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Default Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Thoughts @ Twenty Sided

December 22nd, 2011, 02:00
Twenty Sided's Shamus Young thinks about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, struggling to decide how to assess the game:
Months later, I still don’t know how to judge the game. Is it a masterful and cunning improvement on modern shooters, or a short, dumbed-down bastardization of its predecessor? It’s kind of both.
I will give the game credit for this: The story worked. This should not be praise. This should be the most basic, obvious accomplishment that a game can achieve. This should be like saying of a restaurant, “The food was cooked.” But as Fallout 3, Assassin’s Creed 2, and Fable 2, and many other games have shown, game designers can’t seem to keep even the most simple plots from falling apart into contradictory nonsense, and they can’t devise characters with any sort of coherent motivation. Yes, there were parts of Human Revolution I could nitpick. (And the boss characters were unforgivably horrible.) But on balance the writers managed to create a world that was both complicated (by videogame standards) and sensible. There were many sides to the conflict, they each had a unique viewpoint, and none of them were mustache-twirling “EVUL FOR TEH LULZ!” (Again, aside from the Boss Villains. I make no excuse for them. They were just shameful, and felt like they were grafted in from a much dumber game. The point is, the factions made sense and had interesting things to say.)
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December 22nd, 2011, 02:00
Most over rated game of 2011, IMO.
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December 22nd, 2011, 02:08
Predictable. Move along, nothing to see here.
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December 22nd, 2011, 04:43
Great game. One of the best ever. Would have been my game of the year except for Skyrim.
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December 22nd, 2011, 05:25
Most people seem to have a very strong opinion of DX:HR one way or the other. I thought it was good but not great. Definitely better than Invisible War for me, but the original DX is still my favorite.
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December 22nd, 2011, 06:04
Best FPS and CRPG hybrid since the original. Hands down a top 10 best PC game of 2011.

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December 22nd, 2011, 06:10
Besides the ending-tron 9000 and the boss fights I reallly enjoyed this game.
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December 22nd, 2011, 07:38
Totally agree. The game was serviceable but nothing like the original. I enjoyed both this and Dragon Age 2 probably equally but neither will be remembered in a year's time.
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December 22nd, 2011, 10:14
I thought it was fantastic and definitely on par with the original overall. Not in terms of innovation, obviously, but in terms of sheer quality and gameplay fidelity.

That said, it had some unfortunate weaknesses. For my part, the two biggest issues were too many PRAXIS points (nullifying replayability) and a poorly thought-out energy cell system. Both things could be tweaked to something MUCH better with a trivial effort. Sadly, they seem to think their "recharge-only-the-first-bar" system is actually good.

But it meant that you were never comfortable using your powers, and you ended up almost never cloaking or feeling truly empowered. The system hampered your playstyle more than anything.

The boss fights were completely unnecessary and silly, but they didn't actually bother me. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because I beat them actually using my powers - which felt very appropriate. But that archaic iteration of boss fights had no place in DE:HR - just like it had no place in Alpha Protocol.
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December 22nd, 2011, 10:23
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I thought it was fantastic and definitely on par with the original overall. Not in terms of innovation, obviously, but in terms of sheer quality and gameplay fidelity.

That said, it had some unfortunate weaknesses. For my part, the two biggest issues were too many PRAXIS points (nullifying replayability) and a poorly thought-out energy cell system. Both things could be tweaked to something MUCH better with a trivial effort. Sadly, they seem to think their "recharge-only-the-first-bar" system is actually good.
..

The boss fights were completely unnecessary and silly, but they didn't actually bother me. I'm not sure why, but I think it's because I beat them actually using my powers - which felt very appropriate. But that archaic iteration of boss fights had no place in DE:HR - just like it had no place in Alpha Protocol.
Loving it and playing it currently.
The remark on AP is spot on (wich I otherwise enjoyed very much).

i seem to agree on a lot of threads lately with our young musketeer, should I worry ;-)

C
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December 22nd, 2011, 10:55
I enjoyed HR quite a bit. The only thing that really bothered me about DE:HR was the claustrophobic level-design. Not linear necessarily, just way too cramped, similar to Invisible War. It was generally pretty obvious where the alternative paths were going to be (sometimes blatantly so), and the claustrophobic nature of the levels limited creativity and hampered exploration, two of the biggest strengths of Deus Ex. This is unfortunate because the developers did so much that was absolutely wonderful with the gameplay and atmosphere, yet the level design holds back the "complete package" from being truly great.

