Zero Punctuation: Deus Ex Mankind Divided

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Deus Ex Mankind Divided

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Deus Ex Mankind Divided.

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Couldn't agree more on the shortcomings of the racism analogy... now let's wait for somebody to come along and decide that this kind of nuance in criticism is either racist or SJW political-correctness. I wonder which will happen first.

Oh, leave it yahtzee not to cream his pants at this redo with almost 0 improvements and much shorter runing time on top of a ton of anti-consumer bullcrap. I will never understand how this game can get the high scores it gets ... it's an expansion pack at best, not an actual sequel. And a crapily designed one in places at that ...

It's funny, pacemakers were the exact thing I thought of. Seriously, in this world, exactly how easy is it to be classified as an "Aug"? What about people with cochlear implants? Or just regular prosthetics?

Yeah the racism analogy is pretty funny. You would guess that people would have more of a self-preservation instincts to not treat the augs like shit. I mean we are talking about people here that, if adam is any indication, have the arsenal of a medium-sized military base in their forearms.
Either they would most likely not discriminate against the deadly superhumans or they would have just killed them all of to make sure the killswitch never ever goes of again. Exspecially considering that it really were ALL augmented going on a rampage and not just some few.

I saw a Lets Play and couldn't believe they actually cut to a cutscene for EVERY SINGLE MELEE FINISHER. I mean OM Goodness, that breaks game flow more than a power outage and the angry molesting tree from that Cabin movie. And the rest of the game seems determined to let the player play the least amount of time.

I personally did like the Ghostbusters remake better then the original.

Silentpony:
I saw a Lets Play and couldn't believe they actually cut to a cutscene for EVERY SINGLE MELEE FINISHER. I mean OM Goodness, that breaks game flow more than a power outage and the angry molesting tree from that Cabin movie. And the rest of the game seems determined to let the player play the least amount of time.

I'd you'd played Human Revolution, that would not have been a surprise at all, as that game did the same thing, didn't bother me much since I rarely ever used takedowns anyways.

XDSkyFreak:
Oh, leave it yahtzee not to cream his pants at this redo with almost 0 improvements and much shorter runing time on top of a ton of anti-consumer bullcrap. I will never understand how this game can get the high scores it gets ... it's an expansion pack at best, not an actual sequel. And a crapily designed one in places at that ...

It's a damn good game aside from the bullshit Square Enix pulled with it's microtransactions and that shitty tacked on Breach mode that absolutely nobody was asking for.

First of all, I've never played this game, so take what I say with a grain of salt. BUT, the racism against augs seems pretty fucking on-par with reality. Since when has racism EVER made logical sense? Furthermore,

Carmine Falcone (Batman Begins):
This is a world you'll never understand. And you always fear what you don't understand.

Also, just because you're not racist doesn't mean a lot of people in this world aren't.

Finally, Yahtzee wanting this game to tackle the same themes the first Deus Ex had smells like bullshit. I'm sure if they did that, he'd say instead, "Oh, they're just retreading the same ground, the unoriginal twats."

Arnoxthe1:
Finally, Yahtzee wanting this game to tackle the same themes the first Deus Ex had smells like bullshit. I'm sure if they did that, he'd say instead, "Oh, they're just retreading the same ground, the unoriginal twats."

I'm pretty sure that's not what he said at all. More like, it'd be nice if DXMD had the same level of complexity and forethought in its writing.

I think this is the first time any critic has mentioned how annoying the cutscenes for EVERYTHING are. I play games stealthily because I like feeling sleek and smooth, like a ballet performance except instead of pirouettes I'm snapping necks. The last thing I want is 3 seconds of having no control of your player as well as a complete change in perspective. It's of the many annoyances I had with Human Revolution that made me stop playing the game 3 times in a row.

Racism? I thought the analogy was about gun control. I could understand the difficulty in removing the nano-augs of the old school Deus Ex world, but most of the cybernetic tech of this Deus Ex world seems pretty blatantly detachable. In which case, doesn't it become more an issue of, "I don't care if my Ginsu knife arm can go crazy and kill people on a whim. I've decided that it is part of my identity and so everyone else should just accept the risk of personal harm to themselves."?

I was not aware that people who feel entitled to be able to lift and throw vending machines with their bare hands, was a race.

