First look at Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Can such an anticipated sequel live up to fan expectations?

Is it getting to the point that “primarily first person” is a highlight of a preview? Not really, but with so many third-person Unreal Engine games coming along, it’s a shock to see something different. Deus Ex: Human Revolution isn’t being spewed from the Unreal clone factory. You’ll be looking through the protagonist’s eyes for the vast majority of the game and that allows everyone worried about some huge departure to breathe a sigh of relief.

Those of a cynical disposition are expecting Human Revolution to be another banal remake from a publisher aiming to cash in on a once-respected name. But they’re going to be proven wrong. At least, it seems so, even though ‘cover system’ describes the game’s stealth aspect.

Go into sneaky mode and you’ll be presented with a third-person view, but this is so you can see what’s around the corner. That’s not so bad as it stops the risk of being detected by leaning around corners. The camera also detaches itself from inside your eyeballs when you snap someone’s neck or use another kind of fancy killing blow on a nearby enemy.

To get into the position to nail someone in the throat with a sharp object, you’ll have to get close to them and this can only be achieved either by teleportation or stealth. The former doesn’t exist in Deus Ex, so it’ll have to be done the old-fashioned way. Or not, in Human Revolution’s case, because the system employed in this particular game is all about line of sight. You don’t have to worry about the intensity of the shadows you’re in, just whether the patrolling guard is looking your way.

Questions about the sharpness of the eyesight of guards, especially in a world of artificial augmentation, will have to wait, but it’ll be refreshing to not gulp when presented with a room that isn’t full of conveniently placed dark bits.

‘Stealth’ is the watch word for the whole game. Eidos Montreal is on record saying it doesn’t want the game to end up as a run-and-gun shooter. Even with all sorts of biomechanical jiggery pokery going on in your body, you’ll still only be able to take a couple of hits before hitting the deck. There may be some kind of ability that allows you to take a great deal of damage, but using it, if it does end up in the game, will cost you a shot of energy.

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