Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an ambitious hybrid game full of interesting gameplay and a complex story
Taking place in the not-so-distant and potentially very possible future, Deus Ex tells a complex and morally thought provoking story of human enhancement. The protagonist, Adam Jensen, is a security chief who is critically injured when an attack happens on the company he works for. Rebuilt 6 months later with cybernetic parts, Adam sets out to discover who did it and why the attack happened.
On the surface, Deus Ex seems like a first person shooter. You dispatch or disable enemies with guns of various types. However, the game also takes a fairly realistic approach to the firearms. Enhanced or not, Adam can't take very much damage, even with your dermal armor boosted to max. Therefore, you need to use cover where the game implements a third person shooter style gameplay.
However, the most interesting thing is its choice. You can actually avoid most fights, save boss battles, by finding alternate routes to your destinations in the game. Or you can knock or kill enemies with your bare hands. Or you can go guns blazing killing everyone you see. Or perhaps convince an enemy to give up. Or hack a console to turn enemy turrets against their masters. You can do all of these and that's what makes Deus Ex so unique.
This freedom of choice permeates the entire game. Sometimes your limited by your augments, such as not being able to jump high enough to reach a certain point. This is where your ability to upgrade Adam comes into play. However, you can only get a certain amount of upgrades even by earning maximum experience and spending money so you'll need to choose the right ones based on your play style.
While the boss battles are the only fights you are forced to engage in, they are no means plain. Indeed, they have choices and options to match the rest of the game. One boss battle is made more difficult by a choice you make earlier in the game. Another one the environment itself plays a strong part in how you approach it.
Visually, the game is as unique as its choice style gameplay. Environments vary depending on where you are. Sewers look like you would imagine them, grungy and dirty with trash and discarded furniture strewn about from hobos. While office buildings have a sterile and technology driven appearance. The characters of the game are finely detailed, but suffer from stiff facial animations.
The sound design is quite elegant. From the opening Blade Runner-esque score to the superbly acted vocal work, Deus Ex never disappoints. While I found Adam's vocals a bit over the top and sometimes flat, his character is consistent the entire way through, never taking a critical leap to silliness.
Value is also incredibly strong for the game. It will take at least 20 hours to play through the first time, especially if like me, you take your time to explore all of the environments. The game has four different endings with three minor variations on each so you'll be playing this for quite a while. In addition to the lengthy main quest, there are side missions that can be played during parts of the story. These have to be completed before moving to the next major location, but they provide a suitable diversion and sometimes addition to the main story at hand.
Overall, Deus Ex is a very unique game. Its story presents some thought provoking notions about what our future could really hold and what does it actually mean to be human. Not only does the main story itself hold interest, but also all of the computers that you hack as you play. Deus Ex does a good job of feeding you story slowly keeping you interested until the big reveal at the end.
There are a few blemishes like lengthy load times, occasional technical and graphic glitches and a few other non-mentions, but that shouldn't detract you from enjoying this excellent game.
The Good: Wonderful use of choice to approach situations, beautiful score, excellent vocal work, tons of value, upgrading Adam is fun.
The Bad: Stiff facial animations, few technical glitches here and there, long load times.