You may recognise him. At least parts of him. Stitched together from the gravelly intonation of Christian Bale's Dark Knight, a healthy dose of wardrobe advice from the Matrix, and supplemented by Keanu Reeves' wooden acting style, Jensen is not the deepest of characters. His is also not the deepest of stories.
But Deus Ex is one of those titles that is more than the sum of its parts. In isolation, any one feature of the game is above average but not ground-breaking. Interesting but not innovative. You've seen it all before. What makes the title shine is the way it's all packaged together.
Hired as a security guard by Sarif Industries, a company dedicated to advancing humanity through augmentation, Adam effectively gets robocopped. Shot down by an enemy, he's rebuilt by his employer with the help of cybernetics to be bigger, faster, stronger. And, of course, to embark upon a vengeance mission.
Packed with morally ambiguous choices, players can take the soft approach, negotiating and sneaking their way through the story, or go full-Rambo, and blast their way to the conclusion. Be warned however, the aggressive approach is one of the harder ways to play.
The Deus Ex series started on PC, and only dipped its toes into console waters on the Xbox. This latest title is the first to go multiplatform, so as with most games these days, consumers are faced with a choice. Trading mouse support, higher resolutions and DirectX 11 features for a comfy chair, ease of install, and achievements becomes an increasingly complex decision, particularly as PC titles are sometimes merely ported wholesale from consoles.
In the case of Human revolution, the title was developed for console and PC separately. This doesn't make the choice any easier unfortunately, as each version comes with its own set of unique traits. Fortunately however, the Xbox 360 release remains a fantastic title, and aside from the cover system (which is a little quirky on all platforms) the game plays admirably. Controls are fluid, and aiming assist is neither too coddling, nor too twitchy. In addition, hacking terminals is easily done with a controller as the system is icon based.
There are only two real controller weaknesses. One is 'typing' in passwords. Moving the controller over various letters on a virtual keypad is slightly tedious, but tolerable.
The second issue is inventory management. Rather than a typical quick wheel, or shooter-style quick change, to swap items or weapons it's necessary to enter the inventory and equip the item. It appears that this is was a deliberate decision intended to slow the pacing, rather than encourage a more run-and-gun approach. The issue is that if a weapon reload is required, combat must be paused whilst the inventory is navigated, items are selected then equipped, and the whole interface exited in order to join combat once more. Slightly tedious on any platform, but more fiddly on a controller.
The game also delivers graphically on the 360. The framerate is perhaps on the low side, but it is smooth, and only the occasional dip appears. The pay off is a vibrant, imposing cityscape, full of little details. Interior environments are also well presented, and thankfully unlike Fallout, it's not necessary to load content every time a door is opened. The textures are detailed, and there is the odd gem to find, such as forever alone faces drawn on post-it notes by a hacker for hire. The dystopian future does look a lot more inviting on a 40-inch screen.
What load times do exist can be tiresome. Upon death, the last save point must be loaded, which can take a good 20 seconds. It doesn't sound like much, but it manages to break the immersion.
As there is no multiplayer to speak of, Xbox LIVE really only facilitates achievements. If gamerscore is of concern, the Xbox version is the way to go as the PC version does not support Games for Windows Live. The usual achievements are on offer: finishing levels, performing a certain number of kills, and completing a mission without being seen will all reward the player with gamerscore points. There's even an achievement for completing the entire game without killing anyone except bosses, which will no doubt take some patience.
On the PC, load times are quicker (thanks to a recent patch). The controls are slightly more precise, the graphics slightly tidier. The inventory system suits a mouse, the terminals and passwords benefit from the keyboard. None of these are big items, and none of them enhance the experience significantly. However, those spoilt for choice will discover the PC version offers just enough minor enhancements and advantages to be the preferred option.
Regardless of platform, Human Revolution is a game worth playing.