Well, I've just bought myself a brand new shiny copy of Deus Ex Human Revolution. I was pleasantly surprised by turning up at the shop where I pre-ordered it, to find that they felt that giving me a whole bunch of free stuff was in order. I could have sworn that I had ordered the average-joe edition, but upon turning up at the store, I was given a spiffy, but empty, metal game case, as well as a VERY pretty box including a bonus disk, 3 extra, make-the-game-unfair-in-my-favor weapons and a cool little art book that I'm probably never going to look at again. I was hoping from some of those futuristic Deus Ex shades, but I did not even ask for this other stuff so I'll shut up about it and just install the game.
Got home, installed the game, and all of a sudden a wild steam appears, it uses level 9 frustration! It's super effective! It also promptly decided to award me with a 500mb TF2 download, that instantly took priority over my Deus Ex, cause like, I totally bought Deus Ex because I wanted a TF2 Hat. After fighting with steam and having to tell it that cloud-based saved games were a waste of everyone's time because I own my own hard drive, I finally got into the game.
The graphics initially were not that impressive, I was actually a little bit disappointed by them, they seem a little bit dated. This is however not important in any way. The real thing you notice is the style of the game, its like 1 big art project, the closest thing I can think of is Mirror's Edge. Its got a little bit of japan showing through the cracks, though the good thing is they have not allowed square enix to ruin the game like they did with supreme commander 2 and just about everything else they got their grubby tentacles on in the past few years.
The story so far, is reminiscent of the first Deus Ex, from what little bit of it I have been able to uncover in the 9 or 10 hours that I've played. In other words, the game is LONG, the areas, while not elder-scrolls huge are pretty damned big, and VERY detailed in terms of exploration. I've spent those 9 hours just doing side quests, all of which are fun, and I've only once been asked to go here and get me X, bring it to human Y. There are fetch quests, but they're cleverly disguised as bank heists and panty-raids on organ banks.
There are several ways that you can play the game, one of which seems to be rewarded over the others: that of stealth. I've personally chosen to be stealthy and non-lethal, which is pretty damned well provided for seeing as the game gives you 5 or so different ways of knocking people out. Nothing like sneaking up behind a guy, tapping him on the shoulder and then smacking the living daylights out of him, then picking his pocket and dragging him into the nearest air-vent.
One thing I have learned, is the arbitrary hacking every device you encounter is the way to success, I've often gained access to an area through a single entrance, and then gone back around to access it via another means simply because there is something to hack on the way there, and since the hacking mini-game is actually quite a good deal of fun, I find myself looking around for things to hack just for the hell of it.
The makers of the game have rewarded exploration, which makes the game fun in trying to see if there is an upgrade hidden under the wheel of a car in a multi-storey or if anyone has dropped anything in the bushes, or if climbing to the top of a building, running and jumping off to try to land on the top of an air-conditioner 5 meters away and 3 levels down will reward you with a candy bar and some painkillers. Exploring rewards you with a lot of equipment and I've found that hacking is the way to go if you want to level up, though I've started using my leveling up to pay for the ability to hack better, which is probably not such a brilliant strategy in the long term...
The game reminds me heavily of Crusader: No Regret and Crusader: No Remorse, but without having to shoot absolutely everything and with a little bit of thinking added to the game to give it substance. The voice acting for instance is of very good quality, the enemy AI is pretty good, apart fro it completely ignoring large piles of discarded pistols, and cameras ignoring an entire leg sticking around a corner of a wall in plain sight. Its still a game and it will forgive you for knocking out an entire police station without anyone mentioning anything about doing so.
After I had broken into every single office in the police station, robbed every drawer, stole every email and knocked every patrolling guard out cold and no one seemed to mind, i started to try my luck starting firefights in the street. It did not go down so well as it seems that there are probably more cops on the city streets than their are weapon skins in Homefront. I know that it would be a massive challenge, even in terms of thinking out how to program a game that would be able to deal with managing to report on knocked out policemen, so I'm going to let it slide that the newspapers ignored my sloppy assault on the cop shop. I'm just pointing out that as good as the game is its not perfect. Its very close to perfection though. I'm enjoying it more than I've enjoyed anything else recently, and considering I just played Homefront, its a welcome change from: SHOOT THAT KOREAN! Use this spiffily painted weapon with attachments!!
The weapons in Deus Ex are what get me going more than anything , they have the same upgrade system that they did in the previous game, where you are able to upgrade ammo capacity, rate of fire, damage and accuracy, but when you see the amount of detail that the developers put into making the guns feel and look futuristic but believable it makes you feel like having waited so many years for a sequel was totally worth it. The weapons look real, they look like they were developed and designed by a weapons company from the future, the recoil feels real, the reloading sounds are crisp, and you get the feeling that you did the first time you played half life 2 and used the pistol for the first time. It grabs you by the stomach and makes you feel like you are actually holding the gun in your hand. The level of detail makes me wonder if they had a single person to do each weapon and they were allowed the entire development cycle of the game to do it.
The sound in the game is also superbly done, the music fits in exactly with what the game is telling you your world feels like and the background noise makes the world feel real. It reminds me of Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, but without all the sparkliness, wait, um I mean violent bursting into flames and blood orgies. If you're one of the people who has played that gem you'll get what I am saying and you'll probably go out and buy this game just by me comparing the two. Its wonderfully well made and even though its been done several times before its does not come off as just another game. Its as good as the first deus ex, if not better. I'm going to re-review it when I actually get around to having completed the game. If anything its worth your money just for how long its going to keep you occupied.
The background information and the back-story of the game feel deep and well thought out, there are a few occasions when the game throws a brick through the fourth wall, like when I was trying to kill a guy by throwing a dumpster at him, he saved his own life by whistling the theme to the original Deus Ex, so I tranquilised him instead and left him in a gutter. The science-fiction part of the game is not far off as a lot of the technology that you see in the game already exists, it has simply taken these technologies that we will see in the future and packaged them into a wonderful story (so far) and given it a lick of stylish haute-couture. The contrast in the settings in the game is striking, from the modern, clean look of Sarif industries, to the gutters and sewers under Detroit, and it all fits together so nicely.
The Cinematic sequences were done by square enix, which confuses me somewhat because from what I've seen so far, they did basically nothing but marketing. This might just be me being difficult, but you can only see their work every now and then, the cinematics seem very schitzophrenic with one scene blowing your mind, and another simply being a placeholder of what seem to be blurred in-game graphics to get you to the next well rendered bit. I know I should not be complaining about this small detail when I look at just how good the game is overall, but its noticeable enough to bring up, I think square enix were in real trouble and this release might have just saved them.
tl;dr More stylish than Dante on a catwalk, Longer than a tapeworm inside a blue whale. This is a big one kiddies, go and buy it right now, its probably GOTY.