The original Deus Ex was notable for how it offered players decisions on how to approach a given task instead of just moving to the next target. Deus Ex: Human Revolution admirably follows a similar format, seamlessly blending elements of shooter, role-playing, and stealth in a futuristic setting that owes a great deal of inspiration to Terminator in an area. Bonus points are earned for taking out opponents without killing them, and hacking computers is more valuable than discovering passwords, which yield no experience at all.
So while the game presents multiple approaches to getting through a level, you really can't go in guns blazing. Enemies are crack shots, you are suspiciously fragile despite being mostly machine, ammo is limited, and the game's cover system is tuned more for hiding than returning fire. If you approach Deus Ex like a standard shooter, thinking stealth is completely optional, you're likely going to be disappointed the moment you find yourself crouched under a desk, searching drawers for a few extra bullets.
In fact, most of the game involves slinking inside large office complexes, apartment buildings, warehouses, and similar structures with multiple floors, surprisingly large air vents, and plenty of furniture to hide behind. The other parts of the game are city hubs, where Jensen can stretch out his robotic legs, talk to some civilians, and explore the nearby buildings, alleys, and sewers for items and side quests.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of minor annoyances that diminish the overall experience. The decisions you make, for instance, don't have much of an effect on the world at large. Due to the absurd amount of cardboard boxes in hallways, alleyways, and rooms, everyone in Deus Ex is apparently either in the process of moving or in the mail-order business. Guards are also highly deficient in situational awareness. No matter how much noise you make or trouble you cause, the short attention spans and even shorter patrol routes mean that escaping from danger is rarely a problem.
Despite the issues, Human Revolution is an unquestionably absorbing game for those who enjoy espionage, science fiction, and venturing off the beaten path. No two play-throughs will be exactly the same, which keeps the game's replay value high despite the lack of any multiplayer support. Deus Ex: Human Revolution, like its protagonist, is flawed yet filled with promise. It's a shooter that strives to reward thinking instead of reacting, and players are better for it.
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