They did so much that was "right" in terms of what type of experience Deus Ex offered that it's frustrating to see them miss the mark on arguably the most crucial aspect of the original: Large, sprawling levels that offered the player many different vantage points and opportunities to explore and be creative with how to complete the current objective given the "role" and playstyle they wanted to pursue. Fortunately the core gameplay and atmosphere were both very well-done, and these elements make HR a solid experience overall.
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December 22nd, 2011, 10:55
Originally Posted by Crilloan View Post
Loving it and playing it currently.
The remark on AP is spot on (wich I otherwise enjoyed very much).

i seem to agree on a lot of threads lately with our young musketeer, should I worry ;-)

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Hehe, why is it that everyone starts to worry when they find themselves agreeing with me?
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December 22nd, 2011, 11:08
Bought this game yesterday on Steam… I only played a little of the original Deus Ex, because my machine at the time was too crap to play it properly (!)…so, this is almost a new experience for me. I'm finding the 'sticky' stealth/crouching system a bit annoying though - but I'm sure I'll get used to it. So far it's interesting, but I think I've been playing too many games recently, so I'm not in a position to really look at it objectively. I need a break from gaming and computers (gasp!) - seriously…. I'm trying to find a nice place in the countryside where I can veg out for a week, read and de-stress. And have a daily massage ;-)
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December 22nd, 2011, 13:52
Originally Posted by Harlequin View Post
Best FPS and CRPG hybrid since the original. Hands down a top 10 best PC game of 2011.
I'd say this too. It's not this year's #1 material, but an entry in top 10 is definetly deserved.
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December 22nd, 2011, 14:00
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
I enjoyed HR quite a bit. The only thing that really bothered me about DE:HR was the claustrophobic level-design. Not linear necessarily, just way too cramped, similar to Invisible War. It was generally pretty obvious where the alternative paths were going to be (sometimes blatantly so), and the claustrophobic nature of the levels limited creativity and hampered exploration, two of the biggest strengths of Deus Ex. This is unfortunate because the developers did so much that was absolutely wonderful with the gameplay and atmosphere, yet the level design holds back the "complete package" from being truly great.
I find you usually have a very sensible position that one can easily appreciate, if not always agree with.

But claustrophobic levels similar to Invisible War?

Some of the levels were HUGE with a lot of LARGE open spaces/warehouses/corporate buildings and what not.

I agree that alternate paths weren't exactly hidden, but I consider them very much on par with DE.

Like the Liberty Island "look at that huge stack of conveniently placed shiny boxes on each step of the way to the top", or the boy on the second level who immediately gives you the super secret clue to the vending machine access.

I don't know why people tend to confuse large empty spaces with non-linearity - but I guess we must have different recollections of Deus Ex. I replayed a fair bit of it recently, and it's pretty much the same thing - except everything is very dark and very sparsely detailed compared to the prequel.
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December 22nd, 2011, 17:21
I just noticed that DX:HR is currently only €10.19 on GamersGate (from Germany at least). I was waiting for the inevitable Steam Xmas daily deal, but this is even cheaper than I expected that to be. It's sold as a Steam activation code, BTW.
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December 22nd, 2011, 19:07
That's an excellent price!
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December 22nd, 2011, 21:35
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I find you usually have a very sensible position that one can easily appreciate, if not always agree with.

But claustrophobic levels similar to Invisible War?

Some of the levels were HUGE with a lot of LARGE open spaces/warehouses/corporate buildings and what not.
Yes, I did find it similar to IW in terms of layout and design functionality - a much larger and better layout of course, but still more towards that approach than the original.

Here's what I mean by that comparison: Whereas Deus Ex's levels were open and wide, HR's levels are more narrow and tall; this typically funnels the player and limits where you can go in a level, and makes exploration somewhat (but certainly not completely) trivial. There was really only one level in the game that had a truly open-ended, multiple path approach, and that is the Omega Ranch. That was a truly wonderful example of great "Deus Ex" level design.