Well, at least it gets points for showing how confusing racism is in real life, I'm serious, go ask three different, unrelated people what constitues as racism and you will not stop scratching your head by how inconsistent it is. Also I find quite ironic a game that calls out capitalism and corporations is being called out by Jim Sterling for being a product of capitalism and corporative management considering how much the game was meddled with. Not going on many last-year best of lists, that's for sure.

Speaking of which:

Funny thing, the side missions were much better (The Harvester, Neon and Samizdat comes to mind) than the lackluster main missions, plus the sidequest NPCs were better than AngryMcMarineface and GeekyStereotype #1 and #2.

darkrage6:

Silentpony:
I saw a Lets Play and couldn't believe they actually cut to a cutscene for EVERY SINGLE MELEE FINISHER. I mean OM Goodness, that breaks game flow more than a power outage and the angry molesting tree from that Cabin movie. And the rest of the game seems determined to let the player play the least amount of time.

I'd you'd played Human Revolution, that would not have been a surprise at all, as that game did the same thing, didn't bother me much since I rarely ever used takedowns anyways.

I actually didn't play that. And it sounds terrible there too.

Silentpony:

darkrage6:

Silentpony:
I saw a Lets Play and couldn't believe they actually cut to a cutscene for EVERY SINGLE MELEE FINISHER. I mean OM Goodness, that breaks game flow more than a power outage and the angry molesting tree from that Cabin movie. And the rest of the game seems determined to let the player play the least amount of time.

I'd you'd played Human Revolution, that would not have been a surprise at all, as that game did the same thing, didn't bother me much since I rarely ever used takedowns anyways.

I actually didn't play that. And it sounds terrible there too.

Eh, Yahtzee was exaggerating, it's pretty silly to avoid playing a game just because of that, most of the time I just shot enemies to take them down, I almost never used take-downs as it was usually more risky.

Imre Csete:
Funny thing, the side missions were much better (The Harvester, Neon and Samizdat comes to mind) than the lackluster main missions, plus the sidequest NPCs were better than AngryMcMarineface and GeekyStereotype #1 and #2.

I thought all the characters were pretty interesting.

Igor-Rowan:
Well, at least it gets points for showing how confusing racism is in real life, I'm serious, go ask three different, unrelated people what constitues as racism and you will not stop scratching your head by how inconsistent it is. Also I find quite ironic a game that calls out capitalism and corporations is being called out by Jim Sterling for being a product of capitalism and corporative management considering how much the game was meddled with. Not going on many last-year best of lists, that's for sure.

Speaking of which:

Considering Devil's Third came out last year, I don't know if it's elegible for the list.

Bob_McMillan:
I think this is the first time any critic has mentioned how annoying the cutscenes for EVERYTHING are. I play games stealthily because I like feeling sleek and smooth, like a ballet performance except instead of pirouettes I'm snapping necks. The last thing I want is 3 seconds of having no control of your player as well as a complete change in perspective. It's of the many annoyances I had with Human Revolution that made me stop playing the game 3 times in a row.

That sounds like a silly reason to avoid playing.

Solkard:
Racism? I thought the analogy was about gun control. I could understand the difficulty in removing the nano-augs of the old school Deus Ex world, but most of the cybernetic tech of this Deus Ex world seems pretty blatantly detachable. In which case, doesn't it become more an issue of, "I don't care if my Ginsu knife arm can go crazy and kill people on a whim. I've decided that it is part of my identity and so everyone else should just accept the risk of personal harm to themselves."?

I was not aware that people who feel entitled to be able to lift and throw vending machines with their bare hands, was a race.

There was a gun control analogy in there, but it was more subtle, there was definitely a racism analogy in there though.

darkrage6:

Bob_McMillan:
I think this is the first time any critic has mentioned how annoying the cutscenes for EVERYTHING are. I play games stealthily because I like feeling sleek and smooth, like a ballet performance except instead of pirouettes I'm snapping necks. The last thing I want is 3 seconds of having no control of your player as well as a complete change in perspective. It's of the many annoyances I had with Human Revolution that made me stop playing the game 3 times in a row.

That sounds like a silly reason to avoid playing.

As I said, one of many.

darkrage6:
Considering Devil's Third came out last year, I don't know if it's elegible for the list.

