Deus Ex Mankind Divided Hands On: “All Signs Suggest It’s An Improvement On Its Predecessor In Every Way”

I’m in the camp that thought Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a hell of a good starting point. The level design ran up against apparent technical limitations, chopped into distinct sections rather than flowing naturally from streets to interiors and back again, and the stealthy approach sometimes felt more difficult than it should have been thanks to sticky cover and too-rigid AI.

During a day of hands-on experience with follow-up Mankind Divided, it became apparent that Eidos Montreal felt similarly about their first stab at their cyberpunk revival. Moving from the tech renaissance of Human Revolution, the sequel steps into a fractured world of corporate feudalism. It’s looking superb.

Like the body of its protagonist, the locations of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided [officical site] have been gutted, hollowed out and repurposed. Eidos Montreal allowed us free reign to explore two locations in their upcoming sequel and all of the evidence points toward a more confident and reactive approach to first-person shooting and sneaking.

The first of those locations, an unfinished luxury hotel in Dubai, acts as tutorial and not-so-gentle introduction. I died four times before reaching a chaotic ending in which a sandstorm engulfs the area, covering the arrival of a new faction whose augmented aggression put paid to my perfect stealth run.

As well as leading newcomers through the basics of the various optional approaches that are at the heart of the game – stealthy slaughter, guns blazing, sneak and subdue, leave no traces – Dubai is a showcase for Mankind Divided’s reworked cover and power mechanics. Use of cover hasn’t changed dramatically but, as with every action in the game, the implementation is smoother and less prone to error. At the click of a button or push of a trigger, Jensen moves efficiently from one position to the next and doesn’t feel as if he’s velcroed into place as soon as he attaches to a waist-high wall or desk. The HUD displays the path he’ll take between pieces of cover and if you choose to dash into the open, it’s possible to see the exact spot you’ll reach.

As well as making all of Jensen’s movements flow more naturally, the new engine better facilitates the kind of positional awareness that the third-person camera was implemented to support. Your mistakes are choices rather than a result of grappling with a cumbersome avatar – sometimes those choices are made in a split second under extreme duress, but they’re made with full access to information about possible consequences.

Augments have also been tweaked and the intent behind the changes seems to stem from the same philosophy that is driving the tighter controls. Eidos Montreal are providing Jensen – and by extension, the player – with an array of tools and toys, and they are ensuring there is space to play with them. Energy levels aren’t as restrictive as in Human Revolution and stringing together a series of augmented movements, attacks and hacks is much more feasible. Jensen isn’t quite a Duracell Man but nor is he the disappointing action figure, batteries not included.

As I played through the second area, the surroundings and interior of a criminal headquarters within a derelict theatre in Prague, I relied on augmented abilities at almost every turn. Whether cloaking within a toilet cubicle for a few nerve-wracking seconds as a guard pried the door open and checked inside, or using the new Icarus Dash (a less flexible and disruptive take on Dishonored’s Blink) to travel invisibly between conversing soldiers, I found a cybernetic solution to almost every obstacle.

In short, the combination of controls that are more responsive and energy management that is less punishing made risk-taking more attractive, opening up the freedom of approach that is central to the series’ core philosophy. I was reminded of another sequel – Bioshock 2’s improved access to Plasmids, which encouraged experimental play as opposed to the original’s restrictive swapping and changing.

None of the above would be worth more than a moment’s notice if Mankind Divided didn’t show improvement in other areas. Working in tandem with what appears to be a convincing rethink regarding level design, however, the rebooted Adam Jensen is a marvel. Where Human Revolution’s spaces were constructed like a series of individual boxes connected by corridors, Mankind Divided’s hubs are like blocks of Swiss Cheese.

Approached from the city hub, the Prague theatre has four access points, from alley, street, sewer and rooftop. If every mission location slots into the wider world in this way, rather than having a distinct beginning and ending with attached loading screen, there will be a much stronger sense of existing within living areas.

