Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is exactly what a sequel should be

By Grayshadow, Posted 27 Aug 2016

Back in 2011, Adam Jensen uncovered a conspiracy that went on to change the world, dividing humans into augmented or naturals. 2 years have passed since the events of Human Revolution, augmented humans are now seen as pariahs and are forcibly relocated into ghettos and heavily oppressed. Gone are the forced boss battles and vexing gold filter, instead Deus Ex: Mankind Divided elevates the franchise to new heights. With strong choice driven gameplay and story Mankind Divided provides many different options of how you want to play, it’s everything that we could’ve ask from a sequel. 

Mankind Divided dumps you into the shoes of Adam Jensen once again, former Detroit cop and private security specialist, now an agent for an intergovernmental organization seeking to connect the world’s police force called Interpol. Since the Aug incident, which caused all augmented humans around the world to go into a murderous frenzy, augmented humans have become the center of controversy. People are scared of augmented humans, labeling them as less-than-human and forcing them to carry specific papers and relocating some to favela-like cities. Don’t worry if you didn’t play Human Revolution, Eidos Montreal put a 12-minute optional video summarizing the first game.

Unlike Human Revolution Mankind Divided has one open world to run around. The realized version of Prague is infused with side-quests and hidden paths that yield special items and gadgets for those who look in the right places. Not only are you given access to Human Revolution’s abilities but new talents make traversing the world easier. The Icarus Dash allows Adam to leap short distances in a blink of an eye. If you choose to play as a deadly agent which shoots first the Titan augment would suit your playstyle, negating all damage for a period of time. You’re never hindered for choosing one path over another, in every situation multiple options exist of how you wish to complete each objective. You can choose to storm the front door or look for a hidden vent. You’re encouraged to locate these hidden areas with the promise of rare items and extra experience.

Choosing an assortment of powers that properly suits your style and promotes synergy is one of the Mankind Divided’s strongest elements. Augments that tailor to lethal and non-lethal options are available to choose from and complement both styles of play. For example, if you wish to remain in the shadows investing into the remote hacking tool will allow you to hack electronics from a distance, similar to BioShock 2’s hacking dart minigame. All of these abilities require Praxis points to unlock, which are obtained through completing missions and tasks for experience or getting Praxis kits. Some abilities have branches that upgrade based on which tier you invest into. 

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I felt like a cybernetic god with these enhancements. No task was too great and nothing felt impossible instead I continuously looked for openings in the enemy’s defenses that went against the obvious choice. Since everything requires energy maintaining a steady pace was paramount. Darting through with the Icarus Dash can save my life but without triaging my power if can leave me exposed without power. Since players cannot add more battery packs to their gauge once it runs low you’ll have to wait to recharge. Biocells can temporarily increase and charge your power but once drained to the battery logo it’ll only regenerate up to the logo.

Eidos Montreal has addressed many of the issues with Human Revolution’s stealth encouraged gameplay. Experience is no longer distributed unevenly, with violent options yielding just as much points as the stealth option. The moment-to-moment experience has drastically been improved due to the ability to mantle up ledges, a cover-to-cover movement system, and new UI that highlights where you’ve being observed and if you’re seen. If you happen to break cover a silhouette of your last known location will appear and where enemies will focus their attention on. Other small improvements include a reduced animation for the Icarus Landing System and auto-sorting inventory. It was strange that the ability to hide bodies inside vents or lockers wasn’t included. Having to drag bodies on itself is vexing, especially since you cannot open doors when you drag them, but having to place them in specific locations to avoid detection when I should be able to stuff them into a vent with ease can become frustrating.

Shooting has drastically improved from the first game. Improved controls, which can be swapped to accommodate fps veterans, and precise aiming made shooting in Mankind Divided feel right. Best of all the use of on-the-fly weapon modification plays a much larger role here. If players require more time to think of their actions you can also pause the game by opening the menu and choose your mods without having to worry about being spotting or shot.

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Like Human Revolution, the story of Mankind Divided offers branching paths. Depending on the choices you make characters will treat you differently and the people around you will suffer the consequences of your choices. Unlike Human Revolution, most of the choices you make aren’t clearly black and white. In one instance a side-mission required me to save one of two augmented people from being deported to the augmented ghetto, Golem City. Both deserved to be saved but I had to choose one, by the second act I saw them broken but she didn’t blame me for what happened; which made it much worse. The main campaign has more dire situations but seeing Eidos Montreal successfully mimic this level of urgency and difficult choice into minor quests made me rethink every action I was making. 

The main campaign does suffer from a pacing issue. The plot is well produced with excellent voice actors, despite suffering from horrible lip-syncing issues, but doesn’t attempt to increase the urgency. In Human Revolution new information leading to powerful individuals and the possibility of losing of close allies constantly kept me hooked. Mankind Divided the central case is focused on the events at the start of the game and rarely did it divert from this point.

The Breach is an independent time-trial mode that focuses on gameplay. Here players are plunged into a VR-themed world with a distinct art style to compete for record times on the leaderboards. Taking control of a new rebel called Ripper you travel between Breach points to complete trials and unlock new items for your avatar. These are obtained randomly through booster packs and include weapon upgrades and modifers to change the gameplay. Unique abilities such as the double jump grant higher mobility, allowing for faster movement when compared to the main campaign. It's a welcoming addition for those seeking high-speed action.

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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is exactly what a sequel should be, an improvement on everything the first game established while giving the player much more to toy around with. The branching paths always had me wondering if I made the right choices and how the consequences of my actions would play out. The technical issues were distracting but the new dimension of combat and exploration continued to challenge me. I was rewarded for my curiosity and left lamenting on every decision I made. If this is last time we see Adam Jensen he went out with a bang.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Eidos Montreal
Genres: Action
Themes: Sci-Fi
Release Date: 2016-08-23

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