. The 1st person>3rd person breaks inmersion as you have commented, but it’s not only that. 3rd person itself is cheating. I don’t want to cheat. I want to peak over a corner slightly to see (like in real life) if someone is coming from a corridor, with the danger of knowing that the same task of obtaining information is dangerous by itself (if you peak enough to see, someone may see your head too)
    2. Cover in videogames isn’t as organic and free to use and manage like in real life. Of course this is just a natural limitation in videogames. Game developers have to mark zones of the level as “cover”, include facing information, mark from which cover you can “quick-roll”, the controls and interface would be a mess if the player would have too much options, etc. In the end the system makes it too predetermined, too artificial, with the player characters moving himself automatically to the exact correct position when you press cover near a column or a box. I hate that.
    When someone resolves how to make a more natural and powerful cover system i will dislike cover system much less!

    • Stevostin says:

      I entirely agree. Saying the 3rd person cover is organic is like saying “the aim assist feels natural”. No matter how well it’s done, it’s still wrong in the first place.

    • Bhazor says:

      Well Crysis had a very organic system cover for AI characters. They could recognise freshly made cover like fallen trees or collapsed walls and would use them really intelligently to flank you.

      But I agree with what you said about cover in general. That shit damn near ruined Brothers in Arms Hell’s Highway in places. Peeping out of cover just to see where the mg nest was as the screen fills with dust from the wall you’re cowering behind were a real high point in the first two games and completely absent in Hell’s Highway.

    • D says:

      Call of Juarez 2 had a good cover system, in first person. They should do that instead. RO2s implementation will probably be better.

    • Love Albatross says:

      “Game developers have to mark zones of the level as “cover”, include facing information, mark from which cover you can “quick-roll””

      As mentioned by someone else above, Rainbow Six Vegas wins here. The environments were believable spaces and cover was just whatever was around, none of Mass Effect 2′s hateful level design (hopefully in ME3 you’ll be solving the mystery of who keeps arranging those boxes and barriers, perhaps it’s a fourth-wall breaking gimmick where the game’s designers will be revealed as mischievous gods who enjoy watching contrived battle scenes).

      No quick roll or any such nonsense in RSV, either. All it really needed was a sprint so you could dash between cover, but RSV2 fixed that omission.

      Game developers, please rip off Rainbow Six Vegas for all FPS games featuring cover.

    • kyrieee says:

      Deus Ex showed you in 3rd person during the conversations. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I was more immersed in ME2 than any other game I’ve played, and that was 3rd person.

    • Stevostin says:

      @kyrieee

      Well, maybe for you, but for me, the worst FPS is still more immersive than anything else, no matter how well it’s done. That being said, it doesn’t mean I always play FPS. In WoW for instance, I don’t go for the FPV because wow simply isn”t about immersion (which can’t survive one second against a “lf [Sword of the Mighty Rod] +12 against women” general chat)

  29. Stinkfinger75 says:

    You refer to it as the “‘dash to next cover’ button”. A button, not a key? Did they have you guys playing with a controller?

    • Stevostin says:

      I was wondering the same thing. The first PC journalist who will refuse a playtest of a PC FPS on anything else than a PC and a mouse + keyboard will have my love. I’d much rather get a news about how the guy’s writing refused crap than how he enjoyed it. I am seriously thinking about just no buying a PC game without a PC communication. If they don’t really want my money, I don’t really want their product either.

    • Collic says:

      I think you may well be reading to much into that. Mice have buttons, too for example.

    • Stijn says:

      Maybe it’s a mouse button!!

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      They were indeed playing the Xbox version, as the PC version was reportedly not ready yet*. Evidence: Alec’s preview at Eurogamer is listed under “Xbox 360″. And Tom Bramwell’s preview at PC Gamer.

      *a tiny sigh, and a single tear.

    • Stinkfinger75 says:

      @Stevostin I was asking because I actually prefer a gamepad to a keyboard and mouse combo.

  30. Zyrxil says:

    Ah, but will we be able to stack crates and climb them and make shortcuts?

  31. faelnor says:

    @RPS staff
    Could you ask for some full resolution screenshots from the PC version of the game? There hasn’t been a single decent screengrab since the announcement of the game.

