Deus Ex: Human Revolution Preview – More Mystery, Less History
Written Wednesday, April 27, 2011 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Adam Jensen has some pretty big shoes to fill, it has to be said. JC Denton blazed a groundbreaking trail in the original Deus Ex back in 2000, introducing the world to cybernetic augmentations in the dark and oppressive future of 2052. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is set 25 years prior to the events of Deus Ex though, so JC Denton is merely a twinkle in Mrs. Denton's eye, making Jensen the main man, although he starts the game with no mechanical appendages or augmentations to speak of, unless you consider clothes an augmentation. We don't. Still, Jensen always has his gruff, intimidating whispered way of talking, seemingly acquired at the Clint Eastwood School of Menacing Voices. That's not a real school, but it really should be.
Like Deus Ex before it then, Human Revolution offers multiple paths and decisions to make and our latest hands-off demo hammers this point home once again, in a mission that picks up after Jensen's employer, Sarif Industries is attacked by a special forces team. This leads to Jensen having to infiltrate a shady training facility hidden deep beneath an abandoned warehouse, after being dropped off just outside the compound. Before heading inside, Jensen first interacts with a black market weapons dealer in his hushed, gravelly tones, buying himself a new weapon attachment and having a bit of a chat about this and that, adding to the story.
These social aspects will play a pivotal role in Human Revolution, and you might be able to obtain important information like pass codes and other helpful clues or hints by listening to incidental dialogue or by delving deeper into conversations. After listening to the NPC weapons dealer effing and jeffing, Jensen sets to work and goes for all-out stealth to get into the compound. Using the game's cover system – which you can set to toggle or have as a button held down - Jensen crouches behind a truck and eavesdrops in on a conversation between a pair of guards. Listen long enough, and you might get some useful, salient information that might help you later, but instead, Jensen subdues one of the guards when he breaks off from his buddy.
He does this using the incredibly handy and versatile stun pistol, which can be used to quietly put guards down and temporarily disable security cameras. Handy. With the coast clear, Jensen hacks the nearby gate that leads him to an area where there's a ventilation shaft that leads into a perfect vantage point to listen in on another conversation that's presented as a cut-scene between the muscle-headed aug and his Rihanna-lookalike partner as seen in previous Human Revolution trailers. From this point, Jensen spies an elevator down into a secret underground FEMA facility. “That's when you know something's going on, when an elevator goes down,” jokes art director, Jonathan-Jacques Belletete.
After disabling the security cameras and using his X-ray vision augmentation to draw a bead on the positions and patrol routes of the guards – which are completely random, by the way – as well as the locations of computer terminals that can also be hacked, Jensen plans out his course of action for getting to the elevator. Luckily, one guard is sleeping at his post, presenting the perfect opportunity to pounce and silently take him out. Once subdued, a guard is out of the action indefinitely, so he won't wake up unless one of his buddies finds him and gives him a kick, so Jensen is free to hack the terminal completely unhindered. Opting for the hardest hacking route via a neat mini-game, Jensen can shutdown the entire network, making life a little easier later on. However, if he makes a mess of the tough hack – and the time limit is incredibly tight – then he'll raise the alarm and bring every enemy in the vicinity zoning in on his position. It's the old risk versus reward conundrum.
Happily, Jensen nails the hack at the last second, meaning that the entire network is compromised, and he's free to proceed. It's a long descent in the elevator to the ground floor of the FEMA base, where there's troops patrolling with an imposing four-legged mech in tow. It's at this point that Jensen takes to the overhead walkways, equips his combat rifle with the new upgrade he purchased at the beginning of the demo and proceeds to mark up his targets. Jensen can mark up to seven targets, which can prove invaluable in situations like these, where it pays to be able to keep tabs on multiple enemies and their respective status. Designated by arrows on Jensen's HUD, you'll get a data readout indicating their distance and if they're yellow, you'll know that they're simply going about their business. Should they turn red however, you're in trouble, as they're actively searching for you and they can be pretty thorough.
Tired of creeping around, it's time to put that upgraded combat rifle to use, and having marked up his targets, crosshairs on the marked troops indicate that Jensen's good to go with his homing flechettes that can curve over and around obstacles to reach their destination. Entrenched behind cover, Jensen fires away taking out the guards with relatively little effort, leaving only the heavily armoured mech on a rampage. Again, as luck would have it, Jensen manages to get his hands on a rocket launcher that's been left lying around (those careless henchmen!) and after a few well-aimed projectiles and some quick moving between cover, the robotic menace is reduced to scrap. That's where the demo ends, but this is merely a single way in which this section could be completed. Other methods could incorporate the use of a tranquiliser sniper, which enables Jensen to quietly and non-fatally dispatch foes without a fuss or use the EMP gun to render electronic equipment useless.
Being comprised of electronic components himself, it's risky for Jensen to use EMP weaponry, and indeed enemies will use EMP tech against you to disable your augmentations. As such, you'll also use specially formulated edible energy bars to replenish your batteries, allowing you to keep on using your augmentations. You can't use them willy-nilly though, so rationing your bars and battery life will be integral. Startlingly, all of this is based upon real research into artificial limbs and augmentations, so there's a certain level of grounding in reality as far as Human Revolution's technology is concerned. Less realistic, but no less excellent is the grid-based inventory system, which will delight Resident Evil fans, as it allows you to obsessively arrange your items and weapons neatly and in order. Who doesn't enjoy that?
Add to that the striking gold-hued visuals, subtle but effective soundtrack and a very apparent attention to detail, and Deus Ex: Human Revolution is still looking every bit the triple-A hit we think it deserves to be. Some of the NPCs look a little iffy at present and it looks as though there's still an element of tightening up in the gameplay to be applied, along with a little extra polish, but it's a long time until the game's August release date, meaning that we shouldn't expect anything less than a stellar production when its release date comes around.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is out on August 23rd in North America and August 26th in Europe.