Following the transition inside, every layer of the theatre, from the outside to the deepest point of the interior, offers alternative routes. Whether dealing with a patrolling sentry bot or a locked door, I never had to fall back on a solution that didn’t fit my particular play style. In fact, in one afternoon I managed to test every approach I could think of, including several extreme solutions to problems of my own making.

The build had three pre-configured Jensens to choose from, which made sense given that the theatre is part-way through the game and we’d skipped ahead after the tutorial. Using the Combat build, which had limited hacking or stealth capabilities, I managed to ghost through the entire level using barely any augmentations at all. Unseen and undetected, I then tried to work back through, from the target to street level, killing every NPC in the building.

Think of it as the equivalent of taking a car for a test drive. I was putting the level through its paces to see if it reacted as well to my preferred non-violent approach as it did to a shoot-out. As a stealth game, Mankind Divided already feels exemplary. Slight changes to visual feedback and enemy barks make AI behaviour more convincing and legible, but it’s in the level design that the game really shines.

An enormous amount of care has gone into making the theatre feel like a natural place, where vents exist as parts of the architecture, with utility and purpose, rather than convenient shortcuts. It’s almost possible to move from the beginning of the level to the end without leaving cover but such a route is reliant on clever use of Jensen’s abilities rather than opportune waist-high walls. Given a few hours to play with, I even managed to gather thirty-six unconscious guards in one room (well, thirty-one unconscious and five dead – mistakes were made) having nearly perfected my stealth run.

Gunplay is solid if unspectacular. There’s little in the way of visual feedback to communicate the chaos of an unexpected firefight, either through particle effects or enemy reactions, but the AI is effective, calling for assistance and tracking Jensen’s movement based on his last known position.

With only a tutorial – which is admittedly a flexible and enjoyable tutorial – and a single, small area as evidence, it’s impossible to know whether this quality will hold throughout the game, but if it does, Mankind Divided might well win over even those who rejected Human Revolution entirely. I like to refer to multifunctional augmented characters like Adam Jensen and JC Denton as Swiss Army Knives, equipped with various tools for whatever problem arises.

With his carve-happy fist-chisels, Jensen fits the bill perfectly. Now, at peace with his power, on the surface at least, he is content to be a weapon, either deployed by new agencies to keep the peace in a world at war with itself, or striking surgically from the dark while following his own agenda. In a player’s hands, he is adaptable but the freedom of approach that he represents is only as useful or relevant as the environment to which it is applied.

Mankind Divided may well be the game that lives up to its protagonist, both in plotting and in action, but everything depends on the quality of those environments. In the small slice I’ve seen, that repurposed theatre is reminiscent of Blood Money’s density and the warm glow of a deteriorating Dubai, that all the signs suggest this will be an improvement on its predecessor in every way.

We’ll have more features about the art design and plot of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided in the days ahead.

83 Comments

  1. braven5 says:

    Pardon? quote “stealthy approach sometimes felt more difficult than it should have been”

    Stealth option was the easy mode in that game, it was easier to put off that gun fight, gave more xp so you progressed faster making it even more easy.

    Games stealth system should been lot harder to compensate for the ‘good’ way of clearing map as opposed to the bloody way

    • Stevostin says:

      Agreed, can’t say I remember anything mentioned here as issues with the first game, but I never ever used TPV unless forced so to start with.

      The real, huge, terrible issue with the first one was that it was boring. The gameplay was ok, the gunplay was sad, but more dramatically the story and writing were terribly dull. Main character is a chore, other I forgot everything about them instantly, and I distinctly remember 75% into the game and irritated by the amount of computer to check for text that I couldn’t remember one text that was worth reading content wise. Not one. And they were a ton of them. By contrast I was playing E.Y.E which only had very few text but they were really captivating reads. Odd comparison for two very different games but at the time I enjoyed EYE a bit better, which means than DE:HR was really quite weak for an AAA game.

      • abHowitzer says:

        I felt the opposite way. Gameplay was okay, but kind of sluggish. It was the story and characters that completely blew my minds. I wanted to know more, every step along the way.

