Ten Things You’ll Think Playing Deus Ex 3

By Quintin Smith on May 11th, 2011 at 4:00 pm.

Shh! Maybe they don't know I'm here.

Because I am the luckiest man alive, I spent this weekend playing the first ten hours of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which is starting to look like it’ll be the biggest release of 2011. When I finished those ten hours, I went back and played them again, and have finally managed to compress my thoughts into a handy list of thoughts that’ll occur to you, too, as you play. Five reasons to be hugely excited Deus Ex 3 and five reasons to be knuckle-chewingly nervous await you below.

    “This game isn’t just good, it’s fantastic.”

    This is the obvious one. The art design is gorgeous, there’s loads to explore, and the whole package is so polished you can see your grinning face in it.

    Better still, while the bugs you’d expect to find in code that hasn’t finished the full gauntlet of quality assurance were present, almost none of them affected how the game plays. No crashes to desktop, no guards being alerted while I was behind cover, no broken quests. Just the camera occasionally placing itself inside an NPC’s mouth, and the wrong text appearing underneath tutorial videos. Eidos Montreal could release this game tomorrow and it it’d still be in a better state than plenty of PC releases.

    As for the game proper, after ten hours spent guiding protagonist Adam Jensen through dangerous conversations (his asbestos growl occasionally reveals a Detroit twang), as well as unforgiving infiltrations, a few firefights and an implausible number of air vents, I was left hungry. Both metaphorically – I was having an incredible time, and right on the cusp of fully removing the first layer of Human Revolution’s conspiracy – and literally.

    I started playing Human Revolution on Saturday morning. I’d come home with a hangover, having eaten no breakfast. I didn’t stop to eat anything until late in the evening. It’s been a long time since a game’s managed to starve me like that.

    “Hmm. Human Revolution seems to be offering what Deus Ex did, but that’s it.”

    Deus Ex went down in history not just because it was a great game, but because it was a staggeringly inventive game that has, in a sense, come to define the immersive sim as a genre.

    Deus Ex was a game about freedom of choice. Arguably, a true sequel would try and expand on that freedom of choice, in much the same way that Half-Life 2 proved itself as a true sequel to Half-Life by being as inventive as the first game once again.

    Instead, Human Revolution hones the more raw mechanics of the original game, improving the action, the implementation of augmentations, the visuals and so forth, without offering a great deal more choice. Buildings still have two or three entry points, you can still talk, hack, sneak or fight your way through obstacles, your decisions as to how to treat a character will still occasionally have repercussions, and you’ll be on the receiving end of different lines of dialogue depending on whether you follow a character’s orders to the letter or not. Talking purely in terms of your freedom of choice, Human Revolution could be an expansion pack for Deus Ex.

    Then again, the problem with my only having played the first ten hours of the game is obviously that I don’t know precisely how many of my choices will twist things up further down the line.

    “Whoah, this Detroit hub area is huge. And I’m free! Free!”

    I gasped a little too loudly when I first opened my map and saw the size the inner city Detroit level, where the game first lets you off the leash. The gasp also went on a little too long, as you can’t zoom out enough to see the whole level at once, so I had to do some scrolling around. It’s bigger than any of the hubs in the first Deus Ex, with more side quests, more incidental detail, more passers by to harass and less loading times.

    Do you remember first getting to Hong Kong in the first game, and ignoring the main plot for hours just to explore and get involved in side quests? That’s what this felt like. Except with everybody, everywhere talking about human augmentation and with less rats and pantomime accents.

    “Seriously? I have to break into another industrial estate?”

    The original Deus Ex had its fair share of offices, sewers, warehouses and plain streets, certainly, but it also had the Statue of Liberty, lime green Greasels, the Illuminati, comic book AIs, monks, energy swords, aliens, a German cyborg lamenting a vending machine that gave him the wrong snack, Men in Black, killswitches, a plague, Parisian catacombs and even Area 51.

    Whether all this stuff could make a welcome return in Human Revolution is arguable (I’m sure lots of people remember Deus Ex as being significantly less silly than it was), but Human Revolution’s first ten hours lacks almost any colour at all. It’s a parade of cops, gangsters, mercenaries, revolutionaries, warehouses, offices, hobos, factories, penthouses and the occasional (excellent) robot. About the most colourful thing in it is the world’s dingiest basketball court, complete with a basketball, which – in what has to be a nod to the first game – you can fling at the hoop, but only with the same velocity and angle you’d use to smash a second storey window.

    I also get the feeling that the above “crazy” story elements aren’t simply waiting in the wings, ready to pop out further down the line. I’m thinking this noirish and more plausible world is all we’re going to get.

    “Wow, I actually care about these people.”

    Yes, the world is a bit drab, but it’s also very human, making me suspect that Human Revolution is the more adult game than its predecessor. Yes, the ridiculous arguments about politics with Australian bartenders will be missed, but look what we have instead- a love interest, and old flames. In one early mission, talking your way into a police station involves re-forging ties with Jensen’s old friend, despite Jensen and him having long since fallen out. And there’s one particularly horrible and deeply real bit of imagery the game drops into your path if you fail to save a hostage.

    The new conversation battles are the star of these more serious themes. Where before you had to fumble your way through a multiple choice conversation like a blind man going down a water slide, now NPCs will randomly say slightly different lines on each playthrough that give you clues as to what approach might work best on them. It’s a fantastically subtle solution to a part of the game that more often than not was at best a little obscure and at worst meant several quickloads in succession to feel out your options.

