I was looking at all my games just the other day and was wondering what I should maybe go back to in this summer void. I wanted something with an engaging single player for sure so after a lot of soul searching, and because it’s the only steel book game I have making it stand out, I settled on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and my god (in the machine….get it? Me neither really…) I forgot just how much this game means to me! I enjoyed myself so much I thought I’d do a retroactive review! So sit back and strap on your augs for a little taste what I class as a gaming masterpiece.
As a follow up to the universally praised Deus Ex: Human Revolution released in 2011 Mankind Divided had a lot to live up to. The story picks up 2 years later with reluctant robo limb wearer Adam Jensen now working for Interpol whilst secretly moonlighting with anti-illuminati group The Juggernaut Collective (which is a way better name than “Anonymous” come at me internet…). Returning players will wonder what has happened after Jensen’s choice at the end of the previous title and I’m here to reassure you that ABSOLUTLY NOTHING you did has any impact on the overall story! Whatever you choice in the finale Adam still gets knocked into a coma and apparently wakes up months later with no real recollection of the events but what he does have is revealed early in the story of the sequel. Jensen is now jam packed with even more awesome mechanical augmentations to wail on the baddies with! With such highlights as a full body suit of summon able armour and a god damn arm mounted laser cannon you’d be forgiven for thinking that the shades equipped badass has nothing to fear! However, Adam is limited to how many of his abilities can be active at any one time and enemies often have a counter measure just in case so combat sections will still require quite a lot of planning and preparation but the end is worth it when you look back on a room full of dead or unconscious bad guys that either never saw you coming or could do nothing to stop you anyway.
I touched on it just then but there is an incredible sense of freedom in Deus Ex. Sure there are core missions and a story that will play out how it has to but you still make the choices on where to go and who to talk to. Adam can range from a hateful psychopath to gruff but compassionate protector easily and it’s fun to try out the different styles. On my first run of the story I went for the true pacifist route and avoided harming anyone regardless of who they were. I left a mess of knocked out baddies in my wake but come the finale I found most of my allies and former rivals treating me like I was the second coming of Christ! It was pretty rewarding to say the least especially after the frustration that this sneaky and gentle play style brings. So for round two I went all in. Never without my trusty assault rifle I laid waste to anyone who looked at me sideways and made sure to take every option in the dialogue trees that I deemed “the most dick-ish” by the end everyone on my comms seemed to want me to fail but how could I with the sheer amount of power and ordinance I’d obtained?!
I’ll admit I fell in love with the style of the game as well. Human Revolution had a very art deco style with a strange yellow tint applied to everything meant to represent the augmented renaissance. Mankind Divided however drops this style in favour of gritty realism, as though the first games style was a façade which has now been pulled away revealing the dirty cyberpunk world underneath. There’s no getting around that the game plays like an old school cop thriller with Adam Jensen being the futuristic equivalent to someone like Dirty Harry. This is something the developers are clearly hinting at too with Adams overall presentation with the gruff personality, long coat and even a MASSIVE revolver!
If you haven’t already than I really cannot recommend Deus Ex: Mankind divided to you enough. With its story of conspiracy and political intrigue somehow perfectly balanced with Adam’s robo arms and ability to shoot frickin lasers. With so many explore able routes and options for dealing with situations there is plenty to keep you interested for several play throughs and even more when you crack on with new game plus!