Easy On The GPU, Demanding On The CPU
Let’s start by saying that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an impressive accomplishment that offers unique and satisfying game play. While the overall framework of this title is reminiscent of Mass Effect 2, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a more intimate experience. For me, the way the story is weaved and the player’s dialogue choices are better executed in Deus Ex. On the down side, combat is hindered by unimpressive enemy AI. Admittedly this is a subjective analysis, but no matter how you slice it Deus Ex: Human Revolution is a game that many folks will find rewarding to play.
Let’s move on to graphics card performance. At low (but attractive) settings using DirectX 9, the game runs smoothly on a GeForce GT 240 GDDR5 or Radeon HD 6570 at 1680x1050. Maximum detail at 1920x1080 with AA enabled requires only a Radeon HD 5770 or GeForce GTX 550 Ti for a minimum frame rate above 35 FPS. This is outstanding, as the game necessitates a relatively small cash investment in graphics for excellent frame rates.
On the other hand, this release requires a decent CPU. And if you're still rocking a dual-core processor, you'll want something in the range of Intel's Sandy Bridge-based Core i3 with Hyper-Threading. One of AMD’s triple-core processors will also do the job, but make sure it's running at at least 2.5 GHz.
The First Game To Support AMD's HD3D On Release
Finally, let’s talk about AMD’s HD3D capability. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the first game with native HD3D support (although HD3D support was just added to DiRT3 in a patch; the next HD3D-capable game is slated to be the upcoming Battlefield 3). Unfortunately, like Crysis 2, the in-game solution only works with graphics hardware from one manufacturer: in the case of Deus Ex, that’s AMD’s Radeon HD 5000 or 6000-series cards. Of course, you'll also need a 3D monitor or television that supports AMD's HD3D standard. Indeed, Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology does not support this game without bright and obnoxious lighting artifacts. So, if you want to play Deus Ex: Human Revolution in 3D, you’re going to need a Radeon. Nvidia might be able to come up with a 3D Vision profile that works with the game, but it hasn't happened yet.
While this review isn’t focused on HD3D, we gave it a try and it worked great at 1080p/24 FPS and 720p/60 FPS (to play at 1080p/60 FPS, you would need a 3D-capable DisplayPort monitor and we don’t have one on-hand). Be particularly careful if this is a path you truly want to go down with a desktop PC, as the list of monitors AMD certifies is still short. Nevertheless, the game performed flawlessly on a Radeon HD 6970, with the exception that SSAO has to be turned off because it causes shadow artifacts when it's enabled.
On a side note, if you're interested in the current state of 3D, stay tuned to Tom’s Hardware for an upcoming article that takes a close look at the competing 3D standards in a large number of games.