Deus Ex: Human Revolution – First Impressions

I’ve been counting down for several years for the release of the upcoming Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Today, it’s released. How am I supposed to react? By playing it, of course.

Last night, I spent a few hours with Deus Ex: Human Revolution. After all of the anticipation, I finally got to sit down with it and see what it’s all about.

Guess what? It’s absolutely a Deus Ex game. No question about it.

[A word to those that follow the site: I’ll be revealing a lot about Human Revolution as I play it over the next while. That includes spoilers. There’ll probably be bunch. If this concerns you, please wait until you’ve played through the game before you read this.]

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - StudiesThe first segment of the game starts with a little conversing, third-person style. Lots of dialog for the intro, followed by a camera zooming directly into protagonist Adam Jensen’s head. So, we’re Jensen, made evident by the obvious transition from first-person to third person.

We start with some talking. A bit with Megan, a chief researcher at Sarif and love interest of one Mr. Jensen. More conversation, more conversation… and… it’s go time. Jensen’s a security guard who’s somehow managed to hook up with this top scientist at Sarif Industries. She’s going to spread the good word of augmentation when there’s an attack on the facilities.

We’ve got a gun and it’s time to take out some baddies. No health bar yet. That’s right, no augmentations for Jensen yet. Time to round the corner, crouch down… Hey, my crouch key is stuck. No wait, hitting “C” toggles a crouch… ok, round the corner… and I”m dead.

I repeat this many times.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Jensen in a bad spot.Yes, I suck at Human Revolution. Maybe I should’ve set the skill level to “Easy” rather than the recommended settings. Good news, though – it appears that the difficulty can be changed on the fly.

I repeat this situation a few times until I’m not dead. Apparently, sneaking is not my forte, as I remember how much I sucked at the first Deus Ex.

A few cutscenes and now it’s six months later. After recovering from a life-saving augmentation surgery, Jensen’s on his first day back to work at Sarif and there’s a very strong UNATCO feeling here, with plenty to explore. Heck, we even get to revisit the ol’ “stay out the ladies’ room” jokes. Lots of offices to rummage through, a great number of people to talk to, and of course, computers to be hacked. There are papers to read and… I’m dead again. Shit. Yes, I jumped off the second floor and killed myself. You can go ahead and take away my gaming privileges. For an augmented agent, Denton’s a bit week when it comes to falling, at least right now.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Meet the receptionistAfter exploring this “hub,” it’s up to the penthouse where David Serif himself sends us out on the first mission. There’re terrorists holding a civilian hostage at a facilities location. Hmm… seems a bit similar to Liberty Island. Rather than being outdoors, everything is indoors and there are plenty of tutorial vidoes along the way, which seem a bit obvious, but don’t make me any better at sneaking around.

On the plane ride over to the facilities building, Mr. Sarif straight-up asks, “Do you want lethal or non-lethal weapons?” I was a bit put off by that. In the original DE, it never seemed to be such a straight-forward choice. Regardless of my affection for crossbows and tranquilizer darts, I went with the lethal approach.

The mission starts with some SWAT members informing us that we’re assholes and that everything is our fault because Mr. Sarif is a sack of shit. Probably true, but time to kick some ass.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Hacker suicideI proceed to kick ass by hiding, getting spotted, killing one guy, and taking about three to the chest before I’m toast. For all of the angry internet guy complaints hooplah, the regenerating health has not made the game easy. As Jensen stands at the beginning, he can only take a few shots before his rebirth only amounts to a few million dollars of wasted robotics. Hell, they’d probably recycle his augs, Repo Men style.

Ok, so after trying it a few times, I finally get the hang of hiding with the cover system. It’s really not bad. Right-click the mouse to go to the third-person cover mode. You can look around corners and fire a couple of pot shots that don’t hit much of anything. Let go of the right-mouse button and you’re instantly back to first-person. To me, it seems like an extension of the lean keys. Go to a corner, right-click, and essentially “lean” to see what’s on the other side.

Shit, I’m spotted again. A few more times of that and I manage to just kill everyone. Yes, that’s how you play this game. Well, that’s how I’m doing it now, but mostly because I suck at it.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Toilets & AirductsA bit through the first level, I do get better at sneaking. It’s all about timing and staying behind enemies when they’re not looking at you. I do enough sneaking to find an airduct that leads to… wait for it… a restroom. Yep, definitely Deus Ex. Has anyone checked the zero-to-crate time for this game yet? I think a better measure for DE would be the zero-to-airduct time. You can flush everything. If it’s not already, it should be an achievement to flush every toilet in the game.

Ok, so we get to the hostage situation, which breaks down into a conversation tree. Conversations work pretty well. You can choose from a few preselect responses. Sometimes they tell you exactly what you’ll say, other times, they let you choose an approach, sometimes it’s just the start of a paragraph of text.

Ex: Human Revolution - Covering UpI try to reason with the “terrorist,” only to completely blow the hostage situation – one dead hostage, no terrorist. Oh well, whatever. Maybe I’ll do things differently the next time around. If I’m feeling sadistic, maybe not.

That first experience of the game really reminds me of Liberty Island from Deus Ex, albeit a bit more focused. We get to see some examples of the gaming system, while being shown how it’ll take some to stop sucking.

After a return to UNATCO, I mean Sarif, I get a chance to frolic in the streets of Detroit. To me, that looks much more appealing. Tons of people and lots of places to investigate. Deus Ex was not just a combat system for me, but a world where it felt like every action had a consequence, even the decisions that I never knew I was making.

We’ll see if Human Revolution creates the same feeling.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - David Sarif
Other random thoughts:

  • The PC “port” seems fine. All of the menus are really well done on the PC and the notion that this thing is just a console port seems like idiocy.
  • The graphics and some character movements are OK. This may not be the best looking game of the year from a technical standpoint. The art direction, though, is fantastic.
  • Jensen’s voice sounds like a combination of Christian Bale’s Batman and Keanu Reeves.

There’s a ton to come…

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Comments and Responses

  1. I came here through a random internet search for some DX:HR impressions. I finished my playthrough a few days ago and I still feel like I’m drunk on it. Listening to the ending credits song and remembering that engrossing feeling when you enter Sarif’s office for the first time…

    Amazing. Simply put, amazing.

    -omeg on
  2. I was very impressed with the game, too. A definite nod to the original Deus Ex, but with enough new twists and updates to keep it fresh.

    That reminds me, I have to get on the ball and post the rest of impressions during my first trip through the game.

    -localditch on

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