I have been obsessed with this game since its release back in August 2011. It was praised by basically every possible gaming website and I love it for its challenge, fun factor, thought-provoking story, social commentary, and emotional attachment to the ideas and characters. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a science fiction first person shooter role-playing game. Like the games predecessors, it’s setting takes place in a neo-renaissance styled Detroit, where political and ethical concerns involving human augmentations and cybernetic enhancement have brought about social unrest, prejudice, conspiracies, and power plays for control. Deus Ex falls into the cyber-punk genre, which usually involve futuristic societies and cities and political conspiracies where corporate influence has more power than government. The main theme of Deus Ex: Human Revolution deals with the trans-humanism movement, and like the mythological story of Icarus, who with wings made of feathers and wax, flew too close to the sun only to fall to his death, the game carries an overarching message of humanity’s reach exceeding its grasp.
You play as Adam Jensen, an ex swat team member, now working as head of security for Detroit’s largest bio-tech company, Sarif Industries. Adam’s past is revealed through hacking computers, reading emails, and interactions with other characters in the game. As it is told, Adam was once a member of the Detroit police department swat team, but was put in a violent situation and disobeyed a direct order involving a threatening augmented child. His disobedience of this order caused one of his friends to follow through, and to live his life with the guilt that decision cost him. This guilt follows Adam as well. Shortly after leaving the Detroit PD, Adam begins his time working for Sarif Industries, whose facility is attacked by terrorists. Adam is brought to the point of death, and to save his life, undergoes surgeries with revolutionary cybernetic augmentations. Upon his return after the attack, he finds himself immersed in the politics of the augmentation movement and a much larger conspiracy. Adam then begins his journey for the truth and to hunt down his attackers. As the game progresses, you find out a lot more about the importance of Adam Jensen and how he is a pawn in a much larger chess game then he could have ever imagined.
The game puts Jensen in many different environments. One situation calls for him to investigate Sarif’s largest bio tech competitor Ty Yong Medical, whose believed to be the cause of the attack in order to capitalize on the augmentation market, and destroy Sarif Industries….but the rabbit hole goes much deeper than Ty Yong Medical and Jensen finds himself continuing his search.
My favorite aspects of the game-play experience involve the freedom of choice and it’s effect on the outcome of the story. You can choose to play D-EX, as an action game and run into rooms guns blazing, or you can choose a stealthy approach. Taking enemies down silently (or violently) is challenging, and using your augmentations intelligently is important in order to get around security drones and cameras. At times, these stealthy situation may make you sweat with nervousness. Whichever style you choose, both grant the player an enjoyable and engaging experience that doesn’t feel tailored to one or the other.
I feel that Edios captured the classic feel of past Deus Ex games but added a much-needed modern spin on the franchise. The story is phenomenal and is reminiscent of conspiracy/espionage style Tom Clancy writings. The cut scenes get to the point and are not long-winded like in the more recent Metal Gear Solid games. The action and gun play is realistic and customizable with weapon mods. The player becomes Adam Jensen by creating a world they can interact with. You can blind fire from behind walls, toss different grenades, throw boxes, read newspapers, read e-books, hack computers (addictive as hell), and augment you body to make Adam more than human. The augments you can obtain include, cloaking system (invisiability), Icarus landing system ( fall from any height w/o taking damage + attack), various take downs, x-ray vision, the typhoon (military grade weaponry which is totally bad ass), hacking, and tons of other augments to make it easier and more effective for you to accomplish tasks. I love the character designs in the game and how supporters of the augmentation movement dress in futuristic ” late medieval” garb, while neutral or those opposed fashion themselves in more contemporary swag.
I think the most important thing you can walk away with after playing this game is not only the realistic nature of the argument that the story presents; that of trans-humanism and potential future problems as a result, but also that of the power play that lies beneath the surface of our society (control of information as power). Through the game Adam is one step behind the conspirators who, through utilizing many different control mediums, attempt to shift popular belief about the augmentation movement. Weather it is large corporations fighting for control of their product market, the media spinning stories in favor of a higher agenda (which makes for an entertaining read while in the Picus facility), or the Illuminati pulling the strings, Deus ex shows us a reflection of our own society.
Will people live in fear of those with mechanical augmentations? Will humanity destroy itself by continuing to playing God? Is humanity ready for the singularity that awaits us in the future? With the exponential progression of technology, these are questions that we may be asking ourselves very soon. Deus Ex: Human Revolution forces the player to become a free-thinker and puts each of us on our own quest for the truth.