Flying Swords And Boss Chat-Off: 25 Mins Of Deus Ex 4

what a neat beard. Where does he find the time?

I know it’s not really called Deus Ex 4 in any shape or form, but ‘Deus Ex: Mankind Divided‘ [official site] is long and headlines boxes are short. You get the point though: here’s the best part of half an hour of Adam Jensen asking for it in Square’s upcoming stealth-or-death sequel. On show: new augmentations, purportedly improved combat, ‘social boss fight system’, a gun which fires swords from your wrist and a new, grumpy pilot who keeps talking about coffee.

Also, it’s very pretty, but my graphics card is frightened. Video and my own notes on it below, anyway.

I’ve taken some notes below in case you can’t or won’t watch the hole thing. Be warned there’s a potential spoiler (regarding possible outcomes of one NPC encounter) at 18m25s, but the video will warn you when that’s about to happen and offer the option to skip it. Somewhat listless commentary is provided by DXMD’s Executive Audio Director, Steve Szczepkowski.

Notes:

  • So many people!
  • ‘Seasoned Adam’ – sounds like a salad dressing.
  • Colour scheme is more grey than gold now, everything’s grubby rather than gleaming.
  • Lots of Half-Life 2 cues – pushy robo-guards, trains, drones, oppression.
  • A reference to why Adam’s back in the field, having to save the world again. “I already tried two years ago. Didn’t work out so well.”
  • The world is really hugely detailed. It’s a bit like Watchdogs, but less boring.
  • There’s some slightly clunky voice acting, but then that’s long been DX tradition.
  • new pilot, Elias Chikane, doesn’t seem to like Jensen much. I suspect they’ll bond. Or betray each other. Or both.
  • ‘You can finish the game without killing anyone if you choose’
  • Different ammo types, e.g use emp bullets on cameras
  • A new powr – Icarus Dash, short-range teleport like Dishonored’s Blink
  • Still third-person during cover, which will drive some people spare.
  • The Tesla gun arm knocks out up to 4 enemies at once. Almost seems like cheating. Does this mean faster stealth?
  • Same pop-up messages, e.g. merciful soul, explorer, although this is alpha so anything might change.
  • The environments really do look cavernous and detailed. DXHR seems very flat by comparison.
  • Remote hacking, including opening up new paths from a distance. Suspect there’ll be a lot of this – lower a convenient walkway or ladder.
  • Nano blade – he fires swords from his wrist. HE FIRES SWORDS FROM HIS WRIST.
  • Nano blade can also be used as an explosive or distraction.
  • Adam himself is much more nano in his powers now, less simply mechanical
  • The Hacking mini-game, now called ‘hacking 2.0’, still looks a bit annoying.
  • Man-size vents aplenty. Some traditions don’t die.
  • “In dxhr we knew that our combat pillar wasn’t quite as good as our stealth one.” Hopes to be a better shooter now.
  • One way they’re doing this is to be more like Crysis, e.g. the Titan shield aug, which turns him into a tank for a while.
  • There’s a nice flow, e.g. firing Nano blade when your clip’s empty.
  • Also some show-offy stuff, like shooting people through a massive pillar of TVs
  • ‘Social boss fight system’ is just a hideous phrase, isn’t it? I bet they’ve trademarked it and everything.
  • The boss has very sad eyes, like BJ Blazkowicz
  • There’s some very nice use of facial anim to give you clues on how the chat-off is going. Guy clearly bristling with annoyance and anxiety when you say the wrong thing.
  • There’s good hair, but going on Tomb Raider and Witcher 3 I bet we’ll all have to turn that setting off to make it run well
  • Focus mode: a slo-mo power. More Crysisy stuff
  • Fighting other augs, apparently as a fairly routine encounter – they jump from great heights without damage thanks to their robo-legs, but die like anyone
  • And oh look, another not-Gunther.

And as a bonus, here’s an engine teach features demo, showing off all the graphical options you’ll need to turn off unless you’re a rich shmuck with a $1000 graphics card.

