I finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution.  After a bad beginning, I found myself hankering for some Deus Ex action and, well, it turns out there’s only about 41 hours of it total, so I’m done.  It’s a pretty good game, with some flaws.

On the plus side: there’s usually multiple ways to do something.  You can shoot your way through, or you can try to sneak by, or you can knock people out.  There’s opportunities to use almost all of the augmentations, and you’re rarely forced to use a particular one.

You should get the robot control aug, because then you can do this:

My friend the turret

If you want to compare notes, here’s what I ended up doing:

  • This was on the medium level, Give Me a Challenge.
  • Did a lot of hacking: level 4, all the hacking stealth upgrades, got to the turrets, never messed with Fortity, barely used Stop or Nuke.
  • Got all the fun augments: lift weights, punch through walls, no-damage falls, invisibility, jump.  Ended up with typhoon & the ones removing electricity/gas damage mostly to fight bosses.
  • Didn’t bother with stealth & sprint augments, extra energy bars, aiming stuff.
  • Mostly used sniper rifle, tranq/stun guns, 10 mm pistol (surprisingly lethal when upgraded).  Laser rifle is great for final two bosses.
  • Talked Sandoval out of suicide; let Zelazny go; saved Malik.
  • As for the final choice, I went with Sarif.  After playing as a superhero, it didn’t make much sense to try to hit the brakes on augmentation.  Sarif is still an asshole, though.

The main negative: stealth is really really unforgiving.  I got tired of skulking around, moving an inch forward to get a better look or move toward someone, and getting shot to death.  Or running into one last unexpected guard.  Or forgetting that flashing red lights could be a mine.  Or just alarming a passel of enemies, spoiling a good sneak.

I messed up often enough in the Batman games, but in general you can sneak much easier there: there are more back routes, you can escape suddenly, and it’s a lot easier to get thugs alone.  And there’s half a dozen ways to take someone down.  In DEHR all you get is the takedown-from-behind, and it’s rationed.  I have a lot of patience (I spent approximately 12 hours as Catwoman in vents at the top of Wonder Tower), but I mostly ended up using cover to shoot dudes.

The inventory system is not on my friends list.  I kind of get the reasoning behind making players mess with inventory: you force making choices, and you make scrounging for ammo meaningful.  But inventory wrangling is not a lot of fun, and running out of space is obnoxious.  Plus I never knew what I’d be needing next, so I’d conserve stuff as much as possible… I ended the game with a mess of unused ordinance.  There’s a reason Mass Effect 2 threw out almost all of the inventory management of ME1.

The social analyzer stuff is an interesting though not really successful attempt to deepen dialogs.  I like the idea of deducing personality types… on the other hand, if you fail a conversation, repeating it is tedious and generally makes me reach for a walkthrough.

I don’t like most boss fights… I got killed a lot till I studied tactics online, after which most of the fights were probably too easy (but I was too relieved to be bothered by that).  You don’t get to use any stealth, though that was normally the case in Batman too.  (Dr. Freeze was an exception.)

One of many nice vistas

As for the story… well, I could have done without the Illuminati.  Massive conspiracies are cheesy and this one was particularly unnecessary– there was plenty of motivation for the major characters, and each of them would have been more interesting without the conspiracy stuff.

The actual augmentation stuff… well, as I said before, the battle was lost when someone invented eyeglasses.  I completely lack whatever geek gene goes crazy for the idea of replacing your body parts with metal and plastic, I find the Singularity to be bonkers, and I’m not sure the writers realize that if everyone is augmented, then augmented is the new normal.  But I don’t think we’re playing God, and Adam’s final monologue about getting past morality made no sense.

If you’re wavering, I think it’s worth picking up… just persist past the horrible tutorial and the somewhat mediocre first city hub, Detroit.  It’s much more fun once you have a few augments; also the other cities are all better done.

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