Review

Deus Ex: The Fall Review

  • Game release: July 11, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

The failure.

Deus Ex: The Fall is a prequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, as well as a sequel to Deus Ex: Icarus Effect--a tie-in novel that itself was a prequel (though further back in the chronology) to Human Revolution. Still with me? You don't need to have read Icarus Effect to understand The Fall, but regardless, this identity is not good for the game. Broader themes common to the Deus Ex series can be found here: choice and consequence, moral ambiguity, and a dark and gritty cyberpunk ambience. The Fall gets those basics right, but the game fails to craft a unique identity for itself because it's being crushed between two disparate sources of narrative canon.

New protagonist Ben Saxon is a close approximation of Human Revolution's Adam Jensen--the same augmentations, a similar dark past, and identical futuristic sunglasses. Like Jensen, Saxon is on a quest to unravel a conspiracy. Because of this, he's just not interesting as a standalone character. Instead, fans of the series will be more interested in the appearance of Human Revolution's boss characters as brief sidekicks in Saxon's journey. These bosses were underdeveloped in Human Revolution, so the chance to see more of their backstory helps to fill in some of that game's blanks. As a result, The Fall's own story never has a chance to come into its own as it's too strongly tied to Human Revolution. The narrative is further hurt by the fact that The Fall ends on a "To be continued" screen, and neither Eidos Montreal nor developer nFusion has made any mention of whether they intend to continue the story.

Just as nFusion has attempted to recreate Human Revolution's key plot beats, so too has the developer attempted to translate as much of Human Revolution's mechanics as possible. You explore an urban hub--just one, in this case: Panama City--in first person, have conversations with non-player characters, infiltrate gang hideouts and secure complexes with a combination of stealth and combat, and upgrade your weapons and mechanical augmentations to expand the gameplay approaches open to you.

So why does playing The Fall feel like an appetiser to Human Revolution's main course? That would be because this PC version of The Fall is a port of an iPad game originally released last year. As you can imagine, it would be rather difficult to cram a full-fledged Deus Ex experience into a tablet, but damned if nFusion didn't try. The Fall is a game that so rigorously adheres to the mechanics and aesthetic defined by Human Revolution that the mere fact that it even ran on an iPad is impressive.

On the PC, these tablet origins mean we get the worst of both worlds--a game that feels like a clunky port, and one that still suffers from the technical restrictions of a tablet.

Unfortunately, on the PC, these tablet origins mean we get the worst of both worlds--a game that feels like a clunky port, and one that still suffers from the technical restrictions of a tablet even though those restrictions don't exist on PC hardware. The Fall is a game that captures the look and feel of Human Revolution but is so unpolished and so massively reduced in scope that it's hard to immerse yourself in the world.

The environments are visually impressive for the game's tablet origins, but are cut to pieces by constant load zones.

The controls are another culprit here; they are clunky and unresponsive in ways that a keyboard and mouse never should be. Menu buttons routinely fail to respond to repeated mouse clicks. The HUD has not been sufficiently converted from its original tablet-friendly design into an interface that works with keyboard hotkeys. Scrolling through text and inventory screens is far from smooth. You do these things so regularly that such minor niggles result in great aggravation over The Fall's eight-hour play time--eight hours in which the game's single hub location artificially inflates play time by forcing you to travel back and forth through tiny areas sectioned off by frequent load zones.

In a rather unsatisfying move, unarmoured enemies consistently require more than one headshot to take down.

This lack of polish extends from the interface to basic gameplay functions. Moving in and out of cover is clunky. Cover angles are inconsistent, with enemy bullets reaching around corners to hit you when they should impact cover instead. At one point, I entered cover and simply fell through the world geometry and died. The inability to jump at will makes removes the joy of vertical exploration, and reduces the scope of cover-based shootouts to what feels like a series of corridors rather than varied features of an environment.

But the most disappointing thing about The Fall is the complete lack of the extra layer of systemic possibilities that have appeared in every prior Deus Ex game. You can't pick up and stack boxes to create your own routes through areas. Bodies actually dissolve into nothingness after a few seconds, completely removing the need to hide them to maintain a stealth approach. This discourages sneaking by removing an extra layer of cautious play, and making a guns-blazing play style the path of least resistance. Heavy objects can't be picked up and thrown at enemies or used to block incoming fire--interacting with them simply makes them slide out of the way in a canned animation. The lack of these systems results in a disappointingly restrictive and stripped-down approximation of a Deus Ex game.

