DXHR: Lethal Vs Non-Lethal Approaches

By Jim Rossignol on August 25th, 2011 at 2:41 pm.


The first line of discussion I seem to have had with anyone who has played DXHR (which is a considerable fraction of the people I know) concerns how we played it. And to talk about how is to say whether you approached it lethally, or non-lethally. Whether you relied on knockout punches, tranquiliser darts and stunguns, or whether you stabbed people in the dick. Most people I know felt that to be true to the game, and to themselves, they had to defer to a non-lethal route. I… did not feel that way. At least not by the end of the game.

This is my story. (Mild mechanical and narrative spoilers.)


It seems reasonable to argue that the finest achievement of the Deus Ex games is to offer some choice about how you handle combat situations. They are combat games, really, but since they are based around infiltration, rather than direct confrontation, there’s considerable scope for activities other than shooting men to death. Getting them to lie down and have a nap, via a range of persuasive implements, also becomes an option. The role-playing ramifications of that are pretty profound, especially when set against the backdrop of most of the games we play. You get to be the guy who doesn’t murder hapless goons (thus neatly sidestepping the “think of the Goon’s family” guilt-joke from Austin Powers) and instead drags their unconscious forms into airducts, traumatising them forever. We like that. It’s ethically okay and it’s gameologically refreshing. It’s also an interestingly different challenge.

DXHR pulls it off so well that John almost exploded when the non-murderous approach was forcible over-written by the bosses. Only the quick thinking of a nearby PC games journalist with a fire-extinguisher stopped the indignant Mr Walker from detonating into a crater where his desk should have been, and instead he was able to walk away, calm down, and vent his frustrations by attacking exploitative game distribution practices. I digress. The point is that DXHR, from the outset, is keen to offer a choice. You can take the tools of non-violent man-defeating into the game pretty much from the outset, and that remains mostly consistent throughout what is a huge, sprawling game.


The line, however, is easily crossed. Initially I too was lured by the promise of doing things differently. The game certainly incentivises non-violent approaches, because you get more XP. It’s not vastly more, but enough to build up and make a difference to the powers you manage to unlock across the entire game. What it doesn’t do, however, is judge you in the way that the original game did. Despite opting for the tranquilliser darts on my foray into the early parts of the game, and being careful to punch (rather than impale) the first few folks I encountered, my situation suddenly got out of hand when fighting and shouting and mistakes woke some guards I’d previously knocked out. In my enthusiasm to put one of the buggers back down I stabbed him the groin. I was pretty surprised, as I’d not done that before. Nevermind, I thought, I’ll skewer and shoot my way through this level and then enjoy the horrified indignation of the other characters who are tracking my progress.

Except not. Nothing. I had been ready for at least some barbed earpiece comments about my ultra-violence, but nothing was forthcoming. I was ready to be made to feel guilty, but the hit wasn’t there. Wasn’t Sarif going to tell me that the company looked bad? Weren’t people in Sarif HQ going to say “I heard he likes to stab men in the groin!”

They were not.

That’s fine, I supposed. Maybe something else would show up later. I moved back to non-violence. I have to admit that I wanted to conform to the way I knew John, Alec, and Kieron were playing the game. They were going to be taking the route of concussion blasts and knockouts. I should too, I thought, so that we could compare similar experiences. And anyway, I am not necessarily the luddite who prefers base displays of gore and fire over subtlety.

And that was where the game proved me wrong. And it did so entirely within its narrative. It is highly unusual for me to find any real affect in game stories, but when I finally encountered the “main” enemies, my restraint was dissolved. These brutal strangers were fucking with my life, and those of my Sarif colleagues. They had nearly killed me. Why not strike back? I owed them.

I purchased the most formidable, lethal, personal augmentation, the Typhoon, and immediately, ruthlessly obliterated a large gang of enemy drones. From there in, motivated by Jensen’s only vengeances (the need for which multiply through the game – his losses are not limited to the start of the game, and other companions are lost and abused) I became intent on bloody retribution. And it felt good to not worry any more. And why would Jensen himself have cared, having reached that point of horror at what was going on? His enemies clearly showed no pity on his allies, or innocent people, so why should they be gifted non-violent processing?

Do I want XP points? No, revenge.


From there on I savagely slaughtered everyone in DXHR. No masked mercenary was safe from Jensen’s retractable elbow swords. A lucky few were slapped into instant death by a shotgun point-blank to the face, while other still faced grenades, or the business end of a spooled-up minigun. I was relentless. It was almost a pleasure to run out of ammo from time to time, because then it means the stabbity-stab was on. The killing had kicked off and it really didn’t stop until I entered the game’s final room.

It’s important to note, of course, that violence in DXHR does not mean that you dispense with stealth. Far from it. This is not a game that becomes a stand up shooter, even when you are are your most armoured, and most heavily armed. Rather, the point is that it enables you to become a nightmarish mechanical murderer, lurking behind corners, under windows, behind doors. You are still vulnerable to attack, but nevertheless a brutally efficient predator upon the hapless drones that are sent after you. I might not have been tranqing and stunning, but my stalking of my targets was no less stealthy, and no less exciting. Hell, I think some of the more brutal run-ins were some of the most cathartic moments I’ve experienced in a game of late, as my encounter with the mercenaries proved.

DXHR does offer you choice. One of those choice is to become a spear-armed cyber-murderer who would make half the protagonists of our blood-soaked game worlds shudder in disbelief. And, as a lifelong connoisseur of the imaginary violences, I’m definitely okay with that.

