craigaa1028's Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Xbox 360) review

Despite Some Rough Edges, This Revolution Is Worth Taking Part In

The original Deus Ex, released back in 2000, is considered by some to be one of the best RPG’s of the last generation. It offered a level of choice in how players accomplished their goals that was groundbreaking at the time, which allowed for a lot of flexibility in how it was played. The newly released prequel to the original game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, promises to maintain that level of choice while crafting it’s own identity and updating the gameplay for modern players. While some of its elements don’t pan out as well as one might hope, Human Revolution is an engaging experience that fans old and new to the series will likely enjoy.

Taking place in the near future, but well before the events of the first Deus Ex, players are placed into a world where technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Enhancing humans by adding cybernetic implants known as augmentations is a new and exciting prospect, but public opinion is divided on whether these robotic additions are the next form of evolution, or an unnatural evil. You play as Adam Jensen, the newly appointed head of security for Sarif Industries, one of the major corporations conducting augmentation research. After a mysterious group attacks the labs and massacres everyone they find, Jensen is left clinging to life, only being saved by multiple surgeries that make him more machine than man. With his new abilities, it’s up the Jensen to find out who is responsible for the attack and why.

Meet Adam Jensen. A man so cool he has built-in sunglasses. 

The story of Human Revolution is one full of conflicting ideologies, corporate sabotage, and government conspiracies. Everyone has secrets and motivations, even Jensen, all of which you’ll uncover during the primary narrative. Some twists are more predictable than others, and most characters are only given enough personality to merely be memorable with only a few you’ll truly like and care about. While these issues may stop the plot from elevating to being as good as it could have been, the narrative is still engaging and will consistently provide you with just enough intrigue to make you want to know what’s going to happen next.

As stated previously, choice in how you approach a situation has always been the main draw of Deus Ex, and this aspect remains true in Human Revolution. Every encounter has a wide variety of ways it can be tackled. You can take the brute force approach, running in guns blazing eliminating all that you see, getting up close and personal with those dumb enough to get near you. Or, you can remain undetected, watching patrol patterns for the perfect time to slip past, possibly heading into an air duct to get by cameras and other security systems. If you come to a locked door, you might be able to hack it and gain entry. Or maybe you smash through the wall next to it and avoid the door altogether. There is no wrong approach, so how each obstacle is handled is up to you.

While you certainly can try to run into every encounter with the intent of shooting up the place, the game does favor a more quiet approach. You not only get more experience points for non-lethal takedowns, but ammunition for your weapons isn’t abundant enough for constant running and gunning. Even with the game pushing you toward stealthy gameplay, there is still plenty of choice to be had with multiple paths to your objective, though players hoping to play Deus Ex strictly as a shooter will probably be turned off by this revelation.

While the game encourages a more stealthy approach, the option to engage in a firefight is always available. 

Regardless of how you decide to play most of your time will be spent in cover. Human Revolution is primarily played from the first-person perspective, but switches to a third-person view whenever pushed up against a wall or performing certain tasks like climbing up ladders. The transition between these two different viewpoints is smooth and quickly feels natural. While in cover, you can pop out to take shots at your enemies, or quickly move to another piece of cover to move around them undetected. There is also an option to blind fire, but it’s practically useless, with bullets rarely hitting anything in the direction you’re firing, even when an enemy is at point blank range.

Both the gunplay and stealth mechanics feel solid. Neither system is as polished as it would be in other more single-minded games, but both largely work well. It’s satisfying to take on a room of guards head on and come out alive, though admittedly there is a higher sense of gratification obtained by sneaking through the same room unnoticed, silently knocking out anyone in your path and dragging their bodies out of sight of others. You’ll earn points through leveling up that can be spent on upgrading your augmentations that can make both of styles of play easier. For example, those who favor gunplay might want to buy an augmentation that reduces recoil or one that makes them more resilient to damage, while those focusing on a stealthy approach might want to invest in making their footsteps silent or unlock the ability to become invisible for a short time.

Hacking also plays a prominent role in the world of Deus Ex. While players can choose to just ignore this aspect, it’s a good idea to invest some points into becoming a better hacker. Doors can be unlocked, computers can be broken into, and, if you’re a high enough level, turrets and robotic sentries can even be turned on your enemies. The mini-game that’s associated with breaking into these systems is quick, easy to understand, and engaging, with you jumping from node to node trying to hack the system before the intrusion is traced back to you. It can be surprisingly intense at times, with you managing to accomplish the hack with only milliseconds to spare.

