Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Developer Eidos Montreal и Nixxes Software
Publisher Square Enix
Official site deusex.com
release date August 23, 2016
Genre Action/RPG

Twenty-first century, ongoing global conflicts. Progress has reached seemingly unimaginable heights. People got the opportunity to improve themselves, acquire new capabilities with the help of cybernetic implants, which were later called augmentations. Back in the year 2000, all this seemed like a fantasy, but Deus Ex, which definitely fell into the popular cyberpunk stream, revolutionized the genre. Now the presence of implants, touch screens and augmented reality is no longer surprising — anyone has seen cybernetic prostheses or heard about Pokemon Go. But if at one time the first episode of this masterpiece aroused interest as a purely fantastic game, today it raises questions worth thinking about.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The game takes place in 2029, two years after the events of the previous episode — Human Revolution. Despite the fact that the main character managed to destroy the signal that drove all the augmented people on Earth crazy, the consequences of the tragedy turned out to be irreparable. If earlier the division and hostility of the “clean” with the carriers of the modifications — the “augs” — was based mainly on subjective feelings: envy, visual hostility, now humanity has been divided. It turned out that a harmless and much-needed medical implant, for example, a cyber-prosthetic arm, can turn a person close to you into a monster or a psycho — a loving grandfather can start spinning his grandson around him, not stopping laughing and not even thinking to stop, and in the worst case, he will attack relatives and cause irreparable damage. Humanity began to fear, humanity irrevocably split.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

There are no more equal rights and freedoms for everyone. If you are an aug, be kind enough to enter the subway through a separate aisle and ride in a special car, like an infected animal. If you were stopped by a representative of law enforcement agencies, present documents that allow you to move around your hometown, or even just stay in it. Insults and contempt are the norm for some, and a life of constant fear has become habitual for others.

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And, it would seem, there should be only two camps, but even in such difficult conditions for all mankind, there are those who are trying to fish in troubled waters. Police officers who run the business of selling illegal passes through checkpoints organized by them, criminal gangs whose heads compete with each other, radical organizations, terrorists, interstate organizations, shadow governments — everything is woven into a tight tangle, and you have to decide whether to neatly unravel it or shatter with one swift blow.

It is difficult to judge the game in a detached way, because many events suggest thoughts about reality, it is too close to this cyberpunk fantasy. Moreover, the creators of Mankind Divided managed to immerse the player in an atmosphere of tense hopelessness. The main character, Adam Jensen, due to his character, reacts quite calmly to the surrounding reality, which, nevertheless, does not get tired of reminding himself. We are witnessing how the system separates and distances the Augs from ordinary people with all its might.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

A player on the street can be stopped by a policeman and demand documents, and when he sees them, make a couple of sarcastic jokes about the “important piece of iron”. The thing is that after the incident with the augmented around the world, many countries decided to join their efforts in the fight against terrorism and created a special unit, which included the protagonist. True, his goals are not so unambiguous, but it would be better for you to find out about them yourself — we will not reveal the cards.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

The first mission is an introduction to the game world. We are offered to watch a twelve-minute video that tells about the events of Human Revolution. The video consists of cuts from the previous episode’s gameplay clips and is accompanied by Adam’s narration. It is worth a look even for those who played the game — many details could be smeared over the time that has passed since its release. After watching the introduction, we find ourselves in a helicopter carrying a combat cell of Special Squad 29 on a mission to Dubai. Jensen will have to infiltrate and go through the abandoned construction of a huge hotel and cover his squad during a shell deal.

The developers have taken care of the player by including small learning elements in the gameplay. We will be taught how to move between shelters and fight in various conditions.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

But even in this short episode, you pay attention to the fact that one of the main features of this game, set in the already ancient first part, has not gone away. No one forces the player to walk down the corridor killing left and right. On the contrary, even during the landing, the commander is interested in Adam’s choice of weapons — would you prefer to use lethal or non-lethal? As always, in addition to the obvious entrance through the door, you can take a good look around and enter the protected area through the ventilation, thereby finding yourself behind the back of vigilant guards. And then again the choice — if you want to shoot, if you want to get closer and cut down with a series of blows.

The beauty of the game lies in the constant provision of the right to choose. And if in combat moments, the stealth style will simply bring a small increase to the experience gained, then in terms of the plot it seems that you can really solve problems as you please. Just remember that every decision has its consequences. It’s insanely nice to know that Mankind Divided has more non-linearity than many RPGs.

As a test drive, the first mission will offer the use of a full set of augmentations of the protagonist, also pumped to high levels. Do not rush to be disappointed — yes, at first it may seem that Jensen has not acquired anything new since Human Revolution, but the creators of the game will be able to pleasantly surprise you, not forgetting, though not in a very elegant way, to select most of the abilities. Fortunately, we managed without hackneyed memory loss — and thanks for that.

