Deus Ex: Human Revolution Extended Hands-On Preview - First Five Hours

Deus Ex: Human Revolution's conspiracy-filled storyline starts making sense after we spend some extended hands-on time with the game.

The debate over human augmentation hangs heavily over the world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. If you replaced your arms, legs, heart, or brain with cybernetic augmentations, could you still be considered you? Where is the tipping point from human to something else? If you have been following our previous coverage, then you already know that protagonist Adam Jensen had the decision for augmentation made for him after his employer, Sarif Industries, was unexpectedly attacked. From that starting point, we recently went hands-on to play through (roughly) the first five hours of the Xbox 360 version of the game. It brought together many familiar locations, let us explore the hub city of Detroit, and tackle a few side quests. Humanity's revolution has just begun. [Spoiler Alert: This preview details a small number of story elements from the first five hours of the game].

Before we could dive into the unknown, Jensen had to make his fateful transformation. The opening attack on Sarif Industries went off without a hitch, forcing us into a firefight we were destined to lose. As the fight started, we realized that Human Revolution rewards careful fighting and punishes carelessness--just like the previous games in the series. If we stuck our neck out too far in a fight we were dropped in no time. That isn't to say a direct confrontation wasn't practical; in fact, we purposely took the direct approach during our time with the game. We just had to keep moving. Enemies followed a strict pattern of targeting our last-known location and would try to draw us out by flanking us, or by or tossing a grenade our way. Moving through cover let us repeatedly surprise our foes by popping out a few feet away and opening fire. At this point, the enemies would assault our new location until they spotted us again somewhere else.

Navigating through cover was a breeze. Human Revolution gives you the option to either manually put Adam into cover by pressing and holding the left trigger button, or to have him automatically take cover with a single press of the trigger. When we approached a break in cover, we could either tap the A button to hop to an adjacent spot or hold A to rotate around. This let us move around corners or crates without having to expose ourselves to gunfire. Even with these techniques, the intruders still emerged victorious, and Jensen ended up in the hospital. The opening credits followed, showing Jensen's transformation from human into something more than human. After an unusually fast recovery, our hero returned to Sarif Industries to find it packed with security guards and hushed whispers about another attack. This time, a terrorist group had taken control of a Sarif-owned manufacturing facility.

Our mission was to go in ahead of SWAT and secure a prototype weapon system, as well as rescue the hostages. After shooting our way through the facility, we reached a hostage-negotiation sequence with the terrorist's leader. Dialogue sequences such as this are all about breaking down your opponent with a verbal barrage. Oftentimes, what we were going to say was already determined, but how we were going to say it was up to us. Aggression, sympathy, and cold logic were out typical choices, and striking a balance among the three was key in getting our target to yield. The conversation spanned numerous breaks for us to choose our next line, and we could see it in the terrorist's body language that we were making an impact. At times he would drop his shoulders with regret or furrow his brow in disgust. Finally, he agreed to release the hostage--but we won't spoil what happened next.

Pressing and holding the inventory button calls up an inventory wheel that pauses the action and lets you select a firearm and secondary item--such as a grenade or land mine.

After making it through the game's opening areas, we got the chance to venture off the beaten path onto the filth-covered streets of Detroit. While there were impressive landmarks--such as Sarif Industries and the LIMB clinic--they were surrounded by the homeless, the violent, and the desperate. From this hub city, we restocked our supplies at a local arms dealer, purchased medicine at the clinic, and received a side quest from a colleague. Apparently, he was being blackmailed into stealing some medicine manufactured by our company and handing it over to a street vendor for distribution. Our charge was to recover the incriminating video the dealer had on him. The only lead we had was that the video might be on the dealer's home computer, which was across town.

In lieu of having a burly security guard or a bunch of laser beams, the dealer's building was protected by a giant gate that we needed to hack through to get inside. The gate required a level-two hacking skill; however, we were still level one. Thankfully, we made sure to carry an extra praxis kit (the currency used to upgrade Jensen's abilities) for this exact situation. After beefing up our hacking ability, we bypassed the gate and entered the building. The video wasn't there. However, there was an armed thug looking to get his fix that freaked out and shot at us on sight. We dropped him easily, and as an added bonus, we dragged his corpse onto the dealer's bed as a sort of "Thank you" for all the trouble he was causing us. Speaking of which, according to an e-mail on his computer, the dealer was supposed to be meeting our colleague not too far from his building; we decided to pay him a visit.

Side-quests come from a number of different sources, such as Jensen's coworkers.

The dealer was standing outside, leaning against a dumpster. He was alone, so we hoped we could scare the video out of him with our gruff attitude and intimidating trench coat. After a brief chat, it was obvious that he wouldn't help us unless we "dealt" with a few overeager customers who were threatening him for more of his product. Resisting the urge to just blast him in the face and possibly find the video on his person, we tracked down the dealers and blasted them in their faces instead. A brief alleyway firefight ensued, which featured us chucking a basketball at an enemy in a last-ditch maneuver after we'd run out of bullets. Upon our return, the dealer launched into some wild story about how he was the modern-day Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Our hard-nosed Jensen was unmoved. He just called the dealer some vulgar name and took back the video. After handing it off to our grateful colleague, we congratulated ourselves on a job well done.