        The ending was absolute shite, I’ll give you that.

        • Stevostin says:

          Can you remember one thing read on one computer ?

          That being said if you remember anything from the story I am already impressed.

          • LexW1 says:

            Wait, you’re saying E.Y.E. had good writing? Um… no. E.Y.E. may have had a lot of fun things about it, but good writing was not one of them. I can remember a ton of stuff from HR’s computers and having played through twice (with some partial play-throughs) I remember the plot and characters so clearly that I kind of don’t want to play through again.

      • Bankie says:

        The thing I hated most about Human Revolution was the tubular maps. It was claustrophobic. I wanted to explore a futuristic city – instead I got to explore a futuristic corridor one bedroom at a time.

        Very annoying.

        I think this game would be amazing in a much larger, more open world.

    • KevinLew says:

      I’m pretty sure that he’s referring to Ghosting a level, especially when combined with no kills. That gets pretty darn hard. Also, some areas are way easier shooting it out than using stealth. The ending part to Tai Yong Medical, for example, when you have to escape the office and all the guards are already alerted. It is definitely possible to Ghost your escape, but nobody is going to say that it’s somehow easier than just grabbing your Widowmaker and shooting everybody in the face.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      It meant lots of reloading to pull off stealth esp. with “ghost”-bonus. And yeah non-stealth was punished by design (xp loss) but it’s artificial difficulty. Gearing up then head-shoting everyone is a lot faster than sneaking aroung with fewer reloads so it’s easier in my book.

      • LexW1 says:

        On Normal difficulty, there’s no argument. You can, and I have, waltz through the game with very little effort and pretty much no re-loading if you’re happy to shoot everyone lethally (no stealth, no non-lethal). You don’t have to plan routes or think about things, or keep a careful watch on patrols or cameras.

        On “Give Me Deus Ex” it’s a little bit more complicated. The combat is hideously more lethal (I found) – this means that getting into fire-fights repeatedly tends to end poorly (and leads to a lot more re-loading). You still don’t have to think all that much, or plan, but you do have to use cover and it can get quite tedious if you end up in a bad situation. Whereas with a full stealth approach, whilst you have to be very careful, and think ahead and so on, it’s not actually much more difficult than full-stealth in normal (if at all), and you don’t get into the same stupid painful firefights as a result. So it can feel a lot easier.

        I’d still say “Eff stealth, shoot everyone dead” is the easiest, though, on any setting. Just not by as much on “Give Me…”

  2. mukuste says:

    Sounds like they learned a lot from Dishonored, both in terms of mechanics and level design. Can only be a good thing since I found Dishonored to be the far superior game.

  3. darkath says:

    After MGSV all stealth games will feel pretty bad i fear.

    • Stevostin says:

      MGSV isn’t FPV. For some of us it’s not even remotely on the radar just for that reason alone :P

      • geisler says:

        How about not even being on the radar for being an unfinished game with the worlds most ridiculous nonsensical campy writing ever? You could attach the worlds best stealth game to that gameplay wise, i’m not touching it with a ten foot pole.

      • darkath says:

        Gameplay-wise MGSV still light-years ahead of the Stealth genre. You can say whatever you wish on the writing, characters etc. which i admit are not particularly stellar (even compared to the previous entries) but the pure gameplay mechanics are nothing short of genius.

        When the recent years only served us some Thi4f nonsense and Splintercell blacklist you have to go back to dishonored to find something remotely proper.

        Given what we heard about “stealth being too hard in DX:HR” my hopes for DX:MD having interesting stealth mechanics are close to zero;

        • SpoonySeeker says:

          Uh, hardly. Military stealth games were perfected with Splinter Cell: Chaos theory, a game released only a few short months after the woefully inferior MGS3.

          Blacklist was more in a similar vein, albeit more streamlined and consolized.

          TPP is just the metal gear series finally catching up to splinter cell, and doing a really good job of mashing together a lot of open world mechanics from other games. The actual stealth mechanics are quite inferior to Chaos Theory, but TPP succeeds by virtue of being greater than the sum of its parts.

