Deus Ex: Human Revolution
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Hands-On Preview - The First 30 Minutes
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One of the first things anyone who’s been doing this games reporting malarkey longer than 20 seconds will tell you, is that the more access and the more hands-on time you are given to a game and its development team, the more potential the title has. It’s a sign of confidence and it’s usually a sign of quality. Last week we played Deus Ex: Human Revolution for a good 2 or 3 hours, and when hands-on sessions normally run from 30 minutes to an hour, I think that level of access speaks volumes on its own.

In the first of two previews - the second of which will follow later on in the month and will cover the first proper mission of the game - we will touch upon the prologue of sorts which sets the scene for Adam Jensen's journey into the unknown. It's a relatively short sequence of events that's designed to introduce the player to some of the key elements of the game, but rather than opt for a training course of sorts like the original Deus Ex did, Human Revolution's opening chapter looks to teach the player the key gameplay mechanics while also feeding them valuable background information. Questions like; who is Adam Jensen?; How did he become an "aug"?; What is his personal stake in the story?; and who is David Sarif and what is Sarif Industries? are all answered in the first 20 minutes of Human Revolution and the rest of the game is all set-up for the better because of it.

Taking place before the events of both Deus Ex titles, Human Revolution is set in the year 2027, and as the title suggests, humanity is on the verge of human controlled evolution thanks to Sarif Industries and a certain Dr Megan Reed. Sarif's proprietary technology is the result of Dr Reed's ambitious research and her game-changing discovery, which is referred to as "Rosetta Stone big" within the game. With Jensen on the Sarif Industries security team, all that Reed needs to do now is present her research to a committee in Washington to make waves and it's Jensen’s job to make sure she gets there. Things don’t go as planned.

As the opening cutscene indicates, there are certain third parties who want to make sure this research doesn't turn up at the pre-planned meeting and this shadow group are eager to cut short Sarif's celebrations. Interestingly, the cutscenes in Human Revolution that we were treated to throughout the entire time of our hands-on were a little muddy and almost dated at best, but thankfully, as soon as we were thrust into the game world itself, things took a surprising U-turn and the beautiful visuals that we had been treated to in other hands-off looks at the game were right before our eyes.

When we’re finally unleashed upon the game world, we're transported into this fantastically realised near future world, but our adventure starts off in a very small enclosed box room. Behind us lie stacks of scattered papers and an overpoweringly bright holographic presentation board. In front of us, an equally as messy desk, a digital magazine called the Picas Daily Standard, Dr Reed's computer and an impatient Dr Reed. It's a mouth watering glimpse at a potential future in truth. Not the impatient woman part... that's very much the now... you must not have met my ex.

Rather than make our way straight out the office door and into the lab, Human Revolution's writer, Mary DeMarle, urged us to snoop around first. It's not like we need to be told twice to do that. It didn't take long to notice the incredible attention to detail that exists within the game. The Picas Daily Standard can be read to get up to date on the breaking news from the world of 2027, you can ask Reed about the photo on her desk and you can even snoop through Reed's emails - to which Jensen nonchalantly reminds her that she ought to keep them locked away from prying eyes. Smug and ironic. Love it.

Reading through the emails only serves to raise more questions than they answer, although it's not like we had any just yet. For instance, in an email between Reed and Sarif, Reed's anxious correspondence reveals that she's worried that the committee will ask where she got the first sample and who is patient X, revealing that things may not be as straightforward as we once thought. The emails also act as a decent source of information and will do throughout the game, so it’s in your best interest to snoop around. Here, we also find out that Reed has a mom and a dog... thrilling stuff. My sarcasm aside, later on in the game these tidbits of info may prove invaluable... and I'm sure they'll provide their fair share of key code passes, right? I mean, that's a requirement for a game that involves infiltration... or is that a faux pas?

