Adam Jensen’s breath condensates as soon as it hits the frosty air. The snow is falling quicker; I need to find a way into the facility without being seen. I disable a fan, duck into the vent, and make my way in. This is only one of many possible ways to gain entry. As soon as I’m in I take stock of my surrounding, unholster my tranquilizer rifle, and begin to explore. The room I dropped into is a large warehouse - my current radar is almost useless. To help better gauge the enemies distance, I use one of the many Praxis Kits I’ve been saving from leveling up to extend the range of the radar and continue on. Moving along I try and keep above the enemy, however there’s a balcony out of reach so I upgrade my augmentation and unlock a new skill. Now able to dash to the balcony like Corvo in Dishonored would, I look down to find three heavily armored and well equipped soldiers having a conversation. My tranquilizer rifle doesn’t have the penetrating power to incapacitate them, but they aren’t protected against a high electrical current. I have a stun gun that would do the trick if it were only one guard, but there are three. Time for another upgrade. The three guards are tazed simultaneously thanks to my now heavily augmented left arm.
20 minutes later the 15 or so conscious and alert soldiers who were patrolling the warehouse base are left comatose and none the wiser that I was ever there thanks in large part to my new upgrades and choice of weaponry. No one saw me and no one died. This is why I love Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. The moment to moment leveraging of resources, the consequences of your actions, and the emergent gameplay, not to mention the 007 style intel sleuthing, all help to create one hell of an immersive experience. I’m hooked.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided tackles complex themes like what it means to be human, government conspiracy, information control, censorship, systematic oppression of a peoples, and even light social commentary on current real world events all neatly packaged in a first-person stealth shooter RPG hybrid. It's the Swiss Army Knife of first-person shooters. It even does your taxes, can you believe it?!
The world that Eidos Montreal built is beautifully realized thanks to great attention to detail. It’s the year 2029 and augmentations used to be all the rage back in the early and mid 20’s, but after the events of Deus Ex Human Revolution citizens with augments are distrusted and abused. I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t played the previous installment, suffice it to say something happened to all the millions of augmented people worldwide that was enlightening to the rest of the world's population.
There is some great symbolism here that reinforces the theme of man against nature. Murals of Icarus spray painted on buildings, and crumbling statues of past politicians are subtle storytelling devices that help the believability of the world and the events that are taking place within it.
I picked up Deus Ex: Mankind Divided after playing No Man’s Sky. Lucky for me, I never bought into the hype of No Man’s Sky so I wasn’t as disappointed as some, however I was left unsatisfied. Going from that to Deus Ex has made me realize with more clarity that game worlds and narrative are two extremely important aspects to a game for me. They allow me to get invested in the world and its characters which helps give a deeper dimension to immersion. This game is pretty heavy handed with its story elements. If, for example, you miss parts of conversations among characters or dismiss the many (MANY) readable emails, pocket secretaries, eBooks, or newspapers then you’re bound to get confused later on. I don’t exclusively prescribe to this type of storytelling; I just find this game in particular to have the right amount of intrigue to keep me looking forward to the next piece of readable intel. Games that have nothing to read and no dialogue, like the recently released Inside, have just as much to tell story wise as Deus Ex, it just conveys it using undertone and subtlety.
Deus Ex shouldn’t be missed if you’re in to escapism and great stories. My first play through is far from over and I’m already planning my second using different augs, weapons, and choices.
Ian is impossible to find online. Okay, maybe not impossible, but good luck getting ahold of the guy! He's a Full-Time student and video game aficionado. Are you enjoying Deus Ex? Tell us your stories about the game in the comments!