A Review Without Any Augmentations: Deus Ex Human Revolution


Happy Sunday everyone.  Today, I bring you my first PC game review. Which title bears the honor?  Why, it’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution!  The third game in the Deus Ex franchise, and a prequel to the other two, Human Revolution drops you into a world of human augmentation, open-ended decisions, stealth, gunfights, science fiction and a whole lot of yellow filtering.  So, go upgrade your reading implants, and let’s have some fun.

Human Revolution is an Action RPG that focuses on Adam Jensen, security chief for Sarif Industries-one of the leading Biotech companies in the world.  The action starts as alarms sound, and explosions are heard on a distant floor of the building.  Racing to the scene, you’re met by enemy forces, who eventually ruin your day by, well, killing you.  But, fear not!  Through the power of augmentation, you come back stronger, faster, and cyborg-ier.  From here, you’ll travel the world, searching for who led the attack and why, all while making RPG decisions and upgrades to your augmentation trees.  As far as gameplay, everything is smooth.  Combat, be it sneaking up and silently dropping people with a choke hold, to sniping dudes across a warehouse, is both smart and full of action.  Duck behind cover, role from wall to wall to avoid detection, and sneak through air ducts to get the jump on baddies.

"Did you hear something?"  "Probably just one of the sniper rats..."
        “Did you hear something?”       “Probably just one of the sniper rats…”

Hand in hand with this is your augmentations.  Since you’re now “upgraded”, you’ll be able to spend Praxis points on a variety of skills and enhancements, such as upgrading your hacking skills, or giving you the ability to punch through walls.  Your augmentation decisions will have a direct impact on the game, and how you play it.  If you feel like blasting your way through levels, you’ll want to buff up on gun skills.  If you want to sneak your way through, hacking and stealth augments will be more important.

Sadly, no hardened forehead augmentation, for epic headbutting.
Sadly, no hardened forehead augmentation, for epic head butting.

Additionally, your conversations and dialogue choices will also change how others view you, unlock side quests, and even allow you to bypass some potentially risky shootouts.  Unless you love the shootouts.  Then just start blasting.  But, if you’re noticing a theme, there are choices all over the place.  How to you want to get to the other side of that fence?  You can charge up your arm strength and stack up some dumpsters to climb to the other side, or you can find a ladder, scale some rooftops, and jump down on the other side.  Or, you can even drop down in a sewer, and emerge from a manhole past the fence.  These decisions occur throughout the game, giving a well rounded openness that adds both play time and enjoyment to the game.

Sometimes, people will be caught in the path of your dumpster tossing.  Just go with it.
Sometimes, people will be caught in the path of your dumpster tossing. Just go with it.

Now, as far as the story goes, Human Revolution offers up a gritty, almost noir like look at the near future.  There’s emotion throughout, as well as twists and turns from start to finish.  The ethics within the game also play a large role in determining the way in which action proceeds.  As the birth of human enhancement is happening all around you, there are strong supporters and opponents who can both help and hinder your progress to the truths which you seek.  Depending on your personal stance, you’ll be able to choose different dialogue options, side quest choices and, at a basic level, see the game in a different light.    Your choices will change the story, so that you never quite know how things will end.  There were a few instances of cliche lines and predictability, but they were minor, and hardly detracted from the overall experience.  Because it’s an RPG, the story can be as huge and open as you’d like.  Want to just tear through it, go right ahead.  Want to explore every inch and pathway, you can do that to.  The story not only works with any possibility, but each different possibility tweaks the story just enough to provide a slightly different experience for each decision.

Now, bearing in mind that this is a game from over two years ago, and played on the computer, graphics can be a little suggestive.  My PC is fairly powerful, and I was able to play with everything maxed.  And, I hooked my computer up to my flat screen, so what I saw was about as good as I could have seen.  For the most part, Human Revolution is a smooth, detailed game with beautiful sights and great combat scenes.  There were a few issues that stuck out, like what I call “stiff-hands”, where character’s hands look like blocks of wood, unmoving as they’re waved through the air.  There were also some areas where there was a noticeable lack of detail, like a blocked off area behind a dumpster, or a distant rooftop.  But, these were minimal, and I had to look hard to find them.  The rest of the game was beautiful in a dark, gritty way.

Very beautiful indeed.  And yellow.  So much yellow.
Very beautiful indeed. And yellow. So much yellow.

The sound was quite nice.  The dialogue was emotional at the right times, badass when badassery was needed, and gripping.  Gunshots, explosions, wind, screaming, and every thing else was crisp and reacted with everything else that was happening around you. Explosions were muffled if you were a few floors below the action.  Shouts were distanced and mumbling if you heard it through a wall.  And, hooked up to a surround sound system, you’ll be in for a world of booming epicness.

I always wish there would be a "shut the hell up" option, followed by a swift kick to the throat
I always wish there would be a “shut the hell up” option, followed by a swift kick to the throat.

The replayability of this game is great.  Not as open as other RPGs, but when every action can potentially change a later aspect of the game, you’ll need multiple playthroughs in order to experience everything.  There are even multiple endings, depending on one of your final choices.  They don’t actually depend on what you’ve done in the game up to that point, but it was nice to see choices all the way to the end.  Additionally, the number of augmentations you can choose lead to multiple playthroughs.  You probably wont be able to unlock every enhancement and upgrade in one go around alone, so in order to experience every style of gameplay available, you’ll be able to go back, and create a completely different Adam Jensen.

Overall, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a great RPG that offers tons of play time, while being both gripping and great to look at.  A few minor graphical hiccups knock the final score down, but the vast number of decision based gameplay options and story triggers create a wonderful cyberpunk shooter, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a shooter.  It’s all based on your personal choice.  Human Revolution earns a B+, which has actually been augmented into an A-.


Gameplay: 9/10

Story: 9/10

Graphics: 8.5/10

Sound: 9/10

Replayability: 9.5/10

Overall: 9/10 A-

Beer Pairing:

Deciding on the best beer for this game was actually easier than other pairings I’ve made.  This game offers a ton of choices, creating a deeply layered, complex world in which you can lose yourself in for hours after hours.  You decide how to progress through, fighting both enemies and mysteries on your search for the truth.  Southern Tier’s Back Burner Barleywine Ale brings the same amount of complexity and depth, along with an air of mystery that you must emmerse yourself into in order to find the truth.  Potent and full of multiple, flavorful ingredients, Back Burner can and will change depending on how you drink, what your mood is, and how far through the bottle you currently find yourself at.  It’ll also last quite a long time, which is perfect for those long sessions of augmented fun.

Pictured, fun.  And, epic ho jitsu.  Courtesy of Cracked.com
Pictured, fun. And, epic ho jitsu. Courtesy of Cracked.com

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