Deus Ex: Human Revolution is The Best Stealth Action Game Since Metal Gear Solid «

Thierry Nguyen: So I just finished the game after some 35-hours at three in the morning. How are your playthroughs going? In my usual style, I’ve been killing plenty of fools left-and-right — only using stealth to either set up a slick melee ambush or to hack equipment to do my work for me — and so far my highlights include hacking a turret and using my strength augmentation to lug it around the entire level as some sort of lethal furniture for every room I explore; or when I throw a refrigerator to detonate some landmines because I’m too cheap to shoot them instead.

Click the image above to check out all Deus Ex: Human Revolution screens.
Ryan Winterhalter: I blew through the game in a marathon session over the weekend. Probably 30 hours in all, but I missed two huge sidequests. I’m going through a second time on the PC (which is a mighty solid version) right now — being a bit more thorough this time, but still with the same general style: Be as sneaky as possible, but don’t be afraid to neutralize threats by any means necessary. Sometimes I had to get creative to avoid blowing my cover and getting into massive firefights.

One time I had to hold off wave after wave of enemies while waiting for a funicular to arrive. Rather than take them on directly, I used the strength augmentation to block the entrances to the room with vending machines — problem solved. Other times I’d leave a dead body in plain sight simply to distract guards as I snuck deeper into an enemy hideout. When I was drawn into a fighting I would usually duck into a nearby airduct and play Batman with the enemies — only popping out of hiding long enough to take down an enemy or two before retreating again.

Jeremy Parish: Unlike you guys, I have yet to finish the game, and it’ll probably be a while before I do. That’s OK, because I’m not the one responsible for putting the final grade on this review, and because I’m thoroughly enjoying every one of the way-too-many hours I’ve sunk into Human Revolution so far. My approach to gaming tends to be super-meticulous; I’m not a perfectionist, I just want to explore every nook and cranny of a video game world. In most games, that means I wander off the beaten path and find nothing much. In this game, I wander off the beaten path and find rewards for my curiosity: Computer terminals I can hack to learn more about the game’s back story, or security systems I can put to use, or credit chips hidden beneath a dumpster, or even raw experience points for taking the time to poke around outside the main mission path.

It’s rare that I play a game that doesn’t just let me play the way I like, but actually showers me with prizes for doing so, and I love it. At the same time, mine isn’t the only way to play, and you could just as easily go marching in, guns blazing, as you make a beeline for the goal. Lots of developers trumpet player choice, but few manage to pull it off this well.

TN: Yeah, actually, even though I tend to critical path my way through these games, taking time to explore shows off how flexible and choice friendly the map and missions are. Player options might not be quite as extensive as the original game’s extensive flowchart when encountering a simple door, but for the most part, every objective can be done via combat, sneaking through a man-sized vent, hacking a computer, or talking to the right person. You’re only really limited by time and patience, or your current gear and augmentation choices.

In fact, exploring a map gives me a bit of a self-determining Metroid feel — I constantly see options like “if I had strength, I can move that dumpster,” or “I could totally jump that if I upgrade my legs,” or “I could have just jumped down if I had the Icarus parachute thing.” Plus, it’s through all this exploring that I find sly little references that tie this crazy conspiracy yarn to the original game (memos from Manderley, or an early experiment from Everett), which makes me smile.

To me, the abundance of choice engrained in the level design and the moment-to-moment gameplay makes the straightforward boss battles a disappointment. Am I alone in feeling that?


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