Title: Deus Ex - Mankind Divided

Platform: Windows, Steam, PS4,  Xbox One

Reviewed on: Windows

Genre: FPS, Action RPG, Stealth

Players: Single player



Written by Whistler 10th September 2016













It’s man vs. machine in this world, long gone are the rose tinted perspectives and futuristic utopias. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided sees us returning to a world caught in a crux of ideals and struggling to recover after the events of “the incident” 2 years prior in Human Revolution. Despite Adam Jensen’s action at Panchaea the tragedy that sent millions of augmented haywire has left a large wound both physically and mentally in the civilized world. Now Adam Jensen works for one of Interpol’s elite agencies, Task Force 29, fighting terrorism from deep within the heart of Prague. But is Adam ‘too-cool-for-sunglasses’ Jensen’s return a massive success or does this sequel already has us divided?


























One of Deus Ex’s signature elements lies in the ability to tackle missions in a variety of manners, all of which is present even with the smallest glance at the augmentations available for our super agent to utilize. While granted the options aren’t as wide as say MGSV: The Phantom pain, Mankind Divided allows you to upgrade Jensen as you see fit. From self explanatory augs like increased battery capacity, hacking efficiency and weapon accuracy to a cloaking device, ‘smart’ vision and titan armour, Deus Ex has you covered. Whether you’re a stealth aficionado, a combat enthusiast, or even sci-fi monk, you can rest assured your playstyle is viable if not encouraged. It should be said though that you should have a rough idea of what style you’ll likely aim for as during your first playthrough upgrades (in the form of praxis kits) are relatively limited.


These limited resources help shape your individual gameplay experience but there is a habit of the level design catering a bit too much too all possible methods. Granted this can be taken either way, is it good that it allows for different methods, likewise is it disappointing to feel like you anything would have worked?

After the prologue mission introduces you to most if not all the game’s mechanics and a plot convenient technical glitch you’ll be reset to factory settings and how you build Jensen is up to you.


Deus Ex: Mankind Divided does an expert job in masterfully crafting a very ‘real’ setting in spite of it’s cyberpunk setting. Once you set foot in Prague, where state segregation has lead to ever mounting tension between naturals and augmented, it’s real-life counterparts are not that hard to discern from. The hub zones granted have a habit of feeling all too ‘scripted’ especially with it’s citizens suffering from Oblivion-syndrome. It might not be as full of life as bigger sandbox titles, but Deus Ex distills real world issues and themes such as racism, segregation and class struggles into a heavy hitting yet refreshing aperitif.  


























Visually Mankind Divided is both impressive and yet equally lacking in certain areas. This time you’re mostly stuck to a single hub in Prague. While districts open up gradually and the hub goes through several changes throughout the game it tends to feel a bit samey after a while compared to the locales in Human Revolution. Jensen does briefly visit other locales on certain missions that help freshen things up but it’s such a shame that they’re in such short bursts. At one point you’ll travel to the infamous Golem City, a makeshift ghetto built to house augmented citizens on the outskirts of the Czech capital. This locale was shown off a fair bit before release and is by far the most visually interesting sight, drawing influences heavily from Hong Kong’s Kowloon Walled City. Without a single line of dialogue or exposition Golem City does a fantastic job of painting a picture of just how grim life has become for augmented. Character models are a mixed bag, while Adam and a select few of the main cast look utterly amazing to the point I felt I could genuinely ‘feel’ Jensen’s clothes, hair and rather rough skin. The mix of lighting, textures and model work on certain character models are the best I’ve seen in a while however the majority of the minor npcs really don’t match up.


Alas Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s narrative leaves a lot to be desired, while yes it’s social and political commentary is a very true to life reflection on our own in areas, it only goes as far as the surface level. Cyberpunk settings have always been fertile soil for challenging or commenting on our current ideals, but Deus Ex only goes so far as to point out the obvious. The overall main story really does fall at various hurdles. This can likely be attributed to the fact that clearly Mankind Divided is is meant to serve as the 2nd act in the trilogy, and has a sad case of middle child syndrome. Many questions are brought up and intrigue builds progressively, but at the same time by the end there’s little to no payoff and far too many loose strings left hanging. That being said however the side stories do their fair share of pulling the weight and there’s a fair few heartstring pullers in there too.


























In the end Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is still a solid follow up to Human Revolution, but does find itself lacking in the overall narrative. It’s weaker storyline and even weaker ending left far more questions than answers. Too much of it feels more like a side story than a fully fledged sequel. However there’s still plenty of enjoyment to be had with a playthrough coming in a roughly 25-30+ hours with some solid stealth gameplay to be had. While this middle child will certainly leave the fanbase divided, it’s an enjoyable RPG stealth romp with decent stories interspersed within that’s worth delving into.



Pros:

Fantastic stealth gameplay,

Plenty of variety in exploration and tackling missions,

Excellent visuals.


Cons:

Disappointing ending,

Weaker overall plot.

 

Final verdict,

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided scores a 7/10.

 

Written by,

Whistler

 

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