5 Things We Want to See in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Ben Sheene / Apr 8th, 2015 1 Comment
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was one of 2011’s stand out titles. Eidos Montreal and Square Enix brought the dormant franchise to new heights using a synergy of RPG, shooter and stealth mechanics. The futuristic dystopia where humans sacrificed pieces of their humanity for fancy robotic limbs and organs was bathed in an orange, black and yellow color palette while a moody soundtrack further set the tone.
Players guided protagonist Adam Jensen toward a conspiracy involving the Illuminati and his struggle with being reborn as a mechanical death machine. Along with Jensen, players were presented with issues of philosophy, choice, and whether to go in guns blazing or sneak in through the backdoor. It was the Deus Ex PC players came to love, and it left many new and old fans wanting more. Now, with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the horizon, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC players will have the opportunity to take another voyage into the universe created for Human Revolution. Taking into account the highs and lows of Eidos Montreal’s last effort, here are five things we want to see from Mankind Divided.
Opening the World
Human Revolution danced along the edges of being open world. Taking place in locations like a cyberpunk Detroit and China, players were able to walk around the streets interacting with citizens and soaking up the atmosphere. These large areas served as hubs where players could initiate side quests and missions, investigate the game’s lore and purchase items. Despite appearing like thriving, alive towns, these places never really amounted to much. Most NPCs never had anything to say and only a few buildings could be explored. It left large segments of the game feeling somewhat dead.
Some missions took place in offshoots of these cities, such as a police station or dilapidated apartment, but given the scope of the game, more could have been done. Mankind Divided needs to give players fully realized cities populated with a host of personalities. What do grocery stores of the future look like? Hospitals? People with robotic arms should be begging Adam Jensen for help and putting him to work. Games like Skyrim capture our interest because of a wealth of distractions. While I don’t expect the Detroit of the future to have dungeons filled with skeletons, it would be nice to stumble into an alley and get wrapped up into a bite-sized quest. Human Revolution’s sense of setting was great, but with current gen hardware, Eidos Montreal will be able to expand its scale even more.
An Action Emphasis
Anyone who played Human Revolution will tell you that it focused greatly on stealth. Players were able to upgrade Jensen into a deadly ghost who would put Solid Snake’s skills to shame. Experience points were awarded for nearly every action conducted. Getting a headshot, non-lethally taking out a guard, or hacking a computer rewarded experience points. But it was always the silent approach that yielded the most experience points and the most rewarding gameplay.
Level design nudged players into moving through vent shafts and never triggering alarms. Sure, it made sense but direct combat never felt great. Guns were serviceable, but only a couple got the job done. Rather than punishing players who prefer shooting and action, Mankind Divided needs to incorporate action sequences into gameplay. Maybe Jensen has to fend off a flood of attackers or shoot his way through an exploding building. The game doesn’t need to turn into Call of Duty, but it should find a way to blend play styles together so gamers never get settled into playing a certain way.
Boss Fights Retooled
Speaking of action, the outsourced boss fights from Human Revolution have become infamous. They felt completely out of place in the natural fabric of the gameplay and for good reason. Players who spent their time sneaking around levels were suddenly thrust into one-on-one combat with powerful human-machine hybrids. Dropped into a tiny arena, players had to run away from incoming fire, scurry to a gun or ammo drop, and unload rounds into the boss.
It didn’t work. It wasn’t interesting. It was the lowest point of the game and a terrible way to end a level. Along with the combat, boss fights need to be a point that Eidos is addressing in Mankind Divided. In a game where players can engage in speech battles with characters, there is definitely enough creativity in the studio to craft appropriate and entertaining bosses.
Making choices is a major part of the Deus Ex experience. Players have been able to decide the state of the world with end-of-game choices. Characters may judge you for taking a bribe or withholding information. Moral compasses have become increasingly important in gaming. Being the kind person who picks the blue responses or the meanie who always chooses red actions leaves little room for grey area. Choices that lead to life or death or one character liking you over another aren’t going anywhere soon.
While Human Revolution toyed with morality and player choice, it never felt like it had a true impact on the flow of the story or even the gameplay. In a polarized world where humans are splintered between those who are augmented and those who are not, how will the protagonist who straddles the fence affect those around him? Mankind Divided needs to incorporate depth into how players make choices and how they send ripples through the story rather than binary good and bad.
Scoring by McCann
A large part of this list boils down to personal preference. But seriously, Michael McCann’s music was one of the highlights of Human Revolution. From the incredible “Icarus” theme to the ambient music while sneaking through missions, McCann’s score was powerful and haunting. It was a perfect pairing for the game’s environment and tone, completing Eidos’ vision. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if McCann wasn’t involved with Mankind Divided, but it would definitely be a great touch if his compositions were part of the game.
While we wait to hear more on Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, what would you like to see in this next entry? Sound off in the comments below.
tags: deus ex , deus ex human revolution , Deus Ex: Mankind Divided , eidos-montreal , opinion , square enix