This is your inventory--a store through which weapon and item purchases can be made instantaneously.

The store uncomfortably removes much of the planning and forethought required for a Deus Ex game.

The store in The Fall is not a vendor character, but a menu screen that can be accessed at any time, where purchases are instantly transferred to your inventory, without logical explanation. It's a functional holdover from the iPad version's design for real-money microtransactions. Though you can't spend real money in the PC port--in-game credits are used for store purchases instead--the store uncomfortably removes some of the planning and forethought required for a Deus Ex game. A climactic final encounter pitted me against an enemy armoured robot; because I had no weapons to take it down, I browsed the store, purchased a rocket launcher with three rockets, and blew the robot up a few seconds later. It felt cheap, lazy, and thoroughly unsatisfying. Because exploration has been simplified, finding credits lying around the world is simple enough that money is plentiful. The store is optional, but, since there are no traditional vendors to act as an alternative, you will feel significantly underequipped if you avoid it.

This store is the perfect example of the many problems that plague The Fall. This PC port fails to take advantage of the PC's increased technical power and greater control fidelity to adequately smooth over the game's prior tablet limitations. The story feels like it's attempting to fill in some blanks regarding Human Revolution's underdeveloped boss characters, but the game ends well before it has the chance to do so. At least nFusion had the mercy to not include any boss fights.

The Good
Captures the aesthetics of Deus Ex: Human Revolution's world.
The Bad
Clunky, unresponsive controls
Repeated backtracking through tiny levels
Instant-purchase store system disrupts tactical considerations
Lacks the deeper, systemic mechanics that define the series
4
Poor
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Daniel Hindes is a Deus Ex veteran, having poured countless hours into the 2000 original, its 2004 sequel Invisible War, and the 2011 prequel Human Revolution. He always opts for the stealth pistol and an inconspicuous ventilation shaft.

Discussion

42 comments
91210user
91210user

The first steps to butcher Deus Ex I see! 

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

Ahahaha! The great and mighty PC can't pull off a iPad port! Lol at least you get to play GTAV...oh wait....lmao ;D

pazshepard
pazshepard

I can only dream of the day that will bring a serious Deus Ex game like the 1st...

boscharun
boscharun

Can it even be compared to Revolutions!!!!

Glic2K
Glic2K

The review doesn't even mention the graphics, which appear to be from a PC game in the 1990s.

Benny_a
Benny_a

GUYS GUYSSSS, Persecive please!!!


Its a 10$ game, yes 10$ aka 1/6 of full retail game

You can play it fine with gamepad, just use xbox 360 controller.


Ok, its just 10$ and its a nice Deus ex DLC sort of game on the cheap, at least something before the next one

hitomo
hitomo

the fall ... what a fitting title

nutcrackr
nutcrackr

Hey this guy writes for PCPP in Australia! Is the magazine closing?

zeca04
zeca04

"You are done, gamers from pc and consoles! Smartphones will finish you off!". Yeah, right, lol.

07wintert
07wintert

do not get this for PC or you will have a heart attack by how bad it is. human revolution sequel please.  

Oozyrat
Oozyrat

I got this for $1 on iOS and it was ok when it worked. It's laggy and crashes quite a bit but I think I got my dollar's worth but I'm very glad I didn't pay more for it.

Hurvl
Hurvl

The bad things about this port is enough to Deus Vex me.

HipHopBeats
HipHopBeats

Meh....looks like a quick cash cow for nostalgia. I'll wait for a proper sequel to HR.

RED564
RED564

Hey Gamespot Deus Ex The Fall is a tie in game with Human Revolution not a prequel. The Fall takes after Jaron Namir kills Adam Jensen and sometime before Hensha the first time or between the 6 months of the Adams recovery. I figured that out by reading the ebooks all around the game.


I totally agree with this article in every way. The 24/7  mobile store feels like your cheating and it should have been removed.  The controls for me were ok the only problems were the hacking it felt like clunky when you tried to lock into a node. the cover was not always cover when you entered cover the guy would sometimes stand up.The game had only one level called Panama too short. There was massive texture stutter also 


This still feels mobile this game was a big let down to this great franchise

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

Looks like a great quality tablet game, but a terrible game to try and play at home on your desktop!  I'll wait for the next major entry in Deus Ex I believe, or check out the Directors Cut of Human Revolution instead.