Yeah, butYahtzee only reviewed it this year for some reason, it was released in December in NA and was already out by August of that same year everywhere else, I can understand Paper Jam, who only came out in Europe and Australia in 2016, when everyone else had it by the end of 2015. So I guess he will have to open an expception as it's not a retro review and he had to mention that one game to talk about Devil's Third.

darkrage6:

Solkard:
Racism? I thought the analogy was about gun control. I could understand the difficulty in removing the nano-augs of the old school Deus Ex world, but most of the cybernetic tech of this Deus Ex world seems pretty blatantly detachable. In which case, doesn't it become more an issue of, "I don't care if my Ginsu knife arm can go crazy and kill people on a whim. I've decided that it is part of my identity and so everyone else should just accept the risk of personal harm to themselves."?

I was not aware that people who feel entitled to be able to lift and throw vending machines with their bare hands, was a race.

There was a gun control analogy in there, but it was more subtle, there was definitely a racism analogy in there though.

Racism and Gun Control? I thought that's what Mutants are an allegory for in the X-Men comics, anytime a Mutant or Superhuman Registration Act pops up.

woodlandkammo:
It's funny, pacemakers were the exact thing I thought of. Seriously, in this world, exactly how easy is it to be classified as an "Aug"? What about people with cochlear implants? Or just regular prosthetics?

I'd assume the official designation is whether or not they have a Biochip installed (the brain chip that lets them control their robo arms/eyes/etc).

Amaror:
You would guess that people would have more of a self-preservation instincts to not treat the augs like shit.

Reminds me of a few of the checkpoint cops in Prague. It's always amusing when they start trying to pull the bossy tough guy act and subsequently piss themselves upon reading Jensen's paperwork that tells them just who they're dealing with.

K12:
Couldn't agree more on the shortcomings of the racism analogy... now let's wait for somebody to come along and decide that this kind of nuance in criticism is either racist or SJW political-correctness. I wonder which will happen first.

There was certainly a strong bit of racism allegory in there, but writing it off on the grounds of the normal people's fears of the augs going nuts again being totally reasonable is missing the point a little.
It's deliberate, the idea is to set up an actual dilemma: people are completely justified in being afraid of the augmented after the incident in 2027, but at the same time the augs are suffering for it, for something that wasn't their fault.

It seems a bit unfair to reduce a setup like MD's to just racism, and then call it invalid because it doesn't quite line up with that mould.

(Plus there's little interesting in a straightforward "irrational hatred" setup like racism is in real life, if I wanted something banging me over the head with "racism = bad," I'd watch the last minute of a bunch of 90s cartoons.)

I honestly thought the game was great. I spent almost 30 hours on my initial playthrough, and it didn't end as abruptly as people make it out to have. If they hadn't included that cinematic with Illuminati at the beginning, it would have not even been noticed. The actual story of the game is a terrorism group is trying to be terrorists, and augmented people are getting blamed.

I will agree with one thing... the shear number of augmented people were ridiculous. Like... 60% of all the people walking around are augmented. In Prague, the augmented people should be completely in charge since they clearly outnumber all the non augmented people. The Racism analogy is in fact in your face in the game, but I don't think it's as poor as he makes it out to be. The augmented people are living in a place where they are second class citizens, literally. They have special entrances to pubic areas for example. To me, the story while not perfect, is a perfectly reasonable followup to the events of the last game.

I think calling this a poor analogy is just going too far. I would like to know what constitutes a good analogy since all they really did was give augs the social status of pre-civil rights black Americans, which is both ridiculous and reasonable at the same time.

Also, it's not fair to call it short. Deus Ex HR + extras averaged just over 30 hours. I did that in mankind divided in 29 hours. That is not a huge discrepancy by any reasonable persons measure. Furthermore, the average game length was told to be around 30 hours by the developer.

Game too short? It's almost as if they removed the next two parts of the game and made them DLC. But I'm just tossing that theory out there, I don't think a triple AAA company would be so irresponsible to either launch an intentionally feature removed game as a full priced product and then package already made parts of the game into separately priced items that cost more total than a completed whole game, or sell an early access game packaged as a complete game in order to get the game through the super long approval process and shipped to market sooner while they continue making it in the form of DLC and charge us more money to get the rest of it. That would be a total violation of consumer rights.

Especially if it's because all of that is still the FIRST HALF of a game that was split in half to make two games.