73 Comments

  1. zenmumbler says:

    I kind of don’t want to watch 25 mins to spoil a bunch of things before I get to play this so I’ll go off your notes here:
    – In that first screenshot he reminds me a lot of Keanu’s Neo
    – New pilot is perhaps because in HR they wrote no further appearances for Malik after the construction yard, so even if you saved her it was kind of pointless plot-wise
    – Man-sized vents are both necessary and sexy
    – I liked the golden glow of HR, as long as it does go the way of any-fps-from-the-2000s-or-the-new-DooM muddy brown gray it might be fine I guess
    – Sounds like the in-chat animations will be better than the fixed crossed arms / wavy hands ones from HR, which is good. Those were always a bit awkward.

    Looking forward to this one.

  2. Stevostin says:

    The real question is: DX HR mainly sucked because story (awful dialogs, character, forced mistakes, and worse for all an explorer would end up reading all log which were all, without exception, super boring). Thief, by the same publisher, was even more ruined by that. Did they fire all of their screenplay writer and hired new one ? I do hope so. Some of the worst writing in the AAA part of the industry, I think.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Its not even close to the worst, it was middling for sure but most of the characters were generic enough that they were largely inoffensive. Doesn’t even come close to being as bad as Dargon age 2, at least it stays on topic for the entire game rather than switching themes half way through.

    • mllory says:

      Just to chime in on the boring logs part. This was by far my biggest issue with the previous game, as I’m that sort of player, who just HAS to read every single one of them. I hope for the new one they’ll either
      A. reduce the number of office space environments greatly
      B. make the logs actually interesting/humorous

      • nearly says:

        I hope they take the Destiny root and offer them outside the game on a webpage or something. I found myself not reading many logs just because I would have preferred to do it from a smart phone at some other point in time rather than in the middle of a mission on a somewhat distant screen.

    • Crafter says:

      It was also entirely unable to do anything interesting with its own themes.
      The game spends a good deal of time posturing like it discusses trans-humanism, but at no point are these issues debated outside of showing that there are people for and against this idea.
      It is not even hard.
      For : augmentations can allow cripples to walk, see, feel again. They can make us better thinkers or athletes. Cue footage of someone seeing/walking/whatever for the first time (or since accident/war etc).
      Against : people become literally the sum of their (mechanical) parts. You have to trust your well being to companies that only have to think about their profits.

      Some parts of the game design are also truly atrocious. Instead of giving you xp points for explorations and objectives like in DX, IIRC most (or all, I am not that sure several years after playing) of your xp comes from kill and the game strongly encourages you to incapacitate ennemies by giving you a bonus for that. Where is the liberty in that ?
      Then it traps you in a room with a madman wielding a gigantic gun. Makes sense. Not to mention that you had good reasons to fight the bosses in DX : Gunther Hermann is an obsolete model of soldier wanting to prove himself against the new generation and avenge Anna Navarre. You fight muscle guy in DXR because reasons.

      I fear that most of these issues won’t be addressed though.

      • suibhne says:

        Your points about DX:HR are mostly spot on, in my view, but your recollection of XP awards in DX is a little rose-tinted. Yes, it awarded you for paths rather than enemies killed…but it was a deeply imperfect system that actually incentivized players to access all possible paths before proceeding forward, to hoover up all the potential XP. In other words, it didn’t reward based on objectives met (like “entering a building”), but on using a particular path to get there, so it was a stupid, ridiculously exploitable system. I didn’t find DX:HR any worse in this regard, mostly just sideways – aside from, as you noted, the clear XP incentive for only one particular way of dealing with enemies.

        • nearly says:

          I’m sure HR actually gave Traveler / Explorer XP, though I didn’t necessarily figure out what that was for (going through a particular stretch of vent?). From the sounds of it, it wasn’t really different from the original which I don’t remember nearly well enough to…um…remember.

        • Crafter says:

          I can easily believe that I have rose-tinted nostalgia of DX. It has been a formative game for me and I should really take the time to replay it one of these days.
          My point still stands though :) .
          Well done exploration/accomplishments xp would be better than stupidly oriented one.
          Even removing the xp system altogether might produce a better game, with only the augmentations and equipment as upgrades. I don’t think it will happen, but it would fit better with the augmentation theme of the game.

