Title: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Platforms: PS4(reviewed copy), Xbox One, PC
Release date: August 23, 2016
Rating: PEGI 18
Reviewed by Max Alexander
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the sixth game in the critically acclaimed stealth action series. Set in 2029, we see a dystopian future where tensions have risen to boiling point between the augmented and non augmented citizens of the world.
Players assume control of Adam Jensen, a former Detroit detective turned Interpol agent, working the streets of Prague in the wake of the previous games (Deus Ex: Human Revolution) chaotic ending where the augmented (mechanically enhanced cyborgs) are taken control of my an evil corporation and forced to go on a murderous rampage. A plan that our hero is able to thwart. But is he too late?
In Mankind Divided we jump forward two years to a time when the enhanced are shunned from society. You can really get the feel of segregation the augments are now subjected to, as you walk the streets and see augmented citizens being harassed by police and living in squalor.
This uneasiness is made even more prevalent as the main character is also augmented. This makes Adam an ideal character to flex the RPG elements of the game.
As you progress through the game, you will level up your character and upgrade systems to suit your play style be that the ability make yourself invisible or giving yourself super strength to lift large objects.
The brilliance of the Deus ex franchise has always been player choice and how you tackle each mission. In previous games you were given three options for tackling a mission, be it stealth, brute force or talking your way through to your objective. In this new iteration however, there more paths to take than ever before. Options that are open to you depending on how you upgrade yourself.
In one mission where I tackled infiltrating a bank, I got in a jam trying to get to the second floor. I spent time trying to hack terminals to gain access but was getting seen and failing. In another play through I tried causing a panic by setting off alarms to lure guards a way which ended in a fire fight. Both options could have been successful, if I had the correct augment upgrades. In the end I utilised my upgraded strength which aloud me to find a vent leading to the second floor, hidden behind a vending machine. A route I would not have been able to access if I did not have the strength upgrade.
It's these options in level design that really makes Mankind decidedly shine. The wealth of options that fully utilise any style of play through is very special. And gives the games a replay-ability that has me excited to go back through and try a different tactic.
This, coupled with some terrific side missions that, at times, outshine the main stories, make for a game with great shelf life. Destined to have you comparing notes with friends about how you tackled every little bit of the game.
As brilliant as the level design and upgrade system is, I did feel the story fell a bit flat and left too many lose ends. Also the game does not offer a massive leap forward from human revolution which had appeared on previous hardware. At times feeling like like human revolution .2 rather than a next sequel.
Overall I had a great time playing through this Blade Runner-inspired world and genuinely look forward to taking the game on in a different way, next time.
For fans of: Metal Gear Solid, Hitman