    It’s funny- not only are Human Revolution’s conversations now more of a game than before, they’re so fair and well written that they also feel more like part of the story. After failing one, I was inclined to face the consequences rather than just try again.

    Better still, you have the option of picking up a social enhancement augmentation that gives you vague guidelines as to whether the person you’re talking to is susceptible to orders, praise and so forth, as well as letting you release pheremones along with a killer line once you’ve made your guess as to whether they’re personality type Alpha, Beta or Omega, with an insta-fail if you’re wrong.

    “These cutscenes are making me want to take my keyboard and smash my monitor like a piñata.”

    While the swap to a 3rd person camera when you’re in cover or performing a takedown doesn’t hinder immersion at all (take my word for it?), Human Revolution’s hateful reliance on pre-rendered cutscenes definitely does. These clips are only ever very short, and only occur during the main story missions about once an hour, but they’re still irritating every single time.

    I have no idea why they’re here. I’d rather find a severed testicle in my cup of coffee. Actually, that’s a lie. I do know why they’re here. They crop up during pivotal plot moments to make sure Jensen does the “right” thing, like eavesdropping on a conversation, leaping away from an explosion or walking into a room and going straight up to the person of interest.

    Put another way, during the game’s most dramatic moments, the game doesn’t just take control away from you, it abandons the rendering engine for a rolling video that looks completely different. The last game to have this sickness quite as bad was Arkham Asylum.

    “I want to spend the rest of my life on this augmentation screen.”

    Human Revolution’s handling of your augmentations is masterful. Rather than starting off as something akin to a display model, Adam Jensen is the archetypal billion dollar man from the off, with everything from cloaking technology to crowd control explosives mounted in his body. However, at the beginning of the game almost none of it is active. Instead, as Adam goes about his startling and high-risk life, his body gradually accepts his augmentations, and you’re allowed to activate one after another.

    This means that right from the start of the game you can turn on anything that takes your fancy, from improved hacking to being able to punch through walls, with the twist that there are a wealth of choices and you amass the Praxis Points that let you activate this gear agonisingly slowly. Of the ten or so hours I spent playing the game, I think at least eight of them must have been spent in a blissful dilemma as to what I wanted to improve.

    Better still, the game’s design constantly rewards you for the choices you’ve made, and never stops making you feel stupid for what you didn’t take. Going crawling through a sewer only to find the end of the tunnel is blocked by a crate too heavy for you to push makes you feel like an imbecile for not taking super strength. Looking down off a roof at your objective, far below, you’ll despise yourself for not taking the Icarus landing hardware that drops you slowly from any height. But you’ll also have that moment where you did take Heightened Reflexes, enabling you to do multi-opponent takedowns, and you’ll go sprinting up to two enemies having a conversation and knock them both out with a display of cyborg-fu that leaves you breathless.

    “Wow, did they think of including an autopilot button, too?”

    For all of its great environment exploration, Human Revolution’s waypointing system is a little out of control. Almost every objective of your missions and side missions appears on-screen as a large floating arrow, no matter how far away you are. On the one hand it’s extremely helpful, and casually eliminates all the maddening downtime of not quite knowing where to go, especially prominent in a game where you’ll often enter a building via what should have probably been your exit route.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of missions which instruct you to “find” something, when that something is right there on both your map and your hud. Thoughtfully, you can both turn these waypoints off completely and toggle missions on and off in your log so their objectives do or don’t show up, but you’d probably be giving yourself a headache. The game’s been designed for use with them, so there will be plenty of cases where the game lacks the necessary signposting. Having no idea which door to knock on in a huge apartment block would be a good example.

    “I am SUCH a badass. Watch this!”

    Man alive, the action in this game is good. As much as the obvious questions pertaining to a Deus Ex sequel are whether it’ll keep the nonlinear design and interest in human interaction and consequence, a lot of your time in Deus Ex was spent sneaking, shooting, getting shot and thumping guys in the face with an extendable baton, which was fun enough. Here, it’s something to look forward to.

    The guns feel great. The close-combat takedowns feel great. The sneaking feels great. My God, the sneaking feels great. Getting through Deus Ex without killing anybody was always an option, but Human Revolution positively encourages you to complete whole levels without being seen. Which, with the new minimap and Jensen’s grace when you attach him to cover, is a totally do-able objective, and even gets you an experience boost towards your next Praxis Point.

    Crucially, you never feel weak. In the first Deus Ex, if you were a sneaky type and got caught, or you were a murderous type and took a lot of damage in a fight, there was a sense of failure. Human Revolution gives the sneaky guy tools to correct being located from his very first mission (punching that enemy who just walked into your hiding spot, or activating your camoflage to make your escape), and by swapping numerical health for regenerating health, the murderous type can no longer make mistakes. Now, it’s just a fantastic ride.

    On the subject, hacking is now done via an excellent minigame. Not only is the curious arcade Uplink-alike they’ve got in here fun, and fairly deep, and based around risk-reward, you can hold down both mouse buttons to swivel the camera away from the computer terminal, allowing you to keep a lookout. Perfect. I remember reading in an interview that the hacking minigame was the project of one guy at the office, who worked on it obsessively and even scrapped it and started from scratch at one point. True or not, that’s exactly what it feels like.

    “Seriously?”

    The preview code ends with a boss fight that you can’t escape from. And that’s not the worst of it.