  32. Jimbo says:

    Megan’s pregnant?! With one of the Dentons in the oven???

    • Teddy Leach says:

      You’ve just spoiled the entire plot, haven’t you? In that case, we know what happens to Megan and our dear protagonist as well. Damn you!

  33. Sergius64 says:

    Problem I have with cover systems is that they often turn into a game of pop-a-mole.

    Also I dunno about exclusion of stealth-meter, Thief series were by far the best First Person Sneakers and they had the meter. Meanwhile Splinter Cell was a mediocre sneaker at best, and they didn’t have the meter.

    • Soon says:

      Thief had a light meter, but the stealth in Deus Ex 3, as I understand it, isn’t based around light levels, but sound and obstructed vision.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Splinter Cell didn’t have a stealth meter? Have you played it?

    • Doesntmeananything says:

      And a bit of explanation as to why SC was a “mediocre sneaker at best” would be nice.

    • Zyrxil says:

      Splinter Cell was always much much more linear than Thief, or hell, Hitman ever was. Even Chaos Theory, the best Splinter Cell, never really had great level designs.

    • Sergius64 says:

      Hmmm, not sure why I didn’t remember the stealth meter cause apparently it did have it. I think maybe the fact that Splinter Cell was 3rd person was the thing that was annoying me, it’s 1 thing to be in darkness as thief and gauge your stealth by the stealth meter and its another thing to clearly see your character in Splinter Cell with the glowing eyepiece he has and everything and have the game tell you you’re invisible on its stealth meter.

  34. Freud says:

    The reason why people complain about coverbased shooters is because combat becomes very static and mostly an exercise in shooting heads popping up. It is not criticism of covers in general, just the gameplay it promotes.

    And yes, it is a console issue. It is adjusting to how ill suited gamepads are for shooters. Now compare with the free flow of Crysis fights, where there still is plenty of cover to be used, but you can use it more dynamically.

    Other than that, I look very much forward to this game.

    • Dominic White says:

      I think this highlights one of the better bits of cognitive dissonance going on here.

      A lot of the people claiming that having a cover system would ruin the ‘immersive sim’ nature of the game forget that Deus Ex had the least immersive, least sim-like combat ever, and that generally speaking, gunfights DO involve people getting behind cover and taking opportunistic shots at each other.

      But hey, yeah – consoles. Totally. They invented the concept of hiding behind things.

    • Freud says:

      I didn’t mention the original game at all. Nor how the cover shooting was going to “ruin the ‘immersive sim’” nature of the game. I was discussing cover shooting mechanics and how it affects, you know, the shooty bits of the game. So in what way is how the original handled shooting relevant to what I wrote?

      If you feel pop-a-mole shooters are realistic because in real life people would take cover it is your prerogative. I feel the shooting becomes very static and boring for the most part. Hopefully the other gameplay elements are good enough to compensate.

    • Archonsod says:

      If I was interested in real life I wouldn’t be playing videogames. And in my experience most games with cover systems do indeed turn into the old fashioned shooting galleries, except you get to move between each shooty sequence, which I tend to find dull. Deus Ex mightn’t have had the best combat system in the world, but it was at least interesting.

  35. Soon says:

    I’d wake up her embargo.

  36. Radiant says:

    Deus Ex day on RPS!
    And the most important question has still to be answered…

    How exactly /do/ you pronounce Deus Ex?

  37. Radiant says:

    I’m so excited!
    I’m sexcited!

    /boxquote

  38. TheApologist says:

    Ok, so I was trying not to be excited so when it wasn’t good I wouldn’t cry and NOW MY EXCITEMENT BAR IS FULL OF EXCITEMENT AAHHHHHH I HOPE IT DOESN’T MAKE ME CRY!!!

  39. Urthman says:

    I really don’t understand the need for a cover “system.” Can’t games just draw lines between the enemy’s gun and the character’s body and if there’s a bit of scenery in the way, the gun doesn’t hit the character?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Give me back my lean keys. And stop being disingenous about “oh well you can just not hide IF YOU’RE A COMMIE”, Alec.