  3. Artiforg says:

    “Social boss fight”? Is this where you criticise your enemy behind their back to their friends? Or post snarky passive aggressive comments about them on facebook? Or even a Victorian taunting system; “I say sir, your top hat looks like it was made from some dyed cheesecloth”, “If sir doesn’t shut ones mouth one will be forced into all sorts of beastly unpleasantness”

    • NonCavemanDan says:

      It was going to be rated T for Teen for one use of the word “cad” but then they added in “bounder” and ladies everywhere fainted in horror.

    • yonsito says:

      The details the boss fights are automatically posted to facebook and twitter.

      • mona says:

        Sooo… it tells my grandma how long I took to kill the boss?

      • silentdan says:

        Wow. That’s really useless. “Make it post something to social media, and use that as a basis to claim membership in this trend, which I hope will evaporate before I have to learn what it is.” Sigh. As long as we can turn it off, it’s fine, I guess.

  4. John O says:

    Adam Jensens voice is sooo hard to understand sometimes

    • LexW1 says:

      Sorry I think you typo’d “is so ridiculously sexy sometimes”.

      • John O says:

        “Oh boy, my first date with Adam Jensen. I wonder if it’ll end in sex? I think it will. Did he just say he killed my family? His voice is so dreamy though”

    • Rumpelstilskin says:

      I wonder who smokes more – he or Geralt.

      • suibhne says:

        Now I’m imagining them sitting around a dimly-lit, wood-paneled drawing room, puffing on Cubans and comparing their exploits with the ladies.

      • Myrdinn says:

        Dang, I’d throw money at a game featuring both protagonists xD. Just have trouble figuring out if a Witcher game starring Adam would be cooler or a Deus Ex game featuring Geralt would be better. Geralt on mutagens + nanobots would be insanely OP though.

        • Coming Second says:

          Imagine an Indiana Jones-esque scene where Geraldo comes out pirouetting and waving his sword around before getting shot in the head from 100 yards away by an sniper rifle-wielding Jensen.

    • Ross Angus says:

      I’m so glad someone said this. I don’t mind his diction, but I found the sound mix to be terrible – music and ambient noise was completely swamping the conversation. Luckily, there’s a slider for that.

  5. gibb3h says:

    Or criticize them on Twitter and get them fired

  6. NonCavemanDan says:

    What I want to know is, can I continue my tradition from the original Deus Ex and finally get to be a super-fast, sword-wielding ninja? (I miss the Dragon’s Tooth)

    • dorobo says:

      No you could never be that in this game just this jerky behind cover scripted short legged half ninja. Go play MGS revengeance for that sort of thing :P

  7. John O says:

    Oh god, that “stick around for a little while” line… jesus

  8. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    So, I know this was a demo and you probably can’t unlock all the augments in a single play through, but still Jenson looks way overpowered. He can tackle every scenario with something he can shoot out of his arm, never mind finding goodies. And the Dishonoured blink rip-off was criticised for making exploration too easy in that game. Just a bit of a worry. One of the joys of Deus Ex-y games is making do with what you’ve got and living with the consequences of your upgrade decisions. I’m assuming we’re still on XP unlocks here rather than binary choice given by discovered canisters? Looked like a Terminator game, not Deus Ex. On well, still hopeful. And boy does it look gorgeous, even if the art style is toned down :(

    • John O says:

      otoh, I really loved Blink and think it should be in more games. It just feels like a natural way to explore virtual spaces – if you can see it, you can figure out how you can get there (unless it’s one of those roofs that are stuck in solid sky apparently). Also the Dash thing looks a bit less powerful than Blink. They also put all the things they had into that demo so they could show off how versatile the gameplay is I think.

      As for me, I mostly limit my own means. Of course I might have a gadget that can instantly take out 4 enemies, but what fun would that be?

    • baozi says:

      #notmyadam

    • MrUnimport says:

      The entire point of DXHR was that augs were turning people into Terminators, though. And yet Adam was extremely squishy and mostly had to rely on regular sneaking and cover-shooting, neither of which benefited from augs. I don’t mind the combat emphasis on augs at all here.