    As I found out after four deaths (mine), two concussion grenades, four stun gun zaps, eight potent tranquilizer darts, three point-blank blasts from a Pulse Energy gun and a final, desperate EMP grenade, you can’t incapacitate said boss, Metal Gear Solid style. You have to kill him. Or rather, you have to injure him enough so that the game can take over and show you Jensen being forced to kill in a pre-rendered cutscene. Which struck me as a pretty miserable ending to everything up to that point.

So there you have it! Deus Ex: Human Revolution arrives this August. Be more excited about it than you’ve been for any other game ever made, but also preemptively disappointed. You know it makes sense.

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256 Comments »

  1. Mike says:

    There are a few really concerning bits in there, huh. The unescapable boss fight and the cutscenes both feel a bit obstructive. But the rest sound great, I’m glad this looks like it’ll turn out fine. Had to hold my hand over the other stuff though. Must preserve radio silence.

    • Joshua says:

      Hmm. I do remember one boss fight from the original which was unescapable (Anna Navare), unless you used some… weird tricks. But i’d like to see htem mix stuff up a bit. On the other hand, they are not finished yet. Mabye they simply had not implemented the non-lethal ending.

      (Or, you could ask them to do it… now that you have that social augmentation implant…

    • mantoe says:

      They force the cut-scenes down your throat because they paid Square-Enix millions of dollars for them.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      @ Joshua

      Right, but using weird tricks is part of what made Deus Ex great. Stacking plants in front of the doorway on the 747 and planting a LAM so that Navarre died before she made it to JC and Lebedev was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in a game.

      Non-skippable bosses aren’t a deal breaker, but I HOPE that HR leaves a lot of room for crazy improvising like that in some of the more major confrontations.

    • LionsPhil says:

      but look what we have instead- a love interest

      Oh god no.

      Tell me she’s not plot-critical. Tell me you can just tell her to scram the first time you meet her and never interact again. Forced love interests with a bunch of polygons are a horrible, horrible thorn in the side of game writing. (Why, yes, I did find Alyx the second-most annoying* part of Half-Life 2. Damnit, woman, stop gabbing about feelings and call the damn elevator before everyone in the city dies. Priorities!)

      Also, yes. The cutsceneness is horrible. DX1 certainly forced your hand in many places (e.g. you MUST leave UNATCO), as must any narrative that isn’t going to branch out insanely, but it didn’t do it by wrenching the keyboard out of your hands and pressing JC’s controls for you. Goddamn have people still not learnt HL1′s lessons?

      (*First is the clingy resistance fighters, who do not understand the importance of “personal space” in a good ol’ Quake-model FPS that expects you to take cover by actually moving behind some with your legs.)

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Stacking plants? Just putting down a LAM by one of the doors inside the jet worked for me every time.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Sounds like I need to link http://www.it-he.org/deus.htm again.

      Ah, the days where games simulated worlds with rules you could do all kinds of fun things with, rather than just being a check list of cutscene triggers.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I don’t know why I’m bothering replying to this, as it’s irrelevant to the broader point I was making, but unless I obstructed her path with a plant or a crate, she would just run right by the LAM and take minimal damage. It works a lot better if you force her into closer proximity to the explosion.

    • Lightbulb says:

      Funny thing is I laid the LAM’s down because i was convinced that enemies were goingto come from there. I felt so bad…

      Less so later on…

    • JarinArenos says:

      Between the cutscenes and the forced boss fights, I’m getting a very worrying “Alpha Protocol” vibe here. While I did enjoy AP… it was far from its full potential, and far from what I’d hope Human Revolution will be.

  2. jon_hill987 says:

    One thing I will think if I play Deus Ex 3: Why am I looking at the back of Jensen’s head?

  3. Icarus says:

    You

    lucky

    bastard.

    • WASD says:

      I was thinking the same. :)

      ” it abandons the rendering engine for a rolling video that looks completely different.”

      Portal 2′s ending did this. Ok it didn’t look that different but you could tell.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I could tell because my audio kept popping out, despite being fine in things like L4D2′s intro video. Which, given Portal 2′s ending, made me somewhat miffed.

      I can only assume it’s some ridiculous console limitation thing. DX1 on the PS2 did the same thing, and both DX3 and Portal 2 are also PS3 games, no?

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      I can only assume it’s some ridiculous console limitation thing. DX1 on the PS2 did the same thing, and both DX3 and Portal 2 are also PS3 games, no?

      I’m starting to believe the Serpent in the Garden of Eden was holding a fucking Xbox controller…

    • Hunam says:

      If it’s doing the same thing as Batman the it’s using video to hide a loading/memory freeing phase so it can get you back in the game. But the problem with Batman on the PC was that it used the 360′s crappy BINK videos instead of the masterfully HD videos that the PS3 used that you could barely notice the change. BINK is one of the the worst things to happen in a long time, it looks so fucking horrible.

      But I guess by looking different that he might be talking about the CG stuff. Which I don’t think would bother me as I have a bit of a hard on for awesome CG.

    • Harlander says:

      I always remember Bink from what seem now like the very early days (it seemed to replace the oddly named Smacker video playback thingie) and I always get a surprise when I see it credited in games. “What, they’re still using that?”

      I’ll say one thing for Bink, they must have made a mint off it, it’s so widely used.

  4. simoroth says:

    If only they would remove the third person, I would be dancing in the streets. I am however mildly looking forward to it… but I’ve been hurt before.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      You don’t have to attach yourself to cover or do takedowns. Solved!

    • Jharakn says:

      Admittedly I’ve never played any of the original deus ex’s but I really don’t get this attitude, it seems to me that there trying to replicate the cover system in rainbow 6 Vegas and it was an outstandingly good cover system.

