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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review: Augmented Reality

By: Derek Strickland | Action in Gaming | Posted: Sep 5, 2016 6:34 pm
TweakTown Rating: 93%Developer and / or Publisher: Eidos Montreal

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Mankind Divided is quite close to Human Revolution, but the sequel tightens everything up and offers a bunch of new toys for gamers to play with. The HUD has been changed up a bit, with Jensen's power bar getting a recharge overhaul, and gunplay is much tighter. Oh, those Cyberboost Energy bars are gone now, and they've been replaced by BioCells that can be crafted and bought. Thank god, right?

 

The cover system has been tweaked a bit to become more fluid and responsive, but it's still basically the same. You can still snap around corners while in cover, letting you simply glide around obstacles and surfaces while staying out of sight.

 

Hacking is still a big part of the game, but players can now craft Multi-Tools that instantly unlock any hackable computer, safe, or terminal. This is another massively welcomed change from HR, as you had to pre-order the game in order to access Human Revolution's version of Multi-Tools. You can also buy MultiTools and find them throughout different levels of the game, primarily in hidden caches and zones.

 

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Crafting is also a big change that makes Mankind Divided more accessible to everyday gamers. You collect Crafting Parts throughout the game that can be turned into a number of gadgets and inventions, including HypoStims that replenish HP, BioCells that replenish Energy, Multi-Tools that instantly unlock computers, as well as mines, Typoon/TESLA/Nano-Blade ammo.

 

Combat is more satisfying, too. Gunplay is more optimized and responsive, but to get that absolutely perfect accuracy you'll have to sink in some points into recoil and other gunplay augmentations. While stealth is more suited to my tastes, I did play a portion of the game like an FPS, and I have to say that blasting down enemies is actually quite satisfying. Eidos has created a competent shooter that stands against top-tier FPS games of our era.

 

 

Now we get to talk about the real star of Mankind Divided: the new Augs.

 

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As it turns out, Adam Jensen had some super top-secret augmentations implanted within him after the events of Human Revolution. These enhancements are experimental, however, and are quite unstable.

 

These awesome new toys include a new Titan armor system that makes Jensen look like Metal Mario; a short-range PEPS system that blasts an entire group of enemies with knockout first; the immensely useful and satisfying Tesla arc that can incapacitate enemies from a distance; the Remote Hacking aug that pretty much saved my bacon a billion times in the game (no seriously get this ASAP!); the lethal (yet satisfying) Nanoblade that executes enemies with Predator-like style; and the Icarus Dash aug which lets you fly forward in a supercharged thrust of speed (think Falco's forward+B move in Super Smash Bros.)

 

These new Augs are incredibly fun and add a wonderful breath of fresh air to the game. There's augs that fit every playstyle, and you can even mix and match them to make a kind of stealth-combat hybrid if you wanted. These new augs come at a price, however; since they're unstable, every new aug you turn on "overclocks" your system by 25%, so you have to turn off a separate augmentation upgrade to balance out the system.

 

If you keep playing with your system overclocked, you'll gradually lose health and be all wonky. So you'll have to pick your upgrades carefully and turn off unnecessary skills. This might sound pretty annoying, but don't worry: there's a few skills that are entirely conditional and you don't really need them.

 

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Mankind Divided doesn't force you to play any one way, and there's always another way around certain obstacles. For example, I turned off the Rebreather aug that lets me bypass gas-filled zones, and I've always found another way around specific areas. If you're going for a stealth run, you can turn off the Nanoblade to make room for your essential skills.

 

The old skills have been tweaked a bit, too, with enhanced upgrade trees and an overall more concise listing. All of the enhancements are clearer now and give players a more in-depth analysis of what they do.

 

Players have plenty of opportunities to try out their new augmentations, but there's never one way to solve a mission or get into an area: you can go in guns blazing, or you can meticulously and carefully chart your path with stealth.

 

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The level design is also more straightforward. Eidos has created a beautiful high-tech playground for players to explore and interact with, complete with miles of winding airshafts, hackable computers and terminals, locked doors, and other such obstacles.

 

The progression is exceedingly well matched and balanced within the story missions, and you won't really have trouble unless you run around and try to go into an area you're really not meant to go yet.

 

Of course, being the inquisitive player I am, I came across these areas almost right away and modified my augs accordingly.

 

As far as infiltration goes, there's a definite pattern to the restricted areas, and once you see this pattern you won't have much trouble. Players use a combination of skill, augs, and luck to infiltrate areas, but it all depends on your preference and playstyle.

 

Stealth players will benefit greatly from the Smart Vision ability that lets you see through walls for obvious reasons, and if you pick up the Remote Hacking ability, you can actually hack cameras, TVs, radios and even turrets through walls while Smart Vision is activated. It's pretty nifty.

 

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The NPCs are both smarter and dumber than Human Revolution, but the game is more forgiving when it comes to stealth (depending on difficulty, of course). Even if you don't unlock the invisibility upgrade, the game lets you pick up random items and throw them to distract enemies--you can often use the environments against your foes in creative and specifically designed ways.

 

Sometimes, though, you'll face augmented enemies that are impervious to specific weapons. This forces players to think on their feet and use different weapons and strategies for specific events. It's awesome to hack drones and disable them, or to sneak up behind an exosuit and yank out his battery to knock him out. At the very end of the game you face some pretty upgraded augs, but they still aren't any match for your ingenuity.

 

The developers do an excellent job arming you with the tools you need to do your job, whether it's with augmentations, a well-placed air vent or stun gun, or even a throw-able coffee cup. In fact, the augs skills are paced in such a way where you never really feel that you're too weak or too strong.

 

All in all, the mechanics are very fluid, smooth, and designed to be advantageous to players. You feel empowered by the augs in Mankind Divided, and it's absolutely clear that Eidos listened to our feedback to give players exactly what they wanted in a Deus Ex game.

 

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