  9. Christo4 says:

    One thing i don’t understand is, why do they even have guns anymore?
    Jensen should just use his nano-biotic-thingies to take the enemies down.
    What they can make him shoot 4 tazers out of his hand at the same time, but can’t make one modification so that his arm or arms act like guns? Guns were invented in the 13th century. If it can have tazers, then it should have guns!

    • Christo4 says:

      Also, would’ve been more cool if the character with the crappy arms flailing about would have smashed his own head in.

  10. c-Row says:

    I think this looks most enjoyable. Someone had to say it.

    • akstro says:

      Shhhh. You aren’t allowed to say such things. It is an absolute requirement when commenting on Deus Ex article that you point out atleast one thing that isn’t more like a game from 15 years ago.

      • Cockie says:

        Bah, all those pixels! In my days we had 800×600 and we were happy about it!
        *shakes fist at Square Enix*

        • John O says:

          That’s all non standard. The real resolution is 320×200. Mode 13h, non-square pixels, palette colours. That’s how it’s done. Fake pixel art can go home btw. (home is where the ass is)

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Yep, looks great. I have zero intention of using all that fancy new combat stuff, but it looks fun for those who do.

  11. Spacewalk says:

    Is that a stick-on beard? Is augmented? Will there be beard AUG something useless we can waste Praxis points on?

    Tell me quick I mustache.

  12. Jac says:

    Haven’t watched the video yet so don’t know if it contains the answer to the most important question, and something that ruined the last game: is there melee so I can run around punching everyone in the face?

  13. AriochRN says:

    Hmmm, from the lack of looking down or player shadow I’m going to guess this is another floating arms FPS.

    The third person model is there already, how difficult would it be to include it in the first person bits? I do like it in my shooters, I’ve even got it modded into my Skyrim; it does look quite the thing.

  14. kud13 says:

    Can’t watch @ work. Can someone tell me if the option to crouch in first person (without using cover) still there?

    Also, from the glimpses I’ve seen during the PC conference: they moved the easy-mode radar to the top-right corner, where it’s much easier to ignore, thank God.

  15. kament says:

    After two years Adam’s finally figured out how to use his superstrength to pull himself up obstacles. They weren’t kidding, augs surely do need some getting used to. And it was only natural for an ex-cop to learn how to beat people to a pulp with his cyber-mitts first. Gotta have priorities.

    Seriously now, the game looks fantastic. Visuals, scope, level design, abilities, all are excellent. No melee weapons and takedowns are back (I hope they’re context-sensitive this time around, at least), but ah well. That thing that looked a lot like biotic charge from Mass Effect, though. Bionic charge? Oh, right, Icarus dash.

  16. Nova says:

    Thanks for the notes, Alec. Much less spoilery.

  17. Llewyn says:

    I don’t want a new pilot though, grumpy or otherwise. I didn’t discard my pacifist tendencies to save Malik for nothing.

    Anyone who didn’t bother to save Malik should have to walk to Hengsha,

  18. xalcupa says:

    “The Hacking mini-game, now called ‘hacking 2.0′, still looks a bit annoying.”

    Am I the only one who enjoyed the mini-hacking game in DXHR?

    • Rumpelstilskin says:

      no.

    • ThricebornPhoenix says:

      I enjoyed it the first few hundred times.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      It’s a great mini-game, but it was a bit, uh, “over-encouraged.” I’d rather have fewer things to hack that each present a greater challenge than have 2.3 trillion things to hack over and over again.

    • Machocruz says:

      As far as mini games go, it was decent. I just don’t like mini-games in anything aspiring to have RPG elements. I prefer the more abstract pass-fail based on character skill. I would have preferred mini-game only for the hacks for which success was borderline. Anything significantly below Jensen’s upgrade level should have been an immediate success; anything higher should be un-doable (which I believe is how it was in HR).

