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  1. #1
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    Deus EX: HR - what am I missing?

    I put off playing this until recently due to being busy in college, carefully reading reviews and people's opinions so as to avoid spoilers. When I played the game, I couldn't find any of the things in the game that people were lauding and raving about.

    Of all the critically and commercially successful games that were released this year and that I just didn't get, Deus Ex has to be the one I seem to be most divorced from about every single other gamer out there.

    I didn't like the story - it was poor, both in scope, delivery and in just being an interesting story.

    I didn't like the stealth - every time I was presented with a door/room with enemies behind it, I knew I could look to my left and find a vent if I wanted to go the obligatory stealth route. The important word being obligatory, the levels were obviously designed first with some poor schmuck being tasked to go and edit them all to add vents in afterwards so people could play the game completely differently by using stealth.

    I didn't like the levels - they were lacking in scope, uninteresting and fairly bland over all - even Antarctica.

    I didn't like the characters - it felt like they weren't given enough dialogue and scope to really come across as real characters, rather than caricatures. There was potential in both Jensen and especially Darrow(even though both were tropes) but it was never fleshed out.

    I didn't like the combat - the guns just didn't *feel* right(this might sound silly, but I grew up playing Quake, CS, DoD, NS, Battlefield etc etc) and the game felt like it was more of an inventory management game than an FPS. Oh look, I'm head security for a gigantic corporation and I'm about to go on an important mission - I can get some ammo right? Not a lot, just a bit. No? Oh, ok I guess I'll just have to watch every single bullet on every single fucking level instead to try conserve some.

    To be honest, I didn't really like ANYTHING in HR and found nothing really redeemable in it. It might sound silly that I completed it nonetheless, but I'm a completionist when it comes to games/movies/books so I kinda had to!

    Does anyone else, at all, feel the same way? Because I'm honestly starting to feel like I'm too cynical and critical to enjoy games anymore, what with not particularly liking both Skyrim and HR this year.

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node DigitalSignalX's Avatar
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    The bad: Boss Battles and 3 big pick your ending buttons. Everything else is awesome. About the guns, they are like real guns. You die quick when you get shot, so do the baddies with exceptions in first sentence. My feeling is they are paying homage to the first game with them, in that they are not supposed to be the shoot to win mechanic of every other FPS. Stealth, tactics backstabbing is the primary focus along with conservation of inventory and making choices about what to use. Sort of like a ghost recon game: if you go in guns blazing it will be an epic fail 95% of the time.
    I think the key here, and sort of the same with skyrim, is that they are building on their predecessors. Coming into the series cold may not give you the best impression of what's expected of you. Sort of like people who complete Skyrim in 30-40 hours. I've never finished the first Deus Ex, but after reading a metric ton of articles, comments, and comparisons about it - I think I had a fairly good idea of how well DX:HR lived up to it's predecessor.
    All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone.

  3. #3
    Lesser Hivemind Node Keep's Avatar
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    I haven't played it yet so I can't say, but this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious View Post
    I didn't like the stealth - every time I was presented with a door/room with enemies behind it, I knew I could look to my left and find a vent if I wanted to go the obligatory stealth route. The important word being obligatory, the levels were obviously designed first with some poor schmuck being tasked to go and edit them all to add vents in afterwards so people could play the game completely differently by using stealth.
    Is something I have been worrying about. I don't know how Deus Ex made so much of its option-making seem organic (and maybe it's only innocence on the part of my younger self that it seemed that way) but damn. Is it really forced in its level design like that?

  4. #4
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    There's a certainly a noticeable extent to which the levels feel designed around the game. The original wasn't free of this, but I don't think it felt so bad - I'm very careful phrase that to include the likelihood that a greater degree of forgiveness on my part was present.

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    I agree overall. I didn't hate playing DXHR, but it's a mostly forgettable game that nobody will care about in a year or so. The mechanics were ok, but design was often poor, and the plot goes right in the trash (with very some heavy handed writing too).

    I still can't believe they mimicked so much of Metal Gear Solid in the stealth play and then outsourced the boss fights. WTF.

