Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the third installment in the Deus Ex series, lands later this week, putting players in the feet of Adam Jensen, a security officer with Sarif Industries. The game is a prequel: It foreshadows the events in the original Deus Ex, and Deus Ex: Invisible War. So what do critics think of this futuristic action title? Quite a lot, it turns out – the early reviews are strong. Let's go to the score cards.
"Fans can take a deep breath: they will get what they want from a Deus Ex game in this release," Ben Kuchera writes over at Ars Technica. "The story is dense, complete with twists, interesting characters, and far-flung locations. Large hub sections allow you to talk with people, pick up side-quests, and search for hidden surprises and goodies." Meanwhile, Kuchera says, Human Revolution ably balances aspects of traditional shooter and RPG gameplay.
"The gunfights in Human Revolution aren't quite chess, but they're a long way from checkers – especially when you learn to move silently and take down two enemies at the same time, by hand," he writes. "The third-person cover system wasn't shoe-horned into the game, either, and it makes sense in a deep way. Depending on play style, Human Revolution feels like a great action game or a slower-paced RPG."
Over at the Telegraph, Tom Hoggins praises Deus Ex: Human Revolution for its breadth of choice: Users can brawl, sneak, or sweet talk their way into enemy compounds. "The great thing is that each option is entertaining in its own right," he writes. "The conversation system asks you to genuinely assess your subject, subtly shifting the talk in the way you want it to go. It's excellent stuff that manages to show up even LA Noire in all but facial animation."
Speaking of those graphics: They're beautiful, says Tom Francis of PC Gamer. "The places your missions take you are gorgeous. You start in Detroit, a dim vision of an industrial city collapsed and revived one too many times," he writes. "Later, the Chinese metropolis of Heng Sha is genuinely like visiting a new country. It’s a hazy mess of neon, a half-vertical city with no distinction between rooftops and streets – large, bewildering and excitingly foreign."
Jim Stirling of Destructoid reserves special praise for the combat system, which he says is dynamic and deep. "Success in combat is determined by careful planning," he writes. "Securing an exit should things go wrong, choosing (and changing) advantageous positions, and identifying which target to fire upon first, as well as which weapons to use, are crucial. This is not a game that just lets you open fire and trust in your reflexes; this is a game in which strategy is just as important as skill. Adam Jensen may be an augmented human, but he is still a human, and the game never lets you forget it."
And then there's the story, which Edge magazine calls "a better yarn than that delivered by the first game. Its themes are certainly more relevant."
"While Deus Ex was more consciously a pastiche, starting with the premise that every conspiracy theory is true and spiralling off into hysteria about aliens, Human Revolution focuses on more immediate and credible issues surrounding transhumanism – its effect on morality, the vast social inequalities it will create and how the powerful will seek to subvert its potential to their own ends," the Edge team writes. "And the game is particularly good at illustrating how power sustains itself through illicit collaboration between corporations, governments and the media. You only need to turn on the TV to see how relevant that is."
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