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I agree that alternate paths weren't exactly hidden, but I consider them very much on par with DE.

Like the Liberty Island "look at that huge stack of conveniently placed shiny boxes on each step of the way to the top", or the boy on the second level who immediately gives you the super secret clue to the vending machine access.

There were also a lot of paths throughout the game that weren't particularly obvious or required genuine exploration to find.

I don't know why people tend to confuse large empty spaces with non-linearity - but I guess we must have different recollections of Deus Ex. I replayed a fair bit of it recently, and it's pretty much the same thing - except everything is very dark and very sparsely detailed compared to the prequel.
I also replayed Deus Ex rather recently (right after playing HR). I would agree that HR is far more detailed than DE (as it should - DE is an 11 year old game now ) and they did a wonderful job with the atmosphere and core gameplay mechanics. But DE is far more open to player creativity, adaptability, and experimentation than HR. HR oftentimes boils down to only two basic approaches: "Should I sneak down this incredibly obvious alternate path, or shoot everybody with an assault rifle?" The only viable option for a stealth player is to use a silenced pistol thanks to the tall and narrow level layout and ridiculous "penalty" for using a non-lethal take-down (the energy consumption nonsense for knocking someone out? That's just a poor decision in my opinion).


DE offers more challenge to a stealth player, more options for a violent player, a variety of useful hacking options, and more opportunities to be anywhere in between. Let's say a player wants to be a "silent assassin," picking off patrolling guards with a silenced sniper rifle before infiltrating a building and switching to a silenced pistol. Given the claustrophobic nature of the levels, good luck using a sniper rifle in HR…I really regretted carrying that damn thing with me the entire game when I only had maybe 3-4 legitimate opportunities to use it. So in my opinion, open space - when used wisely - is far more useful than you give it credit for - it can change a player's entire approach to a situation. Replaying DE still amazes me in terms of how many options are available and different paths that I haven't yet explored; HR just doesn't measure up in this regard in large part due to the lack of space - there's just too many "office" type levels that feel too restrictive in how you can approach them.

HR is far more non-linear than any "modern" fps/rpg hybrid, but compared to the original, it just doesn't capture that same feeling of player freedom. The vast levels were brilliantly used for more than just "empty open space" or to give a mere illusion of non-linearity; it opened up different approaches for the player and allowed for more experimentation and meaningful exploration. If HR had more "Omega Ranch" levels and less "generic office sky-scraper building #24" I would have been left with a much more glowing assessment of the game, as the core gameplay mechanics and atmosphere are wonderful; overall, HR is a very enjoyable, well-made game.
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December 22nd, 2011, 23:35
This is a common problem with games in a "modern" settings, I find - repetitive office and warehouse levels. Some more outdoor areas would have been good and, for me, there was nothing quite as memorable as the opening Stature of Liberty level in the original, which to me was an incredible opening for a game.

I also agree with D'Art about the augmentation design - I spent much of the game trying to conserve them, which leads to more conventional gameplay a lot of the time.

Still, a worthy successor overall. It's nowhere near GotY for me but I really enjoyed it.

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December 22nd, 2011, 23:36
Originally Posted by Nerevarine View Post
HR is far more non-linear than any "modern" fps/rpg hybrid, but compared to the original, it just doesn't capture that same feeling of player freedom. The vast levels were brilliantly used for more than just "empty open space" or to give a mere illusion of non-linearity; it opened up different approaches for the player and allowed for more experimentation and meaningful exploration. If HR had more "Omega Ranch" levels and less "generic office sky-scraper building #24" I would have been left with a much more glowing assessment of the game, as the core gameplay mechanics and atmosphere are wonderful; overall, HR is a very enjoyable, well-made game.
That pretty much sums up the way I feel about DX:HR. It had solid gameplay mechanics, but some sections of the game were just far too repetitive for my taste. I also preferred the level design in the original, and yes, the Omega Ranch was the best level in HR, imo.

I still think it was one of the better games released in 2011, but I found myself wishing it was over towards the end because of the repetitiveness. I can't even bring myself to play the DLC due to the fact that it requires playing the full game again.
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