After absorbing every morsel of information from Reed's office, we finally made our way into the lab with Reed, where we are steered on-rails as the conversation picks up. As the pair converse with one another and various other scientists that populate the lab, you're given free reign over where Jensen looks but that's about it. Soaking in the atmosphere though is pretty special on its own, and watching dozens of scientists go about their tasks and robot arms whiz around you is almost enough to take your attention away from the conversation. If it wasn't though, the guy dropping a stack of boxes directly in front of you as you make your way through the lab or Reed's associate, Vasili, showing a General their recently developed Typhon Explosion System almost certainly will – more on that in the next preview. Incidentally, I feel I should mention that the huge diversity in NPC character models and their different canned animations in this sequence does wonders for maintaining an impressively high level of immersion.

Stepping into the elevator, Jensen and Reed's relationship becomes much clearer as Reed discusses her dog and becomes almost sentimental with Jensen and their future together. Enter a fellow colleague, Pritchard, at possibly the most inconvenient time ever. Pritchard is a floppy haired, leather jacket wearing cocky son of a bitch who’s another employee of Sarif Industries. Regardless of Pritchard’s intervention, Reed was about to jump out anyway, and his arrival – like pretty much everything up to this point – forms yet more questions than it answers. While Pritchard discusses the suspicious demise of Jensen’s SWAT career and Eidos Montreal plants the seeds for yet more questions, it's hard to look anywhere but straight out of the elevator window at the golden skyline and twinkling river that divides the city; both of which are doing just enough to distract even the most staunch opposer of anything architecturally stunning.

David Sarif's office is Jensen's final destination, where the security specialist is getting a debrief from the company head honcho. If Sarif's office is a reflection of his inner-self, the existence of the pre-21st century art on the walls, the contemporary spherical art that decorates the ceiling and the inexplicably expensive  chessboard on his desk are all an example of the sophisticated - and ultimately materialistic – exterior of the CEO, while the streams of work lying around his office, the log fire burning in the corner and the digital report of the national baseball league on the big holographic screen show his softer and more grounded side. While we sat there listening to Sarif go on, admiring the scenery as per usual and struggling to pay attention, our tunnel vision gaze was disturbed by the sounding of a deafening alarm. Ladies and gents, it's time for a little action.

At first, the flashing “Environmental Malfunction” message on the huge screen and the constant wailing of the alarm are played down by Sarif and co., but after punching a code into the elevator keypad and making your way to the incident area, the decimated walkway walls, scattered corpses and distant screams of pain and anguish kind of give away the fact that something more sinister is clearly going on. It’s during this sequence of events where the game will prompt you to hit back for a tutorial on the game’s mechanics, including how to duck, enter cover, look down the iron sight, stick to different surfaces in cover that are adjoined – which is bloody handy! – and more of the basics.

Walking through the once clinically clean corridors, which have since been turned into a smouldering wreck, a huge hulk of an “aug” – a person taking advantage of augmented technology – on the other side of a security window effortlessly slams scientists around the room without a care in the world. Moving through various labs, vents and corridors, we roll into cover and take down various small patrols of unaugmented soldiers who have breached the facility. As far as the shooter aspect goes, Deus Ex doesn’t have the same fluidity in its controls than say your average Call of Duty, etc, and does feel a little stiff when you first get your hands-on it, but after playing with the sensitivity options and understanding its subtle nuances – and taking advantage of cover, of course – Deus Ex started to feel worlds better. You begin as an inept and uncoordinated security specialist, but by the end of the tutorial - once you’ve gotten to grips with the controls - you’re Adam-frickin’-Jensen, disgraced ex-SWAT – or so Pritchard says – and ultimate badass.

“Jensen, thank God” yells a scientist through a sheet of heavy duty glass as we crawl under a half-closed security door. Moments later another “aug” drops through the roof with her invisibility cloak enabled; one decloak and a round of bullets from her duel-wielded uzis later, and she’s cloaked back up and vacating the scene of the crime. All you can do is stand there, helpless.