        • Stevostin says:

          I haven’t played MGSV for the stated reason so I can’t tell about its gameplay but I’d rather use Dishonored or Far Cry 3/4 as examples of latest stealth gameplay (again excluding any TPV games because meh)

          Both of those games offer forms of optionnal wallhack and especially in FC case would be all the better without it (but you’d need to fine tune the cheating “I saw you instantly when you shot and within 2 sec all my base know exactly where you are” AI too). Even so those are (very) good stealth games. Thief reboot suffers from awful (yet again, thank you Eidos) writing and, all things considered, pretty boring finetuning of the stealth gameplay (way too much locks, exploration way too linear, fights way too efficient). Also Dying Light made it look very slow.

        • KenTWOu says:

          Gameplay-wise MGSV still light-years ahead of the Stealth genre.

          Check MGSV no traces walkthrough by prenatual on youtube. Don’t forget to turn on youtube annotations and read his comments below, he described all AI shortcomings there. Then you will stop saying things like this one.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        Sadly neither is Deus Ex these days.

        • Stevostin says:

          AFAICR I played DE:HR nearly exclusively on FPV. I didn’t use the cover key, just crouched behind stuff and used my hears. Worked OK. But you’re right, this article should be focused on “can we get rid 100% of TPV view now?”

    • Unclepauly says:

      Oh lawdy MGSV is stealth lite for stealth lites. Not even sure how you came to that conclusion.

  4. Lolsmurf says:

    Can someone explain me why in every screenshot everything is and feels wet ? Or is it standard these days to have everything shining in your games ?
    That extra gloss shining stuff is really lame, please remove it.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      Well, it’s raining in two of the screenshots, and another one is looking out over a body of water.

      As for the first one, I can only assume that the futuristic materials used in cyberarms is deliberately made to look as unsettlingly moist and slippery as possible, in order to make users look like they’ve had a transplant from a shoggoth.

    • MisterFurious says:

      Because ‘Blade Runner’.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        Haha, was going to post this comment, word for word!

        But really, because Blade Runner.

    • dontnormally says:

      Good luck.

      link to tvtropes.org

  5. Shazbut says:

    Sounds very exciting, although it sounds like you could be talking about a good FPS. No-one remembers the original Deus Ex for it’s combat. I hope there is more to the game than this.

    • Frank says:

      I haven’t heard of any radical changes in their writing process.

      No problem for me, since I thought the main characters and story plotting of DXHR were top notch. If you didn’t like it, I’m guessing this new one won’t satisfy you either.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      I partly remember the original Deus Ex for its combat.

      Remember how you had to really think about your weapons? And how your skill with a weapon actually affected how good you were with it? And how most weapons involved a trade-off of ammo/accuracy/range/skill/lethality?

      I wish they had the guts to go back to the aim system from the original game. But that would upset the console generation no-end.

      • NotGodot says:

        No, I don’t, because I’m not a liar and I remember how the Dragon’s Tooth and 10mm pistol obviated the other weapons completely. There was no real need to think and honestly unless you were sniping you could use any weapon capably at untrained.

        Seriously, Deus Ex’s combat was warmed over trash.

        • Raoul Duke says:

          Given you start your comment by calling me a “liar” for relating my personal experience, I’m not going to waste time responding further.

          • epeternally says:

            NotGodot is objectively correct about the 10mm with scope attachment and Dragon’s Tooth Sword being extremely overpowered in the original Deus Ex. I think that the combination of its combat and stealth components was interesting, even if the combat itself may not have been, I’m not calling it bad combat, but those two weapons were way OP. I think that Deus Ex is a more interesting game on a first playthrough. When you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re less apt to stumble into all the ways that the game is broken and it feels like a more balanced, and substantially more difficult, experience than it actually is. Where in subsequent playthroughs you know to save four augmentation upgrade canisters for when you get regeneration, upgrade your 10mm ASAP, and use stealth + Dragon’s Tooth for 90% of combat once you have it. With that foreknowledge the wonkiness of the game’s balance definitely shows.

