Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an action-RPG in my book. It contains a fair share of combat gameplay but also a fair share of exploration and dialogue with choices and consequences. However, to another, it could be a stealth-RPG. It all depends on how you play the game. This is what makes Deus Ex stand out from the crowd of FPS's nowadays. However, to me, it's not unique or one of a kind (more on this in a minute). There's a great emphasis on employing different abilities to complete your objectives and there's also great emphasis on using different routes or how you handle enemies (take down - lethal or non lethal - guns a blazing, avoiding enemies, hacking enemy turrets and robots to deal with the enemies for you). However, as stated above, most of this has been done in Thief 3 which allowed you to deal with enemies in different ways, take different routes and even allowed you to interact with the enviroment. I'm not bashing Deus Ex: HR here - Thief 4 is actually in development by the same company - but I'm simply saying that I've seen most of what's in Deus Ex: HR before. What makes HR different from Thief 3 however is the fact that there's dialogue and where's there's dialogue, there's choices. Don't go expecting anything amazing though. While there are consequences for choices, they don't actually effect the storyline to a great extent but they're enough to make each playthrough different and combine this with how you can choose a different playstyle each time and upgrade different weapons and there's good replayability to those who want it.
The story is interesting enough and kept me gripped but ultimately failed in narrative. Character relationships are never concluded by the end of the game and you can even learn about certain information early in the game (one is by completing a side quest) and when Adam Jensen hears it again later in the game, he acts shocked. One reviewer on some gaming site mentioned this too and stated that the developers should either have changed Adam's response based on what he had learned (scripts and varibles would come into play here, it's not hard for one little thing) or simply not included such information for the player to find.
I've heard lots mention Bioshock here but Bioshock is nothing compared to Deus Ex. Deus Ex offers more in-depth weapon customization, more exploration and more freedom in how you play. I'm surprise some would even dare to call Bioshock an RPG. Other games mentioned are Fallout 3 where people mentioned the "freedom" it offered. Let me tell you, if you can't kill a character because they're "important" for a side quest you don't want to do, then it's not freedom. In Deus Ex: HR, I can kill Megan's Reed's mother even though she's important for one of the sidequests. You can also kill David Sarif, Hugh Darrowman and William Taggart guy at the end of the game simply just for laughs. There's also four endings. The freedom offered - in terms of playstyle and choices - in Deus Ex is amazing and missions are non-linear which means there's never simply one straight forward path in how you can tackle them. I've also heard mention of Mass Effect 2 and this is Deus Ex's main competition...
Mass Effect 2 features plenty of dialogue, choices and consequences. The world...galaxy (ours) it is set in is very detailed and the hub worlds are beautifully detailed. The combat system is also very statisfying and fluid and enemy AI is greater than enemy AI in Deus Ex: HR. HR on the other hand - while the world is stunning at times - doesn't offer the same detail as ME2. The combat however is fun and there's many ways of how to dispose of an enemy. Maybe I'm being a bit too harsh on the enemy AI in HR as they are performing more tasks than enemies in ME2 but quite frankly, I went in expecting enemy AI to be as intelligent as the AI of enemies in Halo Reach on Legendary difficulty. In HR, if you don't return fire for 2 minutes, enemies will start to move to your position, I wiped out a group of five enemies like this with headshots. Each time I killed one, I would simply wait in the same spot and wait for the next enemy to "investigate" and this was on "Give me Deus Ex" difficulty which is the hardest difficulty. No enemy should be that dumb expecially when they see their friends getting killed in the same spot. In Halo Reach, you'd get an enemy that would try to flank you.
Other negatives of HR are the poor facial animinations, the lack of detail (Adam Jensen looks realistic however) in them and some of the voice acting (not most, most of it's pretty good) isn't good. Another annoyance is that enemies drop little ammo. People can disagree as much as they want but when an enemy drops ONE bullet for a gun, you know something is not right. lol
All in all, it's a great break to finally play a shooter that wasn't simply senseless. And for some...it won't even be a shooter. It (along with Two Worlds 2) kept me going until Dark Souls. In my opinion, Deus Ex: HR is the shooter of the year but not the RPG of the year, you can't influence Adam enough (you can make him have a few different views on subjects but don't go in expecting Mass Effect or Dragon Age role playing where you've got the ability to make your character religious), in my opinion, the RPG of the year will be going to Dark Souls which offers role playing with its Convenant system.
I previously mentioned Thief 3. Another game similar to this is Arx Fatalis (developed by some developers of the first Thief games) which allows for the player to complete quests in whatever way they want (Stealth, force, magic). You can even break down doors simply with brute force which is similar to Deus Ex: HR where you can pick up heavy objects (with the right augmentation) to throw or to use as platforms to climb on to reach a explorable route. What makes Arx Fatalis more advanced however is that the entire storyline is non-linear and you can even kill every NPC in the game and STILL complete the story, so long as you know what to do without NPC help. There are also less chaotic choices you can make which effect the story and branch out with unexpected consequences which put The Witcher 2 and Dragon Age 2 to shame. While Deus Ex: HR is no Arx Fatalis, it almost offered the same type of freedom and the freedom of playstyle only helped even more. I greatly enjoyed completing objectives in my own personal way with the most memorable one being where I had to defend a position and simply made a mini fort out of heavy objects which I had moved around me to protect me while I shot my enemies.
"My vision is augmentated, I didn't ask for this." - Adam Denton?
Umm...by the way...being a game of choices and consequences...be wary of killing merchants. Once they're dead, they're dead forever. Which brings me to another con of the game...merchants only restock goods when you progress through the game. This includes ammo, weapon upgrades and of course, weapons themselves. On the plus side, you can sell stuff to them for credits.
As for the augmented edition. Wait till the price drops. The artbook isn't really that great when compared to the artbook included with Dark Souls' limited edition which is £40.
The game is not perfect but it's good enough.
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