Baresark:
I will agree with one thing... the shear number of augmented people were ridiculous. Like... 60% of all the people walking around are augmented. In Prague, the augmented people should be completely in charge since they clearly outnumber all the non augmented people. The Racism analogy is in fact in your face in the game, but I don't think it's as poor as he makes it out to be. The augmented people are living in a place where they are second class citizens, literally. They have special entrances to pubic areas for example. To me, the story while not perfect, is a perfectly reasonable followup to the events of the last game.

The augmented don't have the capacity to be effective killing/suppression forces unless they get turned berserk again, and there's waaaaay more immigrants and minority population than there are rich people IRL, so the social dynamics aren't all easy mathematics.

ToastyMozart:

K12:
Couldn't agree more on the shortcomings of the racism analogy... now let's wait for somebody to come along and decide that this kind of nuance in criticism is either racist or SJW political-correctness. I wonder which will happen first.

There was certainly a strong bit of racism allegory in there, but writing it off on the grounds of the normal people's fears of the augs going nuts again being totally reasonable is missing the point a little.
It's deliberate, the idea is to set up an actual dilemma: people are completely justified in being afraid of the augmented after the incident in 2027, but at the same time the augs are suffering for it, for something that wasn't their fault.

It seems a bit unfair to reduce a setup like MD's to just racism, and then call it invalid because it doesn't quite line up with that mould.

(Plus there's little interesting in a straightforward "irrational hatred" setup like racism is in real life, if I wanted something banging me over the head with "racism = bad," I'd watch the last minute of a bunch of 90s cartoons.)

Using "augs lives matter" and "Mechanical Apartheid" in their promotional material invited those comparisons so I think it's perfectly reasonable to criticise it for the places where the analogy doesn't work very well.

It's not just the semi-reasonableness of the non-augs fear's that makes the analogy a bit dodgy either. It's also the fact that people choose to become augmented (although they don't choose the injuries that might require them to function normally) and can become de-augmented at any time (except when their augments are keeping them alive). There's no heredity to create lineages or geographical subcultures of augmented people and the expense and the abilities of augmentations make it seem a bit weird to think of them as a group vulnerable to oppression.

Your comment actually made me think that a direct analogy to Islamophobia and radical Islam might have worked quite well. There could be a radical transhumanist uber-mensch type group who espouse aug-supremacy and terrorise non-augs. The backlash and anger from these guys end up having a really bad effect on the large number of perfectly reasonable augs, which in turn makes some of them more vulnerable to being radicalised... but I wouldn't expect a AAA game to have the balls to take on a subject as raw as that in any kind of meaningful way.

It's still a lot of fun and I generally prefer it when games make the effort to have complex cultural tensions in their worlds, even if it feels a bit wonky.

Baresark:
I honestly thought the game was great... it didn't end as abruptly as people make it out to have.

IMO the sidequests/POIs are about half the game's content, and they're a huge step up from HR's. Although I kinda have to disagree about the ending being unabrupt.
Even aside from the plot threads set up in the game's first half (before going to Golem and meeting Oneeye Mc.ObviouslyAVillian) not being further developed, the game kinda halted when it was still at around the Act 2 point of the gameplay progression.

To try and explain what I'm trying to get at, I'll compare it to HR. It's like if HR ended while you were still fighting the normal TYM security guys while using upgraded street-legal weaponry, we never got the 3rd tier of dangerous guys ala HR's spec ops, nor any unusual late-game weapons. The game feels like it went to intermission, then the ushers locked the doors behind us while the orchestra snuck out the back. (Guess Jim's source was right about the game being cut in half)

That said, I'd still say I got my money's worth for the ~$40 I spent on it, and that last level was fantastic.

Baresark:
I will agree with one thing... the shear number of augmented people were ridiculous. Like... 60% of all the people walking around are augmented. In Prague, the augmented people should be completely in charge since they clearly outnumber all the non augmented people. The Racism analogy is in fact in your face in the game, but I don't think it's as poor as he makes it out to be. The augmented people are living in a place where they are second class citizens, literally. They have special entrances to pubic areas for example. To me, the story while not perfect, is a perfectly reasonable followup to the events of the last game.