    • Wilson says:

      I can see why people might prefer just leaning (for immersion), but personally I like third person cover, especially in stealth situations. I’m kind of taking movies and books for inspiration, and generally heroes don’t get spotted in those. This requires more awareness than you can typically get easily in video games. You could have a lean with a certain time before you get spotted (I’m sure at least one game has done this) but I prefer a third person cover system so you can see what you’re doing. For me, that increases the immersion more, because my hero character isn’t blundering into guards and is instead skillfully dodging between them. You can argue for more immersion with a lean, but really doesn’t that mean that if you lean round a corner and a guard is looking at you, too bad you’re spotted and you’re dead? To me that just encourages compulsive quicksaving if you want to try a stealthy approach to whatever you’re doing. But then, I’m someone who has never been bothered by third person cover systems in FPS games, it doesn’t take me out of the fantasy. I may be influenced by my experience of Rainbow Six Vegas and Vegas II, which had amazing third person cover I hardly noticed. For me it was far preferable to a lean system that seemed to result in my getting spotted every time I had a half decent view of anything.

    • jalf says:

      They could, but in what is often referred to as “the real world”, players have quite a bit more fine control over their movements. They know just how low they need to crouch to stay out of sight, or how far to the side they can lean without getting their brains shot out.

      In a game, you have four keys on the keyboard to control your movement, and that’s basically it. You control your character as if he’d been blindfolded and standing on a remote-controlled skateboard.

      Sure, you can drive the skateboard left until it gets around the corner where your guy will hopefully be hidden from sight, but you don’t get enough feedback to be sure that he doesn’t still have a foot poking out, and you have no way to make your character *stay* behind the corner. When you look sideways, your character’s entire body moves, because you have no “rotate eyeballs” key. When you want to look around the corner, you move the entire body out a bit, because you have no “keep everything else back and stick your face out just enough to get a peek” button.

      Cover systems exist to simulate the real-world phenomenon that we can move individual limbs, and we can see and feel our bodies.

      Our current control systems don’t allow you to do this, so they give you the second best thing: a key to press which says “position the character the way you’d do if you want to use this obstacle as cover”.

      And then some people complain that it’s unrealistic. Apparently those people go through their lives blindfolded on skateboards.

    • Jim Reaper says:

      Nevermind what happens in the “real world”, this is about gameplay, and running dynamically from cover-to-cover feels a damn sight more natural than sticking to the bloody scenery. I got bored of the combat in Gears of War a quarter of the way through, and the less said about Mass Effect the better…

    • NotGodot says:

      “Alec: At the same time, it isn’t integral. I spent a lot of time simply running and hiding. But using the cover system enormously amps up your tactical capabilities. Peering around and over, squeezing off a quick headshot, doing a quick dash… It just makes you a bit better at being an assassin. But you can totally go without if you’re a big fussy oddo.”

      So cover is completely optional, and everyone who’s ignoring that is a fussy bitch who should be ignored? Mmkay.

    • gwathdring says:

      @Jim: That depends on implementation. I completely agree, it’s about gameplay immersion not realism. But when you’re playing a super-stealthy character with bionic augmentations, it’s horribly lacking in immersion to be lurching around from wall to wall, tapping on and off the crouch key to peak over things, and leaning our whole body side to side to see around corners. The “spine sticking to a wall” method of cover is, I might add, a much more dynamic way to use cover in a combat situation to minimize visibility from the side. Crouching next to a wall old-school FPS style is more hide-and-seek then Spec-Ops. Context sensitive cover systems allow for a fluidity that just isn’t there in most movement systems without such systems. For a game to be more immersive/intuitive during stealth segments AND maintain the inherently more realisitc approach of first person, I would expect a movement system of a more flowing character, say moving assassin’s creed ‘s philosophy of free running into first person and adding stealth (or fixing up some of the mis-steps in Mirror’s Edge’s design philosophy, and looking for stealth and combat play rather than parkour). By arguing for an antiquated and unintuitive movement scheme over context sensitive cover systems, you are arguing for what I would personally consider immersion through realism over immersion through game play.

