I have a confession to make. Normally in life I don’t like to pick favorites. If you ask me my favorite movie, I don’t have an answer. Favorite musician, nothing. Favorite food, forget about it! However, in my heart of hearts, I do have a favorite genre of science fiction: cyberpunk.
I love it! I don’t know why, but something about the ridiculous neon lights, over the top future fashions, and the idea of getting a computer in your head just works for me.
As such, I’ve always been a fan of Deus Ex, and I was especially impressed with how they reimagined their universe with Deus Ex: Human Revolution a few years ago. The visual aesthetic, the gameplay, the story line, everything just clicked, and I loved my time with it.
Now, the next installment has released, and after spending a little time with it, I’ve decided to go ahead and share my current feelings on the newest adventure of Adam Jensen.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Collector’s Edition Goodies
Okay, sorry, but I have one more confession to make. Sometimes, I make poor financial decisions, generally when it comes to buying video games. I’m a sucker for collector’s editions, and this time was no different. The collector’s edition for Mankind Divided is a decent package. There’s not too much extra stuff in there, but what you do get is nice, and it has a nice clean package, which I appreciate.
The statue doesn’t have much heft to it, but it is quite detailed, so as long as you’re careful with it then it should make a good display piece. The art book is a little thin, but it does have a nice wide representation of concept art for characters and environments. Finally, I do love a good steel book case, and Square Enix delivered on that front.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – First Impressions
The last Deus Ex game came out in 2011, and like many other games around that time, the game progressed through an epic directed narrative, jetting your character around to various locations to do his dirty work, each time culminating in a flashy boss fight with some other cybernetically enhanced super soldier, before moving onto the next locale.
Sure, within each area, you were presented with a plethora of ways to progress forward, either going invisible and sneaking your way through, hacking into every door and computer you can find to bypass any sort of security, or just strolling in guns blazing, smashing people into walls with your robotic appendages, but in the end, you started in one place, went through a more or less defined area, fought a boss, and cutscened your way to the next country. Mankind Divided seems to take a different approach.
The game starts off seeming to be a similar type of game, with Mr. Jensen jumping out of a future plane after his mission briefing to land on an unfinished hotel in Dubai. He then proceeds to work his way through some unnamed terrorist types before, shock and amazement, some new cyber super guys show up to ruin his fun.
The mission felt like a good start, but after that you are flown to Prague, and it seems like the rest of game takes place entirely in that city. You are presented with a few core missions to take on, but as you walk around and speak with locals, you find a variety of side missions you can decided whether or not to engage in, though it is probably a good idea to do some of them to get your precious upgrade points to improve your abilities.
The subway system allows you to travel to any of the zones of the city seemingly at will. I do love a good open world game, the city setting means there are a lot of dead end alleys and doors you can’t get through, and even in the few hours I’ve played so far, I already managed to get lost once or twice on the way to an objective, which can be quite frustrating.
The combat feels pretty solid, but I still don’t like that you use battery power to perform melee kills, meaning it is possible to run up behind an enemy and have to sit there and wait while your batteries recharge so you can punch him in the face really hard.
Also, for some reason, whenever you perform a melee takedown in Mankind Divided, the game cuts to a black screen, and then cuts to Adam doing the deed. I’m sure it’s to avoid awkward animations of trying to get enemies into position for the hand crafted kill animations, along with the zoom from first person to third person, but it is a bit jarring at first.
The setup for the story of Mankind Divided is pretty solid, if a little rote. At the end of the last game, the main villain sent out some sort of signal which caused many people with cybernetic enhancements, or “augs”, to go berserk and kill whoever happened to be near them at the time. Obviously, being the hero, Adam Jensen stopped the signal, but the damage was done, so now mankind is divided (get it?) between the augs and the naturals, in a not so subtle nod to the institutional racism of mid 20th century America.
Of course, behind the scenes, there’s the Illuminati (seriously), a bunch of rich old people who holographically sit around a table and try to control the world, presumably the same people who sent the mysterious gold-masked people who ruined the mission in Dubai at the beginning of the game. I’m sure either Adam will discover this to be the case, or they will contact him to stop whoever did send those mercenaries because they’re totally way more evil.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Final Thoughts
I’m about 5 or 6 hours in, and while it’s not grabbing me the way that Human Revolution did, I’m still enjoying Mankind Divided enough to see what’s next. Hopefully that feeling will hold through the full run time, but I don’t want to make a judgement just yet. While I miss the stark design of the last game, where everything was rendered in black and gold, I do appreciate the more subdued realism they brought to the table this time around. If you’ve got any opinions on the game, feel free to let us know in the comments below. If you haven’t bought it yet, my only advice is don’t try and get the Collector’s Edition. I know it’s cool stuff, but it’s kind of always a terrible idea. Get the regular edition instead.