The latest game in the quintessential cyberpunk epic is here, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The direct continuation of the previous game and the augmented operative, Adam Jensen’s ongoing story. This latest game in the series could quite possibly be the best in the series yet and we totally asked for this.
The Deus Ex series has been bringing gaming fans some of the most intense cyberpunk stealth action to computers and consoles for over 15 years now. Ever since the first release of the game, Deus Ex has been pushing boundaries in terms of genres, blending first/third person shooter, stealth simulation and role playing game elements, seamlessly. Every game in the series getting more refined and polished in both gameplay and story telling. The games are all set in the same world, but this not too distant future is not exactly a utopia. The main theme in the series rings true even in the latest installment, mainly transhumanism (defined as: the belief or theory that the human race can evolve beyond its current physical and mental limitations, especially by means of science and technology) and how it has divided the world between natural and augmented humans.
It’s also worth mentioning that there has been several mobile releases in the Deus Ex franchise as well. Deus Ex: The Fall, was a good attempt at bringing the gameplay from Deus Ex: Human Revolution to the mobile world and added to the overall story of the previous game. There is also a Deus Ex Universe app, which acts as a compendium for all the Deus Ex lore. The app also can be used to scan collectible items in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Lastly there is the most recent release Deus Ex GO, which is a puzzle game for mobile devices. It’s very similar to the previous Hitman GO and Tomb Raider GO games, it also allows you to unlock Praxis points in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Keep in mind, you have to link the two games with your Square Enix account and complete the requirements in Deus Ex GO first.
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: First-Person Shooter, stealth action & RPG
Modes: Single-player, online leaderboards
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
The Deus Ex plot is as intriguing as ever
I would like to talk about the story of the game but, there is very little I could talk about without spoiling anything and everything. Also keep in mind while the bulk of the game follows a single plot thread there are many elements and side missions which will be affected by your decisions throughout the game. With that being said before starting a new game you are presented with a ten minute video recapping the events of the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution (check out the video here). The most important thing to take note of story wise, is after the aug incident of the previous game, tensions between natural and augmented people have never been higher.
A great place to start for vets and first timers
The gameplay of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is very similar to the previous game Deus Ex: Human Revolution. A great blend of action and stealth awaits you at every encounter with tight controls and numerous ways to approach every situation. Even if you aren’t a veteran of the series there is a great tutorial which lets you try out new and different ways to take on the initial encounters of the game, after each attempt you can simply reset and try again until you are satisfied. Along with these early tutorial encounters you are also provided with prompts which will explain everything you need to know in the game. All of these prompts are always accessible in the menu at any time as well. Not only is this a great tutorial for newcomers to the series but it is also totally optional for those of us who want to get right into the thick of the game.
Much of the gameplay elements in this game have been refined and improved upon since the last game. A great example of this, is the hacking minigame system. With the right augmentation upgrades you can hack almost any computer, robot, security panel and more in the game. Previously when you hacked in Deus Ex: Human Revolution you had access to Nuke and Worm software programs, through shops or just found in the game world. Nuke’s would instantly capture a node and Worms would temporarily halt a systems tracking, giving you more time to complete you hack. In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided you now also have access to the following software, datascan, reveal, stealth and overclocks. Each of these new software types are optional, just like the whole hacking system and almost everything else in the game, as you don’t have to use them if you don’t want to and there is almost always a different way to get past whatever it is that you intend to hack.
Just like the hacking system, the augmentation system has also been expanded upon and offers much more options for both combat and stealth respectively.There is the new nano blades which Adam can launch from his arms with dealy results or the new protective nano shield for instant armour when you need it most, are a few examples of the new augmentations available. With that said, all of the new augmentations are great additions to the game and offer even more variations on play style be it stealth or straight out combat and anything in between.
A setting unlike any other
One of my favourite aspects of the Deus Ex series is the not too distant future, cyberpunk setting and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided does an amazing job at giving us the most lifelike and relatable setting in the series yet. While playing as Adam Jensen you will be traveling the globe on missions for Interpol but you will always return to the city hub of Prague. Prague looks amazing and offers numerous side missions, shops, a sewer system and more, to explore. The city also feels much more alive and varied than in previous games, with more people on the streets and you can feel the tension with the police, always a hair away from snapping on Adam or anyone else who looks at them the wrong way.
Fixing problems from the past
If you played the last Deus Ex game, you know they goofed up in a few key areas of the game, mainly the boss fights. The bosses inDeus Ex: Human Revolution could only be defeated by killing them outright. This means it was a huge shame for players like myself, who are much more stealth oriented, to have to suddenly play an entirely different style that we hadn’t planned for, which means in some cases you would be horribly underpowered to fight against these very combat focused bosses. They did make some minor changes in Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut, which attempted to rectify this problem but at this point it was a little too late for most of us. I am very happy to say that this is not the case in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. All the boss fights can be done with guns a blazing or by utilizing stealth and a non lethal approach.
Breach mode is an interesting addition to the game
The new Breach mode is set in a virtual world where you use the tools and skills from the main game but as a Ripper. A Ripper is a basically a hacker but instead of typing away in front of a screen, you actually go inside a virtual world and fight it out inside using the main games play style. Each mission in Breach mode is part of a bigger set of missions laid out on a map very similar to the hacking in the main game. Also all mission are tracked on a leaderboard system to add a competitive multiplayer aspect as well. To be honest I have only played a little bit of breach mode but very much enjoyed what I played and look forward to playing more of it once I have completed my second play through of the main campagne. There is one slight thing I did notice, is that the Breach mode is built like a “Free-To-Play” game within the game. That means if you want you can buy currency and more to help you progress through the mode easier and quicker. This might be a sore spot for some users but overall I don’t think it effects the main game or the progress therein. I should also mention you can buy in game currency and Praxis points (augmentation upgrades) for the main story, but I never felt I had to had purchase anything while playing or the game was pushing me to.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a great game and a great follow up to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The issues from the previous game have all been fixed and many areas of the game have been improved and even expanded. The are really only two things I could complain about and one of these complaints, is more an issues with the games industry and the overall rise of mobile gaming.
First off is the inclusion of microtransactions, mainly in Breach mode. For most it will seem like a cash grab but I find it really reflects how hard Square Enix has been pushing on the mobile front in the past few years, as Free-To-Play makes huge bucks in the mobile space. So I can still understand how this upsets some players but I am okay with the microtransactions as long as they’re not required to get everything out of the game. Second, is just that the game ended. Deus Ex has always been one of my favourite game series of all time. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided does it all right, the setting, the themes, the style, the music, the game, just everything here is more polished and improved since the last game. As good as this game is, I can’t wait to see what’s next in the Deus Ex world.
+ Amazing single player story experience
+ Cyberpunk done right
+ Gameplay that is always engaging and interesting
+ All game systems have been improved
– The addition of microtransactions
– Breach mode is not for everyone
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4.25/5 (85%)