The remainder of our demo followed Jensen's investigation into the attack on Sarif Industries. The case itself had been closed prematurely, and there were still too many unanswered questions; namely, who it was that had attacked us. After sneaking into a police station and conducting a massive invasion of privacy, Jensen arrived back at the FEMA facility seen in our previous coverage. This time, we stormed the place with guns blazing. From the enemies we killed, we looted money, ammunition, and other items, as well as snatched up their weapons (which usually dropped nearby). If we knocked an enemy unconscious, we quickly learned that it was a good idea to drag his body into a dark corner so that his buddies couldn't find and wake him. Once the Jensen rampage reached the bottom of the facility, we found ourselves face-to-face with three of the highly augmented individuals that had made us into the person--or thing--we had become.

Two made their escape, leaving Jensen alone with the largest of the group. This juggernaut of man and metal contorted his bionic arm into a machine gun before turning it on us. A boss fight was fast approaching, and we were not prepared. Our opponent's tactic was simple: Walk toward us and fire his gun. If he got close enough, he would cave our face in with his fist. After a few rounds of trial and death, it was obvious our tactic of running around the area with our tail between our legs wasn't panning out. During one of these panic-stricken rounds, we noticed a few caches of EMP and stun grenades. After tossing every EMP and stun grenade we could get our hands on to incapacitate our foe, we finally decided to pop a toxic smoke bomb on him and dive into close range with our shotgun. It was a risky move, but it got the job done. The target went down with an explosive finish, and our demonstration came to a close.

Jensen's melee attacks drain his internal power supply but can kill an opponent in one hit.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution feels like an immense game. Around almost every corner, there was another computer to hack or air duct to explore. However, it was not without its setbacks, particularly the visuals. The game's dystopian world was packed with details big and small, such as Jensen's personal copy of Living With Your Prosthetics sitting in his home office. We noticed that some character models had something of a flat look and occasionally had strange lighting, but keep in mind that we were playing a work-in-progress version, and that this issues should hopefully be addressed. We're still excited to see how developer Eidos Montreal brings it all together for the game's release later this year. You can find Deus Ex: Human Revolution this August on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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Discussion

70 comments
aamir69
aamir69

Poor boss fights remove the element of choice Long load times, dated facial animations, and other technical drawbacks Weak AI detracts from both the shooting and the stealth. and still an 8.5?

DeathScopeUltra
DeathScopeUltra

This reminds me of MGS and he looks abit like Solid Snake. Cant wait to play this game

zeniftan
zeniftan

I remember the adverts for Alpha Protocol looking awesome too, and looking forward to it coming out. But then I stuck the game in my console and played it. What a piece of poo that game turned out to be. Not doing that again. Will be buying this on Steam if it reviews well, so yeah Gamespot, please review this a few days earlier than release date, cause I want to save a couple of quid with the pre-purchase price that Steam offers before the game comes out.

ACWH
ACWH

Wait for reviews before buying! Been stung too many times on games that preview well only to be utter trash upon release.

superraulrajput
superraulrajput

ill agree to latindj ill go to...this game luks awesome

fotis52
fotis52

I agree, it looks A L-O-T like MGS...

valent1n
valent1n

the hero looks like Dart Vader version 0.6beta ;)

valent1n
valent1n

this is the game that if u talk about it, for sure someone will reinstall it (reffering to first title which was the best)

MGS_fan_2015
MGS_fan_2015

@3dfreak2000 I'll have to disagree with you in regard to James Cameron. He can handle visuals; that point was made salient with his work on Avatar. His dialogue is always terrible, though, which is one of the reasons I've never liked James Cameron movies. Nolan, on the other hand, can handle visuals and dialogue impeccably, making him the better choice. Besides, the dark, gritty tone of this game seems to better suit Nolan's past work -- The Dark Knight, Memento, The Prestige, etc.

pedrolopes7
pedrolopes7

Makes me think of Metal Gear Deus EX... Sorry, just don't know why. ;)

dhersey0308
dhersey0308

Into this for August. Looks like this guy can do a great deal of damage.

latindj
latindj

OMG , i will go into hybernation and will not wake up untill august

3dfreak2000
3dfreak2000

"redmoonseven Posted May 12, 2011 1:19 pm GMT can they make a movie of this? " If is directed and produced by James Cameron or Christopher Nolan. Otherwise is better to keep Deus Ex franchise just like a game. (My worst nightmare is to see Deus Ex directed by Uwe Boll :P)

batus111
batus111

Ive played the first deus ex and enjoyed it. and i will probably like this one aswell.

fend_oblivion
fend_oblivion

"We dropped him easily, and as an added bonus, we dragged his corpse onto the dealer's bed as a sort of "Thank you" for all the trouble he was causing us." ^ This would be awesome if there were consequences to the NPC :D

littleghostie
littleghostie

@SachBro Your right i wonder what will receive GOTY Skyrim or this?

