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SPOILER-FREE VIDEO GAME REVIEW IN PROGRESS
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
+ Staying true to the Deus Ex franchise which means:
+ including story elements of government cover-ups and conspiracy theories
+ the ability to choose between going stealth or going trigger-happy
+ How closely related it is to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the predecessor to Mankind Divided, in terms of both real-world chronology and in-game timeline
+ The graphics that are obviously improved from the last gen
+ The freedom of letting you choose the way of how the story goes
+ Overall awesome feel-good-ness and fan service.
- Adam Jensen's shades...
- Cheesy dialogues (ironically, that stays true to the Deus Ex franchise)
- Ironically, too, how similar it is to Human Revolution
At this very point of writing, I'm about three quarters through the game. As a fan of the series since its first instalment in 2000, I must say that I am thoroughly enjoying Mankind Divided. However, I've got to admit that when I first played the game on its default "normal" difficulty, I found myself dying too easily, so I went full on "journalist" and played it on the easier difficulty.
Although I've been thoroughly enjoying it so far, the conclusion to the game might make or break my final judgement, which I will reserve for a later date, and it'll bare it all, spoilers and what not.
The "The Good" portion above basically expresses the things that has made me enjoy the game thus far. To elaborate a little, MD (I'm tired of writing Mankind Divided all the way) takes place shortly after HR (yup, that's Human Revolution). And before you start the game, you are given the option to watch a video that recaps HR's story, which in my opinion, is one thing that many game studios should emulate, *wink wink* to you Hideo Kojima. The recap video is a great device to get you right into the game's universe quickly, instead of having to pause every now and then to google what the heck are, for example, Tai Yong Medical, David Sarif, human augmentations, etc...
Also, I love the option that allows you to save wherever and whenever, which is like a retro-breakthrough for today's gaming world! If you regret making a certain choice, you can go back on it!
See, just like all previous Deus Ex games, you are required to make choices. Choices like, should you go stealth or go on a full-on massacre? Should you sweet talk your way through conflicts or be ready to shoot people right in their faces? Besides the obvious outcome of whether or not that particular character dies or survives, your actions outrightly changes the course of the game!
My personal style is to always try to stealth way first, and when things go awry, simply start blowing things apart :p But for conversations, I always try my best to use my "Jedi-mind tricks".
One improvement made to the gameplay, specifically to the gunfights portion, is the ability to lean against a wall which allows you to change the camera angle to explore more of the enemy territory, or sneak from the corner to take a shot. It's pretty much what every FPS game has these days. But I have to point out quickly that MD and all its predecessors, are NOT FPSs. Sure, they might contain FPS or TPS elements like shooting (which game doesn't these days?), but Deus Ex and MK are mainly, in my opinion, action RPGs.
And with new technology comes cooler augmentations too! My personal fave is this remote hacking augmentation.
Okay on to what Eidos could have done better.
First of all, the shades man! Adam Jensen's shades are like the perfect excuse to leave out the animation of his eyes. Sure, AJ doesn't show much emotion, but there are certain scenes in which he does express himself explicitly and the fan in me wishes so bad I could see what's going on behind those shades. Spending some money to have some CGI for his eyes would really add to the colours of the story-telling.
Next, is how similar MD is to HR. Some aspects have not changed AT ALL! The hacking system is the same, the inventory system is the same (since the original 2000 release of Deus Ex), and the augmentations, though there a few new ones, are pretty much the same! Well perhaps Eidos has decided to go down the "The Force Awakens" route, if you know what I mean.
And the other two complaints I have are the same for the franchise in general - cheesy dialogues and poor voice-acting. Firstly, in this age of gaming, it is expected of a triple A game to have their characters' lips to sync with their voices, but MK does a pretty bad job at it. They did try, but it's an overall fail. As for the voice-acting, AJ aside first, most NPCs sounds like they are trying way too hard and have unnecessary inflections and accents. I do not know how Czechs speak (which is where a large chunk of the game is based on), but I am sure they do not have different accents on every block of the street.
AJ's voice actor is Elias Toufexis. Never heard of him? Yeah me neither. I am not sure if it's just his style or the director's demands, but he sounds waaaayyyy to monotonal. I mean, there are certain times where his feelings causes his voice to contain more emotion, but on the overall, Elias doesn't do a good job. Fortunately, due to the gameplay and the control you have over the plot, I haven't felt a schism between myself and being the game's main character.
But to be brutally honest, those flaws do little in changing my opinion of how awesome MD has been thus far. It's been captivating, has a great universe that sucks you into it, and even very slightly emotional at times because of the choices you make that, as mentioned, directly affects how the storyline moves forward.
So my suggestion is go out there and get a copy of it asap :) I always prefer getting physical copies of my games so that I can sell them back. It's not so much about the money, but simply the thought of clearing up space and getting some extra change for it. If not, hang on a lil while and wait til the price drops to get it.