Deus Ex: Human Revolution Hands-On Preview

Susan Arendt | 24 Feb 2011 19:00
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This is the first true mission of the game, and as might be expected from a Deus Ex title, there are many ways to tackle it. First, you must choose how you'd like to go in: lethal or non-lethal. Then you must decide if you want a short-range or long-range weapon. For my first playthrough, I opted for non-lethal with a long-range tranq gun, which was incredibly difficult, but satisfying. There are ducts to crawl through,computers to hack, turrets to overtake and cameras to switch off. I failed repeatedly, but that allowed me to explore areas in different ways. It got to the point that I would clear a room, then go looking for all of the other options that I could've pursued, had I just thought of it or felt like it. I was impressed by the number of options available to me in each area. I could shimmy through a duct and drop down on the far side of a large crate, out of guards' lines of sight, or I could simply pick them off from between the slats in a vent. Or I could skip the duct entirely and just come in through the door.

Silent takedowns are key to succeeding when trying the stealth route; if you sneak up on an enemy, you can choose to kill him by hitting one button, or simply knock him out by hitting a different button. Either way, you'll probably have to stash the body, because guards tend to notice when their comrades are lying prone on the floor. I tripped many, many alarms by figuring that the AI was too stupid to notice that that fella across the warehouse was unconscious. Also, you'd think that Sarif would hook me up with more than just one gun and a single clip before sending me in, but perhaps the company's been going through some rough budget cuts, or something.

The second time through, I went the combat route (again, with a long-range weapon), and it was much easier, though far from simple. For the purposes of the demo, we were given access to a number of different augs, though few of them were actually useful this early in the game. The more advanced an aug is, the more power it consumes, and you just don't have enough energy in the early hours of the game to make using most augs practical. You have two energy cells at your disposal at that point in the game, though you can upgrade to three once you receive your first Praxis Point - the "currency" you'll use to purchase upgrades and augs. One energy cell will always recharge, and scarfing down a powerbar will refill cells, making resource management a key consideration.

I sampled several augments through my two playthroughs, and the two that I enjoyed the most were the double take down (reflex booster) and the Typhoon itself. Takedowns are performed the same way as stealth moves, just without the stealth part. A double takedown, as its name implies, lets you layeth the smacketh down on a pair of foes at once. The situation has to be just right - it probably won't work if you've got four mercenaries coming at you, for example - but it never, ever gets old. The Typhoon is the kind of badass, room-decimating weapon that makes you cackle like a would-be supervillain whenever you use it, but it requires its own special ammo, so I only got to set it off once. I have no idea how practical it would be in a full-blown version of the game, but I'm also not sure I care. It's just too damn much fun not to use, no matter how many energy cells it burns.

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