Review: Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut
Back in 2011, Deus Ex: Human Revolution was an impressive game with plenty of ambition. It mixed together elements from several different genres, and gave the player the ability to complete each level in a number of different ways. It mostly worked, but on reflection the game is also remembered for a few of its flaws. The Director’s Cut, originally a Wii U exclusive that ended up multi-platform, fixes the game’s most noted problems, adds all of the DLC content, and refines some of the mechanics. The result is a finely tuned version of a modern classic.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution paints a brilliant picture of a technology-mad, cyberpunk inspired future, and this immense style gives the game great character. When I first played it two years ago I had just completed RAGE, and in comparison was a little underwhelmed by the shooting mechanics. But I guarantee that if a RAGE ‘Directors Cut’ was released today I would have zero time for it, whereas I’ve really enjoyed returning to Deus Ex, and have actually had more fun with it on my second playthrough.
Knowing what to expect helps quite a bit. Deus Ex isn’t a First Person Shooter, and has more in common with an RPG like The Elder Scrolls than it does with Call of Duty. This is a game where the focus is on levelling up, learning new abilities, and completing side quests. You’re not simply trying to kill anything that moves. Since its release we’ve had Dishonoured, which is pretty similar in gameplay terms, but has a very different look and feel. Because of this, Deus Ex hasn’t been superseded by that which followed, and this again makes it a worthy game to come back to.
But whilst the atmosphere and setting are spot on, the game can still be quite goofy at times. It prides itself on player choice, as well as the ability to approach levels in a variety of ways, but both of these elements have their limitations. As a general rule, climbing into a vent will solve most of your problems. Guards keep killing you? Use a vent to sneak past them. Locked door you don’t have the skills to hack? Better look for that conveniently placed vent. Cant get into a building? Try looking for a… wait a minute there’s no vent?! But there is a big drain…
Player choice also only really works to a certain extent, and some of the solutions the game lets you fashion are unsatisfactory. At one point you need to gain entry to an exclusive club, but the bouncer refuses to let you in without a membership card. You can buy one, find one, go around the side and enter through a vent (obviously), or you can sneak in through the sewer. These are all reasonable ways to solve the problem. But if you’d like you can do none of these things, and just shoot the bouncer in the head whilst standing outside the nightclub. If you’re far enough back when you do this then no one will react. There’s a line of people queuing, none of them seem to mind that not only has someone just been murdered, but they’re waiting to be let into the club by someone who’s lying on the floor dead in front of them. You, however, can step over his body and go in through the front door.
It’s a bit silly, but doesn’t really stop the game from being a lot of fun. The difficulty level is pretty high, and this makes everything you do feel worthwhile. Side quests net you invaluable experience and items, and choosing how to spend your upgrade points is a process that can’t be rushed. Whilst you can technically play the game by running and gunning, ammo is limited and you don’t have much health, so this is a very difficult approach. Because of this it is entirely necessary to implement stealth and strategy into your attack, and taking your time is always the most effective way to progress.
This time around I played as a hacker, and the abilities I unlocked here were skill points well spent. Reprogramming a turret to attack your enemies results in complete carnage, and the boss battles have thankfully been reworked to accommodate for players who haven’t upgraded their combat skills. This is perhaps the biggest improvement to the Director’s Cut, as these battles (which were originally outsourced to a different development studio) were fundamentally broken, and impossibly difficult without the right abilities. In the original game I really struggled with the first boss, a big mercenary who took an insane amount of bullets to kill, but this time I had fun sneaking around him and hacking some turrets to mow him down.
Some of the other additions are a bit more subtle. The graphics are supposedly better, although I’m not entirely sure if this is true. It was originally stated that the game would take advantage of the Wii U’s additional power, but since then the game turned multi-platform, although everything I’ve read implies that the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions also benefit from the improved visuals. I played the game on PlayStation 3, and it didn’t stand out as being noticeably different to the original version (which incidentally I played on Xbox 360). So either this feature really is exclusive to the Wii U, or the differences are minor, which very well could be the case as I didn’t test the two versions side by side.
There’s also the additional DLC content, which is a nice inclusion for those new to the game. There’s an extra chapter which takes place during the main story, so newcomers will be enjoying a longer game with additional narrative.
Of course the other main new feature is the dual screen play, and whilst I haven’t yet enjoyed this on the Wii U gamepad, I did experience it using cross play on the PS Vita. Setting this up isn’t as easy as it should be (you have to pair your Vita to the PS3 in the console’s settings, boot up Deus Ex on the PS3 and then start remote play on the Vita once you’re on the title screen). Once working, it’s not a perfect substitute for the Wii U, and there’s a bit of delay before your inputs register, you don’t have enough shoulder buttons so have to map controls to the rear touch pad, and the touch screen interfaces are unresponsive.
If it worked properly it would be a cool feature, and using a PS Vita to control a PS3 game is a fun novelty. But if you’re buying this on current gen then I’ve a feeling you’ll be sticking with a regular controller. Of course the problems I experienced won’t be relevant for Wii U players, and it’s likely that this will be remembered at the ultimate version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
At it’s core this might be the same game from 2011, but that’s really not a bad thing. The setting is still awesome, the atmosphere is still immense, and you still have the same unnecessarily brutal melee attack that never fails to entertain. Some of the old issues remain, including some loading sequences that break up gameplay, and an excessive amount of onscreen waypoints, but all of the game’s biggest flaws have been fixed. If you’ve not played Deus Ex: Human Revolution before, then this is the version you want, but I’d also recommend it to fans of the original, as it’s still great fun on the second playthrough.