Deus Ex Machina was a well-known franchise, primarily for PCs that sort of vanished. Now, like many other exclusive PC games, Deus Ex is not only making a return, but it’s coming to consoles as well. Is Deus Ex Machina: Human Revolution a worthy prequel to the franchise, or should it have stayed in the past?
The game opens with Adam Jensen, a security manager for Sarif Industries, defending his employment from terrorists. Fatally injured, Sarif technicians rebuild Jensen into a cyborg, embodied with the best augmentations Sarif Industries has to offer. The plot from there is a cool and gritty mix of Tron meets Blade Runner. There are those against Sarif Industries and Jensen is charged with uncovering why. Along the way are twists and turns and it can get a little convoluted, but it’s a great story nonetheless.
Deus Ex, at its core, is a FPS. You can play stealthily, as the game encourages, or you can plow through missions run and gun style. Aside from guns, Jensen can be upgraded with new augmentations from battle experience. For example, there are two types of skin augments. One allows you to turn invisible for a few seconds and another upgrades armor. The augments are cool, and effective for different situations, giving the game a flexible approach to completing missions. And like Bioware games, there are speech trees in conversations adding another RPG element to this shooter.
The design of the game is, for the most part, gorgeous. Everything from the color pallet of gold and black, to the way technology is implemented in the world really gives off that sci-fi nostalgia. The score is also fantastic matching the Tron feel with a great electronic vibe. Unfortunately there are a few minor bugs and glitches here and there and character models, while good, are stiff and lifeless sometimes.
All in all, without playing any of the other Deus Ex games, this is a great start for newcomers. It’s a prequel so nothing is lost to new players aside from small hints to the other games. Hopefully this is a first step toward a reboot of the franchise. Aside from a few minor tech problems, and a few story issues, the next game should correct these undoings to make another fine game. It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot of fun and darn near close to it.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on November 6, 2011 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.