      Ultimately a game has to been fun to look at and i would far rather be looking at my character is he’s hunkered behind cover bullet zipping overhead than staring a blurry wall texture point blank which everyone else seems to be wanting?

      Maybe I’m just weird like that…

    • Jahkaivah says:

      @Jharakn

      One of the best ways of building tension in stealth is being denied the benefit of knowing what is around the corner without risking being seen yourself.

    • Wilson says:

      @Jahkaivah – Eh, I always just find it annoying. I mean, what can you do in that situation. It’s not cool or heroic to stumble out in front of a guard and set off all the alarms just because you couldn’t tell the guard was there standing still a few meters away. Or to lean out slightly too far and have everyone spot you. I can see where you’re coming from, but I personally would much rather have the mystical ability to see round corners without being seen at all (like many film heroes) than have to be quick loading and quick saving to get the same affect.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      This is why evolution gave us ears, so we can hear if the guard is just around the corner..

    • AndrewC says:

      And if God had meant for stealth mechanics to be purely auditory, he would have bought me a surround sound system for Christmas.

    • LionsPhil says:

      You don’t have to attach yourself to cover or do takedowns. Solved!

      Objection! Is it practical to play a stealth character without these, doing regular old-fashioned crouching and leaning (oh, wait, no leaning—we’re off to a great start) and clicking on people’s heads with the baton or backs with the riot prod?

      If someone wants DX1-style stealth, saying “you can play as an aggressive fighter instead” is not a helpful answer.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      You don’t really need surround sound, just hearing footsteps and random grunts and sighs is all you need to warn you to stay on your toes and take quick peaks around corners, those moments of suddenly seeing a guard looking in your direction and darting back does so much to make stealth more exciting.

      Also the comparison to cool film heroes does illustrate what I think may be a differance between Deus Ex and Human Revolution, something people really liked about the original was how, despite being this advanced super soldier, you were made to feel more human than most shooters did at the time.

    • AndrewC says:

      The point being that, while it may be more realistic to not see anything while hiding, the way we get information about the world from a game is not remotely realistic. Abstractions and ‘cheats’ like going into 3rd person are not tragic compromises, but exactly the same as most other game design choices, like pause-y menus, inventories, talkative baddies, HUDs and so on and so on.

      Still, you should complain about it if you don’t like it. The less fun you have, the more there’s left for me to enjoy.

    • Jahkaivah says:

      It’s not a problem because it is unrealistic. A better analogy would be Fog of War in strategy games since they are both about denying the knowledge of whereabouts of the enemies in the game. And as such there are games where the removal of Fog of War would make for a largely worse game, and not because it would be less realistic, but because it would be less fun.

      As such there are strategy games where Fog of War is not appropriate and to that extent stealth series like Splinter Cell and Assassins Creed justify being third-person due to their climbing mechanics. But third person stealth games being more common means less overall variety.

  5. DK says:

    Because we all know that putting a “non-lethal” infront of the takedown button means the never-waking-up-no-matter-how-long-you-wait enemy is totally not dead. No siree, he’s just incapacitated and you’re still just as stealthy with a dea….I mean unconcious guard who won’t report in lying there.

  6. Vinraith says:

    Ugh, I do hate boss fights.

    Still, when I first heard this announced I frankly thought it was going to be complete shit. For the most part, this report is very encouraging, as most of the positives are very positive and most of the negatives aren’t a huge deal to my mind. For a game I initially expected to pass by completely, I find myself surprisingly excited about this.

    • Brumisator says:

      I think i’ll climb into that same boat you’re in.

    • The Innocent says:

      This seems the right attitude.

    • PearlChoco says:

      Exactly.
      But still, I’m worried about a) the autopilot waypointing system and b) the health regen…

    • Bhazor says:

      Reply to Pearlchoco

      It’s already been confirmed that the objective markers are optional.
      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/04/19/deaugmented-deus-ex-3-highlighting-optional/

      “We have made object highlights alterable. Moreover, we also allowed disable the floating objective markers. So you can play without any augmented reality features.”

      Perhaps its execution sounds a bit too excessive (hate when your told exactly where to find something a la Arkham) but Quintin really should have mentioned that it isn’t mandatory.

    • LionsPhil says:

      the health regen…

      While I can see that it would be deleterious to other games, that seems a little of an odd complaint for DX. DX1 was hardly short on things to heal or inventory space for them, even at higher difficulties, so having to make do with one arm and one leg was only because you were in the middle of combat and didn’t feel cheaty enough to abuse the paused nature of the inventory screen—in which case a rest-to-heal mechanism should be identical except for not carrying around everyone’s packed lunches and thirty medkits (a resource you never run out of isn’t entirely worth tracking).

      (DX1 also had a during-combat regen aug, but you had to “pay” for that as an aug slot, and with bioenergy. Maybe that particular boon will be an upgrade in DX3? *shrug*)

    • gritz says:

      Except tying healing (and other things) to items was part of what fueled exploration, which was one of the core elements of the game.

    • LionsPhil says:

      As long as there is still ammo, passcodes, and general background world-building interest like notes between random NPCs from the mundane to the personal to the surprisingly insightful into the high-level plot, and simply interesting scenery to be found from snooping, I don’t think removing “hoovering up health kits” is really going to hurt the drive to explore that badly. Chances are you remember the flooded tunnel in Hong Kong (and its aug canister) better than some random cubby-hole with another damn medkit you can’t even carry because you’re maxed out and can’t form multiple stacks of them.

