Doing a classic justice
I had very little experience with the Deus Ex franchise coming into Human Revolution, and yet I was more than a little skeptical about its effort to revive a nearly decade old franchise. Fortunately my fears were unfounded, as Deus Ex: Human Revolution stays true to what makes the franchise unique while also applying the proper updates to successfully drag it into the modern era. The result is pretty rad.
Let’s get this out of the way first- Human Revolution has a laundry list of unfortunate blemishes, ones that range from minor to pretty major. The most immediately obvious among them is the lackluster gunplay. Taking cover and aiming at enemies just doesn’t feel as tight as it could, especially in this era of third person cover based shooters. The enemy AI itself isn’t much better, and the boss fights in particular do the game a clear disservice. In a game that’s all about completing objectives however you want, being forced to engage in subpar gunplay for these fights makes absolutely no sense. The voice acting and dialogue are also suspect at times, but the game’s worst issues are easily its technical ones. Long load times frequently bog down the experience, and there’s plenty of clipping and other visual hiccups to go around. Worst of all are the progress halting glitches. I encountered one bug that literally made a side quest impossible to complete, which left me feeling pretty sour, and is the kind of thing that can almost single-handedly ruin a game for me.
Fortunately, Human Revolution does enough substantial things so well that it avoids being ruined by such deficiencies. The game’s biggest strength is undoubtedly the way it gives you the freedom to tackle objectives however you want. The environments are very open, and allow you to approach encounters from a impressive variety of angles- in a single guard-filled room you might be able to run in guns blazing, hack a nearby turret to kill them all for you, or crawl through a vent and simply circumvent the entire scenario altogether. The options available to you are enabled by a host of great character upgrades that range from the ability to lift heavy objects to jumping nine feet into the air, and it’s immensely satisfying when you find a hidden area or item that you could only reach with the upgrades you’ve chosen. That delicate combination of fun upgrades and clever level design is at the heart of what makes Human Revolution so great, and goes a long way in making it stand out among your typical first person action game. In addition, the stealth mechanics are surprisingly well done, and the general aesthetic of the world is pretty neat. The storytelling itself isn’t always as grand as it thinks it is, but the grimy, run down environments are highly detailed and exciting.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution is by no means perfect, and contains its fair share of flaws. But the game’s commitment to giving you as much freedom as possible in pursing your objectives does plenty to help you overlook its poor gunplay, misplaced boss encounters and technical problems. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the majority of games out there right now, and as long as you can look past these rough edges I would easily recommend Deus Ex: Human Revolution to fans of the original and newcomers alike.
For additional information on my review style and scoring system, click here.