    My favorite thing was that they actually DO kill the hostages if you delay starting the first mission. The game fails to live up to this though, as nothing else in the story is really important at all. There's no real reason to follow a play style, and specialization is pointless when you can do almost EVERYTHING anyway and unlock all the useful augs, making it way too easy. You're basically a walking arsenal with all the resources you can end up with.

    A game all about choice needs more consequences.

  6. #6
    Lesser Hivemind Node Bobtree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keep View Post
    I haven't played it yet so I can't say, but this:

    ...

    Is something I have been worrying about. I don't know how Deus Ex made so much of its option-making seem organic (and maybe it's only innocence on the part of my younger self that it seemed that way) but damn. Is it really forced in its level design like that?
    It's worse actually. In the original Deus Ex you had to make real tradeoffs. In DXHR the optimal way to play is to stealth KO and/or kill all the enemies in an area, AND hack everything, AND crawl through the vents (exploration XP bonus), AND collect everything, and so on. It's exactly as imersive and tense and exciting as that all sounds too. Jensen would be a great professional cleaner though.
    Last edited by Bobtree; 24-12-2011 at 05:10 AM.

  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus SirKicksalot's Avatar
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    It's so repetitive! When I reached Shanghai the second time and it started showering me with side quests, I abandoned it. I was too tired of running through the same areas over and over again.

  8. #8
    Lesser Hivemind Node Juan Carlo's Avatar
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    You're not the only one. I also think it's terribly overrated.

    It's not a bad stealth FPS as far as they go, but it's really nothing revolutionary. I certainly don't think it does stealth as well as it could have (I mean it does stealth OK as far as video games go, but it doesn't do anything new in the genre. Just once, for example, I'd like to see a stealth game where people don't just sleep for hours after you knock them out).

    Plus, the writing isn't as great as people claim. In fact, the actual nuts and bolts of the writing was actually pretty bad at times (or, OK writing for a video game, I guess, but not by any other standards--and it definitely doesn't compare to something like Witcher 2).

    Plus the game world is pretty limited. Overall, I definitely don't think it's a bad game, but it's pretty mediocre. I think it's much more similar to "Invisible War" than the original Deus Ex.
    Last edited by Juan Carlo; 24-12-2011 at 04:54 AM.

  9. #9
    Lesser Hivemind Node Flint's Avatar
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    Amazing, amazing experience. When I first finished the game, I got goosebumps and that amazing feeling that washes over you as you've just finished something amazing and your mind reflects on the journey walked. The boss fights, while a bit silly, are a minimally small flaw when compared to the glory of the rest of the game.

    Beautiful game. Best of the year. Best thing I've played in the last few years.
    Give me steam and how you feel to make it real.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalSignalX View Post
    The bad: Boss Battles and 3 big pick your ending buttons. Everything else is awesome. About the guns, they are like real guns. You die quick when you get shot, so do the baddies with exceptions in first sentence.
    That wasn't my problem with the guns, my problem was with the feel/feedback(and this is a huge issue I had with Bioshock too). Basically, there was none and the guns just weren't fun to use - all this being obviously subjective and heavily biased by the ludicrous amount of time I've spent playing FPS' elsewhere.

    My feeling is they are paying homage to the first game with them, in that they are not supposed to be the shoot to win mechanic of every other FPS.
    Deus Ex also had terrible gunplay, fortunately it had a more interesting story, far bigger and more interesting levels and better characters, plot and character building. In short, I forgave it for not being perfect - and it certainly wasn't.

    Stealth, tactics backstabbing is the primary focus along with conservation of inventory and making choices about what to use. Sort of like a ghost recon game: if you go in guns blazing it will be an epic fail 95% of the time.
    Inventory management and conservation of ammo is simply ludicrous in a game like this, again, IMO of course.

