That's a lot of expectation for Deus Ex: Human Revolution to live up to. How does it fare?
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has some pretty big shoes to fill. The original Deus Ex received critical acclaim when it released in 2000 and was voted the best PC game of all time on multiple occasions. As such, comparisons to its illustrious predecessor are inevitable.
Making your way
You play as Adam Jensen, a security operative who works for one of the leading firms in the controversial new business of human augmentation. Augmented against his will, Jensen is thrust out into the world, looking for answers; all while he tries to come to terms with the technology that's made him something, more or less, than humanIt is set in 2027, 25 years before the events depicted in the original Deus Ex. As such, you don't need to have played Deus Ex before playing Human Revolution, although there are a number of references that series veterans will pick up on.
The hallmark of a Deus Ex game is open-ended gameplay, and Human Revolution is no different. Designed to give players as much freedom as possible, the game gives you multiple options for every scenario so that you can play whatever way you want to. If you want to play as a Batman-esque predator, striking from the shadows, you can. If you want to charge in Rambo-style and shoot everything that moves, you can. If you want to ignore the storyline and run around futuristic cities punching passersby in the face...guess what? You can.
It would be a pity, though, if you did ignore the storyline. Rich, captivating and rife with conspiracy, Human Revolution's story is up there with the best. And it owes a lot to the world you find yourself in — with a growing debate over the moral implications of human augmentation causing large-scale civil unrest, it's a troubled landscape that Jensen has to navigate through.
Given the fantastic setting, it's all the more unfortunate that the game occasionally stumbles as far as the immersion factor goes. Enemy A.I. isn't always the brightest; that, coupled with the occasional technical glitch, does require a certain suspension of disbelief if you don't want to be reminded that you're only playing a game. Also, given that the game is all about letting you play the way you want to, the few times it forces you down a linear path are all the more jarring. It's not perfect; that said, you won't find any deal-breakers here.
So, does Human Revolution manage to live up to that daunting legacy? Yes, it does. Is it better than its illustrious predecessor? In some ways, yes; it has much better stealth mechanics and stellar graphics to boot. And in some ways, no; but that question's missing the point somewhat.
Let's put things into perspective. What I (and legions of other fans all over the world) would like is effectively the original Deus Ex, but with modern graphics and an all-new story that's as mind-blowing as the original. That is never going to happen.
What we got, however, is another peek into one of the most enthralling universes in gaming, wrapped up in all the modern bells and whistles you can think of. Human Revolution has a lot to live up to, and it passes that test with flying colours; while also managing to be a brilliant game in its own right. Do not miss this one.
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360