This is Gaming Cypher’s PC review, done by John Pruitt, for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided by Square Enix and Eidos-Montréal.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a well-crafted game with beautiful graphics, a great story, and engaging user interface. I have not played Human Revolution completely, but I can assure you that this sequel builds upon its original design. If you enjoy the Deus Ex narrative, then this might be a fun game to play in your leisure time. You are even given the option to choose from a narrative central approach or a combat driven style.
The game allows you to explore the area and to interact with various NPCs, which builds a sense of immersion. The soundtrack is spot on and it contributes to the game’s overall ambience; it serves to grab your attention and to affect your mood. My favorite scene is Jensen’s arrival at the Praha (Prague) train station, where you are able to look around and see characters interact. All the while drones fly around scanning augmented people, and you are no exception. The setting is dystopian to say the least, but it mirrors the horrors and atrocities committed in more recent history. The best examples that come to mind are the Civil Rights Movement in the US during the 60’s and the Apartheid in South Africa, which last until the late 90s. A mission early on requires you to get a proper pass to move beyond a checkpoint, so discrimination is a constant motif. With terror tactics, shadow organizations, and hate group activists you feel repudiated throughout the journey – even by your own allies.
The gameplay is enjoyable. You spend the majority of your time in first-person, but when you are playing the non-lethal route you will tend to hug walls in third-person. I appreciate being given the chance to choose my preference beforehand, because both offer challenges and opportunities. When you engage others in conversation, you can choose whether Jensen is cordial or standoffish in his replies. When you engage enemies in combat you can dispatch targets by knocking them out or by cutting them down. Often times you will have to interact with the environment to continue pursuing your objective. Hacking is a minigame that can certainly intensify as you race against security measures capturing points in rapid succession. Breaking walls is also an option which I am very fond of. In addition to using the environment, you can make use of your augmented abilities, like cloaking, moving silently, cushioning your fall, and pinpointing weak spots on walls. You may get lost a couple times when you are initially using the skill and weapon selection wheel, but the game pauses while you are adjusting so it is somewhat fair.
Deus Ex does not hold your hand necessarily, but it offers you tutorials when broaching new scenarios. They are very helpful whether you are a veteran or a casual player. If you feel that you do not need them, then you are free to skip and move headstrong. The level design is very well thought out, and the AI is capable of making you work to get around it. The character designs are also pleasant to look at; they evoke more emotions than a lot of contemporary games, and you may notice it contributes to the overall sad and frustrated tone set by the environment.
I feel as though Mankind Divided takes its original creation a step further in its latest installment, and I am confident in saying I have a better appreciation for Jensen and empathize more with him. The main campaign addresses what it means to be human as it revisits dark moments in world history by bringing the harsher aspects to the forefront. With the power players behind the scenes, this makes for an engaging piece as it includes modern issues and observes how players react to them. I think a fair rating for Mankind Divided is a 9 out of 10 on account of the engaging visuals, storytelling, and intricate level design.