Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review

Technology – the ultimate game-changer. Constantly evolving at unprecedented speed, it’s taken us to great heights. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided takes that technological growth, spins it around and flips it on its head.

It’s 2029. Humans and technology share a symbiotic relationship, with cyber-robotic augmentations now a way of life. It started with helping the disabled walk, offering amputees new limbs, helping the blind ‘see’ through augmented robotic enhancements. It did not end there.

It’s two years after the events of the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, with our protagonist Adam ‘I didn’t ask for this’ Jensen now working for Interpol. If you’ve played the previous three games in the Deus Ex series, you’ll be in familiar territory here. If you haven’t, don’t worry – Mankind Divided‘s intro will bring you right up to speed, but let’s just say humans and augmented half-humans (Augs) are not seeing eye to biotic eye right now, with riots breaking out in the streets. All because of ‘the incident’ when, two years ago, Augs went rampant due to a bio-imprint in their mechanical bodies that drove them to violent and erratic behaviour. Everything in the Deus Ex world feels like a pressure cooker fuelled by anger and animosity that’s reaching boiling point.

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Deus Ex‘s overall gameplay is solid, if nothing to shout about, but its powerful conversation and the sheer freedom of choice lets each individual player to shape their own unique experiences. This impressed us, with careful thought given to level design that allows for multiple approaches, and multiple endings that create a rich and engrossing world.

The way in which the game gives you paths to take enables you to connect to the character, taking the smarter approach to each mission, without going all guns blazing. Of course, making each decision can be difficult, from whether or not to use lethal force to the way you communicate with NPCs, because your every choice reaps rewards and has consequences. and, as Jensen, you’ll need to be wary of what you do and how you do it. One misstep and you’ll be perforated with bullets from the local militia without hesitation.

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Those familiar with Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s combat will find nothing new here. Combat flows and feels the exact same as it did, and that isn’t a bad thing. For rookies, that combat can take a second to get used to, but after the intro mission and the combat/weapons simulation, you’ll be as ready as you can be.

What’s more, with those different ways of approaching a mission, you’re bound to find a playstyle that suits you, whether it’s gleefully gunning down enemies, stealthing the hell out of them, or a mixture of both. Gunplay is fine here, but it’s the subtler, quiet, non-lethal approach, which Deus Ex has been mastering since its original inception, that offers the most satisfying fun. But regardless of your play choice, there are plenty of augmentations to help support you.

A hardened FPS player may choose to be more aggressive, tackling problems head-on with heavy weapons, so augments like the Typhoon, which boosts an AoE explosive, and Titan armour, should give them the upper-hand. For the ninjas out there, there are augs like the invisibility cloak and X-ray sight to keep the playing field tilted in their favour. You’ll also be able to upgrade these abilities in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – just have a care not to overload Jensen by attaching too many.

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In addition to the main campaign, you’ll also have the option of becoming a ‘Ripper’ – Deus Ex jargon for ‘hacker’ – in the new game mode, Breach. Breach offers you the chance to delve into the depths of the DarkNet to uncover untold truths and fight the good fight, so to speak.

These are basically challenge missions that give you a time limit to hack data towers, disable bad guys, and just generally feel fast and sneaky as you climb the high scores leaderboard. As you progress, you’ll unlock data caches with cards that give you new items, scaled in rarity – Black Ops 3 and Halo 5-style. You’ll also pick up ‘Breach software’ in the main game, which carries over into the game mode. This all adds an element of replayability once you’ve exhausted the single-player missions, choosing every choice you didn’t make first time around.

We did notice some frame-rates drops in the open Prague hub area – which is still a step-up from Human Revolution‘s hub. And some animations tend to be a little stiff, like a Disneyland animatronic, which is something the game’s predecessor suffered from severely, but even this doesn’t yank you out of the immersive experience as a whole.

This is a complex and intriguing title that will keep you pushing through the narrative all the way to the end. The worry of what decision you have to make next, and what consequences it will have on the world, keeps you focused, and while there are slightly frustrating tech issues, on the whole, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided delivers.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is available now from the Xbox Store, priced £49.99.

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