Deus Ex VR Missions: Going hands-on with Mankind Divided's Breach mode

Everyone has their own ideal path through Deus Ex's campaigns. Some love to go guns blazing, others want to sneak through without hurting a soul. But no matter how you want to play, it's hard to experiment with all of Deus Ex's toys and gadgets without either botching your perfect ghost run or starting over from scratch. That's why Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is getting Breach, a fully-formed mode (which takes place alongside the main story) where you play as a hacker infiltrating the world's most secure data centers for profit.

The closest analog I can think of is Metal Gear Solid's VR Missions, though it's perhaps not as strange (at least from what I can gather about the bits that I played, at any rate). Breach starts off with a few text messages from a shadowy figure who has called upon you to hit a few megacorps and steal their valuable secrets from their servers, and you actually have an opportunity to respond in a few different ways. It's a lighter affair than Mankind Divided - don't expect your dialog choices to have too many sweeping consequences - but it gives the proceedings a little more personality and flair. Once you're ready, you're funnelled to a message board system where you can read the latest updates on the story, as well as prepare for your first mission 

Breach starts out simply: move through a maze-like digital environment, hack as many servers as you can, and head back to the goal once you've got enough data. Of course, it's made harder by the myriad security cameras, guards, turrets, and other obstacles you have to avoid. Plus, once you hit your quota, you only have a limited amount of time to hustle back before you lose everything. Additional guards can spawn and doors seal behind you once that happens, forcing you to find a different path than the one you initially traversed.

 You do have a bunch of tools at your disposal, though, and because you've effectively Tron-ed your way inside the computer, many of them bend the more realistic rules you'd normally find in the main campaign. For instance, one of the very first augments you'll upgrade is a pretty sweet double jump, allowing you to leap to high ledges you'd normally never be able to reach. Other abilities include things like remotely deactivating cameras, but you'll have to pick and choose what augments you take with you, as you only have a limited amount of 'memory' to store them. You can even bring along consumable cheat modules, which give you additional health or double your walking speed. 

Those consumables could potentially add a new, likely unwanted wrinkle to Deus Ex, though: microtransactions. Breach seems to sport a similar structure to Rise of the Tomb Raider's Expedition mode, in that you periodically earn Booster packs, which will randomly give you additional weapons, items, and upgrade points while you play. They make a heck of a lot more sense here in Breach, but without all the details, it's hard to say whether Breach's late game could suffer because of them. 

Barring that, Breach's bite-sized challenges are a fascinating new addition to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. You'll be able to hack the planet when the game ships on August 23.

David Roberts
David Roberts lives in Everett, WA with his wife and two kids. He once had to sell his full copy of EarthBound (complete with box and guide) to some dude in Austria for rent money. And no, he doesn't have an amiibo 'problem', thank you very much.