The follow up to Deus Ex: Human Revolution shines in every important aspect: combat, mechanics and level design. Should you play it?
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Available on: PlayStation 4 (tested), Xbox One, PC
Set two years after the events of Human Revolution, Mankind Divided is a follow up to the state of the world after the Aug Event, in which augmented people around the world were driven insane in a killing spree. An optional 12-minute recap video recounts in convoluted detail the story to refresh the events of the already 5 year old game. An Anti Aug movement is now in place, and anyone with augments is seen as the enemy and harassed by the common people. This is where the story of Mankind Divided unfolds.
This follow up features the best gameplay the series has ever seen. Period. It delivers plenty of deep and multi-part quests for you to complete with fun and interesting abilities. Adam Jensen, our protagonist, no longer struggles for the things he has to do. He instead is working for Task Force 29 and has moved to Prague. He is now a super-agent with really cool augments. There are seven new augmentations to play with. For those who like to go full lethal, there is the Focus Enhancement to briefly slow time, or Titan Armor to pretty much ignore all kind of artillery. On the other hand, for stealth fans, the new Remote Hacking tool will be the favorite tool. You can use it with tripwires, mines, turrets, drones, and the list goes on, and a simple timing-based minigame pops up. Complete it and whatever you are trying to hack will stop working for a short while.
But gadgets and cool abilities are not the whole story. You also have thoughtfully crafted environments waiting for you to exploit their full potential. The city of Prague is packed with an incredible amount of detail. It works like the center of the aug-hate, and as such, you will be bullied by the police, you will need to avoid the naturals-only entrance to the metro station, ride in your designed carriage, etc. You get the idea. The story takes place mostly here, with a few stops in other countries. You can also say good bye to the convenient LIMB clinic for repairs. Small details like these completely change the feeling and setting of the game.
Multilayered levels, several routes to accomplish goals in any way you like, the ability to choose between lethal vs stealth, etc. I’m not saying you have a Hitman level of possibilities here, but if you face it against Human Revolution, the difference is outstanding. The verticality alone is a huge improvement. You can feel how complex the game is when it presents you with a big space full of obstacles, enemies, and secrets, without any guidance. The game will set you lose, and that’s it. It is up to you to solve it in any way you like. Hack, destroy or avoid sentry turrets, avoid or handle security bots, disable, completely avoid or find your way thru laser tripwires and patrolling guards, etc. The combat side is fun, the Remote Hacking aug will allow you to manipulate pretty much everything, from traps meant to stop you in first place like laser grids, to window shutters and ladders, opening up even more routes for you to approach, execute and get away – unnoticed. This is fun, and gives replay value.
And the best part is, not only replay value because you can simply sneak, hack or kill anyone in your way. By being sneaky and discovering alternative routes, you will also find deep and interesting side quests. As interesting and complex as the main ones, which is a shame just for one reason: the game allows you to completely skip them if you just happen to rush your way thru the levels with full force.
The combat has been enhanced as much as Adam. If you decide to go for the full banana approach, the gunplay style is exquisite. You are able to change mods on the fly, transforming your combat rifle into an effective sniping weapon with just a few changes. Utility and flexibility are key mechanics for you to take advantage of, and no weapon is just a standard firearm.
The 20- to 25-hour campaign is focused on discovering the truth behind a bombing. You will eventually be teased by larger forces, but the plot never follows those trails. It may be a step down from the previous title where kidnapping, scam, blackmail and extortion were just a tiny bit of everything was happening at the same time. On the bright side, the story is clear and to the point.
An extra mode: Breach
Breach is a fast-paced puzzle shooter game mode completely independent from the main story of Mankind Divided. You have unique augs to compete for record times in leaderboards. Completing missions in Breach will award you with experience points and credits to upgrade even more unique augs.
Should you play it? Yes. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided features one of the best level design in the series. Enhances it with cool and interesting augs to experiment with, fun gameplay with polished mechanics and a respectable plot.