Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Deus Ex Machina

So, that's Deus Ex : Human Revolution done and dusted.

It's something of a curate's egg of a game. The near-future dystopian cyberpunk setting, with computer hacking, bionic augmentations and amoral corporations replacing nation governments is hardly original. However, it's well done, particularly in the details found in numerous emails, ebooks and newspapers that can be picked up and read as you progress from a post industrial Detroit to the Blade Runner-esque sprawl of Hengsha in China. The game gives enormous freedom in tackling each encounter, from stealthy sneaking to furious firefights, which may be helped or hindered by the augmentation upgrades that you choose to enable.

The bad parts are the repetitive nature of some of the environments. I know that we live in a global village, but will a toilet in a convention centre in Detroit be exactly the same as the one in an apartment building in China, down to the video screen by the hand basin and the identical ventilation shaft behind the second cubicle to crawl through? Similarly, every computer, everywhere in the world has the same lock screen wall paper with the only difference being the layout of the file structures that you hack through to gain access. The final third of the game, after the openness of the earlier city based environments is disappointingly linear, but the most egregious fault is the boss fights which remove every option except an overblown shoot out with an angry cyborg.

However, on balance the good points far outweigh the bad, and it is a polished, engaging experience with a lot going for it.

The next question is, what am I going to play next? I've dabbled with Mass Effect, but it just hasn't grabbed me in the same way as Deus Ex did as a role playing experience. Grand Theft Auto V has been announced, so maybe it's time to revisit GTA IV? After reading rumours that the new game is going to be set in Los Angeles (or at least Los Santos), I fired up GTA:San Andreas and spent a happy hour riding a motor bike from Las Venturas, down the coast to Los Santos, through the back woods up in to San Fiero and then back through the desert to where I started. Listening to Country & Western songs. Aces

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