          • Asurmen says:

            Dragon’s Tooth was naff when game was released. It took a patch to double its damage and even then I only kept it around because it could now open safes and doors by breaking them.

            10mm wasn’t outrageously better than anything.

  6. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    By far my biggest concern:

    Does the point-based reward system force you into a certain style of play by heavily rewarding it?

    DXHR clearly wanted you to play non-violent stealth and penalized you pretty heavily for not sticking to that.

  7. Tinotoin says:

    Hmmm, I wasn’t hugely enamoured by the first game, but I am taking a shine to this one so far.

    • Unclepauly says:

      The first one was fantastic, the second dumbed down but still ok, and the third one was just above mediocre. This one is a huge question mark in my book.

  8. Neutrino says:

    “The HUD displays the path he’ll take between pieces of cover”

    I think this tells me all I need to know. In a proper PC FPS I don’t need a HUD to tell me where I’m going to end up, I just move in the direction I choose to go.

    This sounds like typical console style “press 1 to go left, press 2 to go right, press 3 to target nearest enemy” awfulness.

    • Nevard says:

      I’ve never played a console game like that (let alone found a controller with numerical buttons), not quite sure what you’re ranting about here.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Agree, this sounds like some simple console shooter.
      Cover means using crouch behind a barrel or crate or maybe lean around a corner. Cover is not pushing a cover button then auto-moving behind the next cover. Such “push for cover”-systems simplify games and remove player agency. Also such systems are highly context-sensitive depending on what objects are near you. Usually the character does a stupid move and you’re screwed like in Mass Effect 3. It also slows the action down – I hate it.
      Same thing goes for automated simplified takedown – should be optional.

      • Asurmen says:

        Then just like in DXHR don’t use it. Simples.

        • Distec says:

          This has always struck me as a somewhat flimsy argument. Might as well say “don’t use the BFG”, “don’t use Blink”, or any other self-imposed challenge. It’s not that those are bad, but it seems like something you’d do on a second playthrough.

          Without any leaning, using third-person cover was always the most effective way to stealth through a level. It’s rather silly not to use it if you’re doing a “serious” run. And players will generally play in the most optimal way they know how to; which should be expected, and is not a mark against the player. Games need to impose their own restraints and limits, and I don’t think it’s to offload that as some kind of player responsibility.

          Admittedly, there’s a challenge in pulling that off so the player doesn’t feel disempowered.

          • kud13 says:

            I’ve played through HR twice, then Missing Link and Director’s Cut, on GMDX each time, without ever using the 3rd person cover. I re-binded it to ~ or Home, or one of the other random keys I’d never press by accident, and played the game using crouch, like a normal first-person sneaker. I ghosted most places, and it didn’t take that much effort.

            I hope I can still do that in MD. And I hope EM take a lesson from Thi4f, and give me the menu option to disable the radar.
            In fact, if I can disable the radar (which is what made stealth ludicrously easy), I’m likely to buy the game on Day 1. If I can’t, I’m likely to wait for a Steam sale.

          • Asurmen says:

            How is it a flimsy argument? It’s the only argument needed. You either use 3rd person sticky cover, at which point yes showing a ghost of your movement improves its usage, or you stick to first person and do precisely as ChaosLord wants. It was never forced on a player nor does it necessarily increase the challenge.

          • Distec says:

            I don’t think it’s a subjective argument that being able to get a full view of a room to see enemy placement and patrols without pulling your head from cover offers a massive advantage compared to… not using it. I don’t want to get into a pedantic argument about definitions, but I think it very much is “forced” on you if you’re playing proper.

            It’s cool if you ghosted through the game without using it and never felt the challenge, but I imagine you would be an exception to the norm.

          • Turkey says:

            Weird. I remember enemies being able to spot me if I manually ducked behind waste-high cover, but being completely invisible if I used the stick-to-cover function. It was pretty annoying.

