View Full Version : My review after 60 hours on hardest level

31st Aug 2011, 10:00
Hello there. This is going to be quite a wall of text; I am fresh and full of impressions on my first playthrough, and here is the place to share them with you after a rather detailed 60 hour run. :)

1. Gameplay

I have played Deus Ex:IW, and contrary to most fans, I liked it, too. Back then, my final "all-perfect" run was the sneaky-pacifist playstyle. To my glee I quickly discovered that this playstyle was the most XP-rewarding one. I mean, 50 xp for downing, compared to 10 xp for killing, plus 20 xp if it is a headshot. My glee turned into surprise when I discovered that every hack yielded even more kingly xp-rewards. And my surprise turned into dismay when I discovered that you got even more xp for "ghost"-all-sneaky and "smooth-operator"-no-alarms achievements. How on earth are all you “blazing guns of glory” players out there supposed to ever get any decent augmentation levels? OTOH, apart from dermal armor, crosshair-stability and maybe a little stealth for fun, you don’t need much augs when you go in with guns blazing. Ah, and all those weapons to choose from… heaps and heaps… what a waste…

I started one try on the sniper-playstyle but I stopped soon, very irritated. Constant low ammo, and plus: While my pistol seemed to hit well even over great distances, my DLC-sniper-rifle or the tranquil-rifle were shooting erratically, sometimes even missing at near point-blank ranges. I don´t know if it gets better once you install a laser-pointer-upgrade, but it sure was strange to have a scope on the rifle but not being able to use it.

Well, anyways, I tried to not leave any of the possible xp-rewards, and that was sometimes getting a bit tedious. But I sure know now how to play the hacking minigame, and I think it is very well done (especially when you compare it to the utterly dull games for example in the Mass Effect-series). In the end, it resulted in me having heaps of stop-worms, nuke-viruses, and almost every augmentation even before Panacea. I just left out the six or seven sneak-support-augs, which imo make no sense when you already have on the radar triangle-enemies (and not dots), and can look through walls on top. And those two or three weapon stability augs were completely mood after getting a laser scope.

I missed the pacifist achievement. I couldn’t bring myself to not rescue the downed Malik from that Belltower assault, and it required killing mercs, and fast. I initially thought from her initiated heroic dialogue this was a inevitable scripted tragic event, and I was very very happy when I managed to save her sexy butt anyways. Thank you for that choice, Eidos! :)
And maybe someone could brief me what happens later in the game when Malik actually goes down.

What I liked most during those long hours of sneaking, positioning and hit-and-run knockouts was the detailed and varied banter I could hear. This made sneaking so much more fun and entertaining.

Less realistic was the AI, though. I mean come on, you have four terrorists in the room, you knock them out one by one, and even the last one left standing doesn´t seem to wonder why the hell his comrades all vanished? Everybody went for a pee or what? And you can knock out somebody very noisily but unobserved, even when a collegue is standing right around the corner? Certainly not… This makes the all-sneaky approach appear very cheesy. Maybe not during the first quarter of the game, but after a while, I started loosing my “suspension of disbelieve”, and it felt more and more like the senseless gameplay requirement which it is.
More realistic would have been that you are able to knock out silently one or two, but then surely the remaining guys should realise that something is very, very wrong.

The augs were well done, although I felt limited all the time due to the small battery capacity. Also, protein-food for charging up for extened maneuvers was very scarce. Instead I had tons of useless ammunition in my inventory.

As a sidenote: Is it Canadian/American modesty or tribute to some obscure PEGGY-requirement that you don’t find any woman as an enemy to knock out or gorge with your butterbread-blades?

Another sidenote: Those airconducts almost all felt mostly out of place. This game element is old and overcome and did not add much to the sneaky-game feeling, it rather tested again my suspension of disbelief.

The bossfights were surprisingly hard. Everybody drops like flies, but suddenly, this “realism of the deadly bullet” is suspended? Oh well. On contrary, the last two boss fights seemed again to oblige to the “realism of the big-*******-gun”. I downed the Russian-accent-guy with 6 hits of my DLC-grenade launcher (he did not come out of stun), and the final boss-level was over by level-4-hacking the jesus-women to death and then poining for 5 seconds the big-*******-lazorr-gun at Lao. It was over so fast I did not believe it for some moments. Best balanced was for me that beastly stealth lady at the Picus AI. I really started to sweating and cursing there, but no eternal frustration. That´s how it is supposed to be. One of four.

Concerning replay, the strategic variety is good. I just wish for some more character customisation. A female Jensen would have been cool, for example. But, alas, this is not Mass Effect. And, since I already started on the highest difficulty; I like almost instant death when shot, because it simply is realistic. One more harder setting would have been nice for replay value.