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152 Comments »

  1. jon_hill987 says:

    Stick with the prod.

  2. Evoc says:

    I’ll come back and read this article once i acctually get to play and have played this dang game : /

  3. KauhuK says:

    My copy was posted today but I doupt it’ll arrive by tomorrow. So I’ll see about these deus ex articles hopefully next monday.

    • torchedEARTH says:

      By that time all those articles will be lost in time… like tears in rain

    • jonfitt says:

      Shadows and dust, shadows and dust.

    • grundus says:

      @torchedEARTH

      That does it, I’m watching that tonight, and I’m obviously going to time it so it ends at exactly midnight.

      I’m planning a non-lethal playthrough for my first, but if my experiences of DX are anything to go by that will go to shit if and when I find the private army of the people doing all the badness in HR.

    • 1R0N_W00K13 says:

      My copy arrived today, by total fluke. Steam is a massive killjoy and refuses to allow me to install it until midnight, but, needless to say, I will be staying up to do just that.

    • zontax says:

      I already have my copy for seven hours! but steam won’t install until 0:00.

      *looks at clock*

      Ow well looks like I’m going to play now.

      (Just typing this to make you guys jealous, my version has both pre-order bonuses)

  4. merc-ai says:

    Mildly spoiling the storyline was completely uncalled for and had little connection to the main subject of article.

    (may be my own bad, as I expected spoilers of game mechanics, not story)

    • Ghil says:

      as in so mild you can’t taste it anymore? Come on, All he said was something akin to “There’s gonna be some twist in the story!”.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      People who’ve played the game are asking me what I am actually referring to, so I don’t think I have spoiled anything in the story. And I how I told that story was absolutely relevant to the point I was trying to make.

      I will add a further disclaimer to the spoiler line.

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Jim, have you noticed significant difference between your ending number of praxis points and those of your non-lethal colleagues ? Is the XP “penalty” for murderous approach noticeable?

      I thought that maybe – just maybe – it will be fine, because murdering characters do not need that many augmentations… (all the radar infos, hacking and cloaking) however, that might be a wrong assumption?

    • JackShandy says:

      Spoilers: At some point in the story, Jensen is angry at some men wot done him wrong.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I assume the point of extra XP for sneaky-types is that good sneaky-types may bypass some enemies entirely, whereas MURDERKILL types will be scouring the map for more flesh for their death-frenzy: smaller XP doses, but more of them.

      DX1 sidestepped the problem by giving XP for mission objective progress (and bonuses for certain things like finding what are basically DOOM secret areas at heart), not kills.

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      Vandelay says:

      Spoilers: Jenson gets angry at man’s nuts.

    • ajsheppard says:

      Spoiler alert: there is a man in this game called Jensen

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      Praxis points are awarded every 5000 xp. The difference between a lethal and non-lethal take down is what, 10xp? 20? I can’t remember. It’s around there. Even if it were 50, that’s every 100 enemies taken down in game. Assuming the same number of enemies taken down (which as pointed out, is not usually the case, if you’re going non-lethal, you tend to avoid confrontation wherever possible), you’re probably looking at maybe 3ish extra praxis points for the merciful player over the course of the game. I don’t know how many enemies are in the game, but I’ve just reached Heng Sha and I doubt I’ve taken down even 100 guys yet.

      It’s also worth noting that you still get XP for things other than defeating enemies. Hacking, finding secret paths, completing goals, winning conversations, completing areas undetected, all these things give you XP in addition to taking out enemies.

    • Derk_Henderson says:

      LionsPhil: That, and it also rewards you for being a sneaky motherfucker with Smooth Operator (+250XP for not setting off any alarms) and Ghost (+500XP for not being detected). I’ve gotten really quite good at getting those, and they add up. And you can get a number of non-lethal takedowns in on top of them. Even if you’re murdering people, it’s much more XP-efficient NOT to get in gunfights.

    • Kestrel says:

      *Vague spoilerz* You can non-lethally submit every* non-boss enemy after the intro, without stealth, dual knockout, or cloak skills.

      I have found one situation where that didn’t work – maybe the devs couldn’t picture anyone trying to submit every member of the blockading crew Jensen is ‘escaping’ from so they bunched them up in a group out front without patrol routes. Guess that’s what gas grenades are for :/

      The 10 xp difference between submitting and shooting guards in the head (or + 20 if you shoot them somewhere else) adds up pretty quick when you are systematically submitting all of them.

      I did throw one guy off a rooftop for a side mission. But that guy deserved it more than anyone else in the game, or in most games.

  5. Coins says:

    Nine hours to go, says Steam. It’s just taunting me now, sitting fully downloaded on my drive, yet just outside my grasp.

    • Njordsk says:

      Hear your pain. At work too.

    • Yosharian says:

      I might not get my copy til SATURDAY. FUCK.

    • Premium User Badge

      Vandelay says:

      I had my dispatch notice from Amazon yesterday and just know it will be sitting at home. I won’t even be able to install the fecking thing though. Why can’t the unlock be when you launch the game, not when you try to run the installation?

  6. StranaMente says:

    *Checks shopto for updates on the code – tells the site off – goes in a corner and cry*

    Edit: and I can’t even begin to preload the game. F….

