Deus Ex Mankind Divided (2016)
Platform Played: PC
Price: $59.99 (I paid $29.99) on a steam sale one month ago
Developer: Eidos Montréal, Nixxes Software BV, Feral Interactive
Publisher: Squre Enix
Background & Setting: I love Deus Ex. These are fabulous games which tell excellent science-fiction/speculative fiction stories.I penned a trilogy of posts earlier this year about the first installment of this series. In an age where multiplayer gaming is regarded as the pinnacle of gaming these games are some of the best immersive single player experiences available. Mankind Divided, is Deus Ex: The Conspiracy’s (2000) second prequel. It continues Adam Jensen’s story from Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011) which I reviewed here.
Jensen is once more a cop. He’s now working for Interpol in the story. No more is he a security contractor/PI. Now he is an outcast. Ever since the Aug Incident in 2027, the mechanically augmented citizen is now a second class one. Jensen is the only augmented field agent in the Interpol task force he works in. After an operation goes wrong in Dubai, Jensen again has to delve into the shadowy depths of conspiracies, false flags, and opposing forces. This is also a point where the game could have been better.
Earlier installments of the series have the player globetrotting: Hong Kong, Paris, New York City, Detroit, and Area 51 are all familiar locations to players of Human Revolution and the original Deus Ex. After the game’s prologue in Dubai, the player is more or less confined to the mean streets of Prague, Czech Republic. Although, the developers take on Prague is well done and immersive, the game falls short from past installments due to there only being one major setting or hub.
Level Design: Industrial facilities, cityscapes, hidden bases, and urban decay are the background for many of the battles and investigations Adam will conduct. Some highlights include a clandestine facility in the Swiss Alps and a dilapidated theater in Prague. The theater is my favorite setting in game and that is where Adam has the chance to take down a crimelord.
Weapons: Adam’s trusty revolver is back. The .357 Magnum is without the exploding bullets though. There’s no heavy rifle (minigun), there’s a battle rifle, a submachine gun, and the combat rifle. The 10mm pistol that still shoots like a .40 S&W is still around, it is essentially a Smith & Wesson M&P. The whole of the weapons have applications and alternative ammunition: EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse), Armor Piercing, and regular ammunition. There are also some unique weapons scattered throughout the game like the ‘Devastator’ shotgun.
Some ammo types are too scarce for some of these guns to be used though. The Battle Rifle is a prime example of this. There are not enough merchants in game, especially accessible ones later on. (I shall discuss this more later).
Problems: Mankind Divided was exactly what I look for in a game: an immersive single player experience. However, I did not get into the cinematic cutscenes too much. These were overly long, and oftentimes almost irrelevant. The original Deus Ex had better storytelling tools without having to bore the player to the tenth degree.
When Prague is decreed to be under martial law later in the game the player is confronted with hostiles who will yield no experience points after defeating them. This wears down the player’s resources and it is almost impossible to avoid these fights. I don’t see how these conflicts or the martial law sequence added to telling the game’s story.
Final Analysis: Mankind Divided could have been such a masterpiece. Its short length story, poor execution, and lack of rewarding the player for certain fights made it definitely far from the best game in the series. Mankind Divided is only a few steps up from Deus Ex 2 in my book.