Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Platform: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
Genre: Action, FPS, RPG, Stealth
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is an incredible game. In many ways it's more than just a game; it prompts a very real conversation about the dangers of advanced technology, bringing to mind cautionary tales as Orwell's classic 1984 and countless other sci-fi stories. It perfectly captures the "what if" of a society fallen prey to its dependence on technology and gives us a grim look at the future that could one day be our own.
It's taken me so long to review this game simply because I wanted to explore all that it had to offer. I wanted to see everything, do every side quest, read every computer and talk to every NPC--I wanted to spend as much time as I could in this broken future, with all of its technological wonders that breed pain and suffering instead of peace and prosperity. And I'm glad I did: this isn't a game you should rush through... it's an experience that you should savor.
Mankind Divided picks up from Human Revolution without a beat. It's what I call a perfect sequel: it doesn't compromise features found in the original, and stays consistent with its scope, story, and overall mechanics. Gamers are used to sequels taking out as much content as they add in, but Eidos is extremely fluid with Mankind Divided. In many ways the game feels like a huge leap forwards from the Human Revolution and in others, it's just a small yet meaningful) step forwards
Mankind Divided has everything found in Human Revolution. You still have freedom to pick your augmentations that fit your playstyle, and your decisions matter. There's a strong sense of meaningful RPG impact within the game, and the world itself is jam-packed full of delicious tidbits that add tons of immersion to the experience.
The game is layered and absolutely infused with secrets waiting to be explored, but ultimately the player has the final say whether these things ever get discovered or not. How you play the game is up to you, but I highly suggest you take the long meticulous route. It's much more satisfying that way.
That being said, you still have the freedom to play your way. Mankind Divided still carries Deus Ex's legacy of an action game, and just because it's thought-provoking and expresses socio-political problems doesn't mean you can't gun down enemies and slice them like an augmented Predator. You can tackle each situation differently, and adapt to every given event--it's not as simple as being Rambo or sticking to the shadows like Ezio.
While I've seen some other reviews criticize Mankind Divided's story, I find it to be amazing and extremely powerful. Again, though, how much you enjoy the story hinges on how much you've discovered. In a sense, Adam Jensen is like a cyborg super detective who has the ability to uncover the secrets of a corrupt techno-driven future. A lot of these secrets are optional, but to get the entire scope--the entire story--you'll have to dig deeper.
The digging isn't boring, however; it's quite the opposite. The main story quests are layered organically with tidbits and info, and the side quests naturally co-exist with exploration. Futuristic Prague is laden with beautiful technological advancements and architectural marvels, and you genuinely want to explore the city to see more. As you explore you'll uncover quests in a natural fashion--there's no annoying grinding here.
Since the game's story is my favorite part, let's go over what makes it so great.
How many main story missions are there? Mankind Divided has 13 main story missions and 12 side missions.
How long does the game take to beat? I spent some 90 hours in Mankind Divided, but that was a stealthy playthrough with tons of exploration, deaths, pausing etc.
How close is it to Human Revolution? This is a direct sequel to HR, and it's very very faithful to the original. In fact, it retains just about all of the mechanics to Adam Jensen's first adventure, and goes lengths to further flesh out the world of Deus Ex. Mankind Divided only deviates from the original in advantageous ways, but is basically the same game as HR, only better.
If Mankind Divided is so close to Human Revolution, why should I buy it? If you enjoyed the first game, Eidos has basically made a continuation. That being said, Mankind Divided stands on its own feet quite well, and you don't need to have played HR to enjoy this one.
I hate those energy bars. Please tell me those are gone! Yes, Cyberboost Energy Bars, aka the bane of all Human Revolution players, are gone. BioCells take their place, and the game is quite liberal in handing them out. You can even craft BioCells or buy them from merchants.
What about the microtransactions? Yes, Mankind Divided has microtransactions. But the game doesn't hinge on you buying them, especially the Praxis Kits. The game distributes skill points liberally and organically so you really don't need to buy them in order to have fun. On a whim I bought the 5 Praxis Points pack just to see if I needed them, and it turns out I had extra points by the end because I had already picked up what I wanted.
Does Mankind Divided have NewGame+? Yes, and you even start with your complete inventory, skills and upgrades in NewGame+ mode!
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