      I would also add, that if done right, context sensitive cover systems and movement systems can make it way easier to “[run] dynamically from cover-to-cover.” It’s damn hard to feel smooth in first person, sometimes. Mirror’s Edge came a long way to fixing that but got bogged down in a lot of ways … it did a decent job with the controls, I think, but it’s really hard to make first-person platforming feel as smooth and intuitive as, say, Sands of Time. And that carries over into other facets of movement, a key part of fast-paced stealth like the kind that seems to be at play in Deus Ex. In most first person games, you simply can’t flow from cover to cover and feel like a super-slick ninja.

    • utzel says:

      About all this cover stuff:
      “With third person view I can see if I am fully in cover”
      But isn’t a cover system doing that already for you, no matter what perspective you are in? I prefer the view not changing and a first-person perspective for most games, I know that the ostrichs way of hiding doesn’t work. It all comes down to the mechanics used and designing the game world accordingly.

      As much as I loathe the Vegas games, they were playable without the cover system (although the option to lean would have helped). I’d like to see something like the Vietcong games, but with a true first person (no floating camera, able to see your legs). Most cover has exactly the right size, but you don’t really notice without looking for it. When aiming your weapon you straighten up a bit and can shoot over it. An assistance like the cover button, sticking you to whatever object around would be completely optional, but helps peeking around cover and not to moving out of it. It just shouldn’t add stupid modifiers.
      Bad examples are Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway or the already mentioned Mass Effect 2. In Bia standing next to a wall using the cover system, but still having more than half of your body uncovered resulted in a chance of being hit of maybe 5%. Crouching behind a wall (which all seemed to be just a tiny bit too low to use without the cover system), with just a tiny bit of the top of your helmet showing, without pressing the cover button, now that guaranteed a quick death.
      In ME2 you already know what happens when you see the chest-high-walls™. The collectors would still be alive and kicking if they hadn’t based their whole architecture on chest-high-walls.

      The rest is stuff you design around what you want to do with your game. For a shooter the enemies still need to know where you are to start shooting, only conveniently ignoring the guys rushing from cover to cover on their side to flank them. In a stealth game they shouldn’t always directly spot you on the slightest mistake, maybe explained with a light mechanic, although you might question their eyesight. But if you peek out directly in front of a guard, that’s your fault. Shouldn’t you know if an enemy is that close? You should have heard him, to help here make the enemies talk to each other over radio if it’s not in a marmoreal lobby with every footstep easily heard. No reason to make me see around corners still 1m away from it in cover. And don’t get me started on that stupid not-actually-blind fire stuff :D

      That said, both ways can be done right and wrong, but in my opinion third person is mostly used because it presumably looks cooler ;)

  40. Gravy says:

    I don’t want anybody else, when i think about you i touch myself…
    Ooh i don’t want anybody else Oh no, oh no, oh no….

  41. geldonyetich says:

    Quick! Somebody donate me the money to pre-order Deus Ex Human Revolution twice!

  42. LionsPhil says:

    “Let’s end by talking about your love interest, Megan Reed. Because, uh- there’s a love interest.”

    SQUEEEEEEEEENIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX!

  43. sfury says:

    Aeris dies.

  44. KingMudkip says:

    …OK, I think I’ll preorder this game now. I was a little uncertain, but it sounds like they’ve done a great job with it.

  45. Flakfizer says:

    You say the cover system is nicely integrated on the console version you played. Do you think you would feel the same playing with keyboard and mouse on PC?

    I loathe the idea of a ‘dash to cover’ button.

  46. Barman1942 says:

    Megan’s doing something to Jensen when he’s waking up? Ooh, la, la.

  47. Nameless1 says:

    “Alec: That said, I found it sliiightly fussy on when it would let you press the ‘dash to next cover’ button. But the structure of it was splendidly real and subtle.”
    And here it comes one (of the many?) consoletard parts of the game. I hope it was unique for the tutorial sequence.

  48. Navagon says:

    Now this is sounding like some serious GOTY material.

  49. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    “Chew, if only you could see what I’ve seen with your eyes”

    Deus Ex aside, using cover would seem entirely appropriate for the genre.

  50. dragonhunter21 says:

    WP has the release date set as “April 2011″, so that’s a thing. Maybe.

    DX3, BF3, Crysis 2… Man, if we get some info on Hitman 5, this will be the best year ever.