Celesheim
Celesheim

          Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

  
  
8/10 – “You really can't stop progress.”
   
  
  

Developer: Eidos Montreal

Publisher: Square Enix

Release: 23/8/2016

Platform: PS4, XB1, PC

  


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, taking place 2 years after in my playthrough, the incident in which I may have destroyed a place designed to stop global warming, nothing bad will happen... probably?



  


Set in Prague, a hub of hatred and segregation towards augmented citizens. Our favourite machine god Adam Jensen returns being the protagonist with all his wit, snarky and generally awesome comments. He’s now a member of Interpol stopping terrorists, through a variety of diverse areas, such as an abandoned construction site in Dubai, a research facility in the Arctic and a giant tower in London, London looks kind of dumb though, who installs tower blocks shaped like DNA strands?

Expanding on its predecessor, Mankind Divided adds more abilities and ways of playing the game. Allowing each player to have a unique experience to how they complete each objective. You could go guns blazing, killing everyone, sneaking around and knocking out everyone or talking your way through situations.

Personally, I tried killing and sneaking methods of completing the game, whilst killing all your enemies is easier; it makes negotiation situations much harder. During a mission requiring you to sneak into the HQ of the augmented rights coalition, all enemies will kill on site, but killing them will cause their leader to be openly hostile and unwilling to cooperate with you.

Throughout the game, your choices will affect the world in subtle and more obvious ways. This does include killing or not killing enemies and people. If you keep killing, people seem to question if you’re ok and not malfunctioning like Augs in the “Aug Incident”.
Choices are a large part of the game, like human revolution, you will be asked to make choices throughout the game. Would you rather save a watch maker’s daughter or steal the antidote to a biological weapon of mass destruction?

As you proceed through the game and the story gets darker, the city of Prague also gets darker, going from day, to evening, to night with martial law being enforced.  The police are shown to be an oppressive force in contrary to the previous title, as a way of showing how far society has fallen. As a plot thread, it’s just there, though it only seems to exist in the police characters. While that it’s an interesting plot point, it needed expanding and to be more than a tiny motivation for some characters.

The actual gameplay is smooth with almost no lag, the shooting and action feels more fluid and responsive compared to human revolution, it’s definitely a large improvement. I went back to human revolution recently and it definitely feels much slower and clunky in control, the new augment changes are a good improvement, instead of being three skills, the silence footsteps augment is now one skill that covers everything.


Augments, like in every Dues Ex game, are the skills you unlock throughout the game, these range from invisibility, increased armour to hacking and picking up fridges. (yes, I threw many a fridge at enemies, I regret nothing.)

There are a few new “hidden” augmentations that require you to disable an old one unless you want to overheat and unwillingly lose an augment you may have gained. This is able to be prevented later in the story though. These new augments are powerful but still have the downside of disabling old augments, emphasising the choice theme. Ranging from remote hacking, dashing, to shooting explosives blades.

I found myself only using the Titan Shield from the new augs, as it temporarily makes you immune to damage. The others felt like overly situational except the remote hacking but that’s not really needed.

Crafting parts were a new addition as well, replacing the weapon upgrade mods, they enhance your weapons, but they felt like they were meant to be micro-transactions. They’re scattered around the world, usually in stacks of ten. Meaning you need to find at least ten to twenty-five stacks of them per upgrade.

That’s manageable if you want to explore every nook and cranny, but to the average player, it will be a chore at times especially if you have several weapons you like. On the subject of microtransactions, Square Enix, why are you selling praxis kits and money? Freaking money and level ups! (At least you’re not as shameless as Bandai Namco with the Tales Of series)

The game's soundtrack is really nice and fits the atmosphere really well; “Embrace what you’ve become” is especially fitting for the game. Unfortunately I actually rarely noticed the soundtrack playing, except for certain events scattered around. This really bugs me as I feel the music would make the world seem more alive. I love the music enough to buy it on iTunes, a rare occurrence especially with more generic music being in every game these days.

Whilst the game has plenty of positives, it does have a few problems as well. The lack of different hub cities is a letdown, in human revolution; you had Detroit and Hengsha to explore as completely different environments each with their own style and unique aesthetics. Detroit was the advanced rich city where technology was blooming while Hengsha was its contrast as a poor city with crime and slums everywhere. Mankind Divided would’ve benefitted greatly from that, as a contrast to Prague would’ve been a unique way to show the undertone of the games.

Whilst, yes, it is a large improvement over Human Revolution, it needed to scrape the microtransactions and build upon the themes of the game and add more to the story, toward the end of the game it felt somewhat rushed with certain plot threads seemingly unanswered.