A great addon with a few missing links.
It has only been two months since the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Eidos Montreal has been hard at work cooking it's first DLC, The Missing Link. It doesn't reinvent the game, nor does it fix any of the bigger issues Human Revolution had but if you are looking for more Deux Ex, you have come to the right place.
The story picks up as a stowaway Adam Jensen is discovered on-board a ship leaving Hengsha en route to an unknown location. Stripped of all his gear and with his augmentations deactivated, Adam, with the help of an unknown ally, must retrieve his equipment and make his escape. This DLC tell the tale of the events happening during the 3 days between Jensen leaving Hengsha and later resurfacing in Singapore, hence the title The Missing Link. Taking place first aboard a freighter and later into an advanced Belltower off-shore facility these events will shed some lights into the activities of the private military company.
While the story tries to fill in the gap in the main game's timeline, it is a more or less self contained chapter within the greater Deus Ex: Human Revolution's storyline. The ending suggest some ties to the main events of the game but none of what happens in The Missing Link have any direct impact on the events that occurs later in the main game. As such the DLC is accessed from outside the main game instead of being an additional chapter in the original game's normal story progression.
This is at the same time for the better and for the worst. For the better because while very important and dramatic, none of the events you will witness and take part in during this DLC have any bearing or even mention in the later parts of the original game. Let's not forget that this takes place late into the timeline of Human Revolution and at a moment where things starts accelerating towards the game's conclusion and taking a pause from that storyline to start another would be detrimental to the overall experience. It is also for the worst as it is unfortunate that such a great little piece of side story is so poorly integrated within the greater story of Human Revolution. With some very interesting characters and some incredibly serious events going on, having this chapter better planned ahead of time and integrated in the full game would have made for a much more cohesive overall story.
Gameplay wise The Missing Link is a direct continuation of Human Revolution. You will have access to the same augmentations and equipment and will be performing the same kind of actions as before. You start this chapter stripped of your weapons and augmentations and will have to quickly rebuild Adam to get him up to speed with the current situation. Through the course of the DLC you will acquire praxis kits on a much more regular basis than during the main game, allowing you to regain most of your augmentations in no time. You won't find any new augmentations to play with but in the context of where and when this story takes place this wouldn't make much sense anyway. Unfortunately you won't find any new equipment either which is a little more disappointing.
The new environments will allow you to perform all the actions you grew used to in the original game. You can gun your way through but the focus of the game remains stealth. With plenty of opportunity for a stealthier approach and without giving away too much, finally a boss fight that plays on the game's strength instead of it's weaknesses, the environments of The Missing Link are extremely well crafted.
Speaking of the environments, this is one area where one can tell a huge amount of efforts was put into. Most of these environments consist of entirely new assets specifically created for this DLC. The folks at Eidos Montreal didn't rest on their laurels and simply reuse all the content previously created but instead went the extra mile and created a wide array of fresh assets to build these new locations. Most notably the game do away with its predominant gold color scheme from Human Revolution in favor of a much more blueish tone. This is really a matter of personal preference but I found this to be a welcome change. Also in addition to creating new assets with which to build these new locations, the team brought some improvements to the engine, notably to the lightings which are much more vivid this time around.
The original game have been patched numerous times since it's launch two months ago, fixing many leftover bugs and improving performance and all of these efforts carry through to this DLC. I found the experience generally more polished than Human Revolution was in its first outing and performance noticeably smoother throughout. I played it on the same computer as the original game, a respectable gaming machine sporting a Core i5 760 processor, 4GB of memory and a GTX 460 1GB video card running on Windows 7 64 bits and was once again easily able to play this game at maximum settings without any troubles.
Taken as an additional chapter in the main Human Revolution storyline, The Missing Link disappoints with its disconnected story but taken as an individual new mission offering more of the great Deus Ex gameplay we got to play two months ago, it is a great piece of content. Clocking in at a little over six hours for my first playthrough, all of which taking place in mostly new environments and featuring a very interesting side story, The Missing Link delivers. This DLC is no more a revolution than its predecessor was but if you are interested by the prospect of playing more Deus Ex than you could do much worst than The Missing Link.
If you would like to read my review of Deus Ex: Human Revolution you can find it here.