The good news is that it's everything they promised.
Deus Ex is freeform, tactical and intelligent; the anti-Call of Duty. The bad news? Weak boss battles and twitchy, unpredictable stealth hold it back from true greatness. Like its augmented hero, its great advances come with great flaws.
The year is 2027 and mankind has taken its next major technological leap: biomechanical augmentations. These implants can give people superhuman strength and speed, boost their intelligence and even replace lost limbs, but they're not for everyone. Only the extremely wealthy can afford them.
This has torn society in half, dragging the gulf between the rich and the poor even wider. Massive corporations and private military companies tower above overpopulated metropolises in gleaming skyscrapers, while criminals and homeless flood the streets below. It's the stuff of classic dystopian sci-fi , and it makes for an evocative, immersive setting.
The good news is that you, Adam Jensen, are one of the lucky ones. You're head of security for augmentation manufacturer Sarif Industries, and - after an attack on your HQ - you're rescued from the brink of death and fitted with the latest augmentation tech. Your goal: find out who tried to kill you.
Adam is now a mechanical superhero. He can jump twenty feet into the air, punch straight through walls, turn invisible and hack any computer - but at the expense of his humanity.
One of the main reasons Deus Ex excels over other shooters is that it's smart, dealing confidently with the ethics of body modification and philosophy of what it is to be human. Is it right to meddle with God's design? It's a debate that sparks riots and in Deus Ex's world, and is intrinsic to the storyline. It really does make you think.
SHIFT OF PERSPECTIVE
But let's cut to the action. It's viewed from the first-person, with one sensible concession - whenever Adam pins to cover or climbs a ladder the view zooms out to third-person. The result is that when you're firing on enemies from cover - which, to be honest, you won't do that often - it feels like Uncharted, and thus a bit more intuitive than it otherwise would. Cover shooting just doesn't work in first-person.
The game's split between regular story missions and city hubs. In the hubs you can wander freely around the futuristic, neon-lit streets of Detroit and Hengsha an island off the coast of Shanghai, picking up side-quests, talking to NPCs and exploring.
This feels reminiscent of Oblivion, albeit in a much more limited environment. The hubs are decently sized, but it won't take you long to learn their layout by heart. Still, they're stuffed with detail, secrets and things to do. You can easily spend ten hours or more just ignoring the plot and working through all the side content.
Story missions are largely themed around infi ltrating high security buildings and avoiding guards. The gameplay variety is impressive (more on that later), but the game sorely lacks moments. The first ten hours of the original Deus Ex were littered with standout, memorable scenes, ones gamers still excitedly talk about today - genuinely affecting moral choices, unexpected twists - but there's not nearly enough of that in Human Revolution.
But back to the good stuff. There's no sweeter sight in Human Revolution than the glowing yellow outline of an air vent. These twisting aluminium tunnels are your best friend, giving you the opportunity to slip behind enemy patrols, access locked areas and sneakily knock out guards without being seen.