In 2011, Eidos Montreal and Square Enix teamed up to revive the Deus Ex license, with the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Taking place 25 years before the first opus, this episode made a strong impression, except for its bosses considered completely missed by many.
A few years later, Deus Ex Mankind Divided is about to be released, and we have already had the chance to approach it during two complete missions.
The augmented, the rejects of society
Two years after the events recounted in Human Revolution, the augmented, humans who have received body modifications like Adam Jensen, are treated as pariahs and live secluded in a poor neighborhood, where police surveillance is at its highest. . If you have watched the magnificent latest “live action” trailer, you already know that this segregation will be the main theme of the game. Before putting our hands on the title, we had an overview of this area, where it is better to stay on track and obey the patrols present.
This short visit was an opportunity for the team to focus on the improvements that you will soon find. The developers wanted to breathe more life into it, so you will be able to speak to each passerby, take the time to search the accessible apartments from top to bottom, and discover different stories, or on the contrary go straight to the objective of your mission . Speaking of missions, side quests can last from 10 minutes to 1 hour, some will be much more scripted than others, with their share of conspiracies of all kinds. The hacking phases, loved or hated, will be back and should be more challenging.
Under the Dubai sun
Following an interactive briefing, where we were able to choose via a dialogue, the way we were going to approach our mission (lethal or non-lethal), and the type of weapons (distance/short range), here we are parachuted in a hotel under construction. First observation, the game has hardly gained in flexibility in its movements, and it is the same during the action phases, if you ever have the misfortune of being spotted. Let’s be clear, we would not have wanted Deus Ex to give in to the sirens of transforming into Call of Duty, far from it, but revised handling would not have done any harm.
This little disappointment past, we find the infiltration gameplay which was praised before, but something new is emerging. Indeed, when you are leaning against elements such as walls, crates, etc. you will have the opportunity to really define where you want to go and the path will be traced on the ground. Adam Jensen will automatically move to the indicated point, and you can continue by neutralizing opponents, without killing them, of course.
It is during sequences of this ilk that infiltration reveals its potential
Moreover, it will also be possible to avoid them completely, including the boss. The experience should therefore change completely, depending on the approach chosen. For example, towards the end of this level, we took advantage of a sandstorm to sneak behind the opponents, and flee to the helicopter which was waiting for us. But we also used verticality to our advantage to reach them, without arousing the slightest suspicion. It is during sequences of this ilk that infiltration reveals its potential.
If you find this boring, and would prefer not to resort to guns, your upgrades can be an alternative. They are numerous, and concern all parts of your body. To use them, simply assign them to the directional cross keys.
For our second mission, we focused on two things: remote hacking, to, among other things, deactivate lasers and social bosses. Unlike computer hacking, which requires mastering your subject and observing carefully, turning off the lasers will be linked to timing. To succeed, you will have to press the key from the moment the scrolling bar joins the encephalogram. You will only have a set number of attempts, and you will start from scratch if you fail. However, this aspect remains optional, since it depends on the route taken.
As we said in the introduction, Deus Ex Human Revolution has been criticized because of its failed bosses, something that should be resolved for this new part. Why “should”? Because we didn’t come across any real bosses… but rather social bosses. Forget your talents which allow you to sneak, or to kill, discussion will be your only weapon to achieve your ends. As you try to get into the pocket of a hostile person, several dialogues will be offered. An investigation then begins, and you will have to observe the reactions of your interlocutor, being careful not to upset them. The tension will be palpable, because the slightest misstep will directly influence the rest of the events.
In our case, this exchange went rather well, until the outcome. We had gained his trust, but the man finally collapsed in his office, following a prosthesis malfunction. While we thought we were safe, soldiers were busy entering the place where we were. It is in clashes like these that the weakness of the shooter dimension is obvious..
The slightest misstep will directly influence the rest of the events
We will finish our impressions by tackling the visual. Already at the time, Deus Ex Human Revolution did not shine with its graphics or its technique, and Deus Ex Mankind Divided will inherit the flaws of its predecessor. Whether it’s the animations, face modeling, or lip sync, the picture is disappointing. Fortunately, all the other qualities manage to make us forget the problems encountered.
Expanded Universe and Deus Ex Breach
Arriving at this press presentation, Eidos Montreal had other tricks up their sleeves. First of all, we learned that developers’ vocation is toexpand the Deus Ex universe, through: games, comics, figurines, clothing, the soundtrack, an artbook, the use of smartphones (Deus Go), and a prosthetic arm for disabled people.
In addition, a final surprise is hidden on the Deus Ex Mankind Divided disc: Deus Ex Breach. If we want to summarize, you take the VR missions of Metal Gear Solid, Volume by Mike Bithell (Thomas Was Alone), you sprinkle some vibrant colors, and you get Breach.
It is also a way to take a break, between several missions on the main artery
This game-within-a-game will be included at launch, and the studio will frequently update it with new content. The gameplay remains the same, but the aesthetic contrasts with what you know. Your goal is simple: you are thrown into rooms, and you must collect as much data as possible within the allotted time. However, previously opened doors may be closed, guards may appear, and escaping will be your only way out. This mode will undoubtedly satisfy fans of scoring, since that is the whole point of Breach. You can compare your statistics via the scoreboard, and challenge other players. The accumulated experience will be transformed into currency to acquire ammunition, weapons, upgrades, etc. It is also a way to take a break between several missions on the main artery.
Eidos Montreal did not do things by halves, but we will have to see in the long run if this Deus Ex Breach keeps its promises. In any case, we’re off to a good start!4
This discovery of Deus Ex Mankind Divided was encouraging, even if we are disappointed to see that certain defects still remain. However, these problems should fade away, leaving you to enjoy a story that promises to be very interesting, a mastered artistic direction, and the unexpected bonus with Deus Ex Breach. See you in August for JVL’s opinion on one of the most anticipated titles of 2016.