You may recall I absolutely hated my first two hours in Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  I’m a couple missions in now, and I’m doing much better.  Chalk it up to a truly awful and unrepresentative tutorial.

I didn’t understand what I was doing (and yes, I blame this on the tutorial, that’s what they’re for).  To start with, cover differs from crouching.  It felt like I was aiming with mouse2 and firing with mouse1– like arrows in Skyrim and gadgets in Arkham City.  In fact I was entering cover with mouse2 and then firing without looking with mouse1.  Why there is a fire without looking mode I don’t know.  You have to hit a WASD key to peek out of cover.  Anyway, all this is easier when you make cover a toggle– now you can shoot with two UI gestures instead of three.

"Fire blindly" mode. Yes, this is a thing.

I was having terrible trouble sneaking through a room, and Cortex gave me a very useful bit of advice: just waste ’em.  Well, he said position yourself for a takedown, then shoot a dude and do the takedown, a neat trick for handling two dudes at once which I haven’t mastered yet.  But the general idea of not worrying so much about stealth was helpful.

So naturally, the mission I just did, taking down O’Malley, involved stealth.  But this also is easier than it seemed during the first mission.  I thought you could only do one takedown from behind.  But your aug juice replenishes pretty quickly, often while you’re hiding the first guy.  So effectively you can take down as many dudes as you want, so long as they helpfully turn their back to you.

The thugs are also, well, really dumb.  They get excited and search for you if they see you, but they give up easily.  (Memo to NPC thugs: it wasn’t your nerves, it was a dude, and he’s still there.  Also this is why your buddies keep disappearing.)  At least Arkham City thugs know how to keep patrolling.

The basic story involves (and is probably aimed for) people who find this sort of thing really sexy:

What, no boob enhancer?

That is, it’s about augmented people vs. what Charlie Stross would call orthohumans.  I realize that many people, chiefly those who used to draw the covers for Heavy Metal, find nothing cooler than human-shaped plastic or metal; but it looks awkward and ugly to me.  I like skin; I like the warmth and flexibility of flesh.  True, it doesn’t stand up well to bullets, but you know, neither does your computer.

(Not that I’m picking the ‘orthohuman’ side; in my sf future it would be as baffling to reject all augmentations as it would be to reject all medicine.  The orthohuman-only movement lost when people invented spectacles.)

Also, David Sarif is pretty much an asshole.  He obviously isn’t too bothered by a division of the world into have-augs and have-augs-not.  He talks like an asshole.  He called me up to whine when I didn’t buy an augmentation with the measly 5000 credits he advanced me (I’m still deciding, OK?).  I just know he’s building a secret aug-only city underneath the sea.

Also, most bizarre futuro-wackazoid idea ever: The Future is based in Detroit.  The Singularity, OK, maybe, but Detroit reviving in the next 15 years? 

I still find a lot of clumsiness in the game’s execution.  Sometimes enemies are annoyingly alarmable, sometimes unrealistically unresponsive.  (O’Malley himself stood stupidly at his desk when I arrested him… does corruption make you less able to notice big dudes in black trench coats crawling around your knees?)  I had to buy Jump for two frigging praxis points to get through the O’Malley mission, and still had trouble getting over a fence.  I did get over, yes, but the feedback is terrible… I didn’t even know for sure if the augment was kicking in.  People in dialogs are strangely fidgety.

Oh well, at least I’m advancing now.  I have to go break into the police station for my asshole boss now.  (He has a skyscraper office and apparently just one minion.)