Finally finished the campaign on Hard (PC). I really loved it! Very satisfying ending as the woman says the last words and then music fades in, badass! Awesome boss battles (only first one was lame), got really crazy like the missle ping-pong one and the twins. I love that you got tips for the bosses in the infobank. I like that they brought out the environmental hacking of cover because you couldn't use Suicide or Persuade on them, made for intense multi-tasking battles where you really had to think on your feet.
I really love this world, even when you can't explore it like Deus Ex. The backgrounds and environments are to die for (credit to Robert Wilinski and John Miles). The visual design is gorgeous and the colors were paced really well with the story, starting with the oranges and reds of Los Angeles to the cyberpunk black and blues of New York. La Ballena, the floating city, was as cool as the upper-and-lower Hengsha of DX:HR, and it was hilarious hacking the tourist hologram. Enough changes of location and situations like the downzone to keep me visually stimulated, especially the last location (Burning Tower) where it's full-on Blade Runner at night. I probably took around 100+ screenshots!
It's a great shooter. The tools you have at your disposal, like the Backfire, Suicide, and Persuade, secondary fire modes for each weapon, heft of the weapons and punchy sounds, the gibbing and decapitations, melee executions, the best cover system in a FPS, and interacting with the environment such as having a pet drone made for a multi-tasking dance. Weapons and enemies were refreshing and were paced really well, it didn't feel repetitive to me at all. I liked the stripping of your abilities in the downzone except Backfire, and the invisible rebels with EMP mines. The AI is smart to duck and roll or slide into cover just like you. Combat encounters were well-designed, they weren't always rushing you like most modern shooters. Although it did get pretty wave-y at the end of the penultimate location, but that's because multiple corporations are against you now and felt like an end-level boss.
"You're going to make me proud, son". I really liked the plot twist, wasn't expecting the cyclical nature about the origin of agents' parents murdered so they can imprint your whole life and memories. That whole flashback cutscene in the eyes of another agent was chilling, reminded me of Leon The Professional, especially with young Miles Kilo hiding under the bed.
I don't know why critics were bagging on the story (Richard Morgan), the plot outline was predictable for sure but had enough twists and details to the fully fleshed-out world like the propaganda, locations tied to different corporations, and the Church of the New Epoch. There was no sequel begging. The voice acting was uniformly great (Michael Wincott, Rosario Dawson), with Brian Cox given the chance to belt out powerful monologues. All your favorite voice actors are in there too, like Jennifer Hale, Nolan North, Steve Blum, and Yuri Lowenthal! The nihilistic tone is appreciated as a contrast to Deus Ex's optimism, here we've lost the human revolution to corporations. Either you're chipped or you're not and thrown into the downzone. Civilians are only ever shown in distress or as hobos, with you given power to execute any of them ("Civ casualties is a non issue"). A cool detail was how you couldn't execute civilians after you had rebelled near the end and regained a conscience. The protagonist is just a tool, without a voice or conscience for the most part. The last location is insane, with multiple corporation warfare!
I love the little references to the Burning Towers, like the hobos mentioning it, the rebels being named TWB (Towers Will Burn), and then the backgrounds at the end. I'm surprised there was no controversy to that imagery.
Co-op obviously is great, fun even with randoms like L4D and I appreciate the deeper character progression. Just wanted to say my 2 cents about the campaign.