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Of course, instead of a calm exchange, on which the criminals were supposed to be taken, we get a whole bunch of augmented radicals who thwarted the deal and are trying to kill the embedded agent and flee with the goods. The player is literally thrown into the cauldron, and in order to successfully complete a side task, namely saving the life of a double agent, it is worth moving — the enemies will not wait until you decide on a plan of action. Special thanks to the developers for another rejection of the console «checkpoints», for perfectionists, quick save and load will allow you to work out in any situation with high quality.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

By the way, the hacking of all kinds of terminals and control panels, made in the form of an interesting mini-game, has not gone away. The player constantly has to fight not only with a virtual firewall, but also with his own greed — whether to go unnoticed or still break into remote data banks in the hope of getting a nice bonus.

Eidos didn’t play with the proven recipe and try to improve it. Game mechanics differ little from the previous episode. Even more than that, many of the gameplay features were present in the very first part, and this is what made it so special.

The plot of the game didn’t disappoint either. Not once did I catch myself thinking about the absurdity of this or that event. The main narrative is generously flavored with a scattering of side tasks, and complete freedom in choosing the ways to complete them gives just an unforgettable feeling of immersion in the game.

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We were a bit disappointed with the design and development of game locations. It would seem that technologies do not stand still, and developers could make them more ambitious, sometimes it just creates a physical feeling that textures are running out behind this closed showcase. True, on the other side of the scale there is a huge number of secret passages, ventilation and other alternative paths that can distract from completing the task with an unobtrusive promise to lead to an interesting place that can be profitable for finds. Vaults, safes, computers are scattered literally everywhere. Sometimes they are easier to hack, and sometimes it’s worth looking around — developers like to leave the password for the door in correspondence on a pocket secretary lying nearby.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

I would like to pay special attention to the graphics. In Human Revolution, she was frankly simple and she was given a discount for the fact that she did not require productive hardware, and all the other advantages of the game more than covered this drawback. In Mankind Divided, the developers tried to overcome this shortcoming, though at the cost of significantly increased system requirements. A lot of users complain about poor optimization. But it is worth paying tribute to Eidos — the picture has become an order of magnitude better. Detailing made the world around us more alive, now there is no desire to quickly look away from a soapy surface or a scary face.

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True, the animation of faces is still far from perfect. And if the lack of pronounced facial expressions of the protagonist can be attributed to his Nordic character, then it is difficult to explain why many faces in the commercials look like their owners recently underwent plastic surgery, moreover, in the same place.

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Shadows and lighting have been taken to another level. Now you do not need to make allowances for high-quality gameplay — the graphics have also been «delivered».

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

We decided to run some tests on a system with an ASUS ROG Strix GeForce GTX 1070 graphics adapter. The measurements were taken on stage after the first mission played by the game engine. It is not saturated with special effects, but it is filled with elements that will surround the player constantly and allows you to fairly objectively evaluate performance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87FVfs4449k

It can be seen that the developers’ advice on optimizing the load is absolutely correct. Performance is greatly reduced by smoothing and raising the settings to the «ultra» set. At the same time, the visual difference between the “very high” and “ultra” presets is not significant, but it will allow you to win in the missing performance. It remains to be hoped that the developers, along with the release of DX12, which should take place on September 5, will make more optimizations and please fans with better performance.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

It wasn’t without problems. True, the first patch was not long in coming, and was released literally immediately after the release of the game. In fairness, I want to note that for all the time the game has never hung or crashed. However, there are still bugs to laugh at. For example, you sit in cover and look at the enemy. The situation is ambiguous, therefore it is better to save the game. And if you still have to reload the save, then you may encounter an interesting, but slightly unpleasant feature — to continue the game after loading, you need to press the space bar, but this press is translated immediately into the gameplay and instead of sitting further in the shelter, the hero jumps out of it and starts to run briskly in the direction where the player was looking at the time of the save. And given the fact that there is only one quick save, in this way you can ruin the quiet passage of the entire location. It is enough for developers to simply change the button to continue the game, for example, to Enter, and everything will be fine — I hope they will fix this little thing.

Separately, I would like to note the presence of the new Breach mode — such an alternative to the main plot, designed in a peculiar style, reminiscent of the missions inside the Animus system in Assassins Creed. Here the player can try himself as a virtual hacker, making his way to valuable information hidden in data banks. A lot of dissatisfaction was caused by the microtransaction system introduced by the developers. Indeed, it makes no sense to spend money on buying in-game money or upgrade packages for a conditional online mode, in which you can only compete using the results of the passage, it seems pointless. Especially given the problems with the availability of Breach servers that are at this stage.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Also, players who have purchased the Season Pass will have access to additional missions that are intertwined with the main story. Let’s hope that their number will increase over time.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

What do you want to say in the end? Frankly, minor annoyances or a lack of optimization cannot spoil the experience of the game. The project proves that cyberpunk is alive and can still draw attention to itself. And the most excellent study of the game environment, an interesting story and addictive gameplay can keep you in front of the screen much longer than you expected.

Deus Ex Mankind Divided plunges into a world not as far from us as it seemed sixteen years ago with the release of the first part of the franchise. He does not try to impose the correct line of behavior on the player or lead the player through the entire plot. It only shows what can be achieved or how low humanity can fall in the pursuit of progress or the attempts of individuals to put themselves above the rest. Whether the player will follow the path of justice and mercy or become a brutal killing machine, a god among ordinary people, a god from a machine — it’s up to him and no one else.

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