      • xalcupa says:

        I dont mind mini-games aspiring to have RPG elements (most of the time they fail though….Oblivion lockpicking for instance). Mini-games really require a delicate balance.
        For me, an nice example of a mini-game with RPG elements (at least imagined) was the terminal FONV hacking game. Great fun! It was rather balanced and it allowed me to “role-play” a bit of hacker skill in an immersive way. Was not everyone’s cup of tea though.

        RPS should really do an article on the best “mini-games” in games. Who does it right and how/why?

      • Rumpelstilskin says:

        I liked TW3’s gwent more than the core combat gameplay

    • ninnisinni says:

      Oh, totally missed your post, wouldn’t have needed to write mine if I’d seen it first! But, YES, I also loved the hacking! :)

    • KenTWOu says:

      Played Director’s Cut recently, still love that mini-game.

  19. ninnisinni says:

    Seems I’m one of few who actually loved DXHR’s hacking, and I was very pleased to see that the “hacking 2.0” is really an upgraded version of the old.
    (By the way, good to see that Adam actually looks like he does in the trailers this time around… always found it a little distracting how poorly the ingame and trailer faces correlated in the predecessor).

  20. Sinomatic says:

    The only serious problem I have with the trailer is the motion sickness I got every time the view swept around. Youtube do have the option of 60fps trailers now, right?

    Other than that, I’m cautiously optimistic. At least that they’re putting in plenty of toys so that people can play how they’d prefer to. Whether or not that works in the game proper is yet to be seen.

  21. pilouuuu says:

    I come to RPS for the good articles and to read comments of how people hate games.

    The previous game was good and this, guess what, will be good too.

  22. Jigowatt says:

    As a UI designer, I’m always one to moan about bad UI design that most people probably couldn’t care less about… but do we really need that huge ammo indicator hovering next to (and obscuring) the gun model? Especially when the identical information is right there in the bottom right! It’s so distracting – I really hope stuff like that can be disabled (the HUD in general can do with shrinking a lot too). Also, not a fan of the serif font – it really doesn’t fit with the cyberpunk theme.

    Ok, taking my designer hat off now. Other than those quibbles, this is a game I am very excited about. I especially liked the Half Life 2 vibes from the first part of the demo.

  23. Premium User Badge

    neffo says:

    I’d really like to see a sequence in the game where Jensen goes home to his apartment and takes all that mechanical shit off, and like makes a coffee of something. In his civvies. Like augs that help you peel potatos instead of stun people. It’d be cool to see a bit of humanity or normality that was lost in the protagonist when he got torn to pieces in the start of the first game.

    Like imagine a sequence where they mo-capped a real-world amputee doing ordinary, normal things. Like getting out of bed without arms, or something.

  24. skyturnedred says:

    My main gripe, again, is the HUD. Crosshair can just be a dot, thank you very much, no need to change it for every weapon. Also, I don’t need an indicator on how long it takes to reload – there’s an animation for that. I don’t need two ammo counters. I don’t need to know I “traversed +100 exp” when I climb into a vent. The spam you get for doing things in HR was annoying as hell, I hope they don’t repeat the same mistakes. At least give the option to turn them off. Basically, just tidy things up a bit. And by bit I mean a lot.

    At least the piss filter is gone, so there’s that.

  25. amblingalong says:

    Ugh, I really was hoping they’d lose the XP system. I hated that if I found the password to a computer terminal, I was pushed towards not to using it and hack anyways, because if I just used the password I’d lose out on XP. Or that instead of picking a route to achieving an objective (say, infiltrating an enemy base), I was pushed into taking ALL the routes even when it made no sense (first, sneak inside through a vent for exploration XP. Then, go back outside and knock out the guards for combat XP. Then, go back outside and hack the laser grid on the side to go in that way, for hacking XP).

    I really, really thought they’d wisen up and just award XP for accomplishing large-scale objectives, not each tiny little component on the way there.

    Also insert obligatory complaint about mandatory third person ruining immersion (and for me immersion is literally the point of Deus Ex).

  26. Nixitur says:

    It’s a gun, Adam.
    A gun that shoots swords.

  27. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    So, overall looks like it’s shifting towards Dishonored, and it is kind of a bummer.