  7. Ergates_Antius says:

    The route of the true bastard is to use non-lethal take downs, then murder the victims whilst they’re helpless. The more interesting/entertaining the better:
    Shooting them in the head: 1 point.
    Dropping them off a tall building or into a body of water: 5 points
    Laying them down in front of a combine harvester*: 20 points

    * (may not be actually possible in this, or any, game)

    • LionsPhil says:

      How many points for feeding them to the karkians?

      Fun fact: greasel venom does tranq damage. They eat their victims alive, if unconcious.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      10

    • clockler says:

      The role of the true bastard is to fight using only dumpsters, vending machines and tall buildings.

      I was disappointed I didn’t get an achievement for killing two people with one dropped vending machine.

    • SLeigher says:

      It is sort of doable in GTA San Andreas
      The Combine Harvester bit, I mean

    • FeepingCreature says:

      About San Andreas:

      It harvests them into actual bloody chunks that come out the back.

      I love that game.

  8. LionsPhil says:

    They were not.

    So…not really the kind of game where you get chewed out for poking your head into the ladies’ bathroom, then.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Don’t count on that.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      My fem Shep always got a talking to by going to the Men’s room. Damn EDI and her sensors.

    • yuriks says:

      Actually, Pritchard does berate you for going into the ladies restroom. (“I know your body went through many changes Jensen, but you’re still not a woman.”) I’ve also been told he changes a few of his lines depending on how you do on your first mission regarding lethality.

  9. Simon Hawthorne says:

    The first line of discussion I seem to have had with anyone who has played DXHR (which is a considerable fraction of the people I know)

    But is not YOU, poor RPS comment scum!

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Most of there people I know are games journalists, therefore most people must be games journalists!

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      Durkonkell says:

      I was just coming here to protest RPS posting mechanical and minor story spoilers about a game that’s not even out yet (for non-journalists and US-ers), and Jim has defused my comment before I even posted it. I can’t stay angry / mildly irritable at you, RPS!

      But seriously, articles best read and commented on after playing the game should at least wait until everyone can actually play the game. Surely that would be best? Now I have to wait until after the game comes out and I play it to read this (and I think some previous spoiler-laden article too) and I’ll probably forget or get distracted by

    • edgeblend says:

      I concur, writing two retrospectives about a game that is’nt even out is ‘a bit nobby’ :-)

      Does anyone else already feel nostalgic about a game they havn’t even played yet?

    • Demiath says:

      Aside from the obligatory WIT/review, “retrospectives” like this should definitely wait until there’s not this massive cognitive and experiential disconnect between regular RPS visitors who are excited for the game’s release and writers/editors who have but vague memories of their first DX:HR playthrough stored away somewhere in the dark recesses of their jaded, caffeine-augmented brains.

      Of course, it’s in the nature of this business that there always will be some kind of disconnect (because games journalists lead such weird, atypical and very probably immoral lives), but since what we’re talking about here is delaying these articles a few days at the very most I really don’t think it’s too much to ask…

  10. Moni says:

    Wait a minute, should tranquilizing and punching people in the head be considered non-violent?

  11. WMain00 says:

    This is all fine and well but in the UK and Europe WE’RE STILL GODDAMN WAITING TO PLAY THE THING!!!

    Hnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnggh.

    PROD WITH THE PROD!

    • YeOldeSnake says:

      Last time i checked UK was part of the european union.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Little bit pedantic?

    • Dozer says:

      Last time I checked there were a few miles of water between the UK and the European continent.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      So the UK’s on a different continental shelf then? Don’t people swim the channel? I’m sure these distinctions are all very important “across the pond,” but as a North American, I just plead the Risk defense.

    • 1R0N_W00K13 says:

      @YeOldeSnake: We’re obviously different enough to have warranted separate region locking initially by SE.

  12. LennyLeonardo says:

    Just like Alec’s article yesterday this’n really highlights the interesting relationships between players and player characters. Mr. Meer reckoned his and Jenson’s goals were largely separate, while Jim empathised with Adam and helped him take the bloody revenge he thought he deserved.

    I think this says a lot about what games do that other mediums can’t.

  13. jealouspirate says:

    I’m sure the ‘hapless goon’ who gets beaten senseless and shoved into a airduct doesn’t feel that it was ethically okay or non-violent

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      They’re totally fine with it. I checked.

    • Bursar says:

      Choice 1) You get knocked out and stuffed in a ventilation shaft. Wake up a few hours later with a nasty headache and possibly your P45.

      Choice 2) Help redecorate the walls in a lovely colour called ‘hint of brain’

      Your choice?

    • Premium User Badge

      Durkonkell says:

      Jim: “Hi there! Don’t turn around.”
      Goon: “Bwah!”
      Jim: “I can either blast you with this shotgun and dispose of your corpse in this airvent, or zap you with this stunny thing. You get to go in the airvent either way. Which would you prefer?”
      Goon: “Uh… Stunning. Stunning sounds good.”
      Jim: “Are you sure? You’ll wake up in an airvent with a terrible headache. If I blast you with the shotgun, you won’t wake up with a headache.”
      Goon: “No, no, I’m sure.”
      Jim: “Okay then.”

      *BZZZT*

      [Jim pulls out his notebook and makes a mark next to "prefers non-lethal" before proceeding to unscrew the air-vent grille]

      EDIT: Curse, ninja’d! With more brevity but less dialogue.

    • Kaira- says:

      You know, I’d be less than fine after being few hours cnocked out. I’d probably have severe brain damage-damage-damage-jamage-jamage.