SachBro
SachBro

This game will kick asses, Game of the Year for me. The only worthy competitor would be Elder Scrolls Skyrim. I would love to include both Arkham City and Dead Space 2 in this list, however the zillion hours of gameplay and plethora of details existing in these two behemoths would beat them flat out. These are some of the unbeatable qualities these two games will have, not to mention, some delightful DLCs these huge game worlds will invite in near future.

Dal25
Dal25

The graphic is superb!. what a good game to look forward .

GbreakerDX
GbreakerDX

Been a fan this series so far I like what I see! hope this one lives up to the hype its generating!

isshiah
isshiah

@cZ9r2Ul7J "I'm not really a gamer - I have adult responsibilities" the average gamer is 30 years old. i'm getting tired of waiting for this game....but i'm sure it'll be great when it finally arrives.

ocstew
ocstew

Atmosphere = Epic

cZ9r2Ul7J
cZ9r2Ul7J

I'm not really a gamer - I have adult responsibilities such as career and family, and I can't devote the time to it - but I AM ALL OVER THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If it's even *half* as awesome as the previews look then it will be well worth the effort to carve out the time to play it. It will be installed on my PC five minutes after it is released!

Drakkengoth
Drakkengoth

Looks like next level cinematic quality, on par with mass effect. This has unbelievable potential & i really, really hope the gameplay can live up

mfall121
mfall121

I could see this game in the running for game of the year

OverlordEX
OverlordEX

This game looks like it's going to be amazing

KodiakCS
KodiakCS

Looks like this will be a decent reason to stay pale this summer...

siarhei
siarhei

Omg, I really hope the game lives up to all the hype, because it looks very promising!

Mondrath
Mondrath

I'll go out on a limb here and say that I expect the game to get between 9.5 and 10 /10

marz311
marz311

We've had to endure much, you and I, but soon there will be order again. A new age. Aquinas spoke of the mythical city on the hill, soon that city will be real and we will be crowned its kings. Or, better than kings... Gods!

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

It's almost as if Metal Gear Solid and Alpha Protocol had a baby - it looks awesome. I've never played any of the previous games, but I've had my eyes on this for a lonnnng time. It looks more amazing every time I see it. I'll definitely be buying it on Day 1, it's my taste in games down to a tee!

xplosivgt
xplosivgt

I literally cannot wait for this. About to burst

KAM10000
KAM10000

This Game is Really an Action Pack.

iamrob7
iamrob7

If the graphics are the only issue then I am delighted. They look decent enough to me and being a long long time Deus Ex fan my major concern was the atmosphere and the gameplay. If they got that right then the odd flat face won't bother me at all.

ownU4eva
ownU4eva

i think the graphics and art style will rub off on you over time.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Shame about the graphics, I still feel they won't be quite up to par by the time the game comes out. I just wish they had delayed it as long as they actually wanted to, and produced a really amazing looking game.

finalserenade75
finalserenade75

This game keeps looking better and better. Almost everything I read in this preview made me more and more hyped. I can't wait.

a_sh0pping_cart
a_sh0pping_cart

Not trying to be elitist, but I can't help but shake my head when someone doesn't understand Deus Ex

Pete5506
Pete5506

The more I see the more I want, this is my most anticipated game of 2011

twistyanddark
twistyanddark

Since the dawn of stealth games I can not get enough of those. Thief: The Dark Project, Deus Ex, Hitman: Blood Money, Assassin's Creed (just the first title) were my favorites. 4 games in a top 5 list with an empty spot. Once Metal Gear series, Splinter Cell series, the sequels of AC did not make it to the top 5 I have high hopes for this. If it doesn't I really can;t see what will.

justicxprime
justicxprime

This game looks better each time it's previewed, keep it up :)

elancion
elancion

@Coolyfett this game is not an fps. yes its played using 1st person perspective, but its more of an adventure game that is incredibly story driven. albeit with certain actions/choices you can take or make which alter the outcome of ur quest.

couchtater12345
couchtater12345

Interesting that it should have visual problems since it has always looked like a top notch graphics game. Even worse that gamespot had negative things to say in a preview. Even for bad games during previews they're always all smiles and compliments. Hopefully the end product comes out polished

Savior24
Savior24

Personally I think this game would have been cooler if you had a choice to play in 3rd Person and 1st person at will; meaning you could switch on the fly. I'm not all that enthralled about the game mainly being in 1st person throughout the entire game, except for a few firefight occasions while in cover.

TerraMantis
TerraMantis

Nice touch in tying together very old interest with future themes with the use of a CG version of Rembrandt's "Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp". I am looking forward to this hyper-realistic pseudoscience cyber punk extravaganza.

Coolyfett
Coolyfett

Game looked cool til I saw is was a FPS.

Okplay
Okplay

I'm waiting this for soo long,and its about to come out.. I just hope that we will get game atleast awesome and intruing as first one :)

balrogthane
balrogthane

I gotta say, if it comes out with subpar graphics, that would just make it even more in the spirit of the original. ;) But, of course, I'm hoping it'll have great graphics.