      Of all the horrible modern trends, I honestly think regenerating health while resting is probably a bitter pill DX can swallow without too much damage. (If they smear the screen with jam, however, rant away.)

  7. Ertard says:

    Ugh, pre-rendered cutscenes. Terrible. Oh well, sounds like the rest of it is pretty great.

  8. clockler says:

    The pre-rendered cutscenes were a given when I remembered Square is doing it.

  9. ZIGS says:

    What a sh*gets shot*

  10. Teddy Leach says:

    I am not concerned in the slightest and am looking forward to this so much that it isn’t funny any more. Oh, and don’t I remember that you can turn the waypointing and hi-lighting off?

    • CMaster says:

      @Teddy
      If you read that bit of the article again, you’ll see that you can’t turn off waypoining, but you can simply not select any objectives to track. Apparently however, the game doesn’t give you any other ways of finding your objectives. Quinns mentions having to go to an apartment, but you’re never told the number, so without the waypoints you’ll be trying a lot of the wrong doors.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Ah, so it does! Even so, it doesn’t seem like the most horrible thing in the world. The waypointing can be turned off, and we should be used to objective markers by now.

      EDIT: So this video probably refers to the waypoint markers, not the mission markers? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c31PhzVwnfc&feature=player_embedded#at=190

    • P7uen says:

      To me it sounds saddeningly lazy. I vaguely remember reading a great article probably by an RPS chap, possibly regarding Valve, about the use of level design, lighting, etc to guide the player subconsciously to their objective.

      That the game was designed to be played with a giant arrow is, well I’m still going to buy it, but… what a shame.

    • Jesse L says:

      Subconscious signposting is fine, but let’s not forget that straight-up directions work as well. What’s wrong with “look for the door with John Smith’s name on it” or “first alley on the left”? Waypoints are often very useful and even irreplaceable, but when possible it’s more satisfying if I can find my own way.

      Anyway, no game is perfect. Deus Ex certainly wasn’t, but it was great fun, and this sounds like it will be too. In fact, with all the previews I’ve seen and read I feel like the actual reviews will be redundant when published.

    • P7uen says:

      @Jesse

      Exactly, if you design the game properly quizzing the tenants about the local cyborg will tell you which door to knock on or something. It’s Deus Ex, maybe a schematic or some intel.

      I mean yeah a yellow arrow on a Ghost Recon style hub may even be more fitting with the story since he is a roboman with augmented eyes. I’d implement it if I was creating a super-soldier. I suppose I just feel it takes away the joy of discovery and accomplishment that I feel when I run around investigating things in games.

    • JackShandy says:

      P7uen: I’d have to say that using the cleversneak valve way of guiding people to objectives would simply be impossible to do in a Deus Ex game. Valve relies on the fact that there’s only one way to go through a level, so that you’ll always be in the perfect position to see the subtle light source to guide you to the objective. What happens to that when there’s multiple paths to it, or if you don’t even know what objective the player is going after?

  11. airtekh says:

    I’m liking everything I’ve heard about Human Revolution so far.

    It probably won’t top Deus Ex, but I think it will come damn close.

    • Blackseraph says:

      It really can’t top Deus Ex. It just can’t.

      But if it gets even close it will be great.

      This year is just great for rpgs, Witcher and Deus EX I am so excited about those both, can’t remember when was the last time I was excited about two games in a year.

      Arguably ME3 might also get in to that list, but I have doubts if it is an actual rpg since ME2 really weren’t.

    • noodlecake says:

      who care’s if anything is an RPG? The best games don’t conform to traditional genres. If you make a game from the approach of “lets make an FPS” or “lets make an RPG” rather than “lets make something innovative and good” then you’re gonna end up with bland. That’s why Mass Effect 2 was so fantastic.

    • kyrieee says:

      I agree completely noodlecake, and the same thing was of course true of Deus Ex as well.

    • matrices says:

      ME3 is delayed to Q1 2012 anyway.

      (And no, not another dumb fucking declaration that ME2 isn’t an RPG because you don’t have the privilege of scrolling past 256 useless types of armor.)

  12. CMaster says:

    It does sound like the promises of “Squaresoft are only doing the intro/trailer cutscene” haven’t held true, and they have gone and added stupid pre-rendered cut scenes in.
    These things are annoying enough in most games, especially when they show you doing something that you could easily have done yourself. In a game where player choice and approach is supposed to really matter, like Deus Ex or Alpha Protocol, they’re screaming-with-rage time. (AP pissed me off all the times it had my stealthy character hit a cutscene point during which he would walk out and say “hi there” to the fucking enemy)

  13. futage says:

    What a unshame.

  14. PatrickSwayze says:

    Internet bandwaggon campaign to get the cutscenes rerendered anyone?

    The studio seems pretty good at listening to people so far.

    • DrazharLn says:

      I don’t imagine them being super flexible this close to release, they’d have to make content for everything that is currently cutscened and they’d piss off whoever it was at the company who wanted cutscenes in the first place.

      As for “forcing you to do the right thing” either the right thing should be obvious (run from the explosion, punish the player with death/failure and a pithy message if they do the wrong thing) or optional.

  15. slick_101 says:

    I never played the first one and have only realised about this game a few days ago, reading this review has helped me. it seems like my kinda game. being able to be all sneaky and then if the poo hits the fan I can blow people to dust….. another one for my list of games to own and play this summer :D

    • Blackseraph says:

      You should play first one it is one of the best rpgs ever, along with planescape:torment and vampire the masquarade:bloodlines.

