While it does little to get out of the shadow of the original, Human Revolution is a game that should not be missed.
GAMEPLAY - Even though at first glance you may think this game is a first-person cover shooter, it's really not. This is a RPG that just happens to place you in that situation. If you've played other FPS games lately, you'll realize that this isn't anything like the others. In fact, you are actually encouraged to take down enemies by non-lethal means in this game, and you have to use a lot of strategy to get around. There are usually multiple ways to tackle a situation, whether you want a more direct approach, a sneakier approach, or if you want to just hack your way past everything...it's usually all possible. While I don't think a lot of the missions and areas are as elaborate as some of the levels from the original Deus Ex, the ones towards the end definitely do have a plethora of different ways to complete them.
However, in a much different fashion from the original Deus Ex, you are also strongly encouraged to be a lot more stealthy in this game. In the original Deus Ex, I never felt like I was being punished for going through the game stealthy or constantly shooting up people. Here it's almost mandatory that you do a stealth playthrough, because it's much, much easier to die in this game. I was a little disappointed to see the limb damage taken out in this game, but I suppose they didn't want to seem like they were copying Fallout or something. And I definitely don't think the bosses in this game were as cheap as some would say, but the first will definitely pose a challenge since it is so early on in the game. Plus, when was the last time we got a game with bosses that actually challenged you? Some might say they're cheap, but really, they're just not regular soldiers with beefed up HP and damage like you see in so many other games nowadays.
Fans of the original Deus Ex will be happy to know that a lot of weapons make their return (minus melee weapons and the GEP gun, which the former was kind of disappointing). There are some new weapons (such as the tranquilizer gun), and some weapons have been changed (such as the crossbow), but not necessarily for the better. Augmentations have also seen a lot of change, and despite the fact that you won't be able to fully upgrade everything by the time you've finished the game, you should be able to dabble a little bit into everything if you so choose. Unfortunately, not every augmentation is necessarily useful, while some are vital in one or two parts of the game, but otherwise useless. In fact, unless you're just not that great at sneaking around, most of the stealth augmentations aren't all that useful, while the hacking, damage reduction, and speech augmentations are pretty much crucial to getting through the game without too much stress. Once you've played through once, you'll know how to build your character to get the best use out of all the augments, but as I was playing through this I felt like most of the augmentations weren't so much vital as much as just making things a little easier. What's also sad is that we don't see the return of some augmentations from the original game, such as the one that heals you over time.
Overall, most of the changes we've seen since the original Deus Ex do make sense for the purposes of this game, but I do miss a lot of the augmentations, weapons, and general gameplay. Oh, and the lockpicks. I was very disappointed to see them removed, but oh well. You really are getting some great gameplay here though. Most of what I've said is just being nit-picky since I'm such a big fan of the original. This game is really a super spy experience done right, and anyone who enjoys RPGs, shooters, or stealth games should have a blast with this one. - 9.5/10
STORY - I may just be being nit-picky here again, but one thing I couldn't help but notice was how much this game's story mirrored the structure of the original game's story. I won't go into why I think that due to possible spoilers, but hopefully I'm not the only one who feels this way. Overall though, the story is great. Not fantastic, but great. You play as Adam Jenson, the chief of security at a company that designs augmentations. The game begins with an attack on the company, and sees Jenson brought back from the dead with a body full of augments. From there on out you do missions for the company you work for, and eventually set off on a journey to uncover what first appears to be a conspiracy theory, but ultimately becomes a world-wide issue that will determine the fate of humanity. And, like the original game, you do end the game with choices on what will happen to the rest of the world after you've finished. Unfortunately, none of them really involve Jenson in the aftermath, but I will give credit where credit is due. All of the endings except for one do tie in this game with the original, which couldn't have been an easy feat to accomplish. There are also a ton of references to the original game in characters, places, and organizations, but I won't spoil that either.
While I did enjoy the story here, I don't think a lot of the main characters stood out as much as they should have. Also, the story does have high and low points, so unless you're really paying attention to what's going on, you may feel like you're just wandering to the next point for no real reason at times. And finally, I didn't really care for Adam Jenson's character that much. It's almost as if they were trying to design him after the Riddick character, but instead of coming off like a badass, he just seems like kind of a douche bag. He constantly acts like he is merciful when it comes to dealing with his enemies, but he treats nearly everyone around him with disrespect. Maybe this is just me, but I didn't like his character much at all. Still, this game does possess a fun story. One that is much better than what we usually get nowadays. - 9/10
GRAPHICS - I know a lot of people hate on the graphics for this game, but I honestly loved the color scheme of the blacks and golds that made up most of everything. I will say that the mouth animations of the characters did bother me, but otherwise I was pretty impressed with what we got here. - 9.5/10
SOUND - This was probably the one area of the game that could have used a little work. While the music and sound effects are great, the voice-acting is hit or miss. Some characters really do sound sincere and fit for their role, while others drag this game down to making it seem like a sci-fi B-movie. For the most part though, this isn't a problem. You'll start to not even notice this once you're a few hours into the game. - 8/10
LENGTH/REPLAY VALUE - This is what makes this game so great, and I'm glad they designed it in the way that the original was. You've got about a 20+ hour playthrough with a game that plays like a FPS. Makes me wonder why other games of this type aren't longer and more entertaining (I'm looking at you, Call of Duty). Plus, you've got multiple ways of playing, so additional playthroughs are a must. While stealth IS the best way to go, playing through a different way makes this game worth reliving again. This is just a fantastic game that begs to be replayed again and again, much like the original. - 10/10
BOTTOM LINE - Fans of the original Deus Ex will be very happy with what they get here, and that is more of the same in a more modernized version of the original Deus Ex. Those who are new to Deus Ex will experience a game that will surpass all of their expectations. This ends up being Human Revolution's greatest crutch yet also its greatest positive. The developers didn't really do much to bring Human Revolution out from under the shadow of the original. You'll basically be playing the same game with a different story and slightly different mechanics. Normally I would say that this is a bad thing for a sequel to do (since we see so many sequels that are nearly identical to the games they follow these days), but Deus Ex was such a masterpiece that I can't help but love the fact that they didn't change much here. Sure, there are a few things I would have liked to see make a return here, such as lockpicks, better augmentations, and limb damage. But overall, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game that reminds us of how great games were back when the original Deus Ex was released. No matter how you slice it, the quality of games has gone down in the past 5 or 6 years quite a bit. In an era where graphics are given more basis for a great game than the actual gameplay and/or story, Human Revolution shows that there is still the potential for quality games to be made. For that reason alone, I think that Human Revolution should be an early contender for game of the year. Not to mention the game itself is off-the-charts great. The bottom line is this: If you love shooters, RPGs, stealth games, or any game that makes you think, go out and pick this one up. It is a great prequel, and an amazing analysis on where mankind is headed into the future. Human Revolution is a very special game, and one that will be remembered as one of the best in the library of current video game consoles. - 9.5/10