In between primary story missions, you’ll be dropped into an open hub world where you can freely walk around. Where you are will change based on story progression and it’s in these various hub worlds that you can find shopkeepers to buy and sell items with, look for hidden caches of items and weapons, and find side quests. These range from helping an old friend who’s undercover bring down a corrupt cop to extorting a young woman for money on behalf of the Triad. These side quests provide interesting stories of their own that are worth seeing through and reward you with extra experience and money. The number of overall side quests is somewhat low when compared to other RPG’s, but they tend to involve multiple steps that take a good amount of time to complete, so players won’t feel like the game is lacking side content.

You're free to upgrade your augmentations how you wish to suit your preferred type of play. 

There are two primary issues with Human Revolution that are hard to ignore. The lesser of these two evils is the games artificial intelligence. While the patrolling guards typically act how you would expect most of the time, there are occurrences when an enemy will see you even though you are completely hidden or fail to react at all as you stand next to them hacking their personal computer that has valuable information on it. More noticeable is how the enemies react when in a firefight, usually standing still, failing to take cover at all, or charging at you without firing. On a few occasions, friendly A.I. even turned hostile and opened fire for unexplained reasons.

The more glaring issue is the boss fights you’re asked to engage in at certain points in the story. These encounters are flawed for a multitude of reasons. First, it removes the element of choice from the equation, forcing you to engage in a gunfight. Secondly, these fights can become very frustrating. If you have been upgrading your augmentations to make you more proficient with firearms and take more damage, these engagements are tolerable. However, if you have been focusing on making a stealth character, which the game seems to point you toward from the start, these fights are tedious affairs of trail and error, involving more luck then skill. There is also no real warning when you are about to trigger one of these fights, so you may find yourself walking into one without ammunition, and there is little indication if the tactics you’re using to damage a boss are actually doing anything. Thankfully, there are only a handful of these encounters throughout the game, but they definitely stand out as the weakest element of the package.

In the graphics department, Deus Ex: Human Revolution has some great art direction. The cyberpunk world is convincing and fully realized, even coming off as plausible to some degree. The various augmentations characters have, like Jensen’s arms, all have a sleek look to them. The color palette, which often focuses on black and gold, is beautiful and makes everything stand out. Unfortunately, some of the technical aspects don’t hold up as well. While the game looks good overall, some elements heavily detract from the world and pull you out of the experience. Characters models in particular vary wildly from good to ugly, with stiff, unconvincing animation across the board. Jensen’s takedown animations, on the other hand, are very well done with each one looking and feeling brutal, although occasionally these animations can glitch, with Jensen grabbing a character incorrectly. Lip movements rarely match what characters are saying, the frame rate drops frequently, and load times are just load enough and frequent enough to be somewhat annoying. One final issue is that on the Xbox360, the game will freeze completely for a few seconds whenever an achievement is earned. All of this adds up to a good looking package whose technical flaws are made up for by great art direction.

Takedowns, both lethal and non-lethal, are brutal and satisfying. 

Sound design is also generally well done, with a few evident blemishes. During cut scenes, some sound cues either don’t match up with the action on screen or simply don’t play at all. Voice acting is typically solid, though it doesn’t live up to the high quality of other RPG’s on the market. Most of the actors do a decent enough job, with only some truly bad performances. The actor portraying Jensen in particular seems to be channeling Christian Bale’s Batman, but his delivery will likely grow on you over time. Music, on the other hand, is outstanding throughout, with orchestral scores intermixed with synthesized beats that perfectly fit the serious future the game sets out to create.

The game certainly has some issues, but overall Deus Ex: Human Revolution does justice to the legacy of the franchise. It provides an engaging, well-realized world and a great amount of choice is how to tackle objectives. It rewards various types of play and does a great job of making you feel like a cybernetic badass no matter how you proceed through it’s 20-25 hour adventure. The inconsistent A.I., the questionable inclusion of boss fights, and some noticeable technical issues detract from the package, but despite these flaws, this is certainly a revolution worth taking part in. 

Posted by KennyIsMe93

Great review. Ya know what makes it better? It's not stolen.