      You get it free if you prepurchase human revolution from steam. It is old game though so be warned, but still oh so marvelous.

    • televizor says:

      You can run it in DX 11 with some tweaks for some extra HDR and other effects, I think it still holds up.

  16. Defiant Badger says:

    This is all actually a hunger induced hallucination.

  17. PatrickSwayze says:

    Was this play through on PC or Console-toy?

  18. AndrewC says:

    Masterful juggling of the rage/joy nerd-buttons Quinns! How are we supposed to unthinkingly react now?

  19. Turin Turambar says:

    Lots of nice stuff in this preview. But… minimap? praising regenerating health? Saying it’s good to not have a sense of failure if you are damaged or got caught stealthting???

    Quintin, What. A. Shame.

    • Red_Avatar says:

      Not to mention dull and colourless locations :s Deus Ex was MADE by its great settings – One of the reasons I replayed it several times, is because the locations are so well made. If they’re going the lazy route to warehouses and other dull crap, they can count me out.

    • AndrewC says:

      Funny how all those amazing locations all looked liked dull grey corridors. And were often warehouses.

    • nil says:

      Warehouses owned by the Illuminati, and full of green greasy greasels.

    • JackShandy says:

      Aaah, but who can forget the subtle parisian delights of grey corridor #5? Or the delicious aroma of the bitter yet eloquent corridor #13?

  20. A-Scale says:

    What in the name of God is a Detroit twang? Answer me you limey git.

  21. Tyrone Slothrop. says:

    The criticisms seem quite minor in comparison to the praise, while I would like all boss-fights to be resolved non-lethally, the first game did have some mandatory murder (glitches and pseudo-game breaking notwithstanding). The exploration, detail and writing are all immensely promising.

    I haven’t been this excited for a game in years, ever really. I’ve waited ten years for a proper sequel to Deus Ex and finally after the failure of Invisible War, it finally appears that such a game is being released soon and it looks fucking beautiful.

    Detroit as Hong Kong-esque playground in scope but with modern production values to rival the most refined corridor shooter? Four more such hubs in the game? August can’t come soon enough.

  22. TheApologist says:

    Hmmm…happy-joy positives seem significantly bigger than naughty-boy negatives.
    Excited!

  23. Zwebbie says:

    I’d like to mention that I appreciate that RPS dares name negatives even during the hype phase – that normally only tends to happen when the game is out. Not that I’ll be getting DX3, but still.

  24. Olivaw says:

    Some of those concerns don’t bother me, and some of them do. Removing objective markers being an option is great, but learning that they’re kind of necessary is bad. It sucks that there’s no easy way to please everyone for them.

    That being said, I didn’t give a shit about the pre-rendered cutscenes in Arkham Asylum, and I probably won’t give a shit about them here. Not being able to incapacitate a boss or skip past him or being able to go through the entire story without killing anyone is too bad, but let’s not forget:

    In Deus Ex you had to kill Anna, unless you did a really lame exploit. And the story didn’t recognize it anyway. And you had to fight Gunther at some point, and kill him. There was no way out of that either.

    And yes, a sequel this many years after Deus Ex 1 should probably have fixed these issues, but considering that Deus Ex still sort of exists in a genre of it’s own, and there’s no other game since that even tries to be Deus Ex, just having another game even attempt to live up to it is awesome.

    I’m tempering my expectations, but I’m still very excited. If that makes sense.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Let’s be honest, most of us would kill the boss anyway.

      As I remember, it made very little difference if you beat a boss unconscious or let said boss live (apart from the two you mentioned), so it seems a little nitpicky to say it here, given that it had no effect in the original.

      Of course, it could have made a difference. It was a while ago since I last played it.

    • CMaster says:

      Avoiding Gunther was quite possible actually. Made him a little angry mind.

    • Blackseraph says:

      It is not nitpicky at all. Original was made ten years ago. They really shouldn’t force us to kill anyone these days in a deus ex game. This is one thing that will most likely annoy me most in human revolutions, but we’ll see.

      Pacifist run is one of the best and most fun ways to get through games when that is possible.

    • Eschatos says:

      I suppose saying “Laputan Machine” breaks pacifist conduct?

    • TeraTelnet says:

      I get the feeling Quinns was being careful with his wording there; the way he has phrased it makes it sound to me like Jensen was himself being forced to kill the boss, in a plot-twist kind of way, rather than the player’s character being shown killing the character automatically. I’m not sure I’ve differentiated that sufficiently in my explanation mind you.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      You didn’t *have* to fight Anna – you could have walked the path of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. She would have killed your ass, but you had the option.

  25. Linfosoma says:

    My current spectations are: “I want a pretty looking cyber punk action game with RPG elements and some stealth”. Im thinking I wont be disappointed.
    Anyway, I took the plunge and pre-ordered.

    My biggest concern now is, Brink is unlocking on Thursday where I live, Im still on time to cancel my pre-order and Im getting so many mixed comments about it. Im sure I’ll like the game but I fear the MP will die within a month, what should I do?

  26. Tatourmi says:

    “Crucially, you never feel weak. In the first Deus Ex, if you were a sneaky type and got caught, or you were a murderous type and took a lot of damage in a fight, there was a sense of failure. Human Revolution gives the sneaky guy tools to correct being located from his very first mission (punching that enemy who just walked into your hiding spot, or activating your camoflage to make your escape), and by swapping numerical health for regenerating health, the murderous type can no longer make mistakes. Now, it’s just a fantastic ride.”