  14. Theoban says:

    If it’s anything like the original Deus Ex, I’ll play stealthily and cleverly with lots of hacking and sneaking round corners. This shall last up until oh, my third enemy. At which point the ‘oh fuck it’ sentiment will take over and BLAM BLAM BLAM all the way.

  15. yhalothar says:

    On behalf of European players: SHUT. UP. We are still waiting for the game to unlock.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      I’m fascinated by this, it’s happening all over the comments of these stories. Why is it bad for writers of a blog to write stories about a game that isn’t out, clearly titleing them as such and warning about possible spoilers? You are not being written for, and the writers of the blog owe you absolutely nothing, there is writing and you can take it or leave it, read or not read. Fair enough agree or disagree with its content and opinion. But criticising it’s presence, who do you think you are?

    • Premium User Badge

      AlwaysRight says:

      Because, RPS is meant to be championing the cause for worldwide release dates and therefor writing a retrospective aimed only at people who have played the game (namely the US) is sending a mixed message.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ AlwaysRight

      That’s just silly. Their job is to cover videogames and they have the game on-hand. Journalists get copies earlier than us all the time.

      And any game with a boxed retail version at release is going to have different world-wide release dates. The reasons behind that are pretty unmovable and solid until a full digital market on all systems is upon us.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ AlwaysRight

      I like how just link that as if it is supposed to be a counter-argument in itself. It isn’t. For one thing calling for worldwide release dates does not mean you stop covering games when they arrive in your inbox. For another think calling for an immediate change is just yelling at brick walls to move. As I said above as long as the boxed retail industry holds power, which it will for a looooong time to come, at least on consoles, there is no chance for worldwide release dates to catch on.

    • Premium User Badge

      AlwaysRight says:

      All the information you need to see my point of view is there in my post and via the link.

      Im not arguing that we can change International distribution convention overnight, or that RPS shouldn’t cover games before they come out. I’m fine with trailers, interviews, previews, reviews and pretty much everything else before a game is released, but retrospectives work under the assumption you’ve already played the game.

      I’m merely highlighting the disconnect between running a grassroots campaign calling for everyone to be treated equally then releasing content that alienates a large portion of its audience. I think that if you are expecting to see the first steps of change in not discriminating people based on geographic location you have to lead by example.

      I do totally understand that RPS’s job is to provide quality information and opinions at the relevent time and that they look all the better by getting their excellent articles out before anyone else. I also understand that as of tommorrow I’m probably not going to give a crap about all this (as ill be playing the game).

  16. JackShandy says:

    Hold on, there are tons of specific responses that change based on your shooty to punchy ratio. None of the main characters do it, perhaps, but side NPC’s are always going “What a bloodbath!” or “You’re a real sneaky fuck, you know that?”

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      Yes, but it’s infrequent and quite cosmetic. There’s literally no point at which it feels like the game is trying to persuade you back towards non-lethality.

    • LionsPhil says:

      That sounds worryingly like Oblivion.

    • JackShandy says:

      True, there’s no NPC that gives you an extra pack of pistol bullets for playing non-lethally.

      Lionsphil: How do you mean? It’s not randomly generated.

      “Hello.”
      “Did you hear about Martial Law?”
      “Dreadful creatures.”
      “Goodbye.”

    • LionsPhil says:

      I mean the way random NPCs will stop to comment on your above-80-or-so attributes. It’s…not well-executed in Oblivion. Dunno how it comes across in HR, obv.

    • Burning Man says:

      “Good day”.

    • Snuffy the Evil says:

      MINOR SPOILER- should come as no surprise to those who’ve played the leak/seen trailers. MINOR SPOILER

      It’s not really prevalent anywhere else in the game, but at the end of the Milwaukee Plant mission the SWAT team members will comment on your tactics. If you go non-lethal, a few cops will congratulate you for your restraint. If you do go lethal, then a few will openly tell you they think you’re a goddamn murderer for killing all of those unorganized vandals, most of whom are young and really no more than kids.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      Pritchard also teases you for going non-lethal, but I have a feeling that he’d equally tease you for going lethal. That guy and Adam: do not get along. But yeah, all the comments are cosmetic. There’s no Sam Carter chewing you out and rewarding you differently based on your tactics.

      I can KIND of see the argument for this. If the game is supposed to let you play it your way, then rewarding you more for a specific sort of play kind of undermines this. If it’s characters in the game telling you off for killing, then it’s characters not liking Adam’s killing in-universe. If they start doling out rewards based on your non-killing then it becomes the developers saying to the players that this is the proper way to play the game. It’d be the same sort of betrayal that John felt over the boss fights.

      Now part of making decisions is having consequences for those decisions, but if you are always weighing those consequences in certain ways then it can be problematic. You already get more XP for non-lethal, as a risk/reward thing, if the game heaped more rewards on the non-lethal players then it becomes less of a meaningful choice and more of the optimal way to play.

  17. abremms says:

    sounds almost exactly like my experience. I started out trying to be the sneaking non-lethal ghost, but at one point ran out of options. whether i made a wrong turn or some other bad descision (and i’m sure it was a result of my own descisions, which is really the best part of this game) I got myself into a situation where I had no sneaking or non-lethal options, all I had was a recently looted pistol, 10 rounds, and 5 baddies searching for me as i crouched behind a crate with no where else to hide.

    after that, all bets were off, situations needed to be dealt with, one way or another.

  18. piderman says:

    BTW RPS, will you repost these articles in a couple of days so that us Europeans can also join in the discussion? Never have I felt so left out.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      I’ll post a round up of the DXHR content next week.