Posted by AFenders

Real professional. Recommended

Posted by Aleryn

User reviews like this are one of the many reasons I love Giant Bomb.  Great write-up, and thank you.

Posted by CraigAA1028

5 dislikes in a day eh? Would anyone like to leave a comment telling me why they didn't like the review?

Posted by Dookysharpgun

Hey I made that joke about Jensen's sunglasses! You stole it! Where's my cheque?
Also I don't like spoilers in a that answers that question :D

Posted by CraigAA1028
@Dookysharpgun: Once again, you judged my review solely on a false interpretation of a comment I made in another review. There are no spoilers in the review whatsoever, so yeah, thanks for that.
Posted by AFenders
@Dookysharpgun: Wow, I just read Craig's comments and they are obviously joking. He put a "WHEW" at the end of his first, which shows excitement that his image was being used. You are incredibly dumb. Now this review has a ton of undeserved hate.
Posted by Dookysharpgun
@CraigAA: Well Craig I think if you want some more creative criticism then I can give it to you. Your title is uninspired and boring, your writing is somewhat bland and pretty much as un-entertaining and uninspired as the title itself and as much as I can appreciate the time and effort that went into such a video review, you sounded scripted and almost, ironically, robotic. Sorry dude, but it just wasn't for me, I like entertaining reviews, that don't have mild spoilers in them. It shows a severe lack of professionalism and creativity when you create a blog openly bitching about how people do not like your shoddy work, and actually proves a point that more people will like your review WITHOUT reading it, because if they did, they would see that it wasn't that good to begin with. No offense man, but you need to get hat stick out of your ass. wanted some constructive criticism, there it is. Don't ask if you can't deal with it.
@AFenders: You have a Deus Ex profile picture, so I'm counting on a certain amount of bias from your corner. This review isn't getting hate because of some comment, its getting hate because Craig decided that he should unleash his time of the month on everyone because he can't take criticism. He can openly criticise others, and well, from what I've of his actions as of late, he seems to be unable to deal with negative comments. So...yes, I don't really care what your misguided and childish opinion is. Because in my eyes, you're just as pigheaded as Craig.
Posted by CraigAA1028

@Dookysharpgun We both know that all you're doing is using generic criticisms in an attempt to justify the real reason you and a bunch of others decided to dislike the review. I can take people not liking my work as long as it's based on the work itself. However, all of the hate started only after I posted the comment that you wildly misinterpreted. No one had a problem with before then. I can take dislikes and negative comments as long as they are genuine and none of this was genuine. All of the hate directed at me was for reasons other then the review itself and it all started after I posted my comment and you posted your angry, misdirected reply. No matter how you look at it, that's how it went. This isn't the first review I've had that got a good number of negative feedback. Do you see any bitching on my FEAR 3 review? No, you don't. Because I get why people would disagree with me. Your misinterpretation started all this.

