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April 1 Didn't Ask For This: Deus Ex: Human Defiance

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We sat out April Fools’ Day entirely on RPS, because we are cheerless fucks who can’t abide even the mere idea of other people having a laugh. Also because it was a bank holiday in the UK, but, y’know, principles. The upside of this is that I can safely ignore everything which arrived in my inbox yesterday. The downside is that a couple of genuinely lovely things get overlooked. Thus, I shall break all the rules and not overlook a couple of them after all. For instance, Eidos Montreal’s Deus Ex: Human Defiance, which starts off with the rather videogames industry-stereotypical April 1 jape of ‘hey wouldn’t it be funny if we went retro?’ but winds up, perhaps inadvertently, making a 16-bit, 2D, reductive Deus Ex look hugely appealing.

Try to ignore the awkward mugging to camera of the devs who present this, and just look at 2D Adam Jensen. And, indeed, 2D JC Denton – our beloved augmented heroes, together at last.

It’s the reduction of agonising moral decisions to binary yes/no options which tickled me the most though, as it so neatly reveals how Manichean most videogame choices are underneath all the smoke and mirrors of their cutscenes, voice-acting and ominous music.

Ultimately DXHD is a ruse to make people Like Deus Ex on the book of faces, so maybe don’t do that bit. The bigger question is whether the Human Defiance trademark registration that got hearts fluttering a few weeks ago was for this, or for a real DXHR sequel. A double-bluff would suit the game of conspiracies, after all. I can’t quite see why they’d bother to take out a trademark purely for a gag, but then I’m not a corporation with IP to jealously guard.

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Alec Meer

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Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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