          • Asurmen says:

            It’s not subjective to say it gives you an advantage I agree, but it is to say it’s a massive one. The advantage isn’t one so great as to make not using it as a way of substantially increasing the challenge.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Asurmen
            How is it a flimsy argument?

            I’ll frame it that way: if the player has to ignore design elements of a game altogether to be able to enjoy it, then the game has design issues.

            If I think adding double-jump to a game was a mistake because it totally broke the pacing and scale of the levels, telling me I can just not use it is basically telling me I have the option to not play the game.

            Cautiously pessimistic about Mankind Divided. I didn’t have much love for HR – thought it had its heart in the right place, but totally missed the mark – and with time its flaws have only been magnified.

            And everything I read about MD makes me think it isn’t going to correct the high level design elements that for me made HR a decent enough product, but an ultimately forgettable one.
            Apart maybe the level design, conflicting signals on that one.

          • Asurmen says:

            Emeraude, that’s a strawman argument. The game allows you to use both.

          • Emeraude says:

            @Asumen

            How is that a straw man ? Point is, a game where you’re given an option and chose not to use it, and a game which does not give you the option period are not the same games at all.

            You may not agree with that, but that’s the whole point of contention in the first place, which I was trying to make apparent.
            How can we have any valid conversation if I cannot even define my own position ?

        • Raoul Duke says:

          Unfortunately the game is designed around this magical ‘sticky cover’, so not using it basically means ‘don’t play the game as designed’.

  9. Distec says:

    “I never had to fall back on a solution that didn’t fit my particular play style.”

    I thought some of my more memorable moments in the original were when I was forced outside my comfort zone and had to adapt using wits, consumables, some tricky planning, and maybe a few “exploits”. I understand that some may see that as a failure of the game, but they were far more interesting than just allowing me to fall into my rote routine of sneaking and sniping.

    • baozi says:

      Exactly this.

      I don’t think being able to finish a game by always doing the same thing is something that should be commended.

      In terms of role-playing purposes it’s much more interesting when your player character is forced into a situation where they might have to do something that’s out of character and be conflicted about it than when you can just sneak through the whole game and think meh and reload when you fail. Bo-oring.

      It’s like how you could theoretically do interesting things in Dishonored such as infiltrating a place by becoming a fish, but I never felt any incentive to experiment because even on the highest difficulty it was way too easy.

  10. kud13 says:

    Is stealth still viable WITHOUT switching to 3rd person (i.e, crouching)?

    Or is sticking to a chest-high wall mandatory now?

    I enjoyed bits of DXHR quite a lot but mostly it were the non-violent hub areas. None of the missions in HR felt particularly interesting (although I liked the “conversation battles” an the new hacking), and I strongly disliked the plot and Jensen himself.

    The improved mission are design sounds good, but I still don’t think I’ll be rushing out to purchase this Day1.

  11. SuicideKing says:

    I even managed to gather thirty-six unconscious guards in one room (well, thirty-one unconscious and five dead – mistakes were made)

    Admit it, you were collecting them for your Mother Base, but then you remembered which game you were playing.

    • ZigzagFN57 says:

      I have to admit, after finishing MGS:V, I’ve had multiple occasions where I drove pass shipping crates in GTA V, then stopped and got out of the car to climb it, and realised that no, I cannot Fulton these crates.

      The mechanics of Phantom Pain are memorable, to say the least. Even if its story wasn’t.

  12. Michael Fogg says:

    The AI in DX and similar games desperately needs a routine for when they see you retreat to a vent after being spotted. This should be promptly countered by heavy flushing with grenades or activation of toxic gas anti-infiltration protocols. Or at least stand to the side of the damned vent so you don’t get your knee caps blown off, you damn moron!!

    • Unclepauly says:

      Hopefully they do have something like this implemented. I hate being able to step on an invisible button that wipes enemies memory.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      I played Alien Isolation for hours thinking that the vents were safe, just like every other game. Then one time I turned a corner and the shiny cockhead was just right there.

      What I’m saying is, why can’t guards enter vents too?