Posted by Dookysharpgun
@CraigAA: ...because 'generic criticisms' usually cover issues that apply specifically to your review? Huh, so specific is the new generic? I'm gonna put that one to good use. And you do realise I'm just the last person to dislike your review, I never orchestrated some conspiracy to have people collectively dislike your work. I think we both know you did that when you made that blog bitching about what happened to your reviews, the main brunt of the hatred came from the people who disliked you on that blog, because you were acting like a 5 year old who just had his candy taken after he set fire to the rug, and is now doing the internet equivalent of sulking. Now I don't know specifics about that, but your new blog in response to your old one seems to tell me that people thought you were a bit of a tool. Can't imagine where that came from. 
Pfft, 'angry misdirected reply'? Heh, buddy you haven't seen me angry, I was just making a point. The way I look at it is: (bullet-pointed for ease of reading)
  • You made a frankly stupid comment that made you look like an arsehole
  • In response to this, I said that you should take that up with other people who used the images, and see if they'd react in the fashion that the other dude did.
  • I wanted to read the review of yours to see what it was like, after all, it was heading the Deus Ex user review list.
  • I then, like the 3-4 guys who came before me, decided that I wouldn't recommend it, because, let's face it, it wasn't really a good review. I think the main problem here is that people just looked at your score and recommended you without reading the content, it happens, I've seen plenty of bad reviews getting praise, even though they were awful pieces of writing.
  • After that, I turned off my computer and went back to living my life.
  • Following a restful night's slumber, I logged into my giantbomb account to see that you couldn't take a joke.
  • So then I went along and outlined all the things I thought made your review less enjoyable. You wanted feedback, sure you asked for it :D
  • Now this same bugfuck insane individual is accusing me of starting some anti-CraigAA group that's haunting him, when, in fact, I couldn't give a shit about any of your other reviews, I've now seen your style, it isn't for me, so I don't give a rat's hairy ass either way.
So as you can see, the timeline of events seems to indicate that you're accusing me of something I'm far too lazy to bother with. And that you haven't got the mentality to shut up when you're pushing your luck.
I don't think someone giving you negative feedback on all of your reviews is fair, I've been there, but you take it like a man, move on, and work harder to get into the spotlight of people who will recommend it. One little event where your quite frankly prickish nature got you in trouble is all it took for you to gain the hatred of a fair few people is all that was needed to show people your true colours...and you have a FEAR 3 review? Huh, news to me. 
Get over yourself. You incurred the wrath of people who thought you were an asshole. It happens. Tis the will of the internet, and all of this is happening on a gaming website. You take this stuff far too seriously for your own good. Relaxing might be preferable to getting your undies in a bunch....
Or much like you've been doing for the entirety of our interaction, you can skim what I'm saying, be an unrelenting asshole, and make me angry...which, if I were in your shoes, I wouldn't do. Because a bunch of people taking you down a few pegs is hilarious, what I'm capable of isn't nearly half as funny. You've been warned, keep up that award-winning attitude, and accuse me of fraking with your scores one last time, and you know what? I might actually do it. But maybe I won't. I mean, it pays to be nice when the time calls for it, and seeing as you've exposed yourself as an utter and complete petty child, I don't think adding to that will do any good. 
Or, we could keep this up, where I'm the voice of logic and reason (really not a good look for me btw) and you're saying that I started all of...this? a manner that really does make you look like a child. Defending work is important, but stepping up and taking your comeuppance for being a jackhat with the brains of a sock drawer is more important. You got the negativity because you were an ass to some people, my feedback was actually outlining what I disliked...and yet you can't take it on board...yeah....I think I've said what I needed to say here. 
Posted by CraigAA1028
@Dookysharpgun: I could keep arguing but the damage has been done. I'm going to continue thinking you're an asshole who started all this and you'll keep thinking I'm an asshole for defending myself. No point is this continuing. Don't comment again. I'm ending this here.
Posted by Dookysharpgun
@CraigAA: Awwwwh so cute, you flatter me with your unwillingness to accept your own large role played in your downfall, and your belief that I give enough of a crap about some immature arsehole to begin a conspiracy to get a collective group to thumb down his reviews, especially after reading*ahem*...I've seen people like you before, they're called sad people, cheer up, you might live longer.
Dude, a little advice: When you posted that blog, you made yourself look like a total asshole. There was no justification for it. You got one thumb down. One. >1< just in case you're having trouble keeping up with words here. Now, thanks to your sheer dickishness, you have 12 thumbs down in total. So really, it was your own fault. 
I guess I'm talking to a brick wall...or the plank that's lying up against the brick wall, not really doing anything or contributing to society, but whatever, believe whatever makes you feel better, I guess when you can't accept that you have the mentality of a 4 year old...and yes, you have actually gotten younger within one reply...and have been so utterly wrong about so many things, then nobody with an ounce of sense could budge you. Enjoy the trolling and hate you get fuckpuppet, judging by the way you've conducted yourself, it's well deserved.
Edited by CraigAA1028
@Dookysharpgun: Sooooo I say to end it and you keep writing paragraph after paragraph? Yeah, you're totally the level headed mature one here.
Posted by Dookysharpgun
@CraigAA: You said you were ending it...I assume that meant you wouldn't reply, what else have you lied and/or exaggerated about? You can't go doing that, I mean, what might people think of you as a person?....but thank you for the lovely complement, I'm so glad we could work out our differences and finally come to the conclusion based in reality :D
I'm also glad you enjoy my writing, I aim to please and entertain if I can. 
And just one more line here, that doesn't really have to do with anything...I enjoy this, really I do, but I'm afraid this is where we part ways. I hope your future is filled with more people ripping you a new's character building in the long run :)
Posted by CraigAA1028
@Dookysharpgun: K

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