Gaming

A 'moody' world of humans v augs

The cyberpunk and totalitarian world in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is artfully crafted through design and richly detailed side missions.
The cyberpunk and totalitarian world in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is artfully crafted through design and richly detailed side missions.PHOTO: SQUARE ENIX

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the fifth game in Square Enix's Deus Ex series, has a rich world with a detailed backstory but is let down by a short, choppy narrative.

Players control Adam Jensen, an Interpol operative on an anti-terrorist task force. Jensen is a mechanically augmented human, or an "aug".

The game is set two years after the Aug Incident, in which innocent augs were hacked and forced to attack those around them.

Now, a deep fault line has opened up in society - humans versus augs - and the game takes place in a world still reeling from the shock of those events.

Most of the story is situated in Prague, where Jensen is working to uncover the Illuminati, a shadowy organisation that is trying to control the progress of mechanical augmentation. The cyberpunk and totalitarian world is artfully crafted through design and richly detailed side missions.

Prague is a graffiti-scrawled, grungey affair, with greys and blacks dominating the colour palette. Adding to the sense of unease are numerous police checkpoints, a heavy police presence on the streets, and quadcopters patrolling overhead.

  • RATING: 7/10

    GENRE: Action role-playing game

    PRICE: $79.90 (PlayStation 4), $69.90 (Xbox One), $69.90 (PC, version tested)

There are numerous ways to go about playing Deus Ex, and players have the freedom to complete missions however they want.

Breaking into a locked room can be done the techie way, by hacking, or you can parkour your way in through vents or by balancing on pipes. When infiltrating buildings, it is possible to sneak around, and move from cover to cover. Silent takedowns are simple to execute - just press Q - although the game goes into a cutscene each time you do that, which is slightly disruptive.

While the game is very playable in stealth mode, I preferred the head-on approach, and tuned all my augs, or special abilities, towards that.

Some of the augs I found invaluable include new ones such as Icarus Dash, which effectively allows users to teleport short distances, and Titan, which grants a massive defence boost for a short amount of time. In order to power up some augs, you will have to shut down others permanently, so it is good to have an idea of what playstyle you will be going with before picking augs.

While the game's combat was quite satisfying for me, the pacing of the story was not. The start of the game built up nicely, but without giving too much way, it felt like it came to a rather abrupt end.

Also, I did encounter a few bugs, like several times I opened up my inventory but did not have a way to go back. It was only when I restarted the game that the back button appeared.

•Verdict: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has a well-built world with decent combat, but the pacing of the story felt a little off.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2016, with the headline 'A 'moody' world of humans v augs'. Print Edition | Subscribe