      • Mi-24 says:

        I think a nice solution would be for vents to be safe in the first part of the game, and then in harder levels enemies would actually be aware that they are used by the player and take precautions, like mining some entrances, checking them once they have “lost” a player or even having them automatically lock if they set off an alarm (I mean an “AI runs to button and presses it” kind of alarm, not just the automatic one triggered if an enemy sees the player). Also I might be wrong but did the batman games have AI that checked vents?

    • Widthwood says:

      No they don’t…
      It’s relatively easy to make “smarter” AI – add vents to their paths, make them run around checking every corner when alert, randomly looking over the shoulder, sneaking onto main character by silently running in short bursts and waiting around corners, etc. Problem is, the stealth will then become very unpredictable and frustrating, and any sort of “ghosting” nearly impossible – y’know, like in real life.

      Through stealth developers simply give the player another way to feel being in control, not try to create anything realistic.

  13. Mi-24 says:

    I was previously a little skeptical about this: even though I did enjoy HR I felt they could benefit from taking a look at the original with regards to linearity. Seems like they have and that’s a great thing. Level design was an important area to address and the video of the E3 demo kind of looked like a corridor to me which put me off, however hearing about the entering levels in interesting ways is something that sounds like a step in the right direction.

    One thing I would LOVE to see in a Deus ex game would be better hacking; a complex command line style system would be far more rewarding than a minigame of icons and timers. Also hacking from outside the level would be great, allowing you to access camera feeds to grasp the layout before you enter or scramble certain security devices, having a system to do this like from the game “Uplink” would be perfect.

    Thanks for another interesting read, this game has now moved up in my “might get” list.

  14. Raoul Duke says:

    Mankind Divided may well be the game that lives up to its protagonist

    So a personality-free, 2edgy4me douchebag with bad facial hair and an annoying ex-girlfriend? Sounds ghastly.

    This article carefully avoids addressing the following, which are big issues for people who love the original Deus Ex:

    1. Does this game still have the “mash button to insta-kill” system for augs?

    2. Does the game make any effort to explain why Jensen appears to have vastly more advanced augs than the augmented UNATCO agents at the start of Deus Ex, even though that game was set further into the future?

    3. Most importantly, to what extent is immersion destroyed by forced third person camera nonsense? Are “takedowns” still in the third person? Climbing ladders? Cover? Is the game properly playable from a purely first person perspective?

    • NotGodot says:

      Well, you’re making a couple of faulty assumptions here.

      First, you’re assuming that his augmentations are better. They’re certainly more aesthetically pleasing, but they were designed by Sarif’s engineers and bear his foppish values. Compare them to the more workmanlike aesthetic of Tai Yong Medical or the hot-rodded custom work the Harvesters sport.

      In terms of functionality it’s hard to tell because we never play the game through their eyes. They see more and see better than Jensen, if Gunther’s description of his new upgrades is accurate. Anna can cloak longer, and is much, much, much tougher. But a lot of that is because it’s a video game and (as NPCs) the world treats them according to game logic.

      Second, you’re assuming that the Illuminati (and later, Majestic-12) would want their augmented agents to be stronger than Jensen. I don’t buy this. From Deus Ex we know that the Illuminati were already phasing Mechs out in favor of physiopharmaceutically augmented MIBs by the 2030s, and that Majestic-12 opted to discontinue nanoaugmentation once Bob Page’s augs were ready in favor of an improved physiopharmaceutical process (series P). Series P agents are way weaker than pretty much any aug other than the augmented gangsters, but they’re more reliable and easier to control. That’s what’s important.

      As for third person I found it useful and neat. It’s a kludge to compensate for the lack of proper peripheral vision, but it’s one that works well enough. Deus Ex games have never really been all that successful when it comes to immersion IMO, so it’s not that big a deal.

      • Raoul Duke says:

        Given your obnoxious reply above I’m surprised you bothered to reply to another one of my comments.

        It will be a revelation for you when you realise that your subjective experience of the world is not the same thing as objective truth. If you realise that.