I figured the large aug population was just because one part of the map is set in the small area augs that haven't been deported to Golem are allowed to live, and they handwaved it by explaining that augmented workers flocked to Prague to help build the Utelek complex (just throw a little tragic irony in there for good measure).
And they just haven't taken over because the armored-up-the-ass police would stomp their non-military robo arms pretty easily (leading to those funny moments where a checkpoint cop tries the tough guy act on Jensen before soiling themselves over his Level Orange ID). The police presence in that hub is insane, there's practically a SWAT team on every street corner.

I agree on the racism analogy being better than Yahtzee makes it out to be (though literally putting "Aug entrance in rear" on the wall of a building was a bit much).

K12:

ToastyMozart:
snip.

Using "augs lives matter" and "Mechanical Apartheid" in their promotional material invited those comparisons so I think it's perfectly reasonable to criticise it for the places where the analogy doesn't work very well.

It's not just the semi-reasonableness of the non-augs fear's that makes the analogy a bit dodgy either. It's also the fact that people choose to become augmented (although they don't choose the injuries that might require them to function normally) and can become de-augmented at any time (except when their augments are keeping them alive). There's no heredity to create lineages or geographical subcultures of augmented people and the expense and the abilities of augmentations make it seem a bit weird to think of them as a group vulnerable to oppression.

Your comment actually made me think that a direct analogy to Islamophobia and radical Islam might have worked quite well. There could be a radical transhumanist uber-mensch type group who espouse aug-supremacy and terrorise non-augs. The backlash and anger from these guys end up having a really bad effect on the large number of perfectly reasonable augs, which in turn makes some of them more vulnerable to being radicalised... but I wouldn't expect a AAA game to have the balls to take on a subject as raw as that in any kind of meaningful way.

It's still a lot of fun and I generally prefer it when games make the effort to have complex cultural tensions in their worlds, even if it feels a bit wonky.

I usually try and distance a work from its advertising, since it tends to be the sole discretion of the Marketing department and Marketing is full of idiots, but yeah, I can't say it's unreasonable to look at it from a perspective the publishers made themselves. (God the AugLivesMatter thing was dumb)

The whole situation with ARC felt very much like the whole radical/nonradical muslim thing to me too, I'm with you on that one. A small subset of assholes start blowing things up, then people come down on the group in its entirety, thereby driving more of them to Team Asshole, etc.

I feel like things might have ended up feeling a bit more well-developed if we had actually gotten the second half of the game in the box.

So, going by the comments I'm seeing, while the game is better than given credit, wait for the DLC to come out, and then the inevitable "GOTYE/SE/DX/EE/AE/" of the game with minor tweaks and changes that fix common complaints.

Also, I'd like to point out that probably the reason the game was advertised as "battling racism" is because of how meaningless the word means today when you can call someone a racist for wanting people to go through the proper legal channels to become a citizen, or wanting to make sure that people entering an area do not have the intent to level it and everyone in the vicinity.

I still don't know which side I'm on for the ol' bananas vs Hobnobs ordeal. I mean, the leader of the Hobnobs is a very charismatic speaker, but I have to admit that the bananas raise some good points worth thinking about.

This is the first non-orgasmic review of this game I've come across. Thank goodness we have Yahtzee over here keeping it real among game critics.

(Granted I don't consume very many reviews period).

Igor-Rowan:
Well, at least it gets points for showing how confusing racism is in real life, I'm serious, go ask three different, unrelated people what constitues as racism and you will not stop scratching your head by how inconsistent it is. Also I find quite ironic a game that calls out capitalism and corporations is being called out by Jim Sterling for being a product of capitalism and corporative management considering how much the game was meddled with. Not going on many last-year best of lists, that's for sure.

Speaking of which:

The problem is augmentation is not at all like having different colored skin or being born gay or bi as those are not a choice, but getting augmented IS a choice(with some exceptions like Adam who needed it to survive).

Transdude1996:
So, going by the comments I'm seeing, while the game is better than given credit, wait for the DLC to come out, and then the inevitable "GOTYE/SE/DX/EE/AE/" of the game with minor tweaks and changes that fix common complaints.

Also, I'd like to point out that probably the reason the game was advertised as "battling racism" is because of how meaningless the word means today when you can call someone a racist for wanting people to go through the proper legal channels to become a citizen, or wanting to make sure that people entering an area do not have the intent to level it and everyone in the vicinity.

Don't tell me you're a Trump supporter, the word is absolutely not "meaningless" in anyways(seriously stop watching Faux News), there's plenty of legal citizens FAR more dangerous then any immigrants.

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