Checking Out The Divide In 'Deus Ex: Mankind Divided'

The story of Adam Jensen continues in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which was just announced two months ago. At E3, we were treated to a behind-closed-doors, hands-off gameplay demo with the current alpha build. Technically, it was two demos: the first showed off a little preview of the story, while the second part provided a glimpse of gameplay. Fortunately for you, the team at Eidos Montreal decided to finally reveal the full 25-minute gameplay video from that meeting to give fans a taste of what's to come.

Two Houses

The game picks up at the year 2029, two years after the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. In that time between the two games, humanity is split between two big groups: those who have augmentations and those who prefer to have a fully natural body. Augmented humans are looked down upon and eventually forced to live in large, crowded slums.

Adam Jensen now works for an international organization and is investigating a series of attacks with a group called the Augmented Rights Coalition as the main suspect. Furthermore, Jensen is also under the impression that an evil force is pulling the strings on the people he works for, specifically the Illuminati (put your conspiracy caps on).

In the first part of the demo, we see Adam arriving in Prague via train to meet another contact to begin the investigation. Paranoia is running high, with police in full armor inspecting everyone's travel documents. Citizens are put up against the wall to be searched, and drones litter the sky, scanning for anyone who might pose a danger to the public.

The most obvious upgrade to this game is the removal of the overbearing orange tint from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. However, there is a slight hint of a shade of gray to reflect the bleak state of humanity, but it's not as much of an eyesore this time around. Additionally, there's a more diverse palette of colors on everything from the distant foliage to clothing, some of which is definitely eye-catching and forces the player to look around the space instead of merely focusing on the mission at hand.

Unfortunately, the sightseeing can only go for so long. As you enter the train station, a series of explosions rocks the surrounding area with debris hurtling towards you, and then it cuts to black. It's just a small peek of what's to come in the game, but it shows just how much society has changed towards augmented humans in such a short time span.

Getting Down To Business

The second part of the demo showed off how actual gameplay might look in the final version, showing Adam as he hunts down the leader of the Augmented Rights Coalition in the slums of Golem City.

For the most part, the heads-up display has the same elements as before, but it's displayed in bigger text and images, and a few things have been moved around. For example, the mini-map is now at the top right corner of the screen instead of the bottom left. Augmentation powers now have a more prominent position at the bottom left corner. In the past, it was placed as a small icon above the field where your weapons and ammo count were displayed.

All of the data on all of these parts have larger displays, as well. The developers seem to have figured out a way for it to be easier to read without intruding on what the players see in the environment around them. If you pull out a weapon, the game also includes an ammo counter right on it, so you don't have to constantly look on the various info panels on the corners of the screen.

Speaking of weapons, improvements were also made to customize your weapon loadout on the fly. The pistol Adam used in the demo can take different types of ammo, such as lethal rounds for enemies and even EMP bullets to temporarily take out cameras to avoid detection. Other customization options include upgrades for a silencer, scope sights, and even firing patterns if you favor a fully automatic weapon instead of a single shot every time the trigger is pulled.

Hacking was another big part of the game, and it's received a visual upgrade, displaying the various nodes and interface in an isometric, yet 3D environment. The difficulty has also been raised so that it now includes a fog of war during hacking so you don't know what the next node unlocks. For the first time, players can also hack from afar, which opens up the number of ways to reach a target or activate and employ defenses such as robots and turrets.

A new game also means more additions to Adam's many augmentations. One of the newest abilities is called the Icarus Jump, which allows him to quickly move to otherwise unreachable areas for a normal human. For you Dishonored fans out there, think of it like Corvo's Blink ability. It can also be used to get the drop on enemies below you by quickly getting down on their level and taking them out.

There's also an improvement to his X-ray vision, which not only displays enemy locations at a certain distance, but also shows what parts of the world have structural weaknesses, such as the entrance to an air duct. There's even a Focus Mode included that slows down time during combat so you can plan out your shots as you move from cover to cover.

For stealthy players, there's the Tesla Gun, which protrudes from Jensen's arm. It can knock out up to four enemies with a non-lethal electric charge.

For those who prefer to shoot everything in their way, there are also abilities that work best in combat. First up is the nanoblade. It can be used to target enemies at a distance like a dart and instantly kill them and pin them to the wall, but it's also able to take out multiple enemies at once by attracting them to it and then exploding into multiple pieces of shrapnel.

If you're pinned down in a firefight, there's also the new Titan Shield, which covers Jensen from head to toe in a protective barrier that allows him to endure a barrage of bullets from multiple enemies.

The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword...Sometimes

After fighting our way through the multiple floors of slums and countless amounts of enemies, we get to the objective: arresting Rucker, the head of the Augmented Rights Coalition.

Boss fights were a part of the Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but they were heavily scrutinized due to the lack of options you could use to take each boss down. With Rucker, you don't take him down by force; instead, you try to convince him to give you information by talking to him. Saying the correct phrases will convince him to spill the beans and grant you access to his personal cache. Otherwise, you could anger him and he will call reinforcements before his untimely death, making your escape from his office a little more difficult.

I talked to one of the developers after the demo, and he said that this type of social interaction instead of combat against the boss is not available for each major enemy. It's only placed in certain parts of the game to add to the lore or main story. It's yet unclear as to the other ways combat with bosses has changed in this game, but we should find out soon enough.

Prepare Yourself

Overall, it looks like there were a lot of lessons learned from Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Everything that needed work showed improvements in this demo, alongside the introduction of new features that should hopefully work well with the classic Deus Ex experience. Keep in mind, however, that this is an alpha build, and many changes could still take place before the game launches sometime in 2016.

Still, it's good to know that the developers listened to the fans and made the necessary changes to make the game. There's still a lot we don't know about the next chapter of Adam Jensen, but the 25-minute demo is a lot better than keeping players in the dark.

Follow Rexly Peñaflorida II @Heirdeux. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • Jake Hall
    Words cannot describe the readiness of my body, for this...
  • beetlejuicegr
    Words cannot describe the readiness of my body, for this...

    Ohhh full oculus rift or VR room? can i join? :P
  • dstarr3
    I'm not the kind of person to get hyped for games before they come out, but... I AM SO HYPED FOR THIS GAME.