I have fond memories of Deus Ex just like everyone who tried it. That makes my first day with Human Revolution so strange. I kind of hate it. Maybe it’s the age, but the main character is so boring and the plot is so clichéd that I can barely stand it. I’m surprised to say it, but I don’t think this game is interesting at all. But it’s one day, and despite my massive amount of travel and lack of gameplaying, I’ll give it a few more sessions before I make a judgment. Spoilers within.
So, I have been traveling just a ton lately and my console gameplaying has fallen off a cliff. (I should point out I’m always playing casual games and I did finish Ghost Recon on the 3DS in the meantime, so I still have my chops.) When I got back, I decided that Brotherhood is just like AC2, but with far too much cipher-guy Desmond in the present, so I’ll go back to it. I want to try a good narrative experiment first, and thus Deus Ex go! The title screen is simple with a Deus Ex line and an animation of techno-face being built. This leads to a simple menu on an orange background, reminding me a bit of Mass Effect. There are three modes (story, challenge, Deus Ex) of difficulty, I guess. Calling the last one Deus Ex really biases me, but i’ll go normal (challenge) mode as always. My character looks different in each difficulty mode and I wonder briefly if this choice will affect the way my character appears in the game. There are typical tips on loading screen. The game starts with a standard CS intro. In a futuristic apartment, a guy looks at statue and then a display. The display has some kind of anonymous conference call, and they are talking about hospitals and some plan. The guy goes on talking to the hidden conspirators regarding something about cybernetics. A text conversation on the same screen is talking about some woman. We cut to a news report with crazy stupid reporter who says someone named Sarif invented cybernetics but people are protesting. We then cut to two people in room talking. The woman is Dr.Meg Reed. Boy these costumes are stupid — they are so CLOTHING OF THE FUTURE style. They talk to some boss guy over a display. Have to interrupt to say that these characters are UGLY. I’m playing Adam, the guy, apparently. The conversation turns to how she’s going to walk me halfway to the transport we need to take to Washington so she can dazzle Washington with her cyber tech.
(This is probably a good point to say that I only played the first Deus Ex, and that only a tiny bit a long time ago. I literally don’t remember anything about it except that you could choose how you played, it was in some corporate future, and cybernetics were a part of the story. It’s entirely possible I am just tromping through Deus Ex canon here, so sorry if so. You may as well treat this as my first impression of all of these games.)
I get control, and choose to read some of her emails at a terminal. There is no great revelation there; she works on cybernetics. She tells me we need to get going. I talk to her and open door to lose control. It’s a 1st person CS and I watch her talking to scientists. I see a military weapon at work as we walk. Wow is she an ugly model; she looks like a monkey. We cut to a weird elevator shot. Some guy named Pritchard enters the elevator. He’s some hacker and a complete dick. I reveal that I’m ex-SWAT. Wow, really? An ex-SWAT member? I thought I was in the 21st century, where games that were story-driven tried to have interesting characters. But a gravel-voiced, serious ex-SWAT agent? Be still, my beating heart.
Anyway, I enter an office CS, and Safris here – he has a metal arm so here’s clearly on the cyborg side. We’re talking about nothing when some alert goes off in lab AND I HAVE TO GET DOWN THERE to find out what’s going on. I get control and use the elevator. Emma was in lab and Adam seems concerned, so I guess they are connected. Pritchard over mic tells me to get down there. The elevator opens, I run around some violence-ruined hallways, and get a little stuck because I don’t see a grate to climb through. I do and enter another room with my first enemies. This of course becomes a fight and wow do I SUCK at this cover based combat in this game. I’m not sure what it is, but these controls just feel completely foreign and I can’t get this cover locking or releasing at all. It takes me forever to kill the first two guys, and even when I do, I get immediately killed by next two guys. It’s pitiful. Once I finally complete that combat, I see some camouflage guy kill a scientist in a dumb CS-like thing. I continue to more fights and I’m finally getting better at combat. After killing several more guys, I enter a room to a CS of guy beating me up as Emma hides in a corner. Emma throws chemical at him and burns him, but then more guys come in and shoot me. We cut to a montage of credits as they medical up Adam. That montage is kind of neat gory. But umm seriously? They kidnapped my girl and shoot me up? That’s the motivation for my EX-SWAT character? Is this a Steven Seagal movie from the 80s? Ugh.
We cut to a CS of the city 6 months later. There’s some high tech lobby. Adam enters as his cybered up self. I get control here in Sarif Industries. I apparently have to do something in Chicago. I go to Pritchard in a lab to get retinal implants. We talk and I have a choice to confront him or not about his dickish attitude. I do and I idly threaten him. Wow is this dialogue bad. Bad in the overly affected, “Here is my emotion!” “Oh yeah, here is MY emotion!!!” way. And my choice seems to have had no effect at all. I get out of that torture to go to the helipad where I have to talk to the pilot. Man I cannot stand this dialogue. And these characters are terrible, one-dimension cut-outs. How is this good narrative? I get some simple choices while talking to Jensen (the pilot) but nothing interesting at all. I get in the heli in CS and they take off. I have a conversation with Safris in the copter and have to endure my stupid gravel mouthed protagonist for even longer. In CS, I’m told some guys are looking to get the military weapon (Typoon) and I HAVE TO STOP THEM. I have a choice to use lethal or non-lethal force on them, and I choose non-lethal force for no reason. I also choose a up close weapon (again for no reason). Safris reveals that there are hostages I can free in the base, but the Typhoon is number one priority.
We land and I get control to walk into the building. Inside, I talk to the cop, which is a dialogue tree of information hunting. There are hostages in office near assembly labs, and the cops kind of hate me for keeping them from going in. I might care of there was any realistic emotion in this conversation at all. I go inside the building, and ha, I accidentally walk off an edge inside area and die. That’s hilarious. I walk correctly this time, not just killing myself ridiculously. I take down the first guy I see in a decent stealthy way, although I do notice the total lack of feedback in the game about whether I’m hidden or not. I then die fighting next group because the lack of said-feedback means I don’t know when I’m hidden. Ugh do I hate fighting in this game. On the second try, I stealth kill them all by taking them down with my stun gun one by one. I leave the hallway and enter the next room. I die there because I rush in. Again, the second I take them out in a predator like way, one by one, stun for stun. Once the room is clear, I start looking for the hostages. I don’t see them or the weapon. I don’t know where to go next and I’m starting to get frustrated, so I’m done for the night.