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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Performance Analysis

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Performance Analysis
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The highly anticipated prequel to the game that started it all, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is now available. We take a close look at this intriguing title, the first to offer in-game morphological anti-aliasing and AMD HD3D support upon its release.

The original Deus Ex combined elements of first-person shooters and role-playing games, allowing the player to shape the game world (and consequently, his experience) based on the choices he made. Released on June 26, 2000, it's still considered one of the best PC games of all time.

The sequel, Deus Ex: Invisible War, was released at the end of 2003 on the PC and Xbox. It received positive reviews, but never quite achieved the original's popularity.

It took more than seven years for the third game in the trilogy to arrive, but Deus Ex: Human Revolution is now available in stores. In addition to book-ending one of the highest-profile PC game series in existence, Eidos Montreal’s new release is the first game to natively support AMD’s HD3D on release, without middleware. It’s also the first game that provides AMD’s Morphological Anti-Aliasing (MLAA) technique to graphics cards from both side of the aisle, GeForce and Radeon alike. This makes it a particularly intriguing DirectX 11 title for us to analyze, so let’s dig in.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution Gameplay

When I attempt to describe Deus Ex: Human Revolution, a flood of pop culture references come to mind. The player’s character is named Adam Jensen. He’s two parts Neo, from the Matrix, and one part Clint Eastwood (especially the voice). The dystopian Detroit cityscape is very reminiscent of Blade Runner, as are some of the moral dilemmas and themes regarding dehumanization. The gritty beginning of the story stirs memories of Robocop. Not in a cheesy way, mind you, but with a very personal, gut-wrenching intro that makes you care about the characters and what they’re going through. It inspires me to want the Adam Jensen to succeed and bring the bad guys to justice; you might even say I want to see him get revenge. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt emotionally connected to a character in a video game, and getting a jaded veteran player like me to empathize is a significant accomplishment.

The augmentation menu, where you can upgrade your characterThe augmentation menu, where you can upgrade your character

As far as game play goes, the fundamentals are there: decent combat, RPG-style upgrades, and options like stealth or computer-hacking to make your job more interesting. The rich customization system offers a wide variety of augmentations you can purchase to sync your character’s strengths with your play style. The combat model is serviceable, but the enemy AI is admittedly weak compared to the rest of the game. There’s a cover system that appears to be influenced by Gears of War, but it’s not as slick, and I find it a little awkward to use. Success can be a challenge, as enemy projectiles do significant damage. You will self heal if you can avoid fighting for long enough, though. On the whole, enemy engagements are something to which you'll look forward. I just don’t think they're as good as they could be.

Computer hacking skills... nunchuk skills...Computer hacking skills... nunchuk skills...

Truth be told, combat is not the crux of this game. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is really about dialogue, characters, choices, and the story. To draw another comparison, it has a similar overall feel to Mass Effect 2, but does a better job of keeping my interest piqued. I find it a lot easier to identify with Deus Ex’s hero than I do with Mass Effect’s Commander Shepard. It’s funny, but Adam’s personal motivations seem more important than Shepard’s destiny to save the galaxy. Jensen is more relatable.

I wear my sunglasses at nightI wear my sunglasses at night

Where the developers really nailed it is with regard to NPC interaction and the dialogue choices. As I said, I’m a jaded veteran video game player, and I can see a plot branch a mile away. In most games, it’s simply a matter of choice: do you want to follow path A or B? But in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you are not only faced with a choice, you often have to convince an NPC to make your choice a reality. For example, at once point in the game, there’s a hostage situation and you can choose to let the kidnapper go or to fight him. Even when I let him go he tried to take a hostage, so I had to talk the guy down and convince him to release his prisoner through multiple, touchy responses. Whether or not the result was inevitable, I really felt that my dialogue choices made a huge difference in the outcome of that situation, and that those choices were based on analyzing the NPC properly. For me, this is one of those rare gaming moments that transcend the medium. Kudos to the game’s writing staff!

Trouble in the basementTrouble in the basement

At this point, you should be able to tell that I consider Deus Ex: Human Revolution worth playing. Despite a slight weakness on the combat side of things, the rest of the game is very slick. The story and dialogue especially stand out above the rest of the genre, making Deus Ex: Human Revolution more enjoyable than most games in recent memory.

Now that we’ve covered the game play, let’s look at the more technical aspects of this title: graphics and performance.

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  • 11 Hide
    fyasko , August 25, 2011 8:02 AM
    festerovic@soma - I personally thought they were average - good, for the time. Not sure if they would stand up to time...Interesting to read the dual core HT chips outperformed real cores. Can we look forward to the 2600's HT being utilized in games before the next generation of CPUs comes out?


    HT isn't the reason dual core SB CPU's beat 6 core thubans. SB is a better architecture. Hurry up Bulldozer!
Other Comments
  • 3 Hide
    festerovic , August 25, 2011 5:44 AM
    @soma - I personally thought they were average - good, for the time. Not sure if they would stand up to time...