2. Story

Which brings me from gameplay to the story. I have been lurking this forum since Deus Ex 3 got freshly announced. Back then, I was an avid sequel-fan and condemned the decision to do a prequel. Fortunately, they did it so well that it doesn´t matter at all; the story is overall well done and intricate. After unveiling more and more secrets, I kind of started to get anxious when the obligatory twist would come, the big betrayal. Who would it be? Megan? David? Prick-chard (lolled at that name)? And it didn´t come. Eidos, thank you for that. Not every story needs a twist.

I would have liked a bit more an open gameworld-feeling. As it is, I instead had a feeling of a huge Deus Ex: IW dungeon, especially in China.

I liked every character the game introduces. They are well done and believable. Even the weapons dealers were convincing in their smeariness.
The background world is rich and detailed. Be it the news, the emails or ebooks, or just the banter on the streets.

I really liked the personal feeling of being a security chief of one of the richest companies in the world. I liked that lost-romance feeling which the talks with Dr. Reed conferred. My sidekick, pony-tail hacker was a great addition. I was asking myself through all the game if he would turn on me, and I really felt ashamed once he helped Adam finding out more about his past.

Adam´s past was unresolved, though, and I would have wished otherwise. Also the final rescue of Dr. Reed seems shallow, even though the relation between Adam and her is very obviously designed as a broken-romance.

Overall, the sideline-stories seemed for me the elements which carried the story along. Once those were missing, namely when you go expressively for Panacea, the whole thing sadly becomes a bit sketchy and lead-along.

Also sketchy felt the Picus-AI as well as the Hyperion-AI. They should have played a greater role, should have loomed more sinister thoughout the story.

The Illuminati-thing was also sketchy, but here, it made sense. They are a secret organisation, and you shouldn´t be able to unveil them on the go.

The turning point of the story, Panacea, felt awkward and artifical for me. Until then, you were doing the rescue-the-princess thing, uncovering mysterious allegiances and motives, discovering more and more science and moral ambiguity, and suddenly…. ZOOOOOMBIEEES! Aww. I felt a bit letdown and out of place.

Another sidenote: Dear Eidos, it is very nice and cool that you include the obligatory mindless aug-zombie at some point into the story. But, what the hell, I cannot shoot them mindlessly, which would be the real fun, because I have to have a bad conscience for killing perfectly good people. That´s very mean, Eidos!

Finally, the final choice. Seriously, four buttons to press and a video sequence with some preaching?


I feel… bland. Even the shunned Deus Ex: IW required more twist and thought about the final decision. They way they are designed, it seems unlikely that another playthrough with different decisions will change anything. Concerning decisions and their consequences, Mass Effect will remain the leader of the field. An opportunity lost.

In order to not end with such a negative remark, I want to point out the superb atmosphere of the surroundings. The light, the environment, except maybe for China-lowtown, which fails to transmit that sprawling mega-city feeling it should, and, most of all, the sounds and music were superb. Great work here, and since gives the game a powerful emotional drive which you can surf on until the end and remember it as a good game.

3. Conclusion

Long text short: I liked it, a lot! Sneaky-wise cool, awesome mood, story-wise it is good enough.

31st Aug 2011, 10:33
Only just left the detroit second time and arrived to hengsha the second time, but for now i've felt that story, while fairly interesting, suffers from pacing (too fast rushed) and lack of character depth (we don't really get to know people, neither our enemies or allies).

31st Aug 2011, 10:35
Thanks for your post.
I agree on many points even though it's a great game. A lot of things make me wonder.
No naked women in a strip club o_O I mean, not that I want a sex-game, but seriously, the game is rated pegi 18! Now it looks more like an office building ;-)
And I agree on the fact, that shooting enemies instead of sneaking around them seems to be an easy option. As well as it seems to me, that the game is quite linear and leaves not much further options - as you wrote "They way they are designed".

31st Aug 2011, 11:12
I forgot one thing, which is very cool and very innovative: The dialogue battles. I really enjoyed them. It was not just, as sadly so often in games, simple picking an obvious right dialogue choice, but you had to take into account character mood and situation. Showing a persuasion graph and some brief Alpha/Beta/Omega flashes made you think more about how to react.

31st Aug 2011, 11:57
Another sidenote: Dear Eidos, it is very nice and cool that you include the obligatory mindless aug-zombie at some point into the story. But, what the hell, I cannot shoot them mindlessly, which would be the real fun, because I have to have a bad conscience for killing perfectly good people. That´s very mean, Eidos!

I feel ya on that one. I had a ton of PEPS ammo saved up at that point, the ones I didn't avoid I just incapacitated. I didn't kill any of them. I think one or two killed themselves on mines though. Too bad such decisions by the player has no impact on the game or ending in any way.