Friday, March 30, 2012

Initial Thoughts: "Deus Ex: Human Revolution"

            I went to Target the other day and found a 3 for 2 sale on video games.  Being that "Skyrim" was still 60 bucks and that was just not cost effective I instead decided to go the cheap bastard route and grabbed three Science Fiction games off the shelf.  One horror, "Dead Space 2" which I have not cracked open yet.  Another was puzzle, "Portal 2", which I really like though have an odd complaint that there might in fact be too many jokes in it.  And lastly an Role Playing Game, "Deus Ex: Human Revolution" (Christ that trailer is pretentious).  This little blog is about that last one.

"The Matrix" is still popular right?  Right?

            I have some complaints about this thing, and I haven't even finished the first level... Actually, that is my main complaint, the first level.  Here is the problem, since it is a role playing game, I have to determine what role I want to play, stealth killing opponents from the shadows or fire fights out in the open.  What is more I can chose to be more up close and personal, with stun guns, or far away with rifles.  This sounds great right?  Well, it might be, maybe they should let me play both a little and then let me decide.

            The game's first mission has you rescuing hostages from a luddite militia, you can chose to go lethal or non-lethal, up close or ranged... they then give you one weapon.  One.  Mother fuckers, if I were a rent a cop I would have truncheon, mace, and a side arm.  And they think a stun gun is enough for heading into a hostage situation?  Give me more guns.  Give me all the guns!  My character is a billion dollar cyborg prototype, and you cut costs when its game time?  Keep in mind all I have played is the tutorial, which had no stealth sections, so I have no idea if I even like stealth action, so how am I supposed to make a decision on that front?  What are the benefits of lethal vs non-lethal?  I don't know, they don't tell you.

             Another thing, I got the Tranquilizer rifle, and it is shit.  Too late to get a sub-machine gun?  Oh, well I guess I will just do melee stealth kills for now, "Assassin's Creed" and "Man Hunt" taught me how to do that much.  Guess what, there are power bars for melee knock-outs/kills.  You know that thing Master Chief does with such grace and ease it is akin to cracking his knuckles?  Yeah, you can do that twice before your body starts malfunctioning.  I, as a flesh and blood real life entity can choke out more than two people without needing a protein bar, hell give me a heavy pointy rock and I'll knock people out all god damn day, and the billion dollar cyborg super agent can't?  Huh?

A bowling pin will also work.
             Then there is the text problem, I knock a guy out and have to pick pocket him, can't read anything on the screen, pictures are vague, so I pick up everything and hope my inventory description will be legible, and I have a big HD-TV, I can accept and forgive this sort of thing from "Dead Rising" which was a launch title on the 360, but the system has been out for more than half a decade, text should not be a complaint.

            Here is a petty one: the main character sounds like he is out of breath all the time.  I know they are going for a gruff angst ridden anti-hero because there isn't 10,000 of those out in the world already, but does he have to sound awful?  Nathan Drake and Master Chief are angst ridden, but they hide it behind an upbeat snide attitude and straight talking can do spirit respectively.

            Controls.  When you are walking around, it is first person, but if you take cover it switches to third person, this happens in such a way as to completely disorient you.  I played "Red Dead Redemption" entirely in third person and it didn't hurt my immersion in the story.  I played "Fallout 3" entirely in first person and had no issue with cover and stealth.  Why does this need to juggle the two?  Pick one and do it well.  There are even first person games with cover systems that work really well they could have ripped off, like the first "Call of Juarez".  This is a dumb way to run things.

            Lastly is the plot.  Regular humans dislike cyborgs because they are unnatural, they are using augmentations to their bodies with technology.  That is horseshit.  I hate to break it to you, but anti-biotic treatments are not natural, neither are cell phones, artificial heart valves, or clothing for that matter (clothing is an artificial skin we wear to protect our real skin from the elements).  Furthermore the story shows that while people might want to get augmentations, they don't have to, they can be stupid like Jenny McCarthy and falsely believe that augmentations cause various forms of retardation.  There is a false dichotomy that drives the plot's main conflict, and that is poor writing.

            So pacing, presentation, controls, and core themes and story telling... Each fail right out of the gate for me.  That is a shame.  Who made this?  Square Enix.  Yeah, should have figured.  Compared to something like "Mass Effect 2" which has a clear motivation, clean combat, and solid writing and presentation I wonder why "Deus Ex: Human Revolution" has been so highly recommended.

Oh, and it isn't the setting or concept that is the problem, as this is my favorite anime ever, and it is very much the same thing.

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