Evolution; there are those who hold the concept as sacrilege, while the mainstream of humanity believes the theory that every life form is in a constant state of evolution - however small or slight the change may be. Regardless, given the scientific advances of today, it is within the realms of possibility for man to control evolution - not just over other life forms, but to control the evolution of mankind. Should we be worried? Or should we embrace a future where enhanced limbs and body parts are a reality?
Deus Ex: Human Revolution plays out a possible future for mankind which sees it embark on a journey to augment the body and mind, so it can attain a high level of ability and performance. Deus Ex (pronounced Day-us-X) can be loosely translated from the Latin to mean “Of God” and it is here we find the heart of the story. Billed as the third instalment in the series, this game is a prequel to the first two and explores the beginnings of this new path in evolution, delivering a story richly interwoven in intrigue and ideological confrontation.
This is what really struck us about our time with the game. Rather than being ‘just a game’, it feels like a well written science fiction novel; a saga that has you wanting to read just one more page. Playing the role of Adam Jensen, the Chief Security Officer of Sarif Industries, you have a history that is hinted at, a mystery to unfold and a bunch of purists who have taken to violence to maintain mankind’s purity.
This is a game that has been a long time coming (the original was released back in 2000), and it demonstrates that the time between then and now has been well spent. At its core, the game is a shooter (alternating between first and third person). In this respect it has all the weapon options and abilities you would expect from such a game. That’s not all though; as this is also a game of subtlety. You have the option to assassinate, stun and or kill. By sneaking and rolling from cover to cover you can avoid enemies altogether. Using each method you can complete a mission, but in reality, combinations of both methods will ensure you won't be constantly re-loading from saved games.
The augmentation aspect of the game makes it also feel like an RPG, where you can purchase and acquire technology to further enhance your own personal abilities. In addition to all of this there’s a good proportion of puzzle solving, as you hack computers and unlock doors. To top all of this off, there is a deep adventure game as you converse with people to unlock side quests and peel back more layers of the background story.
The complex nature of the game at first seems daunting, but as you progress the early missions deliver small tutorials that open up more functionality as you become familiar with each aspect of the game.
The style of the game feels both Science Fiction and Renaissance. The buildings and architecture are “near futuristic” (the game is set in 2027), while some of the costuming smacks of a time of ruffles, stiff collars and frock coats. One thing to watch out for is our hero's shades. They’re a shoe-in for this year’s award for coolest character accessory.
The graphics are stunning. Delivered largely in sepia, the detail in the rooms is very high, but thankfully items of interest are highlighted so you don't overlook them [the hardcore can disable this ability - Ed.]. The video sequences are just awesome and would look at home in a well-polished science fiction movie. The characterisation and byplay between them is also very well done, with touches of humour generated from previous actions you may have taken in the game.
The game feels like it has been well baked, and it’s now sitting on the cooling rack, waiting for the icing. Let’s get one thing clear: this is going to be a great game. Its mixture of ingredients have been carefully mixed to deliver a story in the form of a game that is both engrossing and fun to play. Put this on your ‘must get’ list when it comes out in August on Xbox 360, PC and PS3. We certainly will.