Moving around and into the very same room, a patrol crew of four soldiers enter the scene. Taking them head on is completely foolish – trust me, I tried it – so anyone thinking this will be a “shoot first, ask questions later” kind of shooter will have to think again. Even on medium difficulty, you won’t take many bullets at all – especially in the prologue when Jensen is just a regular Joe like you and I – so working out what to do and when is the key to advancement and survival. DeMarle labelled the first person combat situations as a “thinking man’s shooter,” but then again, that term seems to be a tad overused these days. After watching a couple of the guys that grouped together walk past a couple of toxic gas canisters, a blast with the assault rifle was enough to cause an explosion big enough to take them down. However, in doing so, I had alerted the rest of the patrol to my presence. It was then a case of using the cover, moving around and adopting a pop and fire technique to make short work of the remaining two. Once they were down, it was time to advance.

Our mood was soon dampened by another one of those augmented rapscallions though, this time in a cutscene by one donning a Mohican and looking as mean and as pumped as Arnie after a night on the 'roids. Jensen gets knocked through walls by the unnamed assailant as easy as a hot knife slices through butter, and with Megan finally in sight, our main man is completely helpless and knocking on death’s door. As a last chance hurrah, Jensen manages to shoot a canister of harmful toxins, covering himself and the assailant in the green substance in the process. Almost unperturbed by the 'hail Mary' from Jensen, the assailant – sizzling from the layer of acid that covers his skin – glances over at a lifeless Jensen. Battered, half beaten to death, covered in acid and wallowing in his own pity as his mission to retrieve and protect Dr Reed, the love of his life, has failed, Jensen’s sorry state is the last visual before the credits roll and the prologue comes to an end.

And that’s just the intro sequence...

Look out for the second part of this two part preview later on in the month, where we talk chapter 1, augmentations, conversations and infiltration. It’s one not to be missed.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 101
Comment #1 by CKWPORT
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 10:21:32 AM
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Loved the original!
Hope this lives up to it!

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #2 by Richie82 [STAFF]
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 10:32:59 AM
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My brain is exploding at the prospect of this. I sincerely hope that it can find the audience it deserves though. Square Enix need to really get behind this game, big time!

Forum Posts: 186
Comment #3 by II griever II
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 10:36:22 AM
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Wow this is a LOT to read... Good thing i am posting before i do, lol. Be back after...

Forum Posts: 8517
Comment #4 by Nozza XBA
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 10:48:51 AM
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Never played the original but I have to say this looks pretty sweet!

Hopefully it gets the backing it looks like it deserves and flies off the shelf because I feel I'll be grabbing this day come release day!

Forum Posts: 363
Comment #5 by seven43861
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 10:58:23 AM
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I can't wait to play this, I just need to know when its available, no concrete release date yet makes me worried.

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #6 by Stealthcake
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 11:02:32 AM
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I hope this lives up to the first, and Square Enix need to push this game for god sake.

Forum Posts: 186
Comment #7 by II griever II
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 11:04:44 AM
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Wow, I'm def impressed.. although i was beginning to feel slight disappointment at the description of visuals and controls at first. Let's just hope that will be ironed out.

@5 It said on the other new post including a video, that this was scheduled for May 2011 release.

Forum Posts: 1207
Comment #8 by DJConnelly
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 11:16:15 AM
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Looks epic. Can't wait to play it.

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #9 by Richie82 [STAFF]
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 11:18:25 AM
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@ 7 - While it is indeed scheduled for May 2011, it's not a solid, specific release date and therefore prone to delay. Watch this space...

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #10 by Bricki
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 11:33:09 AM
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Should be really good game.

Forum Posts: 91
Comment #11 by bearmod
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 11:39:45 AM
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never played one of these games but this looks pretty good

Forum Posts: 14795
Comment #12 by Webb [STAFF]
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 11:48:12 AM
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@#3 - Yeah, my bad... I felt that I couldn't do it justice in the space of a normal length preview, so opted for details galore.

@#7 - The controls are fine (as are the main game visuals; cutscenes not so much), they just take some getting used to. You have to remember, this isn't meant to be an FPS, it's an action-RPG, so to expect it to perform like COD is unfair in my opinion. I just used COD as an example of fluent FPS controls. If that makes sense =P

@#7 & #9 - I honestly don't think it's penciled in for anything just yet. The delay ( said the next financial year (April 2011 - March 2012) and the trailer says 2011. Although May is still technically on the cards, releasing it in May seems like retail suicide... Duke Nukem, Brink and LA Noire, to name but a few. Plus, Square Enix even have Dungeon Siege 3 out on May 27th and I'm not sure it's a wise business move to release two properties so close to one another. They aren't like EA and have 20 titles a year on consoles... They have 5 or 6, tops, so spreading their titles must be in the back of their minds.

Forum Posts: 116
Comment #13 by Lord Mewt
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 12:01:26 PM
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I wish I had time to play the originals, but I wonder how much it will make a difference. Either way, great preview for one of my top games this year! It must be awesome to play such a good portion of gameplay, now to figure out how to switch places..hmm..

Forum Posts: 40
Comment #14 by nic0dem
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 12:44:05 PM
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The art style is just so super awesome!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #15 by JONNY U2
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 12:57:29 PM
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looks mint

Forum Posts: 64
Comment #16 by Eliasmcfly
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 02:12:28 PM
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Oh goodness that was a good read :) Made me ever more excited to get my hands on it. Lucky guys you are.

Forum Posts: 2574
Comment #17 by jamie1000013
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 03:01:00 PM
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I'm glad to see a game that looks like it has a great storyline unlike CoD or other AAA titles. Lets just hope it delivers and gets the praise it deserves if it does. Great write up BTW.

Forum Posts: 1187
Comment #18 by ExtremeRugburn
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 04:56:35 PM
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This game has been on my watch list since it was announced. I never heard of the originals (I never played PC games much)but I must admit things are looking very promising. If they release a demo that would be awsome.

Forum Posts: 173
Comment #19 by Epilogue of Euphoria
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 05:28:46 PM
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Not fair, you're making me want this that much more! Has a date been set for this yet?

Forum Posts: 469
Comment #20 by francisrossi
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 05:41:43 PM
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Square Enix were talking about this game being a potential new franchise for them, so hopefully they do push the game, rather than just slipping it out and hoping it sells huge numbers by magic.

Forum Posts: 11
Comment #21 by Rastris
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 06:52:18 PM
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Looks great, this game definitely has great potential.

Forum Posts: 918
Comment #22 by Dcon6393
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 06:54:46 PM
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Never played the other ones, but from what i have read from magazines and the internet it is a choose your path to the same destination type of game? i have always wanted more than the standard good and evil choices

Forum Posts: 14795
Comment #23 by Webb [STAFF]
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 07:43:12 PM
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@#22 - Yes and no. There are choices and such, but the ending is not the same, so it's a choose your path to your destiny kind of game. There's plenty of shades of gray as well, so it's not just good/evil, sometimes the lines between the two will be blurred.

Forum Posts: 42
Comment #24 by Kaged
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 08:14:14 PM
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@22 - Webb has it right. The first Deus Ex has 4 (IIRC) different endings, all with different outcomes. If you have the time to spare, grab Deus Ex and play it to your hearts content. Although the graphics are dated, the experience is one of a kind. The soundtrack was pretty impressive as well.

Great preview Webb! Do you know if a demo will be released and when?

Forum Posts: 918
Comment #25 by Dcon6393
Thursday, February 03, 2011 @ 09:25:48 PM
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thanks, that is better than i expected. I am not a fan of games that have "different choices" but the outcome is exactly the same. Fable 3 did that and it made it less enjoyable storywise

Forum Posts: 173
Comment #26 by maur1c1o
Friday, February 04, 2011 @ 03:33:27 AM
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I never played any of the deus games but the trailer for this one looks amazing i will definitly have a look when i have time i'll try the demo first though hope its as good as it appears on the trailer

Forum Posts: 29
Comment #27 by Mister Bear 007
Friday, February 04, 2011 @ 04:56:23 AM
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Great article. Thanks for the sneaky peek!

