Game review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is beautiful, powerful and immersive

Series fans will be disappointed that there is not as much globe-hopping as in previous instalments.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is mostly set in a futuristic version of Prague. Square Enix via AP Photo
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is mostly set in a futuristic version of Prague. Square Enix via AP Photo

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Publisher: Square Enix PC, PlayStation4, Xbox One Dh150 (PC version) Four stars

As Deus Ex: Mankind Divided begins, our gruff, bearded cyborg hero Alex Jensen is on the payroll of terrorist hunting organisation TF29, running and gunning through Dubai in 2029 to prevent an arms deal.

Things go awry when military-grade cyborgs attack. Then, luckless Jensen is caught in a bombing at a Czech train station, and tasks himself with exposing the malign factions attempting to manipulate global events and command a new world order.

Deus Ex, the cyberpunk action RPG published in 2000, established a world of conspiracy, plot twists and philosophical arguments between hidden power-players trying to control society. It also gave players unprecedented freedom to solve gameplay problems.

Human Revolution, the critically acclaimed series relaunch in 2011, emulated the formula exactly, and made for a beautiful and intelligent game as a result – even if the plot was not always easy to follow.

Mankind Divided is mostly set in a futuristic Prague, a beautifully realised imagining of Europe in an age of technological progress and rampant inequality. The Czech Republic is an apartheid state in which “augs” – mechanically augmented humans – are discriminated against in favour of “natural” humans by a totalitarian police presence.

The graphics are fantastic, with the design of the robotic augmentations particularly enjoyable to study, though on PC the game engine will tax even high-powered gaming systems.

Series fans will be disappointed that there is not as much globe-hopping as in previous instalments.

The gameplay offers the familiar choice of using hacking, stealth, violence or persuasion to achieve your goals, but your character quickly becomes overpowered. The storytelling is occasionally clunky, and two of the characters might have been imported from Call of Duty.

But there are excellently written quests, the game is routinely beautiful, and the mixed-methods gameplay is still a lot of fun.

* Adam Bouyamourn

artslife@thenational.ae

Published: September 10, 2016 04:00 AM

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