    Wait… That is a good thing? That alongside with the waypoints, the cutscenes and the kill da boss fight I think that I will be waiting for a sale.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      As far as fighting goes one thing I wouldn’t mind them changing is the fighting.

      In short I want to kill people as coolly as they do in the videos of DX3

      Like a better Crysis, cool custom guns and stealth to launch fast blitzes without getting hit much

      I just hope the enemies in this don’t take ridiculous Korean level damage ¬_¬

      Basically for me DX wasn’t about about a weak little pune but having the options to fight and play how I liked. And I liked the story.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Koreans are tough as hell.

    • RCGT says:

      You kidding me? It’s a great thing. It’s the reason I couldn’t get into the first game at all. You’re supposed to be this super-duper augmented robo-agent and you die to every Tom, Dick and Harry with a stun baton. All of a sudden I’m interested in this game.

  27. Vegas says:

    Really happy that we live in a world in which we can talk about “the first ten hours” of a video game

  28. icupnimpn2 says:

    What other games fit into the genre of the immersive sim that has come to be defined by Deus Ex the first?

    • Olivaw says:

      The only other one I can even think of is Bloodlines, but I haven’t played it myself.

    • Linfosoma says:

      @ Olivaw: Awww yes, Bloodlines, now there’s a fantastic little game.

    • The Pink Ninja says:

      If was a billionaire what I’d spend my money on would be to start a games company to turn the New World of Darkness settings into DX/Bloodlines-esk games.

      But yes, the only game like DX is Bloodlines and maybe the Elder Scroll games and Fallout 3. If there are any more I’ve either forgotten them or they were so poor I never bought them.

    • Jad says:

      STALKER is at least a close cousin of this genre. Most problems are solved by shooting them, yes, but it’s got the RPG bits and dialogue choices and simulation elements and such.

    • CMaster says:

      System Shock 2 is an immersive sim. Hard to think of any others that really count.
      Read more about immersive sims here and indeed here, with a look at how Deus Ex in particular relates and defines the genre in this massive pile of post here

    • Blackseraph says:

      System shock is great game, but little hard to call it immersive sim.

      It is almost pure shooter. There is not even anyone alive in there for you to talk to.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      It’s “guns and conversation”.

      Inventory.

      Dialogue.

      Equipment-based RPG-style stats without actual stat fiddling.

    • PearlChoco says:

      Alpha Protocol.

    • CMaster says:

      @ Jim
      “It” = STALKER?

    • CMaster says:

      @PearlChoco
      Alpha Protocol is more a dungeon-crawling RPG, than an immersive sim.

    • gritz says:

      I very strongly disgree with Jim’s definition of what makes an immersive sim. Stats and dialogue have very little to do with it. Even inventory isn’t that big of a factor.

      For me, the genre is defined by its world building and the prioritization of environmental realism over “gaminess”. When you feel like you’re in a real space and not just a “level”, that’s when the genre has succeeded.

    • Jad says:

      Far Cry 2 was far more like a “real world” space than Deus Ex, at least from a simply graphical and world building standpoint, with heaps of environmental realism and nothing you would refer to as “levels” (everyone says “remember the Hong Kong level?” when talking about Deus Ex), but I would not call it an immersive sim.

      Actual dialog with people, being able to hold stuff and look at the stuff you have, choices on what you want to do and the impact of those choices, those are all very important towards making a game feel more like what it feels like to be a human in the actual world, and not a player in a shooter.

    • gritz says:

      Dialogue, stats and inventory are qualities of plenty of non-immersive sim games, going back as far as the earliest RPG’s. The big difference is the way immersive sims portray your character’s relation to the environment in a way that is as un-gamey and un-abstracted as possible.

  29. Liquidben says:

    # 11: “I wonder if I have a cyber-wang”

  30. mwoody says:

    After the Brink fiasco (namely: very positive previews became very negative reviews), I’m very pleased to see such an honest take on the sneak peek code; thank you. I’m more excited by this than I am a blissed-out splotch of PR-speech, as reading here I see a real game that will be actually fun, rather than a can’t-possibly-exist thing that the ad people want me to think it is.

    • Walsh says:

      10000000000% agreed.

      I don’t feel really burned by Brink but seriously what the fuck games journalists?

      I like that you are pointing out the negatives RPS.

      Also, pretty sure the golden rule of cutscenes is if it includes action, the player should be in control. I will brook no argument.

    • Kaira- says:

      Brink is a fiasco? I mean, I haven’t played it myself, but I’ve seen 2 or three below 7/10 or 70/100-reviews, most have been somewhere around 75-90. I wouldn’t consider that as a fiasco.

    • heretic says:

      Sounds to me like Brink is suffering from broken 360 preview code apparently, I believe Ars refused to review it at first but are now reviewing the PC version and are saying it’s a completely different world, not without it’s flaws no doubt.

      Still it sounds fun but maybe it’s one of those hate/love it games.

      Btw, is RPS doing a Wot They Think on Brink any time soon?

      @Kaira

      I believe there was a 2/5 somewhere :/

    • Quintin Smith says:

      We’re all playing Brink at the moment, yeah. You can expect something from us this Friday.

  31. Brumisator says:

    you had me at “explore”

  32. Kolchak says:

    “Delightfully, if you find a password or a pinpad code during your explorations, the game will bring it up when you get to the appropriate door. You have to type it in manually or use the numeric keypad on your keyboard, an utterly unnecessary but delightful nod to the PC lineage of the old Deus Ex.” – games.on.net

    How often do you get to in type passwords during Human Revolution? Because I always got a nerdy thrill off logging into Gunther Hermann’s email account. I especially love using the Numpad when typing into Keypads, it just feels surreal.

