on June 26, 2014
This game has received a lot of hate from fans of the Deus Ex series, as it was originally a game made only for mobile devices, and when it did finally get a PC port from the developers, it has not gotten much praise from the fans, for both the quality of the port and the core game. While I don't hate it, it still has a number of problems that make it the worst in the series.
As a follow up to the book, this could already lead to some confusion for players, but it can be played without reading that first. The game starts off with you on a mission as part of a Black Ops team sent to assassinate one of the people responsible for the deaths of your previous squad mates. Not long after though, you find the circumstances resulting in their deaths were not what you have been told, and result in you going into hiding. The rest of the game has you doing various missions in order to get medication to help deal with your augmentations. The story itself doesn't really hook the player unfortunately, and has little of interest other than showing characters you might recognize from previous games.
Graphics could be better. While not awful, and almost certainly better than what would have been used for the smaller mobile device screens, textures still aren't great, and even the fact that it was a port isn't an excuse, after seeing how nice some of the HD ports for 3DS and Vita games can look. Going in to the characters themselves, while they don't look great, most are at least okay. But then you have a few which I'll call goblins with their poorly constructed bodies and hideous faces. It was quite surprising considering the rest were at least decent.
Audio is alright. All of the music and sound effects seem to have been taken Human Revolution, so chances are you will notice familiar tunes. Voice acting is also of decent quality. Your ears won't be bleeding while you play through this game at least.
These have been considered a major flaw of the game. While the gamepad mapping is fine, anyone who has a problem with the default keyboard and mouse layout is out of luck, as there is no options for changing how it is set up. So if you are the kind of player who likes to set up custom layouts for your fancy keyboards, feel free to avoid this game. I played through the game on a gamepad, which uses an almost identical layout as the previous game, with only a couple of changes. However, even with a gamepad, things were not all perfect, as controls during the hacking minigame are fiddly, resulting in me moving to my mouse during those parts.
Now onto the meat of the review, and where more of the flaws shall be revealed. At heart, this plays very much like Human Revolution. You can talk, sneak, shoot and hack just like you did while playing as Adam Jensen, but now that you are Ben Saxon, a few things had to change, some of them minor while others are major changes to how the game works. For one, Ben can't jump at all. This limits some of your options, and levels reflect this lack. You won't ever see a hard to reach vent that might just need a few stacked boxes, not in this game. Not that you have the option to stack boxes at all. Yeah, you have very few chances to manipulate the locations in this game. You can break down a few walls and move a few heavy crates out of the way but little else. No more being really inventive in your choices as a sneaky character. Not that it matters much. The locations are small in scope anyway, most of the game consisting of a single hub of maps. You can do a bit of exploration, but there just isn't that much do look around. Just a few vents to sneak through, a few locks to hack open and a few crates and walls standing in the way.
The next change is a big one, this being the inventory. In The Fall, there is no limit what so ever to what you can carry. You can carry more weapons than there are enemies in the area. No more having to make a hard choice about which weapon to take with you, just bring them all. Your inventory in this game also acts as an in game shop, allowing you to purchase whatever item you might need as long as you have the credits. While I get annoyed at being forced to leave behind loot in the older games, this ruins any need for planning out your gear to maximize your chances or ensure you can carry the best selling items out of a level. Anything you need is yours with the push of a button and is sitting in your pouch of holding when you need it. On the bright side, at least the PC port doesn't include the option to pay for in game currency to make this even easier. We really don't need micro transactions here.
Now onto the AI and interaction with them. Yes, I have bad news here as well. Most NPCs are brain dead idiots who will mostly ignore you. Unless an NPC is marked as an enemy on your map, they will did very little other than panic if a fight happens near by, only to forget it seconds later. After how great the previous games were with their AI from friendly and neutral NPCs, this is what I'd consider the biggest failing of this game. It used to be that walking into the women's toilets would get them to yell for security. Here, they will calmly talk to you. Hostile AI will still react to you in a matter of ways, depending on your current actions and location, but this will never be the match of any other game in the series. Even the hostile AI are easy to deal with, and the fact that non combatants won't even warn them really tones down the difficulty.
After all of the problems I dropped on you during the previous section of my review, I have one more to mention. This game is short as it is currently incomplete. It seems the mobile game was designed to have episodic content, and nothing beyond the opening mission and first city at this time. You will beat it in a matter of hours, and unless you want to do New Game Plus to further power up your character and earn any missing achievements. Not really much incentive to play a second time unfortunately.
So there you have it. While it is most certainly a Deus Ex game, much of what made the series great just didn't make it to the game, resulting in a title with little challenge and little reward, though still playable in the end. My recommendation is to wait for a heavy discount, and perhaps some news on an (unlikely to happen) update to the campaign. It certainly doesn't offer enough to be worth your money at this point. I paid $3 and still feel it could have been better for what I've spent, given that Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut can be had on Steam for as low as $5 itself.