Sun. Feb 5th, 2023

Featuring brand new gameplay footage captured on PC, Mark takes Adam Jensen on his first mission into the heart of the Aug ghetto Golem City.

I spent the past hour searching for an elusive ID syndicate on the black market in the heart of Prague, Deus Ex: Divided Mankind‘s sprawling city hub. In the aftermath of a devastating global attack for which augmented human was responsible, security is tight. Maybe exaggerated. Mangled by a biased police department and endlessly scanned and monitored by robot drones, augs have been shunned by society, forced into ghettos where resentment runs rampant and violence becomes the answer. And so, even under the employment of Task Force 29 (an Interpol-led anti-terrorist group), super aug Adam Jensen can’t get past a protected police post. He needs that ID and I’m going to help him.

Which, when I think about it, is odd, because that wasn’t why Jensen was in Prague in the first place. Previously, he had fought his way through a sandstorm in Dubai, shooting down reinforced terrorists chasing guns, before being caught in an unfortunate explosion. The convenient result (at least for the developers responsible for player progression) was that Jensen’s augmentations stopped working, and the only man who could fix them was a doctor living in Prague. That’s what it’s about Deus Ex: No matter how hard you try to stick to the mission, no matter how much you want to reveal the next fragment of the story, it’s there, pushing and urging you into one of the many side missions.

I lost an hour and a half trying to find a fake ID, scouring the streets of Prague for the criminals who sold them, getting lost in shabby apartment blocks along the way. Despite the futuristic setting, Deus Ex is essentially a typical RPG, the kind that says it’s okay to walk into a random apartment and rummage through people’s drawers looking for random loot, while at the same time expecting you to ask permission to go through to enter a police barricade. Following a glowing blip on the mini-map to the next mission checkpoint is fine, but there’s always another closet to open, another scrap pile to find that can be used to craft new parts for Jensen’s growing pile of artillery.

Finally, I found the leader of the gang positioned outside a lonely courtyard in the center of town. He offered to create an ID for an inordinate amount of credits, or at least offer to put one on hold for me for a lesser amount. What must we do? Hand over the meager cash I had to get my hands on some ID, or talk me out of it? The latter seemed the wisest option to me, but diplomacy turns out not to be one of my strong points. Several ill-chosen dialogue tree options later, the gang leader pulled out his gun and pointed it straight at Jensen’s head. In Deus Ex: Human Revolution, this would have been a very bad thing indeed. Certainly you could fire a shotgun and blast out, but the game was never set up for the action-heavy player. Stealth was always the better option.

Not so inside Deus Ex: Divided Mankind. Do not get me wrong, Duty it’s not, but there’s a finer balance to the combat this time around, one that lets you go with all the guns if you want to. Not that I had much of a choice in my black market ID. I quickly armed myself with an assault rifle and took out the gang leader before getting behind a bullet-riddled car. The gunfire had set off his alarm and a police drone was approaching quickly, along with several heavily armed officers. I ran to the courtyard doorway, grappling with the slightly clunky cover system that pulls you from first-person to third-person, asking you to point a pointer at where you want to go, rather than having to let them run free. The precision is welcome, but it doesn’t always come naturally.

What does, however, are the guns, which have all the bangs and blunders of a well-crafted video game arsenal. Of particular interest is the shotgun, which is miraculously overpowered, sending the hired goons standing between me and the mastermind behind the black market IDs flying through the air before sinking into a bloody pile on the floor. As you might imagine, shotgun ammunition isn’t the easiest thing to come by (I had come across a gun dealer before and instead of paying for guns and ammunition, I decided to steal them by killing the dealer’s compatriots and to plunder his storehouses). Finally, after climbing a rickety flight of stairs to the top of an apartment building, I found a young woman, who (she claimed) had been forced to present fake IDs to the gang.

Find another dialogue tree and another set of side quests to complete. I wondered: Would I have time to get to the gist of the game (this was a limited demo session), given that after three hours I not only hadn’t repaired any of Jensen’s augmentations, I hadn’t even repaired the city center? So I plowed on, ignoring the new side missions I’d been given, ignoring the signs that separated augs from naturals, ignoring the brutality of the local police. My target was Vaclav Koller, a doctor with considerable experience in augmentation. I found his apartment surrounded by the Russian mafia, whom I – despite my initial efforts with a sniper rifle and some tranquilizer darts – slaughtered mercilessly with a few well-placed shotgun grenades and Jensen’s signature melee moves.

What came next turns into spoiler territory, so I’ll spare you the details. However, what is important to note is the updated augmentation system that Koller activates. Older augmentations like Invisibility and Icarus Landing (where Jensen can drop to the ground from a great height and deal effect damage to surrounding enemies) are a welcome return and are leveled up and activated by spending Praxis points like a classic skill tree . What’s new are augmentations like Jensen’s Titan Shield, a temporary armor that transforms around Jensen into a flashing mass of shiny black shards. Because these augmentations use so much power, they can only be activated by deactivating an existing augmentation. The resulting balancing act is tricky, and while there’s a way to possibly avoid it (by completing another side quest, of course), you’ll be juggling being very powerful or very practical for much of the game.

Given that I wouldn’t be able to get my save game out of the demo build anyway, I naturally went for super power. This was a wise move. Jensen’s next mission was to collect evidence for a crime scene, which was guarded by less cooperative police officers. I suspect the idea of ​​this mission was to teach stealth, especially considering the many vents and hackable alarm panels dotted around the building. And I tried this, crawling through air vents, quietly knocking down guards and disabling alarm panels before dragging the bodies to safe hiding places in old security offices. Except I forget about the security cameras. At least a dozen officers and a handful of mechs died from gunfire trying to get that evidence. And poor Jensen, fresh from his bloody frenzy, was ordered by his superiors for a psychological examination.

This is just a small snippet of what lasted eight hours from the start of the game. Not to mention the mafia-run casino in the city sewers, the shopkeeper I rescued when his store was ransacked by augs, or the moment I scrambled to the highest heights of Prague to dodge a police cordon to get some seconds later to drop dead. giving away too much. Not to mention the first major mission, where Jensen is tasked with infiltrating an enlarged ghetto to retrieve a captured witness. The latter is a showcase for Humanity divided, a mission that includes sharp dialogue with the less fortunate inhabitants of the ghetto; great stealth and action sections, and the glossy, extraordinarily detailed visuals that impressed me so much when I first saw them Humanity divided at E3 2015 (as back then my demo was running on PC).

Those who want to hear more can watch the video preview above, which captures the mission in glorious 1080p. And in case you’re wondering, no, I never got that black market ID.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is coming to PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 on August 23. Read our full review of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.

By akfire1

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