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A new edition that removes the niggling problems from the original game
on 4 November 2013
DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION is a cyberpunk RPG set in 2027 in Detroit and Hengsha, China. You play Adam Jensen, a security specialist gunned down in a terrorist attack on his employer's labratory. His life is saved by augmentation, have limbs and other parts of his body replaced by cybernetic enhancements. As the game proceeds you have to investigate the terrorist attack and deal with a number of side-missions whilst learning how to use your new powers and abilities. Released in 2011, the game attracted considerable critical acclaim for it's open-ended gameplay (you can deal with situations via stealth, combat, hacking or a mixture of the three) but also some criticism for a series of unavoidable boss fights which forced you into lethal gunfights.
The Director's Cut is a re-release of the original game with a number of new features. The most notable is a set of Wii U-exclusive features which make excellent use of that console's touch-screen controller, allowing players to hack computers and refer to their map, quest log or inventory without switching out of the main view. I haven't seen these features in operation, but other reviews indicate they are well-implemented.
Of more interest to PC and other console players are the upgrades to the actual gameplay. The most notable of these is that The Missing Link DLC - which takes place about two-thirds through the original game - has been integrated into the main narrative. There are good and bad points to this. First, if you haven't played The Missing Link before it adds about 4-5 hours of gameplay set on a remote base in the middle of the ocean. It adds new environments and enemy types and, like the main game, a series of situations to resolve through combat, hacking, stealth or a combination of all three. There's also some tough moral choices. The DLC integrates into the main storyline quite well, with Jensen's continuing investigation into the attack on Sarif Industries informing the expansion. Unfortunately, the expansion's biggest weakness remains: it removes all of your augments and upgrades, forcing you back into the state you were at the start of the game. This makes the first half of the DLC a chore as you rebuild your skill set back up to something useful. The Director's Cut really should have eliminated this tiresome mechanic (originally necessary because it was played separately from the main game) and allowed you to continue with your existing inventory and skill set. Still, once it kicks into gear it's a very worthy expansion to the game.
The second notable change is to the boss battles. Much-criticised in the original game, The Director's Cut reworks them so each boss can now also be defeated by stealth or hacking as well as direct combat. Unfortunately, defeating the third boss, Jaron Namir, requires hacking skills. Depending on a choice made earlier in the game, your augments may be completely offline during this battle, making hacking impossible and forcing you to defeat him in direct combat. Fortunately, as this battle comes shortly after The Missing Link, in which you can acquire a powerful missile launcher which can take Namir down in just a couple of hits, the developers have a way around it.
Eidos Montreal also claim to have upgraded the game's graphics. To be frank, this claim seems dubious. The textures seem identical, the lighting and shadows appear to be the same and the character models are still the mixed bag they were in 2011. The console versions may indeed look better, but the PC version appears to be identical to the original release.
Finally, the game adds a 'Game+' mode in which your augment loadout continues into a new game. This is a nice touch if you plan to replay at the hardest difficulty level (which is notably more punishing), but given you can max out 90% of your augments in a single playthrough, it will leave you as an almost unbeatable tank during the replay.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Director's Cut improves on the original game, but it's more of a series of minor upgrades than a major transformation of the whole game. If you've already completed the game (iffy boss fights and all) and The Missing Link, it's questionable if there is enough here to make it worthwhile, especially on console where you have to re-buy the entire game. Wii U users will likely enjoy it tremendously as a rare and much-needed example of what their console can do. PC players, however, will find that the Director's Cut is an extremely cheap upgrade on Steam if they already own the original game and The Missing Link, in which case it's a no-brainer.
For new players who have never experienced the game before, the improvements remove the original game's most annoying niggles and leave it as a cyberpunk RPG masterpiece it aspired to be. If you haven't played the game before, the Director's Cut (*****) is a must-buy.