In 2011, Square Enix successfully brought back the Deus Ex franchise with Human Revolution. It's not as if the series needed a revival, since it has carved out its own comfortable place in the gaming world. But this new entry did wonders for the series, even if it did leave a few problems in its wake.
What's the best way to play: stealth or action?, most gamers asked themselves. And why were the bosses so hard to beat unless your augmentations were powered up to 11?
Thankfully, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut, available for all gaming platforms, answered these questions the right way. The game is a bit more streamlined with this new release over its 2011 counterpart, with the inclusion of the downloadable content right in the game, and balancing that makes it feel like a better product overall. It was great even then, but now, it's a well-built machine. Kind of like the main hero, Adam Jensen.
Adam works for the biotechnology company Sarif and finds himself in the midst of a hostile attack that leaves him mangled and his girlfriend gone. Rebuilt with several augmentations that improve his combat style and maneuverability, Adam goes looking for answers while continuing to work for Sarif on various missions.
How you play is even more streamlined in the director's cut. There are two ways to go: stealth and action.
Stealth rewards the patient player, having you hack into systems and crawl through air ducts undetected. Sometimes it can be a little iffy, with some folks acting suspicious of your actions and then not giving a care in the world. But this system works mainly due to the seamless switch between first-person view and third-person sneaking, when Adam is in plain sight.
Action is more difficult, because once everyone is aware of your presence, they won't stop until you're dead or vanquished. One mission at a police station — where we just wanted to see how far we'd get — left a whole room of cops just shooting willy-nilly at us. Exciting, for sure. Improbable, maybe. But it's nice for Square Enix to provide the option to let us do our thing.
Combat also has its rewards with augmentations. Level up your melee attacks enough, and Adam uses attacks in inventive ways.
I'm also happy to report that the boss battles are much better. Instead of just pulverizing opponents with super-augmented moves, you now have better strategies, and you can hide and wait or use firepower. It's a much better system, although if you prefer the old methods, you can still use them.
The Wii U version of Human Revolution is a bit more expensive — $50 compared to the $30 the others go for — but it's the best of the bunch, mainly because of how the touch-screen comes into play. You'll use this for hacking, inventory and other purposes throughout the game, and although it can be overwhelming at first, the system works superbly. I'm sure the other menu systems work fine in the other games, but this feels like the definitive choice. Plus, it's got that high-tech bravado that fits the futuristic tone of the game.
As for the presentation, not much has changed, but not much needs to. Deus Ex's futuristic world is fantastic and loaded with clever touches. The camera can be a bit weird at times — around corners, particularly — but overall, the game flows with creativity. The voice work is good as well.
With a story that lasts hours, additional downloadable content that will keep you challenged throughout (wait till you get to "Missing Link"), unbeatable touch-screen implementation and a majority of the same great stuff from the original release, the director's cut of Deus Ex: Human Revolution definitely deserves a look. This is how the game was meant to be played.
VIDEO GAME REVIEW
'Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut'
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii U
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
ESRB rating: M