    • metalangel says:

      Alas, on busy and exciting news days, new items get pushed off the front page at alarming speed and thrilling discussions within their comments wilt abrupty as nobody knows they’re there.

  19. Laurentius says:

    Bah, another article about finishing game that is not even out yet…

  20. Trelow says:

    This is how I play every game, even stealth ones. Ooh-rah!

  21. Bilbo says:

    Thanks for writing this. I find the whole “the only way to play the game is obviously stealth and mercy” attitude a bit irritating. You’re just robbing yourself of gameplay opportunities if you stoically refuse to play with the full range of different toys you’re offered, violent or otherwise, I think.

    Naturally the fact that by the sounds of it the narrative compels players to get some nasty revenge going on helps too, but I know I’ll get in trouble if I accuse people who turn the wronged cyberwarrior into some sort of half-saboteur half-tooth fairy of being crap at playing a role, so I won’t do that!

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      One of my fave moments in my playthrough is when I find a heavy-rifle (i.e. Minigun), before what I’m sure is going to be a hefty fight. And I figure “Fuck it”, increase my inventory size and take it with me.

      KG

    • JackShandy says:

      Yeah, being able to chop and change your playstyle on the fly is one of the best bits of Deus Ex games.

      Isn’t it weird that games with multiple paths always seem to go out of their way in the fiction to declare one path the Right one?

  22. nimzy says:

    My big disappointment is that almost all of the nonlethal weapons in DXHR can’t be upgraded. They are just as effective when you pick them up as they are at the end of the game. However, this also means all that weapon upgrading junk you can pick up is just so much of a waste of inventory space (outside perhaps upgrading a single weapon for use during boss fights).

  23. Anjiro says:

    I was all peaceful until i got the silencer for my combat riffle.

  24. McDan says:

    I can imagine that this is probably how I’ll end up playing the game, stealthy at first but then after loads of augmentations becoming a death machine. I’m also glad I’m not te only one that thinks about the implications of all the non-lethal takedowns on the enemy grunts, poor guys. Maybe I could try to get through without hurting anyone.

  25. Njordsk says:

    Yeah was wondering the same this morning.

    I went my way down to the first boss without a single kill in the whole building. It was hard, and took me a few quickload.

    But I really wondered if one could go through blasting everything. i mean it looked tough, and weapons are so lethals !

  26. Symitri says:

    I find it a shame that knockouts cost energy. Playing in a non-lethal manner already feels hard enough without having to worry about not having enough energy in case your dual-knockout doesn’t land for whatever reason and only gets one of them.

    I suppose that would be fine if your batteries recharged past the first one given time, but as is I ran out of munchies to pull off the crazier situations in a non-lethal fashion.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      You have a lot more non-lethal knockout options than just the takedowns, you know?

    • Kestrel says:

      FYI on dual knockouts – if you creep close enough to the drones they will begin a scripted dialogue, at the end of which they will separate and you can knock them out one at a time with your single regenerating energy bar. So far into zone 4 I have submitted all but maybe five of the drones in the game with single knockout and no alarms.

  27. Jamesworkshop says:

    Why would sarif complain about the use of force I don’t think giving people fist chisels for non-lethal purposes was a goal.

    Really the stealth aspect seems to be ingrain from the fact that deus ex was far too easy for stealth players right from the beginning where two seconds of fire from a NSF trooper with a pistol was enought to kill a $50 billion man

    does anyone else find the fist chisels odd, the contact point on the arm seems far too small and flimsy for the length of the blade, I seem to be the only one bother by it

  28. Premium User Badge

    Crimsoneer says:

    Seriously RPS, what happened to No Oceans? The vast majority of your readership HAS NOT PLAYED THIS. For no apparent reason, everybody who isn’t serious press has been told to bugger off. Can we highlight this? Instead of just posting a bunch of articles we all have to try and avoid reading?

    • Koozer says:

      Yar, it would be nice if you lot waited until all of us had actually played the thing – it just makes us terribly upset.

    • Bilbo says:

      Right, but two things spring to mind:

      1) This is a blog, the contributors blog about what they’re playing, that’s just how it works

      2) Isn’t it whetting your appetite any? Personally, I wasn’t really at all interested in DXHR until reading a few articles about it over the last couple of days here on RPS. It’s gone from a “meh, whatever” to a “oh now hold the phone, that sounds cool” for me. I reckon they’ve given just about enough away to get us a bit excited, and not much more. I feel your pain though, waiting for things is shit.

    • diamondmx says:

      Actually the majority of people in the regions who have the game already still can’t read the articles – because we haven’t finished it yet.
      It’s quite a big game.

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      I think the whole point of games journalism and game reviews/previews would be hard if it could only be done on games already released

  29. DerekG says:

    I registered just to thank you for writing this. While every review I’ve read to date heaps praise on DXHR, almost all seem to quantify the statement by saying they had to sneak around, hacking was definitely the best skill to start out with, etc. I was starting to wonder if choice was really an option at all? Glad to hear this isn’t Hitman or Thief done in yellow.

    • TsunamiWombat says:

      As someone whose gone full into the ‘go everywhere/know everything’ route (IE, maxed hacking, lift strength, jump height, CASIE-persuade mod) I honestly wish sometimes I had gone to play with some of the niftier toys like the stealth options or the Icarus or targeting so I don;t have to use ironsights or double take downs because moar takedowns is awesome and waiting behind a desk for my energy to recharge so I can knock out that last guard is annoying etc etc.