    Interesting to read the dual core HT chips outperformed real cores. Can we look forward to the 2600's HT being utilized in games before the next generation of CPUs comes out?
  • 7 Hide
    haplo602 , August 25, 2011 5:53 AM
    nice review, finaly a new DeusEx game for me :-)
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , August 25, 2011 6:02 AM
    Was AMD dual-core optimizer installed?
  • 4 Hide
    gerchokas , August 25, 2011 6:04 AM
    Good article - i still remember when i first saw the 2000' Deus Ex graphics on my friend's then-brand-new pc, i thought 'maaan... this looks *friggin* REAL!' I instantly knew my old Pentium cpu needed replacing ASAP...
    11 years later, i praise again the great graphics.. but this time they havent cought me off-guard!
  • 3 Hide
    tacoslave , August 25, 2011 6:20 AM
    i really wonder how far developers can take the graphics in 3 years.
  • -2 Hide
    aznshinobi , August 25, 2011 6:28 AM
    Hmm... The Nvidia cards perform better than the AMD cards of equivalent rank. I'm not playing fanboy but didn't AMD fund the studio? Afterall Eyefinity was made use of.
  • 9 Hide
    th3loonatic , August 25, 2011 7:41 AM
    Are there any typos? Coz I see a GTX560 Ti listed as a card used to test, but it doesn't appear in the results.
  • 11 Hide
    fyasko , August 25, 2011 8:02 AM
    festerovic@soma - I personally thought they were average - good, for the time. Not sure if they would stand up to time...Interesting to read the dual core HT chips outperformed real cores. Can we look forward to the 2600's HT being utilized in games before the next generation of CPUs comes out?


    HT isn't the reason dual core SB CPU's beat 6 core thubans. SB is a better architecture. Hurry up Bulldozer!
  • 2 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , August 25, 2011 8:08 AM
    @ Don Woligroski
    i want the CPU benchmarks at 1080p with highest settings.
    benches at 1024x768 are irrelevant. the gamer of today is atleast 1680, preferable 1080.
    so please add to the benches. also, this would show the real impact of CPU on FPS.
  • 6 Hide
    mattmock , August 25, 2011 8:14 AM
    I have noticed that the new shader based AA modes do a good job reducing jaggies on edges but in some situations they go overboard and lower the image quality significantly. In far cry 2 screen FXAA heavily blurs the grass and foliage where as MSAA keeps those parts sharp. It still seems like 8xQ MSAA is the best option if you have the horsepower for it. (unless of course you can do SSAA)
    I would like see more comparison shots of the AA modes in DX, especially shots of plants and busy textures like brick and gravel.
  • -5 Hide
    Jax69 , August 25, 2011 8:18 AM
    Don't wanna be a fanboy but, i don't know, HardOCP found that the card to beat is the 6970, i rather trust them than Tom's.
  • 3 Hide
    mattmock , August 25, 2011 8:23 AM
    mayankleoboy1@ Don Woligroskii benches at 1024x768 are irrelevant. the gamer of today is atleast 1680, preferable 1080.so please add to the benches. also, this would show the real impact of CPU on FPS.


    Checkout the steam hardware survey, about 24% are at or below 1280 x 1024. I think there are gamers using laptops or budget screens.
  • 1 Hide
    Enkal , August 25, 2011 9:02 AM
    Jax69Don't wanna be a fanboy but, i don't know, HardOCP found that the card to beat is the 6970, i rather trust them than Tom's.


    I thought HardOCP were known to be very biased in favor of AMD/ATI graphics? On the level of banning people on their forums who say good things about Nvidia (iirc). I wouldnt trust them regarding graphics at all, otherwise it's a good site imho.

    I think it's better to check more than two sites if you want a more balanced view, not that Deus Ex needs a state of the art machine.
  • 4 Hide
    Jax69 , August 25, 2011 9:38 AM
    EnkalI thought HardOCP were known to be very biased in favor of AMD/ATI graphics? On the level of banning people on their forums who say good things about Nvidia (iirc). I wouldnt trust them regarding graphics at all, otherwise it's a good site imho.I think it's better to check more than two sites if you want a more balanced view, not that Deus Ex needs a state of the art machine.

    the truth is i never trust just one site, but is funny how every site gives it's own verdict, some are biased some are not. the important thing is to choose whatever meets our expectations regardless the brand.
  • 0 Hide
    amk-aka-Phantom , August 25, 2011 10:07 AM
    Great, my GPU will max this out :D 
  • 5 Hide
    Enkal , August 25, 2011 10:21 AM
    werner123Another game favored by nvidia, just hope new amd drivers can catch up.


    If I understand correctly the PC version was sponsored by AMD and not Nvidia. I only see an AMD logo on their page and nothing from Nvidia.
  • 1 Hide
    amigafan , August 25, 2011 10:41 AM
    Eh my 6970 could max this out no problem, but my Athlon X2 5600 would choke. Eagerly waiting for Bulldozer...
  • 2 Hide
    Enkal , August 25, 2011 11:15 AM
    werner123How do i quote a message? F***


    There is a button just to the left of the "Hide" option to the far right of the name of each poster. it's a blue " and a red +. :) 
  • -8 Hide
    verbalizer , August 25, 2011 11:39 AM
    even though AMD sponsored, it's nVidia that shows you how it's meant to be played. Yes the upper AMD cards can game at max settings and I love Eyefinity but a SLI configuration will rock with this one..
    FYI - we need better resolutions, 1024 x 768, times have changer now.
    1280 x 1024 or better, and extra detail @ 1920 x 1080 would be super.
    for Eyefinity and 2D/3D CFX and SLI, that should be an entire separate article, you agree.?
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