Deus Ex saw a resurgence when Human Revolution made its way to consoles and PC back in 2011. It was a fantastic upgrade to a series that left its mark in the late 90s, only to suffer through the growing pains and developer shifts that it did when the whole gaming scenario shifted at the beginning of the last decade. Human Revolution paid homage to its legacy, and all the while it paved its own way, a truly fantastic game.
Mankind Divided picks up where Human Revolution left off. We once again play as Adam Jensen, a man who came back to life as a augmented being after practically dying at the beginning of Human Revolution. He became something else entirely, and although everything that was said up to this point makes him sound like Robocop or even the Six Million Dollar Man, Eidos Montreal made him into a vessel for us to enjoy their storytelling and world building.
Even though Jensen never really had a personality much different from the usual videogame protagonist. It was the world he lived in that was really the protagonist. A future Earth in which humans still live in constant conflict, but not just due to race, creed or even politics. It’s now also thanks to the fear of science, as people who suffered accidents and life changing events were feared of losing their humanity when they relied on augments in order to replace lost limbs and organs. Were they even human at that point? And should their new powers and abilities be kept in check?
Mankind Divided felt right away like Human Revolution. Due to the demo’s time limit, I wasn’t able to pick up a lot of the backstory before I got saw Jensen dropping down into at a partly constructed skyscraper in Dubai. The order was to capture an augmentation smuggler who had set up a deal with an unknown party, but not before picking what approach I wanted to go with; that is, stealth or guns blazing, and whether it would be close range or from a distance. Much like the very first actual level in Human Revolution, and the demo I have great memories of playing at my very first E3 in 2011, Mankind Divided drops you in and slowly pushed me along the way.
Since I had experience with Human Revolution, I felt right at home, because very little of its gameplay changed in the new game. Sure, there are a few tweaks here and there that were made in sake of making getting around a little more dynamic, as well as the option of reverting back to what was available before, but the actual sneaking around and shooting felt exactly like I played back in 2011.
Of course, as it’s usually the case in show floor demos, I messed things up and my sneaking around resulted to nothing. I accidentally killed the target during a shootout in the middle of a sandstorm, even though I caught him in a choke hold and made sure not to mash the kill button. Oh well! Jensen was immediately scolded by the voices on his radio, but killing the target did not fail the mission. Coincidentally, my demo time ended, so I was not able to experience the consequences of my blunder, but I feel it’s important to note that it seems the mission design is a little more accommodating and open-minded this time around.
The aforementioned sandstorm looked visually incredible and fairly realistic. It did its job making my job that much harder, but then again, it provided a little bit of cover and enough confusion for my approach. Who knows its effect on other approaches, but it was surely a cool scripted sequence within the confines of the level. It was also cool to see the mission objectives changing in response to what was taking place in the level. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be any “insta-fail” parts in this game. Still, one can hope! I wonder what other surprises are planned for later levels…
All in all, this new Deus Ex is more of what we got to mess around in Human Revolution, and in my book, that’s awesome. Hopefully it’ll pick up and continue the gripping story of that game in a meaningful way. This new release felt like exactly what I wanted out of a sequel. It doesn’t seem to be trying to change what was great in the original, only building upon it. I’m totally okay with that if the mission design is as tight and even more complex as the one we saw back in that game. Of course, there’s plenty of expectations in terms of the open world parts too, especially if they manage to deliver even more of the quality side content we saw in Human Revolution. Plenty of ifs for sure, but the little I saw of it makes me very excited for Mankind Divided‘s release in a just a couple of months.