      They give you alot of mods and not nearly enough praxis points to play with them so it’s well done in that reguard, you really have to make choices about what you want.

  30. CharlO says:

    I have a doubt, please help. Everyone is talking of non violent. And I really wanted to try, but I encounter a problem with the first mission, or rather introduction, when you are un enhanced. It seems like my T key for takedown doesn’t work. I cannot non lethaly take on those 7 goons that appear when you start the game. Is there something wrong with my game, or everyone had the same problem?

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      I think in the intro you simply have to dodge them

    • YeOldeSnake says:

      Indeed , the first mission offers the easiest stealth in the game , it is not that tricky to dodge them , but then if the game was like the original deus ex , mr Sarif would tell you off.

    • Squiddity says:

      No idea if the reply is going to work here… but the takedown key is Q, not T. It was only T in the leak, or if you changed it in the official release.

  31. YeOldeSnake says:

    I enjoy stealth, and i believe stealth is the way to complete missions , except for the city hubs in which i would go Postal-ish stealthy causing havoc in the proccess , without kills or explosions , simply doing the craziest things that come to mind.

  32. DeathHamsterDude says:

    I have a question in regards to the non-lethal approach, which is something that I absolutely want to do, although I might get a little more brutal with others who have wronged me personally. Is there a non-lethal version of the sniper rifle? Because I really want to play as a sniper if possible. It fits in with my style-of-play.

    • YeOldeSnake says:

      There was a crossbow , dont know if it has tranq darts though

    • abremms says:

      there is a tranq gun with decent range on it, but the darts fly on an arc, not a flat trajectory like the sniper rifle, so you have to compensate. i don’t think this is a spoiler since i’v seen it in advertising for the game, but fair warning: there is a weapon mod that tracks the tregectory for you to help you know where the dart will hit, pretty invaluble for long range knockouts.

    • John P says:

      There’s a tranquiliser rifle with a scope.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Stick with the prod.

  33. medwards says:

    So did everyone else get dermal plating? Because I didn’t and am now completely stuck on the second boss. I reduced the difficulty level and I only do marginally better before being massacred.

    • Solskin says:

      I didn’t, I did however walk around with a heavy rifle at all times just in case a boss came and my silenced gun and stealth approach was rendered useless. Oh, and I also changed the game difficulty.

    • Premium User Badge

      ohnoabear says:

      *HUGE MECHANICAL SPOILERS IN THIS COMMENT*

      The second boss is pretty easy to stun lock with the pistol or stun gun when she comes after you, then shoot in the head repeatedly. I killed her entirely with my pistol/stun gun combination. The trick is to know when to dodge her, and when to let her come so you can stun her.

      The saving grace of the boss fight is that the bosses can be easily stunned/staggered. That doesn’t make them enjoyable, just easy.

      • Noblaum says:

        Remember the good old days in DX1 where you could say a witty one-liner and the boss would explode? I like to think that their circuitry couldn’t stand the awe of the witty one-liner.

  34. Eddy9000 says:

    Something I loved about the original wasn’t that you could choose lethal vs non lethal, but that with the right augs and weapon upgrades you could go in as a stealthy sniper, a machine gun toting brute, a brawler, a stealthy ninja, a hacker too bad with weapons to even get into combat etc. Does DXHR offer this range of character customisation and role playing?

    [my personal favorite was upping run speed, cloaking, IR vision, combat strength and defense and pretending to be the Predator; jumping down from high places cloaked, legging it to the enemies head on, decloaking and hacking them all to bits in seconds. Good times]

  35. Sardukar says:

    I am in full agreement with Whathisface the poster. The game itself encourages me, under the heading Role-Playing, to be lethally violent. Not always, not at all, but often. Very often. SWAT is a lethal response trained team and Jensen’s humanity (Humanity? Any CP players out there) has been further imperiled.

    A non-lethal response seemed wholly out of character for him and for the very lethal setting. Incidentally, before you start, role-playing in Doom is possible, just very, very dry. Role-playing in DX and it’s predecessors is not dry at all and very encouraged. Subsume your identity for their identity, contribute to it and voila, you are role-playing.

    Also, they killed my love. And blew up up my work. And took my arms and legs. Now I have Arm Cutters. What do you think I’m going to do, use them to cut up salads? Wake up, it’s time to die.

  36. John P says:

    Some minor spoilery stuff in this post but nothing not seen in any review.

    What it doesn’t do, however, is judge you in the way that the original game did.

    I’m not sure about this. Well, perhaps it doesn’t judge in the same way but it does judge. And it’s pretty confused about it.

    On the one hand you get more XP (ugh) from doing non-lethal takedowns, and you get an extra and sizeable reward for ghosting. On the other hand the story is in large part a revenge drama. And you confront those bosses who you must kill, as though the game is saying ‘Come on, these guys deserve it, kill em all’. Logically that sense of revenge would extend to the anonymous goons who are working with the bosses. And yet you get a greater reward for sparing their lives. The story and the mechanics directly contradict each other on this.

    Cutting to the core of it, I don’t think it’s a good idea to write a Deus Ex game as a revenge drama. It loads you up with way too much story baggage for a game about freedom of play. While it doesn’t ruin the game at all (who cares about story anyway), it is a fundamental weakness of HR.

