Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Release Date: Aug. 23, 2016


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PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Deus Ex: Mankind Divided'

by Redmond Carolipio on June 18, 2015 @ 2:30 a.m. PDT

Set in 2029, two years after the events of Human Revolution, Adam Jensen returns and joins forces with an Interpol-funded task force aiming to hunt down and capture augmented terrorists in a world that now hates and fears transhumans.

"Cyberpunk" has always felt like a nebulous term floating in the clouds of science fiction culture, defined in myriad ways through movies, role-playing games and William Gibson-esque works of literature. The Deus Ex series has emerged in many circles as the benchmark for cyberpunk interpretation with its combination of action and layered storytelling. Its upcoming incarnation aims to add some all-too-human elements into the mix as it brings the series to contemporary consoles.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is set two years after the events of Human Revolution, which punched a hole in the relationship dynamic between regular people and the cybernetically enhanced. In the events of the last game, the latter temporarily went completely insane, causing unthinkable amounts of casualties and chaos. Two years later, augmented people are now forced to live under the fog of what the design team is dubbing "mechanized apartheid." Augmented people, or augs, have been forced to scratch out their existences in makeshift ghettos under the oppressive eyes of a formidable police state. Racism against augs is rampant, with the more spiteful humans referring to augs as "clanks."

Wading through this mess is the returning Adam Jensen, the conflicted hero of the Deus Ex series. The demo found him in his new role as high-level Interpol agent who gets off a train in Eastern Europe for a mission. One walk through the train station encapsulates how the world truly sees augs: Police drones litter the air, scanning and shaking down augs together with heavily armored officers who ask people for their "papers" on a whim. Through first-person, Jensen encounters an aug and engages in conversation, and it is here where we got a sense that Jensen is conflicted about what side he's fighting for, and how much help he needs to give or offer the opposition. As he makes his way into the train station, there's an explosion. It's a terrorist attack, and Jensen eventually has to track down the source: Talos Rucker, the leader of a group of augmented freedom fighters.

It's through this eventual encounter where we see the meat of the gameplay, which the design team reminds us reflects four pillars: combat, hacking, social and stealth. The Deus Ex series has always been about offering a variety of different solutions to one problem, and that's of even greater emphasis here. Whether the player wants to go lethal, non-lethal or totally untouchable, Jensen has plenty of toys to play with, such as the cloaking augmentation (guess what it does) and the impressive gun arm, which showcases this title's emphasis on tight combat options. The arm carries a wealth of different features, such as a "Tesla" form that can load up and launch up to four non-lethal electric projectiles to take down foes. When fired, it resembles a Robotech-style missile launch. There's also a firing blade feature that pins enemies to the wall, remote hacking, upgraded smart vision and the Icarus system, which Jensen uses to dash by and sometimes into enemies during the demo mission. Topping that off is the Titan shield augmentation, which covers Jensen's body in practically unbreakable material, as well as the ability to switch ammunition on the fly.

perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the demo and the upcoming game is the verbal judo Jensen has to engage in when he encounters certain characters, such as Rucker. The dialogue can reflect what Jensen did before the encounter even began. For example, in our demo, Jensen practically shot his way through Rucker's people to reach him, and Rucker made sure to mention that as Jensen grills him on the origins of the terror attack.

Depending on your approach to what a character says, you can actually "fail" an exchange, which leads to some very bad things happening. In our demo, a failed convo eventually led to Rucker's augmentations going crazy before meeting an agonizing end. Jensen then had to run or fight his way out of the freedom fighter stronghold. Had that gone better, we're told, Jensen and Rucker could have ended up as reluctant allies or, at the very least, Jensen could've gotten more info.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has the potential to be the best entry of the series to date because there are so many different ways to approach it, and fans will likely wish to explore all of them. They'll get their chance in early 2016.

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