Game of the Week: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Every week the Out of Games staff gets together to choose a game; a game to recommend to you, in case you might be out of games to play! From gameplay showcases, story outlines and stores that sell it, we’ve got you covered.

With the recent-ish news that Eidos-Montréal is being acquired by Embracer Group, our hopes for a third installment in Adam Jensen’s Deux Ex trilogy have been renewed. As such, we feel this is a great time to go down memory lane and once again play Deus Ex: Human Revolution.


A Short History of the Deux Ex Franchise

Deus Ex: Human Revolution serves as the first game in a [possibly forever unfinished] trilogy of prequels to Deus Ex (2000). If you’ve heard of Deus Ex, you are probably aware of the huge cult following the game still has to this day.

The game that spawned what is possibly the most used avatar in the world.

After the sequel to Deus ExDeus Ex: Invisible War (2003), came out with four endings so intense it’d be almost impossible to produce a sequel, Eidos Montréal settled on creating a prequel, set 25 years before the first game. While to hardcore fans of the original, Human Revolution might feel simplified and lacking in freedom of choice compared to its originator, it still manages to be enjoyable and is a good entry point into the franchise for players looking for a more streamlined immersive sim experience.

Human Revolution managed to spawn a sequel, Mankind Divided, however sales fell short of Square Enix’s financial demands and the series was put on ice. With Square Enix now selling Eidos Montréal and the Deus Ex IP, there is a chance we might get the final chapter of the prequel story!

Enjoy this terrible edit I made of all of the games’ key art. Don’t look too close.

Premise

Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes place in 2027, 25 years before the events of the original game. You do not need to play these two games to understand what is taking place in Human Revolution, but if you did play them, you will stumble upon a good bunch of references that link to what happens in the original games’ timeline.

In a future that is, at this point, a mere five years away, humanity is at a crossroads. Technological advancements have allowed a significant amount of the global population to become augmented (are you even modded, bro?) with prosthetics, neural enhancers and even military-grade weaponry.

You play as Adam Jensen, the most hard-boiled private security contractor in Detroit and, perhaps, the rest of the world. This game is a conspiracy nut’s wet dream. Sneaking around, probing NPCs for information, uncovering global conspiracies all while listening to Adam’s intense, gravelly voice.


Gameplay

Human Revolution, as any good immersive sim does, allows you to tackle situations in several different ways depending on your playstyle. The game is [mostly] balanced to a T, to the point that the developers had whiteboards with every item you could find, in every area, to make sure you were never showered with too much ammo and whatnot.

Choice-making system

Choices you make in this game can come back and haunt you in the long run. Action (and sometimes inaction!) always leads to reaction. This system is cleverly intertwined through the narrative in both big and small ways. Not talking to an NPC that lies off the beaten road could lock you out of a side-quest later in the game. Having a conversation go badly tends to make things harder for you, while a good resolution can even provide you with hidden achievements (alongside bonus XP).

There are four possible endings to the game, and their availability depends on the choices you make throughout the entire game. Conversations play a big part in determining the endings, but so does the way you play (example: killing versus merely incapacitating).

Stealth vs. Combat

The game gives you the tools necessary to play whichever way you find most suitable. Deciding to kill everyone is more dangerous and the weapon system is intentionally kind of janky (Adam has shaky hands). Going full stealth might mean you need to take things slower – memorizing patrol routes, taking detours to avoid cameras – but awards more XP for successful infiltrations (and even for sparing enemies, knocking them out instead of killing them).

Environmental Puzzles

Human Revolution is flush with complex set pieces that can be navigated in a variety of different ways. Whenever you enter a room, there are at least three ways you can approach passing it in order to reach your objective. Vents, hackable cameras and turrets, destructible walls, gas valves, lasers; all of these components come together to create a varied environment that is both engaging and fun to decode.

A word of warning: You will be seeing these hacking mini-games a lot throughout the game. There’s probably a solid few hundred hackable objects in the game.

Get acquainted with this interface, you’ll be staring at it for hours!

If you’d like to see how the game plays out in the flesh, check out one of its original gameplay trailers:


If you’re looking for an immersive sim that forces you to make choices at every step; a game that can still surprise on subsequent playthroughs; a game that stood the test of time and still looks great today (props to the art design), then Deus Ex: Human Revolution might be for you!

Have you already played Human Revolution or would this be your first time? Let us know in the comments below!


Where Can I Find It?

The links are for the Director’s Cut edition of the game, which includes a DLC story that takes place in the back half of the game.

Click on any of the hyperlinks to see the game’s page on that particular store: