Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Action role-playing, first-person shooter, stealth
PC, PS4, Xbox One
August 23, 2016
₹ 999 (PC), ₹ 3299 (PS4 and Xbox One)
Here we are, to the much awaited Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. For those new to the Deus Ex world, let me give you a little introduction. Deus Ex was a first person action RPG released in 2000. It was the game that inspired me to take up writing about video games. Deus Ex is still considered by many as one of the greatest game ever. For a game almost sixteen years old, the game hasn’t terribly aged like most games have. It is still very playable, and still feels fresh. I would recommend this game to anyone, even today. Playing this game before you play MD (Mankind Divided) is a bonus.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution, which was released exactly 5 years ago. Deus Ex: HR did a fantastic job in rebooting a franchise that was considered half dead. It rehashed the mechanics seen in the original Deus Ex and it stayed true to the original. Deus Ex: MD has been released for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.
The game is set 2 years after the events of Deus Ex: HR. Augmented people, meaning humans with artificial enhancements built right into their bodies and their minds, have gone into a frenzy and are now a threat to the society. They are the reviled and segregated underclass of the present society.
You are an Interpol agent Adam Jenson, an agent with heavy augmentations enough to make you a superhero. Your aim in the game is to bring down the Illuminati, a organisation that has rather sly plans for augmentations and the human race. Not everything appears as what it is, and you find yourself tangled in a web of conspiracies during your quest towards your eventual objective.
The story in Mankind Divided mainly focuses on investigation of recent terror attacks. As you progress, the plot thickens and spreads horizontally into many layers. The story feels convoluted when it begins. There are quite a lot of names and organisations thrown early on which can be a bit too much to follow and keep track of. It takes time for the story to focus itself and kick into gear. When it does so eventually, all of a sudden, the game is over! And Deus EX: MD is not a short game, it’s a good 30-35 hour long campaign, but I couldn’t help but feel that the game ejaculated prematurely. It feels as though there is an entire act missing in the end. The story only deals with the proxies of the problem and not actually the real villains themselves. When you’re dealing with an exposition heavy story, it is a tad disheartening to feel ungratified when you finish the game. On the other hand, this could also mean upcoming DLCs.
Deus Ex is a series that is known to have consequences for your actions. For me, this is the most alluring aspect of the franchise, how the fate of the world depends on the choices you, Adam Jenson make. In Mankind Divided, there are small significant choices with consequences, but there aren’t really any strong repercussions to them. I’m not saying that your actions and choices don’t matter. They certainly do. But they only do so at a level that was unsatisfying to me. For instance, I never felt like anything I did in the game came back to bite me later, which was a starring element of the original Deux Ex.
This isn’t necessarily a negative point of the game. There are enough choices with respective consequences. For example, I did this mission where I reached a guy stealthily. He acknowledged my stealthiness and chose to talk matters out with me, rather than turning violent. Then again, there was a mission where I had to choose between saving one important guy or a group hundred people. I chose one, but later, I managed to do both! That just takes the punch out of a big choice. I did notice a little bit of dialogue here and there that acknowledged my choices though.
There is one hub area in Deus Ex: MD to explore, i.e., the city of Prague. This is definitely one of the best digitally built cities I’ve ever seen. Prague just looks drop dead stunning, with its Central European architecture coupled with the future bladerunner-esqe setting. It feels daunting, and that fits in the setting of the game perfectly. There are other cities to explore too, but Prague is the main hub center. As soon as I found out that I can hack into my neighbours’ apartments, I was hooked. Hacking into apartments is exciting, because you never know what you will find. Jeez, I love a good snoop!
The core gameplay has not changed much since Human Revolution. There are slight advancements and changes here and there, but everything works principally the way it did in the previous game. In short, Mankind Divided is still a FPS-sneaker hybrid. You can finish the game without killing a single person. The game offers enough stealth outlets to achieve this. Playing stealth is a lot of fun.
If you’re a Deus Ex fan, you’ll feel more than comfortable traversing through the vents in Mankind Divided. I devised a thumb rule for the game, “When in doubt, find a vent.” There is a also a new cover system. You can now rush through to cover at a point ahead of you without manoeuvring your character. Even the controls have been revamped, and controlling Jenson feels more seamless and intuitive. I suspect other games to take note of the stealth controls in Mankind Divided.
Being Jensen has its perks, and that means, augmentations, a lot of them. In this game, augmentations have become even more powerful than they were in the previous games. They improve you in every way possible. You can become invisible, have X-Ray vision, titan armour, the ability to slow down time. You can even launch exploding katanas from your wrist, and sweat bulletproof gel. Deciding how to use your upgrade points on augments is always exciting.
The new addition in Mankind Divided is the crafting system. You can craft parts, build various items and upgrade your weapons. I personally didn’t use this much. I found the upgrades to be really expensive. Another new addition is the Breach Mode. In this mode you time travel through VR levels trying to extract data as fast as possible. This mode has its own upgrades, missions and campaigns. There’s also a leaderboard for this mode. When I saw two types of currency in the game, it immediately bought the idea of micro-transactions in my mind. I was more than pleased to see that weren’t actually any micro-transactions that involved real money.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a solid action-stealth RPG. For me, it misses the mark in terms of story, but it more than makes up with good core gameplay and RPG elements. One thing to appreciate in a game of today’s day and age is the absolute lack of filler material. None of the quests in the game are put in just for the sake of it. They all make sense and are put beautifully together, even if they feel a little convoluted. I like how everything is mildly connected to each other, and how the outcome of one quests influences the other.
-Solid Gameplay Mechanics
-Great Stealth Game
-Missions with subtle choices and consequences
-State of the art graphics
-Impressive level design
-Story feels lacking in the end
-No big "Deus Ex" style choice to consequence