  37. SmCaudata says:

    So apparently to get the Steam achievement for not killing anyone you have to sneak past the attackers in the Intro portion of the game. This is unfortunate as the “tutorial” tells you how to shoot but doesn’t even make a suggestion about sneaking past. I didn’t learn this until after 10 hours in.

    Because of that, I’m not certain how anal I will be about sneaking past everyone anymore. You get more xp for a melee knockout than you do for a distant one. (10% difference or so). You also get less for shooting. That said, any area with 5+ guards that requires frequent reloads may turn into a shoot and cover situation because the load times are LONG when you mess up.

  38. Juiceman says:

    Not sure where the impression comes from that you have to use non lethal to “stay true to the game.” David Sarif would hardly care if you killed a few terrorists or gang bangers. On my play through, however, I used whatever was more advantageous. I used the glass shield cloaking augmentation quite a lot so energy wasn’t a commodity to be wasted on take downs. I either snuck by individuals or used a quick headshot from my 10mm if they were in the way.

  39. Berzee says:

    Good to hear =) From the comments about xp I was starting to worry you’d be gimped if you were a terrible murderer; but as you don’t complain about it, I will trust that everything is alright.

  40. Wulf says:

    it takes an exceptional person to choose to play a game in a non-lethal way and stick with it to the end. Choosing to play that way is easy. Doing it is much, much more difficult. Though the most difficult game I think i might have encountered which allows for a non-lethal route isn’t Human Revolution but rather New Vegas. It’s doable and there are only one or two moments in the game where you have to take a round. You have to use melee weapons and beanbag rounds to knock people out, and where you’re not doing that you have to talk people out of fighting you.

    But yes. It’s easy to choose this route, but very few people seem to want to stick with it. I do because… well, at the very least, it’s an interesting challenge.

    • Jamesworkshop says:

      I disagree only ghosting is difficult their really is no difference between a knocked down enemy and a dead one you just use a different gun or change how long you press a single button for while attracting less attention and save a ton of space in your inventory not carting guns around.

      it’s really only a role playing difference

    • Unaco says:

      Wow Wulf, that’s exceptionally big headed of you.

    • kaffis says:

      Jamesworkshop, I disagree. It’s more than a role-playing difference because the weapons are quite different.

      Lethal guns have clip sizes >1. This makes them much easier to use in situations where there are multiple hostiles in a tight area. If you want to be non-lethal, you need to watch their patrol paths and play it stealthy, because you have to reload after every shot and thus don’t want to get into a gunfight. If you’re being lethal, you certainly *can* be stealthy, but you have the option of just shooting everybody before they kill you, too.

  41. Premium User Badge

    dartt says:

    I played with restraint and patience until I came to one room where I could not work out how to proceed without taking gunfire. There were about 5 enemies split over two rooms and I couldn’t down the three in room 1 without alerting the two in room 2.

    After numerous failed attempts, I eventually just pulled out a silenced pistol and shot them all in the back of the head. It felt gloriously powerful and satisfying after so much sneaking and hiding. Now I plan to take a much more pragmatic approach where my priority isn’t necessarily non-lethality or stealth but to quickly and safely achieve my objectives.

    • FeepingCreature says:

      “I eventually just pulled out a silenced pistol and shot them all in the back of the head. It felt gloriously powerful and satisfying” –dartt on violent videogames, slightly decontextualized.

  42. Binho says:

    What I’d be interested in as well are NPC’s which have enough sense to surrender. I’d find it highly unlikely that if you come up on 6 NPC’s and kill 4 of them, the other two wouldn’t quickly reconsider attacking you. I know if I saw 4 of my friends stabbed in the groin by somebody with elbow swords, I would surrender quite quickly and grovel embarassingly. In that situation, I’d rather be a live coward than a brave dead fool.

    Figuring what to do with someone who surrenders would be an interesting moral choice, which we do get sometimes, but often only as story cutscene bits. Would you spare someone frightened and begging for his life, or still dispatch him, if you were in fury avenging kill-everything mode?

    • Chuck84 says:

      I cannot agree with this enough. It always bothers me when henchman n+1 insists on attacking the ubermench that just slaughtered his friends without breaking a sweat. Wanting to avenge your buddy is one thing, but we animals have strong survival instincts. Playing Assassin’s Creed, when one guard realised how boned he was and made a run for it, I always let him go, since he was the one mook who wasn’t Too Dumb To Live.

      Related to that, it bothers me when enemies immediately open fire upon spotting you, in games where to mooks are human/intelligent. The vast majority of people do not want to shoot someone, and would not fire until fired upon. Using this as a game mechanic could lead to great standoffs as you figure out how to get out of a situation without anyone dying.

      As for the main article, i’m a poor European waiting for my unlock, but from the trailers, I got the impression that Jensen’s higher responsibility to keep his humanity, as a post-human, was one of the major themes of the game. Might have just been a cool trailer though.

  43. Zenicetus says:

    I have a question about these choices. Is the XP/upgrade system set up in a way that encourages maximizing one path or the other (killing vs. sneaky)? I’m thinking of games like Witcher 2, where Geralt is much more effective if you specialize him heavily in one of the three main skill trees, and just pick up a few skills in the other areas.

    So is DXHR like that? Do you lose out on “must have” upgrades for either path, if you try and have it both ways? I haven’t had enough time yet in the game to get a feel for it.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Yeah, basically you have a ton of upgrades and they all lend themselves to one style of play or another. Since xp is limited you will obviously choose which ones go with your playstyle. The typhoon, recoil reduction, armor plating… those are for combat focused chaps. Cloaking, footstep quieting, etc. are for sneakers.

