Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Preview
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was easily one of the best and most satisfying games of the previous generation. The award-winning franchise’s captivating combination of role-playing, stealth, action and adventure elements, combined with a typically great narrative, makes Deus Ex one of the premier IPs in the industry. That’s why we couldn’t possibly be more excited for the next installment, Mankind Divided, which just recently earned its finalized launch date of February 23, 2016. Adam Jensen is back and better than ever and Eidos Montreal swears to deliver the best Deus Ex game yet…non-lethal boss encounters and other fan-requested bonuses included.
The new adventure is set only two years after the end of Human Revolution, and the social gap between humans and augmented humans is growing wider. The developers are calling this a “Mechanical Apartheid,” so from the start, you’ll see oppressed and spit-upon augmented humans. Authorities forcefully separate the latter group from humans and the consensus is that augmented individuals pose a threat to the “normal” way of life. You’ll see military checkpoints set up throughout the conflicted city, perhaps not dissimilar to the outposts set up in a game like inFamous: Second Son. The plot is definitely similar, in that you control a protagonist who is part of an oppressed group; specifically, humans with inhuman capabilities, ala “X-Men.”
Adam Jensen is once again the main character and while he’ll face the biggest challenge of his life in this quest, he’ll also have more abilities than ever before. Of course, the crux of the gameplay in Deus Ex centers on the player’s ability to choose, and that won’t change in the new installment. If you’d like to take each challenge head-on with a balls-out, no-holds-barred approach, you’re welcome to do so. In that case, you’ll probably want to take advantage of one of Jensen’s new skills, Titan: It offers him greatly increased defense but continually drains his battery. If, on the other hand, you want to approach your objectives quietly and stealthily, you’ll be able to use a myriad of nifty high-tech gadgets and abilities.
So yes, you can use the crowd-pleasing Icarus Fall that decimates a group of enemies, or the Tesla gun arm to take out as many as four foes as once, or the Nanoblade to pin hapless opponents to walls. But you can also upgrade your dash ability so you become a blur in the shadows, staying out of sight and planning your strategy. You can use your X-Ray vision to track enemy movements, hack devices remotely so you can bypass alarms and other electronic obstacles, and utilize a variety of up-close-and-personal stealth takedowns. Personally, I’d recommend specializing in either the full combat tank option or the deadly ninja assassin option; it’s often harder to be a jack-of-all-trades in such games, simply because you can’t max out the abilities for either side. You’re welcome to experiment, however.
Choice in this new adventure will go well beyond combat, too. There’s the social side to decision-making, as players will make decisions that could have far-reaching effects on the storyline. You might be able to win an argument, which could lead to a new situation down the line, or you may have the opportunity to persuade another character, thereby making it easier for you to progress. In other words, you’ll have to use a mix of mechanical, combat and social skills to open up the best possible route, and the “best possible route” will indeed be highly subjective. It’s all up to you. It’ll be interesting to see just how dramatic the changes might be based on your choices; will it have as many drastic branches as Until Dawn? Maybe not, but there should be plenty of incentive to play through again.
If you were a fan of Human Revolution, you know all about the blowup concerning boss fights. They weren’t designed in-house for some strange reason and they couldn’t be completed from a stealth/non-lethal standpoint, which really irritated some players. Therefore, it was one of the first questions posed to Eidos Montreal: Will the boss encounters in the new game allow for stealth and non-lethal options? The answer is yes, as the developers have said the following: “[Boss fights] will be supported in fully non-lethal ways. When we say you can complete the whole game without killing anybody, bosses are people too, so they’re included – there’s no exception.” They cited the Pacifist Trophy in Human Revolution that tasked you with completing the game without killing anyone but bosses. But it’ll be 100 percent Pacifist now.
There’s almost no doubt in our minds that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be one of the very best productions of 2016 and we can’t wait to try it.
9/23/2015 Ben Dutka