        • NotGodot says:

          It just seems, from the general tone of your comments, that you’re salty about the newer games and don’t really “get” Deus Ex. I mean you assert that weapon choice is a major factor, even though the 10mm pistol being overpowered is such a meme in the fan community that Eidos Montreal felt that they had to reflect that in HR through the AP mod.

          I mean, I get it. Deus Ex is a big deal notionally. But engaging with the notional construct created by our shared reverence (and the thwarted goals of the designers) betrays what the player community is actually built on. I mean all this faff about immersion. Spector wanted to create an immersive game. He created a game where half the fun comes from violating the fourth wall through stuff like LAM Climbing or sequence breaking. Or from finding the skeletons of old systems like pepper spray and lasers.

          Anyway if you actually wanna talk about the canon plot, we can do that too.

          • Raoul Duke says:

            Again, you appear to be missing the point that I’m not going to waste my time discussing anything with a person who displays a fundamental inability to have a respectful exchange.

        • NotGodot says:

          You began from a position of eye-rolling hostility. My only crime is letting you set the tone.

          Well that and actually knowing fuck about shit when it comes to Deus Ex.

  15. Aelric says:

    One thing I found odd and pleasingly transparent was a lot of the frank and constructive self-criticism the creators expressed in the Developers commentary of the Director’s Cut version. Almost all of the problems were addressed and while a few had unsatisfying answers such as the limitations of the engine or the deadline constraints, most of the time they would explain what was wrong, why, and even did little brainstorms on how to make it better. If no one has, I recommend playing the directors cut on easy with the commentary on and just walk through the game to hear all these things, because it gave me hope for this coming one.

    • Orazio Zorzotto says:

      Yep, it was startlingly honest about the games problems. Actually made me like less HR less, but now I’m looking forward to MD more.

  16. Jason Moyer says:

    DXMD and Mirror’s Edge 2 are coming out the same day and should be, for me, two of the most highly anticipated games of the past few years. The problem I’m having is that they both seem to be wasting time and resources with third-person camera nonsense that would have been better spent on making the first-person stuff more immersive and usable.

  17. ZigzagFN57 says:

    Does no one feel that the Human Revolution era of Deus Ex has a very, very cluttered art style? No?

    It really feels like they’re attempting to fit too much detail and raw visuals into single screens. Things like these are a real headache (for me) because I cannot process the gameplay and the graphics at the same time. I suffer this in Far Cry 4 and Witcher 3, a lot. For some reason, however, Dishonoured and the Half-Life/Portal series of games never gave me this problem.

    And no, it’s a not a preference of art styles. Human Revolution, bar the gold tint, was beautiful. But the entire art “flow” (I cannot find words to describe the feeling) just feels cluttered and messy. And it interrupts the immersion, severely.

    • Mi-24 says:

      I kind of agree; the more simple the environments are the better they are in gameplay value (and the nicer they look a lot of the time), but if the entire game was purely pristine then that would also get boring, so perhaps they put it in some areas to have variation between the factions and the areas they live in.

      One screenshot I saw:

      link to store.eu.square-enix.com

      did look ridiculously cluttered and does take away from the feel of the environment.Hopefully only a small area of the game will be like this and the rest will be better. I’m currently playing through human revolution (with developer commentary which is great) and remembering how fun it was. The dialogue animations were the only areas that didn’t really hold up. It’s good to play it again knowing the story and references.

    • NotGodot says:

      Clutter is an aesthetic value for Eidos Montreal. It provides a means for character exposition and makes even the most arch and stylized spaces (Like Hugh Darrow’s bedroom, Sarif’s office, etc) feel more lived in and genuine. It also helps bring the low class into the “high tech, low class” aesthetic of cyberpunk

      Honestly, I like it, but I find it really easy to ignore the detail when I’m not snooping around a non-combat zone.

  18. tonicer says:

    Yaaay another console deus ex game …. Woooohooo … Oh wait those are garbage … like everything that is multiplatform.