So let me start this review by first saying that nobody has rosier rose tinted glasses than I do for the original Deus Ex released by Warren Spector and Ion Storm in 2000.
Does that mean I’m going to rubbish everything that follows or simply praise everything that shares a name with it? Well, hopefully neither. I like to think I’m a pretty level headed guy, and while comparisons must be made to Human Revolution and the original Deus Ex, I’m primarily going to review Mankind Divided on its own merits.
Why is this review coming to you more than a week after release? Well, for one, we didn’t get a review copy of this title. I purchased it myself (Paid it off at EB Games over the course of a couple of months actually) and I wanted to play through the game in its entirety before sharing my thoughts.
So with all of that in mind, let’s get on with it shall we? Mankind Divided is the direct sequel to Human Revolution and takes place two years after the events in that game.
Now working for Interpol in a special task force, Adam Jensen flies around the world dealing with international terrorism. While there are a few field trips to other locales, the bulk of this game takes place in Prague (Capital of the Czech Republic). The city is divided into two sections and serves as the central hub for the majority of the game.
Let me say now, you can fly through this game at break neck speeds and probably finish it in under 12 hours. However, I’d hazard a guess and argue that by doing so you’d be missing a good 50% of the game. A thorough playthrough (depending on just how thorough you want to be) should set you in the 24-30 hour range. That’s not including multiple playthroughs on New Game+ and trying out different playstyles and alternative story paths, which the game has several of, much like the earlier titles. You can play a humanitarian, killing nobody and saving the people, or you can kill everything that moves, aid repressions and generally be a total jerk. The choices are yours.
I’ve seen some comments about the story ending abruptly, but I certainly didn’t feel this to be the case based on my playthrough. The story made sense, and ended appropriately. Yes it leaves questions, and likely we will see another title in the series that will lead us directly into the events of the original Deus Ex, but I don’t feel things ended prematurely. As with previous titles there are plenty of conspiracy theories, secret groups, double agents and you’re left with a feeling of never really knowing who to trust.
Visually the game looks great. The high resolution, detailed textures with all sorts of fancy graphical effects including cloth physics and pretty lighting make the busy streets of Prague come to life. Fair warning, despite your system specs you’re best playing this one with MSAA turned all the way off. I also found the game more stable with ‘Exclusive Full Screen’ switched off. The game crashed a couple of times in a 12 hour play session on day one, but there have been a couple of patches released since and I haven’t had any problems at all. LOTS of visual options including Field of View show that it’s not just a console port.
The voice acting isn’t too bad and only came across as horribly cheesy once or twice, thankfully only for minor characters. The music is thematic and well done with a blend of orchestral soundtrack and electronic beats depending on the situation. I’d be tempted to pickup the soundtrack down the line at some point.
Controls for the most part were fine. I did have a few issues with the spacebar while in cover, occasionally finding Adam would leap over his cover rather than sneakily move around the corner. Various touch screens work better if you use the arrow and enter keys as well, as I found using the mouse to click an option would often draw my weapon and scare the shit out of everyone. For reference I used the keyboard and mouse for my entire playthrough.
Let me touch briefly on the “Day 1 Edition”, “DLC, DLC, DLC!”, and “In-Game Microtransaction” controversies that also surrounded the launch of this game. In earnest I feel that this has more to do with Square Enix (the publisher) rather than Edios (the developer). Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a complete game. I was able to purchase and upgrade 80% of Adam’s augmentations on my single play through without having to use the stuff included in the Day 1 Edition or spending any real money. The DLC isn’t a part of the core game either, but rather separate missions that are accessed via the main menu and appear to occur outside of the main story. I’ve yet to play the included Day 1 DLC myself. In short, it appears (to me at least) that Square Enix simply wanted to squeeze the game for an extra buck and filled it with some bollocks, but you can thankfully ignore it completely and enjoy the game that Eidos made for what it is without any loss.
How does it compare to Human Revolution and the original Dues Ex? Well in my opinion it’s a better game than Human Revolution in every way (not that HR was a bad game mind you) and worthy of the name Deus Ex. It certainly feels a lot closer to Warren Spector’s original game, and after completing this game you can really see how close we are to the events of that first title. One more game should complete the story nicely. Perhaps then we might move onto sequels rather than prequels?
SUMMARY: If you’ve never played a Deus Ex game before and like your first person shooters to have more meat on them, coming closer to an RPG or action/adventure game with lots of exploring, then you’re going to love this. If you are a fan of the earlier titles you wont be disappointed either. Eidos have taken the original working recipe and just seasoned it with a little more spice, and lots of references and links to the Human Revolution and the original title.
The game currently $79.95 on Steam or at EB Games, although you could probably find it cheaper if you hunt around.
Reviewed On: PC
Specs: Intel i7-6700k, 32GB DDR4, Nvidia 770GTX (2GB)
Playtime: 58 Hours