    I think the key here, and sort of the same with skyrim, is that they are building on their predecessors. Coming into the series cold may not give you the best impression of what's expected of you. Sort of like people who complete Skyrim in 30-40 hours. I've never finished the first Deus Ex, but after reading a metric ton of articles, comments, and comparisons about it - I think I had a fairly good idea of how well DX:HR lived up to it's predecessor.
    Loved Deus Ex, loved Morrowind, disliked Oblivion and have mixed feelings on Skyrim. Quite liked Nehrim, but I doubt anyone has heard of it.

    To me, HR felt like a sequel to Deus Ex 2 - not Deus Ex. Similariy bland levels, bland story, same limited scope in pretty much everything.

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Voon's Avatar
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    Well, a bit of exploring in the levels a bit wouldn't hurt and usually, I'd avoid the patrols than just shoot them up or KO'd them and just do it when necessary. I thought I was trapped and can't find my way around the guards in the factory without getting myself killed or alerting them until I looked around and found an air vent. If I get bored of sneaking, there's nothing better than ambushing them from it or hacking a computer so bots can kill them for me instead and get away with it. I find enjoyment in that, which something most games released this year don't deliver. Way, way better than how IW did in terms of gameplay but still wasn't able to beat the original. You'll say it's bland in terms of story but, hell, this game's story I say is a whole lot better than the stories in most games that came out this year. Again, not as good as the original and well, for me, Alpha Protocol, but still good. Didn't I mention how gorgeous this game looks? Forget about the Parkinson's Disease grade animations for the people in this game, everything looks just stunning there, especially Hengsha.
    Last edited by Voon; 24-12-2011 at 08:00 AM.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I think its a question of whether you believe your being manipulated that much. I always find with Deus Ex that it surprises me because I do things that I think the game wouldn't of expected me to do, but it does. And thats weird. So yes there is Ventilation shafts everywhere and clearly there is a design for the multiple ways in. But I always think its my choice to do them and that I think I'm outwitting the game by putting 3 crates on top of each other and jumping the fence link.

    I love the game, the story is not just the writing, its also the world around you. It tells so much through the buildings, and the conversations with random passer byes and the little touches here and there of each character. The conversation game just works really perfectly, I always find myself pleased with myself if I win them. And the stealth just works really well.

  13. #13
    Activated Node TooNu's Avatar
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    Perhaps it's just you, you may not be interested in these games anymore. Maybe you grew out of them or are disinterested in them for some reason. It's not uncommon to suddenly find you can't "get" a game/book/film especially if you are stressed/overworked/tired or plain grumpy.

    That is, your emotional state of mind comes into this. I say all of this becuase DXHR and Skyrim have proven themselves the world over with the largest percentage of people playing them being amazed and truly glad that they played them. That's not to say you are wrong, because your opinion is your own but maybe take a step back and see if you actually wanted to play them in the first place.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    I wanted to play DX:HR in the first place, because I was a fan of the original (I try to forget the 2nd one ever happened) and it looked like they were going in an awesome direction. When I played it I was interested for the most part and reasonably well entertained, but afterwards I just forgot about the game and I haven't gone back to it.

    Deus Ex made different paths seem viable (though even then there was a bias towards stealth). HR clearly wants you to use stealth only, to the point where every building has a convenient vent network, with identical vent grilles! Taking other paths is at best expensive in terms of ammunition or health, or at worst absolutely suicidal. Not once did I really feel like I had any other option except to use stealth. By that I mean yes, I could have gone in and killed everyone, but it'd be a hell of a lot more difficult and give absolutely no benefit over being stealthy. The "choice" aspect was largely missing.

    Plus the storyline wasn't particularly engaging now that I think back on it. Deus Ex's story wasn't exactly the greatest and was filled with its fair share of conspiracy nonsense and bad dialogue, but it was still reasonably compelling. I really can't remember much of HR.

  15. #15
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    I still haven't finished it. I was just beginning to tire of wandering around Detroit when I left, but the maze of streets in Shanghai and all the wandering you have to do there just ground it right out of me.

    I can't understand why, considering I should love such a detailed, near-future city.