All the people saying they destroyed this IP... you're free to skip this title, just like me... I'm sure it won't kill us or the franchise to simply ignore this and pretend it doesn't exist.

margevich
margevich

better than Human Devolution then, I see

rsj2
rsj2

Not touching this.  The original Deus Ex is my joint-favourite game ever; I don't want to acknowledge this clunky tablet crap as being part of the same universe.  Between this and playing dress-up in Lightning Returns I am genuinely horrified at what Squeenix has done to two of the greatest IPs in gaming.

virtualskill
virtualskill

Ahh, tablet games. Thanks, casuals for butchering one of my favorite games in recent memory...

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

Didn't even bother. After the dozens of poor reviews on Steam, I've given up on The Fall. I was disappointed when I saw that the next big project was a Deus Ex for tablet, but even more disappointed it wasn't getting the PC treatment. And when they finally listened to us and DID give us a PC port, it turned out to be complete garbage. No thanks. I'll just wait for Universe. Until then, I guess I will just have to go back and play the original and Human Revolution.

playstationzone
playstationzone

Next game Deus EX  will be online and be fail  I give this 2/10 2nd worst game from SqaureEnix.

weareleeds
weareleeds

since deus ex hr everything square enix do turns to runny shit. even the directors cut of hr was a mess on console and pc. money grabbing scum

bdous
bdous

I am fan of the series(although i still haven't played the second one) but i can't call this game either bad or good ,but for a 10 $ game is pretty good .Also i like the characters,enviroments and the plot of the game 

OurSin-360
OurSin-360

No review for the tablet version?  Why would they even port this to pc, i was looking at this in the review tab thinking a new Deus Ex game came out under the radar or something. 

quebec946
quebec946

keep that micro transaction pos for misguided mobile idiots, we dont want that cash cow model on real gaming consoles and pc.

R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

GOTY 2014. Would be GOAT, but there was another game that came out today.

leikeylosh
leikeylosh

4 is being generous. This game is almost unplayable and ends on a cliffhanger. I wonder if we ever gonna see a sequel.

Sushiglutton
Sushiglutton

Saw TB play this, looked horrendous so not suprised.

sadun_tryst
sadun_tryst

Shame. After sheer brilliance of Human Revolution we get this crappy port. I have bought Human Revolution, passed it several times and I will most likely go through it again in near future, but for this I wouldn't give 1 frikking cent.


Come on Square, give us REAL sequel / prequel or whatever to Human Revolution, not this ported piece of crap!

snaketus
snaketus

Stupid tablets ruining gaming. Just do the fucking shit games for tablets, but don't bring them on better platforms and expect people just to take it.

mkdms14
mkdms14

I think 4 is way too generous It should been given a -1 out of 10 a complete cash grab.  Companies who do this deserve to fail. 

Gamer3344
Gamer3344

This game is a complete waste of development time, fucking smartphone shovelware is ruining gaming industry.

gamerno66666
gamerno66666

Square Enix and EA destroying our beloved franchises.

mkrxtra
mkrxtra

@Gravity_Slave

The PC pulls it off. It sucks because it was written for an iPad, much in the same way that many games ported to PC suck because they were written for underpowered, hardware restricted consoles - Like the ones I'm sure you are limited to. Keep enjoying those 2nd class graphics Gravity_Slave!

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@RED564

Did Namir really kill Jensen?

For a person who read up on the lore of the game, you are citing some dubious canon there.

Pierce_Sparrow
Pierce_Sparrow

@playstationzone  Technically Square is only the publisher and I would blame this port mostly on fans who wanted it. But no one ever really wanted a Deus Ex tablet game anyway. Human Revolution is an excellent game, so I am faithful that Universe will be excellent as well, as long as Eidos doesn't screw around with what worked so well in the series.

Lhomity
Lhomity

We don't want pretentious whiners belittling other people, the games they play, and how they choose to enjoy them, either. But some things we must suffer, it seems. =(

Deus Ex: The Fall More Info

  • Released
    • Android
    • iPhone/iPod
    • PC
    Deus Ex: The Fall is a story driven action-RPG and the first Deus Ex in the series to be released on mobile and tablet devices.
    4.7
    Average User RatingOut of 35 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Deus Ex: The Fall
    Developed by:
    N-Fusion Interactive Entertainment Corp., Square Enix
    Published by:
    Square Enix
    Genres:
    Shooter, Action, Team-Based, First-Person, 3D
    Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating. Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials related to a game that is expected to carry an ESRB rating, and should be replaced by a game's rating once it has been assigned.
    Rating Pending
    IP
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    PC
    Blood, Crude Humor, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Drugs and Alcohol, Violence