    Great preview. Just pre-ordered the game. Every other developer needs to look at Eidos and learn that this is how you treat PC Gamers.

  33. ColOfNature says:

    I bought the first two on Steam months ago but never got round to playing them. I ought to rectify this.

  34. frenz0rz says:

    “The last game to have this sickness quite as bad was Arkham Asylum.”

    Any chance of elaborating on that? I cant off the top of my head think of many moments where the control was completely wrestled away from you. In fact, the only instance I can think of was that excellent bit [SPOILER] where the Joker wheels Batman down the corridor in first person, and shoots you in the head. But that was not pre-rendered, was excellently done, and you still maintained a very slight amount of control (“dodge the bullet by moving your head!”). Am I forgetting something here?

    Other than that, you’ve made me jolly excited about getting this, despite the brief hints of disappointment. The question I kept thinking throughout, however, was – Is there any option to “Stick with the prod”? Or is my favourite shin-zapping stick gone for good?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I’m afraid you can’t “stick with the prod”, but there’s a scene before the first mission where somebody asks which of FIVE weapons you’d like, as opposed to three. And you can stick with a taser, which is like a long-distance prod!

      On the subject of Arkham Asylum, my main memories are of the game dispatching Harley Quinn and Bane for me after I put in all the hard work.

    • Nick says:

      It was briming with cutscenes where control was taken from you.. like every boss you met for example.

    • frenz0rz says:

      An extendo-prod? Excellent stuff! And probably a little more practical than creeping up directly behind someone and zapping them in the knees until they fall over.

      As for Arkham Asylum, I’d actually forgotten about those two ‘fights’. Oddly enough, I found the whole ‘batarang, dodge, punch’ mechanic with Bane and his smaller uglier cousins particularly tiresome, and was quite pleased to see the end of that fight in any way possible. With Harley, on the other hand, I really enjoyed the repeated waves of man-punching whilst backflipping across an electro-dancefloor, and probably would have enjoyed a similarly-styled boss fight. Although, in all honestly, it would have been pretty short; the only time Batman goes one-on-one with a classic villain in Arkham, it seems his opponent has to be the size of several medium-sized bungalows and surrounded by lesser minions to ensure a fair fight.

    • FunkyBadger3 says:

      The worst, for me, were the two big panoramic reveals when you come into the open the first time – game didn’t trust to look in the right direction I guess.

      Gits.

  35. smi1ey says:

    UGH. Pre-rendered cutscenes? Really?

  36. kyrieee says:

    It sounds like it does a lot of things right, but a few critical missteps can bring a game down from being a classic to simply being very good. I hope they can sort some of it out before release

  37. green_genes says:

    This sounds fantastic! Can’t wait!
    Why must games insist on taking control away from the player for cutscenes, though?

  38. heretic says:

    Want!

    I imagine you were playing this on a top-notch rig?

  39. Po0py says:

    So, at ten hours in, the assumption is you’ve played roughly half of the game?

  40. ran93r says:

    I don’t really know what’s wrong with me, I’m not all that excited about this and I still haven’t picked up Portal 2. I’m turning into some kind of curmudgeonly old bugger.

    • heretic says:

      Haven’t picked up Portal 2 either, but that’s just cos I’m in exam period and I want to buy a new rig before playing all these nice games :3

      Still, I kinda understand what you mean, there was a time when exams or no exams I’d have finished Portal 2 already…

  41. felisc says:

    Dear mr Smith, any word on the sound design and music ?
    I’m expecting a lot (A LOT LOT LOT actually) from the sound in this game, how are things so far ? The trailers had a nice blade runneresque music going on, how is the atmosphere outside ? are the guns souding yummy ? do doors slide with fantastic futuristic notes ?
    thanks

  42. DarkFenix says:

    Ok, now I’m actually starting to get quite excited about this. I’ve been cautiously keeping an eye on it, mindful of just how awful DE:IW was and how easy it is to completely miss the point following up a legendary game after so long. My doubts are slowly but surely being erased as more information comes out.

    Potential game of the decade?

  43. DariusK says:

    Wow. Awesome.

    The pheromone thing sounds batshit. I love it.

  44. Edrisch says:

    I read some previews and i’m fucking hyped, need this game !

  45. Doomsayer says:

    Dooooooom!

  46. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    I’m afraid I can’t trust Quinns’s opinions on DX:HR. We all know he wasn’t even born when Deus Ex was released.

    But he puts his opinions into such lovely words I enjoy reading them regardless. ;)

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Many moons later: I have now played the leaked preview build. It is fabulous. Also, I am sorry, Quinns, that I doubted you—I agree with every single one of your points now.

  47. Zenicetus says:

    Speaking of unescapable boss fights… is this one of those games where you can change the difficulty setting at any time, to get past a frustrating difficulty spike? Or is the difficulty setting locked-in at the start of the game? There’s a fine line between fun and frustration, when a game includes mandatory boss fights.

  48. Marshall Stele says:

    Thanks for this. I am now sufficiently let down that I think my first run through the game will be highly enjoyable. I am going to get this at launch.

  49. Muzman says:

    “its predecessor”…
    Amusing how there is no acknowledgement of Invisible War at all in there.
    I know it’s a bit “Don’t mention the war”, but Keiron liked it!

  50. Robin says:

    I know I shouldn’t but … I’m skeptical.

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