      There is also a fundamental choice about how you want to infiltrate basically. You can focus on hacking, jumping high and moving boxes, or sneaking past people directly.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Okay, thanks for that info. Being forced to choose is good. From reading some of the other comments here, it sounds like there is still some room to play in a style that uses stealth to set up the kills.

  44. Alan Alda says:

    Once again I think people are misremembering Deus Ex. The only non ‘cosmetic’ reward/discouragement for your playstyle occurs when Sam gives you extra ammo for not murdering everyone in Castle Clinton. Apart from that, it’s just comments from people around Unatco. And even those melt away right after that point.

  45. geldonyetich says:

    I underwent a similar change from altruistic enforcer to bloody vengeance seeker myself. Not only when re-encountering the same guys from the intro, but also (vague spoiler) when a group slaughtered a large civilian population trying to get to me. At that point, the gloves were off and the blades were out.

    Heck, I already blew my, “Don’t kill anyone (except bosses)” achievement completing a Detroit quest that required it. One thrown frag grenade and two formerly amicably conversing criminal scumbags were ended amidst a satisfying look of chagrin.

    An interesting thing to consider is that going lethal carries ramifications outside of the ethical fallout: being lethal is noisy. It’s even more challenging than being non-lethal because a lethal take-down with your wrist-blades always seems to alert at least one enemy, even from a considerable distance away, while a non-lethal take-down is quiet enough that a guy standing ten feet away won’t hear it. I could probably get by with silenced lethal weaponry, but it’s a lot easier to remain undercover when tranquilizing, stunning, or clocking an enemy into unconsciousness than it is to end them.

    • kazooka says:

      Spoiler stuff:

      That was exactly what happened to me. I was largely non-violent, and then a bunch of dudes jetpack in and massacre a bunch of civilians mainly on the basis that 1. the victims were poor and 2. just because they could.

      My pacifist butt killed every single bad guy in that place, and thought real hard about tossing a grenade into the group working crowd control at the entrance.

    • geldonyetich says:

      Sounds like the very same one I was referring to.

      Although, putting a little thought into it now, “Because I can,” is the same reason I was slaughtering them. You’re a highly-trained cyborg killing machine and you’ve got ideals to enforce. Am I making the same mistake?

      Sort of – there are some important differences: First off, because my targets aren’t defenseless, are out to kill me, and are apparently mad dogs in need of putting down. Second, because I think I put more thought into it than these guys I’m skewering did. (Reading the emails later, there was one that asked permission to “use full force” and the boss gave the go ahead. Why? Because they’re the bad guys, I guess, or perhaps I’m supposed to think that the blame has been shifted to the boss by nature of the lack of ethics that went into that decision.)

      Do love the ethical quandaries this game puts you in.

  46. StingingVelvet says:

    I love this article. The insistence some people have that Deus Ex be played non-lethally just because you can do so irritates me. I like playing the dirty harry type of ethical enforcer, because that’s fun to me. I sneak around and silenced pistol everyone to death. It is what I enjoy, and I play games to have a good time

    • jacobvandy says:

      That’s what I did for the most part. With several guards in close proximity to each other, it can be advantageous to knock them all out with a gas grenade or something, but silenced guns are the way to go when they’re separated. The AI is exploitable in that way, though… usually if they see somebody die but they didn’t hear the shot or find the body, they’ll run over and stand near him, looking around. Then you can just keep popping out of hiding and picking them off. Tactics like that let you get the ghost and smooth operator bonuses quite easily, even using lethal force.

      That said, I will be doing a pacifist playthrough for the achievement.

  47. Ovno says:

    ITS OUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Downloading now :)

  48. Yosharian says:

    HAY GUYS, LETS TALK ABOUT THAT GAME YOU HAVEN’T PLAYED YET, IT’S NEAT ^_^

    Hopefully my copy will be delivered tomorrow… Oh well, to bed.

  49. Lazaruso says:

    You know, Rock,Paper,Shotgun writers, there’s something you really need to stop doing, and that’s posting articles that I want to read but don’t want to read. Just stop.

    No, I don’t care whose blog this is, you do what I say or – or what’s that? Don’t let the door hit me in the ass? Well fine then!!! I’ll never come back! Never! And when I say never, I mean at least a day!

  50. ChiefOfBeef says:

    Just to let everyone know. I’ve started playing and already hate this game.

    No seriously, please tell me it improves. So far I’ve had forced combat, laughable stealth mechanics that actually manage to regress from the original Deus Ex rather than be an improvement and almost no choice in anything. Given the choice of lethal/non-lethal and close/ranged by Sarif in determining what starting weapon he hands me, I’m beginning to regret choosing non-lethal and close.

    People might say I’m still in the ‘tutorial’ part of the game. Guess what? *There shouldn’t be a tutorial part of the game* unless it’s a tutorial like the original: OPTIONAL. I’ve quit for the night in frustration at the borked level design and AI.

    Please tell me it gets better quickly because unlike the original this thing has given the worst possible first impression. I was critical of the development team before and of the pathetically mewing reviews but I was not expecting this.

    • Premium User Badge

      Hidden_7 says:

      The stealth mechanics are no worse than the original Deus Ex, that’s a crazy thing to say. This is coming from someone who last played the original Deus Ex yesterday. Further, you’re disliking the stun gun? The stun gun is ruthlessly effective. What sort of weapon were you hoping for?