Video Game Review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

 

Details: Initially released in 2016. This is a review of the base game only. Spent about thirty-two hours playing through it. I paid about twelve dollars for all of it. Official site is https://deusex.square-enix-games.com/

Score: 7.4/10

When I watched the trailer for CD Projekt Red’s highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 game, I immediately thought of Deus Ex. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a role playing game and a first person shooter that tries its best to give players freedom in choosing how they progress through the story. For the most part, the game succeeds in that regard. I only wish that the game was bigger or that it did more, though that may be unrealistic given the budget constraints and deadlines associated with video game development.

No spoilers for this game, but there are spoilers for Human Revolution, the prior game in the franchise.

The Deus Ex franchise takes place in the near future. Corporations mostly control the world. The proliferation of technological augments to human beings has become really popular and much of the population have technology incorporated into their bodies, becoming augmented humans. Mankind Divided picks up about two years after the events of Human Revolution. During the events of Human Revolution, a signal was sent out that made all augmented humans go psychotic and attack everyone.

Two years later, the world has grown frightened of augmented people. Laws are passed restricting their rights and many are sent the ghettos and concentration camps. When a terrorist bombing occurs in Europe with connection to resistance groups related to augmented people, Interpol is tasked with investigating and find the the parties responsible. You play Adam Jensen, an augmented Interpol agent who is ordered to investigate. You soon discover that things are not as they seem and that higher powers are involved.

The story is a fine bit of science fiction. I wasn’t that wrapped up in it, but some of the side stories had twists that I enjoyed. There are a few times where you are forced to make a decision with some consequences to the plot, but I didn’t feel like they were that important. I just felt like choosing one thing meant missing out on some fun gameplay that was locked out due to my decision, which sucked because I had no desire to play this game more than once.

The game mostly takes place in a scaled down version of Prague. Though the map is not enormous, there are plenty of secret and hidden areas on the map.

The biggest draw of the Deus Ex games is that you can progress through the game however you want. That mainly means that you can either fight and kill, fight and incapacitate non-lethally, you can talk your way out of most situations, and you can often just sneak through without engaging anyone.

Like in many role playing games, you get a skill tree that has various abilities in it that help certain styles of play. There aren’t enough skill points to fill out the tree in one play through, but there are enough to fill out a specific style of gameplay. For instance, if you like stealth you pick all the stealthy skills, if you like hacking you pick all the hacking skills, if you like combat you pick all those, etc.

Combat is mainly in the style of a first person shooter. You get various guns, explosives, and a number of abilities that can be used to fight. There’s a simple crafting and upgrading system in place for those who want to upgrade their weapons. Shooting felt fine, though I avoided most confrontations.

Stealth is also a big part of the game if you want it to be. I mostly played a nonlethal stealth style. That means sneaking around people and knocking them out with a taser or tranquilizer. The levels are designed with plenty of cover for either fire fights or sneaking around. There are also multiple paths for progressing through an area that can be discovered. The large number of options you have for handling a situation really is impressive.

Something that is optional but immensely helpful is the hacking skill. Many locked doors and computers require either a tool to hack and access or the leveled up ability. Leveling up this ability helps immensely and grants lots of experience for leveling up other stuff. It’s so helpful that it’s hard to say that it’s an optional part of the game.

Visually, the game looks pretty good. I wouldn’t say that it’s the best game I’ve played recently, it looks fine.

Audio is fine. Voice acting is on point. The music matches the tone. Expect the use of many electronics.

Overall, the game was fun. If you like the idea of a Skyrim-like game, but in a science fiction setting combined with stealth mechanics reminiscent of Dishonored, then you’ll likely enjoy this game.

Score: 7.4/10

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