Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the newest addition to the Deus Ex universe. The year is 2029 and mechanically augmented humans have become segregated from their “natural” counterparts as a result of the global killing spree (known as the Aug incident) initiated by a maniacal purist 2 years prior.
Adam Jensen, now an experienced covert operative, is forced to go about his daily business in a world that has come to hate his kind. Armed with a cutting edge range of military grade augmentations you are forced to navigate a gigantic web of intrigue and conspiracies, all the while deciding who to trust with the information you uncover as you play.
Before You Begin
Before you even get started you are presented with an opportunity to craft your desired gameplay experience from a range of difficulty and control settings. I feel like this is one of the most welcoming things a game can do,and the simplicity with which it was presented in this title is a real credit to the developers.
Immersive Beyond Belief
I could not put this game down. The music and art direction of the game have been adapted to the darker and mature setting of the game compared to earlier titles and really shine as elements that create an impressive immersion into a very chaotic world. What impressed me most however, was the incredibly real and in depth storyline that was presented. Within the first couple of missions, I had infiltrated a complex in Dubai, gone to see my augmentation “doctor” for a check up and made allies with at least one incredibly dangerous mob boss (though it required a favor to do so).
Decisions with a Purpose
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided promised to deliver meaningful choices, and by god did it deliver. When presented with the decisions that would affect the flow and outcome of the game I really did have to question more than just the obvious factors to come to a verdict.
A lot of the time, these decisions came with a heavy sacrifice of life/ loss which was created in such a way that it make me feel responsible for the consequences. Often these decisions would also close off particular side missions, so take your time while deciding.
One of the few things that was a bit upsetting to me was that I was able to finish the game in just under a week. This has been good in the sense that it has left me craving more, and I intend to replay the game to find all the side missions I missed on the first run through.
Adam’s augmentations are integral to how the game is played, and there is some amazing versatility in what you can do with particular combinations. Praxes are once again spent to unlock them as you gain experience points, and they can be summarised into the four following categories:
Stealth: Things like cloaking, silent movement and enhanced vision
Social: The ability to interpret a person’s biochemistry as you talk with them to get the desired outcome
Hacking: Increased hacking speed and fortification, as well as the ability to remotely hack devices
Combat: Significantly boosted health and regenerative qualities
I played through my first run relying heavily on stealth and hacking, as I found this generated a lot more suspense, and kept me entertained while exploring every nook and cranny of the world. I also went with a non-lethal approach using mainly the stun gun and tranquiliser rifle to incapacitate my foes before proceeding. The drawback here was that in one particular fight, I had to really think about how to approach it, as my health and endurance were not the best, and the boss was an absolute beast.
The other thing that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided introduces is a series of experimental, Black market augmentations that are present in Adam. These are seriously powerful upgrades that have remained dormant since their installation. Initially when you want to activate these augmentations, you are required to deactivate one of your standard ones in order to compensate for an increased energy requirement that could kill Adam.
This was such a great twist to add into the game mechanics, as it made you think (again) about what you were prepared to give up to activate them. The Black Market Augmentations were incredibly useful to my style of play, as they allowed me to remotely hack specific devices and incapacitate enemies with ease.
More integral than you would think, Item and inventory management is something that has to become second nature in Deus Ex: Mankind divided. Every item takes up x amount of space, and if you run out, you are forced to decide what to drop to make space. You can expand your inventory with a specific augmentation, but I strongly advise you take advantage of the storage units in Adam’s apartment to store extras of the recovery items you come across.
Deus Ex: mankind Divided – Breach is an interesting addition to this title. It offers an arcade shooter experience to players as you take on the role of a Ripper, attempting to hack, obtain and sell highly classified corporate data by infiltrating their servers.
This is done through the use of the Neural SubNet (NSN) software that is encountered in the main game, which is able to create sophisticated virtual reality simulations that are fed directly into the brain. It is set against the backdrop of the Palisade Blade, which is considered to be the most secure data farm.
I didn’t spend a lot of time in this mode, but it is interesting, and presents challenges and content of its own.
Deus Ex Universe App
The Deus Ex Universe app is designed to compliment the main experience. As you play you come across triangular codes that can be scanned into the app in order to gain access to a range of cool information including interviews with the game developers.
Can you reconcile the Machine within?
The Deus Ex franchise is on the forefront of topics such as transhumanism, bioethics, terrorism and politics, and are able to craft an experience that reflect these competing elements, then hand it to you to try to unravel it. Everyone you encounter has their own agenda, trust is a luxury you can’t afford, and the time is ticking on yet another global disaster.
The Deus Ex Universe depicts a not so distant future where human beings have embraced the idea of enhancing themselves beyond normal parameters with prosthetic augmentations, the rise of its golden age and in this title, the results of the fall of that age.
To be completely fair, I did have a couple of fatal errors occur during gameplay, but it didn’t deter me from reloading the game and getting back into it. Don’t rely too heavily on the autosave function and you’ll be fine. This is one of the few first person shooters that I have ever played, and I would not hesitate to say that it is probably the best of those titles.