  16. #16
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    @OP

    You've presented a linear list of 'I didn't like' but there's not much in terms of actual meaningful content to your complaints. 'Bland, uninteresting, lacking in scope' doesn't actually convey much to the reader in terms of relate-able information when you're making statements devoid of context or comparison, by on large.

    Rather than going with 'I don't like' a better approach to criticism is 'what worked for me, and what didn't' and the why behind those conclusions in detail rather than a generalized hate list. You're effectively neutering debate/discussion by being unspecific in the exactness of your issues. I can't convince you that the levels of DX aren't 'uninteresting' because you're not explaining why they are 'uninteresting' to you.

    For instance from an environmental perspective I wasn't particularly sold on the Hive nightclub because it just didn't feel like a nightclub, let alone one of the most popular nightclubs in the City, given the lack of NPCs as well as the scale of the place Vs say the nightclub in Kane & Lynch which (repeat character models aside) sells the aesthetic of being in a sweaty nightclub, from the crowds, to the loud music and the low level of lighting.

    Compare and contrast: -

    DX:HR



    Kane & Lynch: -


  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Drake Sigar's Avatar
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    It's amazing how adulation dominates a game's opening and then months down the line, gamers are ripping it to shreds. (Not referring to the OP since he only picked it up recently). Were they drunk on the commercial hype and are only just now coming off it like a drug addict in withdrawal, are they following an instinctual desire to go against the majority, are these a completely different portion of gamers who didn't speak up before, or were they simply drowned out by the praise? Whatever the reason, it seems to take a while for a game to be judged fairly.

  18. #18
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    I don't know Drake. I think people were well aware of DX:HR shortcomings (the boss fights, the terrible animations, not so great ending) etc, however the overall experience made up for it. The pros outweighed the cons, so to speak. I think it's very easy to deconstruct DX:HR on a number of levels, however that's true for pretty much all games.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    Were they drunk on the commercial hype and are only just now coming off it like a drug addict in withdrawal, are they following an instinctual desire to go against the majority, are these a completely different portion of gamers who didn't speak up before, or were they simply drowned out by the praise? Whatever the reason, it seems to take a while for a game to be judged fairly.
    Funny definition of fair. I suspect it's simply because the game goes on sale within a few months of launch, and thus is picked up by those who weren't interested enough to pay full price. It's why you get a lot more who dislike it, since apparently most of the gaming market can't quite grasp the concept of targeted marketing.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drake Sigar View Post
    It's amazing how adulation dominates a game's opening and then months down the line, gamers are ripping it to shreds. (Not referring to the OP since he only picked it up recently). Were they drunk on the commercial hype and are only just now coming off it like a drug addict in withdrawal, are they following an instinctual desire to go against the majority, are these a completely different portion of gamers who didn't speak up before, or were they simply drowned out by the praise? Whatever the reason, it seems to take a while for a game to be judged fairly.
    The people who, for the most part, pick a game up at launch are fans of the series, caught up in the hype or have been following the game closely for months, salivating at its release. When they finally get that game they've waited months / years for, they overlook any shortcomings, only heralding how awesome it is. Other people get caught up in it, buy it, and experience the same thing.

    After a few months, the hype moves to something else, and the people who were sitting on the fence, are casually interested in the series or just don't buy into the hype pick it up (usually accompanying a sale) and look at under more of a microscope. Since the people who bought it at launch have moved on, all you see now are the voices of the people who didn't like it.

    In about a year, it comes full circle as people replay it without the hype glasses and new people buy it for cheap during a sale (and thus, have no real attachment to the series) and you get some good dialogue about the game.

    I'm not saying anyone who buys a game at a certain fits into this, but in a few months when Skyrim drops price we'll start to see threads like "Whats the big deal with this game?" and websites looking back at it and talking about "what went wrong."

    To sum it up, I think what we see is a little bit of everything you mentioned. Review sites do this constantly -- Modern Warfare 3 gets 9's everywhere, only later to see those same websites talk about how Modern Warfare 3 was a disappointment and what the franchise needs to do to fix itself.

    ETA: I got beaten to it because I'm too verbose =/

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