Forum Posts: 178
Comment #28 by Blue Thunder28
Friday, February 04, 2011 @ 08:19:32 PM
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So stoked for this.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #29 by EvilOppressor
Friday, February 04, 2011 @ 10:20:17 PM
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Forum Posts: 45
Comment #30 by pinkfluff1
Saturday, February 05, 2011 @ 06:21:43 AM
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Awesome cannot wait!

Forum Posts: 115
Comment #31 by Dragonmaster700
Saturday, February 05, 2011 @ 11:28:18 PM
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Loved the original, hell I even enjoyed 2 though it had nothing on the first. Cant wait for this one.

Forum Posts: 1005
Comment #32 by Magicman10893
Sunday, February 06, 2011 @ 03:32:08 AM
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I can't wait for this! I never got to play the orignal games, but I won't let this one slip by! Also, every time I see a screenshot I get a Mass Effect vibe from it somehow. Like it feels like I am back on Illium in Mass Effect 2.

Forum Posts: 47
Comment #33 by RevyLover
Sunday, February 06, 2011 @ 12:46:30 PM
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That was a great preview Webb! Thanks for posting it. You know, Warren Spectre and his crew at the former development studio Ion Storm were geniuses when they developed Deus Ex, but unfortunately listened too much to Eidos' marketing department and the casual gaming crowd to make the sequel Deus Ex: The Invisible War a disappointment. So far, all indications from your preview indicate that Eidos Montreal is going on the path of the first game in terms of quality compared to the sequel. Here is to hoping that the final package lives up to that expectation, and that SquareEnix gets on the ball in terms of adequate advertisement. ^_^

Forum Posts: 137
Comment #34 by Voxael
Sunday, February 06, 2011 @ 03:53:42 PM
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And now I may need to buy a UK 360 while I'm over here.

Damn it.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #35 by upload420
Sunday, February 06, 2011 @ 08:23:33 PM
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the 1st one was a great game. it was one of the first rpg fps type game i ever played. it had great graphics for its time. Very long game but kept me entertained until the very end. I really hope this lives up to the 1st one. I know the 2 one was kind of lame. So i really hope that this can recover its name.

Forum Posts: 60
Comment #36 by caustic christ
Friday, February 11, 2011 @ 08:36:45 AM
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hope it lives up to the hype.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #37 by JayDWright
Sunday, February 13, 2011 @ 02:41:21 PM
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I never played the origin but this one looks so good I am thinking about pre ordering it.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #38 by Cunhell666
Thursday, February 17, 2011 @ 10:27:20 PM
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Looks great can't wait to play it.

Forum Posts: 245
Comment #39 by atomic viking54
Friday, February 18, 2011 @ 03:09:25 PM
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looks hella good. hopefully i can get into it without playing the origional.

Forum Posts: 118
Comment #40 by Demendred
Friday, February 18, 2011 @ 11:33:45 PM
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Ooooh yea baby! This game will be mine soon!

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #41 by BonesE
Tuesday, February 22, 2011 @ 05:10:46 AM
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Invisible War was hope this is the same

Forum Posts: 23
Comment #42 by V4R14N7
Sunday, March 06, 2011 @ 09:38:57 AM
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The book, Icaris Effect, hints at the prolouge since it's a story about that hit team that came in there, among the shadow corperations running the show. It was a nice tie in from book to game but still keeping them seperated.

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #43 by Stevesmith
Saturday, March 12, 2011 @ 10:44:37 AM
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I played the original Deus Ex and loved it, looking forward to this one.

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Game Info
Eidos Montreal
Square Enix


US August 23, 2011
Europe August 26, 2011

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