Deus Ex: Human Revolution E3 Preview

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the latest entry in the famed Deus Ex legacy. Headed up by Eidos Montreal, the game looks to be a worthy contender in the franchise. During E3 2010, art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête gave us the rundown on the upcoming game, complete with a gameplay demo.

For the sake of keeping Deus Ex: Human Revolution a Deus Ex game, it allows the player choices in which may or may not lead to consequences. It’s all about multiple paths and letting the player play the game the way he or she feels best. There’s never one way of going about things in Human Revolution.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution takes place in 2027. Naturally, the game’s an action role-playing game with a first-person camera. Although, whenever players go into cover, they’ll play the game in third-person, even when shooting. We step into the shoes of Adam Jensen, a security officer for a cybernetics corporation that gets attacked early on in the game. This puts Jensen on a mission to find out who’s responsible.

We were shown a thirty-minute demo of the game running on PS3. It was about six hours in and split into two parts to show off two of the game’s specialties: social and action. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a glimpse at the HUD of the game as it was disabled for the E3 demo. To make life easier, Eidos Montreal also granted themselves the luxury of unlimited health and ammo. Wouldn’t want to die during a press demo now, would you?

The first part saw Adam landing in Shanghai to get some information on where he could find a guy named Tom. Fair enough. First thing I noticed was the city – it was huge, vast, and futuristic as our society could possibly get, but had the same orange/green hue that we’ve seen in trailers and screenshots so far. I didn’t mind this. It could just be a nighttime thing. I wouldn’t know as we’ve yet to see what daytime looks like. The second part of the demo we saw afterward had the same hue but, once again, was at night.

Social. As one of the game’s biggest elements, social interaction is of great importance. NPCs react to what you do in the city and will respond with emotion. When Adam stepped out of the chopper and walked down the stairs with his gun out, a random NPC held his hands up high in fear, saying something along the lines of “please don’t shoot me, man.” All NPCs in the city interact with each other. There’s not one NPC that isn’t doing something. The developers call this the “living, breathing world.” The player can talk to any NPC; they all have something to say to you; talk to them and they’ll guide you or maybe chit chat with you.

We approached a part in the demo where Adam had to get into a bar. This is where we saw choice come in. The bouncer in the demo made Adam pay to get in the bar – luckily he was pretty loaded. However, when the bouncer offered him in if he payed, it brought up a choice of selection. He could have said no. He could have instead either shot the bouncer, fought him, found a back alley entrance, get clues about how to get in from NPCs… basically, there are a lot of ways to go about things in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. We see the same occur when Adam tries to get information out of a bartender. The Eidos guy demoing fails and must pursue another way in finding this information.

Before the first part of the demo ended, we did catch a hint of Adam eavesdropping, as well as a really cool ability where Jensen is able to silently take out enemies then drag their lifeless bodies out of sight.

Part two of the demo was all about offense, defense, and tactility. This is where we saw Adam’s battle outfit. He has two outfits that he wears throughout the game: the urban outfit, which is his trench coat, and the battle suit, complete with bullet proof vest and full reveal of his augmented arms. This is where we got to get a good look at the augmentations he’ll be using in the game.

Combat is probably the most important part of any game of this type. Deus Ex doesn’t hold back. Along with first-person kills, the game introduces unscripted take-downs in which see Adam performing some super cool move on an unaware enemy. Stealthy. These can be done anywhere at anytime – and they look awesome. Jacques-Belletête did mention, though, that it’s possible to play through the entire game without making a single kill. This can be done by stealthily sneaking around guards or using tranquilizers instead of guns.

We saw some cool augmentations out of Adam. For starters, the strength augmentation allowed him to move heavy objects. Then there was the invisible augmentation, which is self-explanatory. Following, we saw the ability to see through walls. Finally, this one’s not really an augmentation, when Adam was surrounded by guards, we saw jim shoot small explosives out of the triceps of his suit, which all exploded in the surrounding guards’ faces.

The team mentioned, that since this is a first-person game with huge role-playing elements, that all weapons are upgradeable. There is said to be a ton of weapons in the game. One weapon we saw – a rocket launcher – was actually upgraded with a heat-seeker that let the missile find its way directly to its target.

In the second part of the demo, we did see one more thing involving choice. Jensen broke into a warehouse from the rooftops. However, Jacques-Belletête told the audience that there are “at least five” different ways he could have gotten into the warehouse. Five. That’s decision for you, baby.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was really one of my games of the show. It’s a shame it was one of my last appointments. From what I saw, though, the team at Eidos Montreal really seems to be creating a title to remember. Keep your eye on it.

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