Review: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4)

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Title: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (42.92 GB)
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Eidos Montreal, Nixxes Software BV
Original MSRP: $59.99
ESRB Rating: M
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Deus Ex compensates for my impulsivity, and at times, rewards my impatience. I’ve never been great at stealth games, though I still manage to enjoy them. And every once in awhile, I experience the elation of sneaking past a guard or two in Metal Gear and completely understand the obsession with these types of games.

The beauty of the Deus Ex series, well most games in the series anyway, is the notion that I can enjoy the experience however the hell I want.

I saw this almost immediately in Mankind Divided when I was tasked with sneaking into a thug-controlled area of town in order to help a friend who was trapped in his lab. I figured the game wanted me to sneak in somehow, or maybe hack my way in, but for the life of me I could not find a way to sneak in. I tried the sewers. I tried breaking into an apartment and cutting across the building that stood as a barricade to my destination. All of this was to no avail.

Finally my impatience won over and I walked up to the thuggish guard blocking my way and blew him away. A frantic gunfight ensued and, after a few minutes it was all over and I was at my destination.

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This is one of the reasons why I have always enjoyed this series, and without an ounce of doubt this entry does not disappoint. Like those before it, this is a game about experimentation and freedom of play.

After discussing it with a friend, I kicked myself after realizing how easy it would have been to sneak into that library, but by that time I already had my own version of the story, one of aggression and impulsiveness. I was an asshole Adam Jansen, and I would continue to play the game as said asshole.

… free to tackle situations as you see fit …
Mankind Divided follows the events of Human Revolution, and for those who did not play, or perhaps complete, the previous game there is a twelve-minute catch-up video that will get you up to speed.

After a very few moments of gameplay, you are free to tackle situations as you see fit. This includes the ability to add and remove augments that increase your stealth ability, give you defensive and offensive powers, and increase your ability to successfully hack everything.

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These augmentations are the absolute soul of what makes you feel like the ultimate baddass of man and machine whether you are remotely hacking a camera or gun turret, or running across an environment in almost Flash-like speed.

Additionally, and more enticing for my aggressively motivated play-style, is the ability to craft components for your guns. Since I was going to rely more on gunplay than stealth, because I suck at the latter, I made it a point to actively search for crafting materials. My buddy, that I mentioned before, is all about getting through a situation without being detected. I wanted them to know I was coming.

… keep you busy for hours …
Storywise I would say that Mankind Divided wasn’t quite as complex or intriguing as I remember Human Revolution being. But there is enough going on that you will want to keep moving forward, if not for the story, for your own development then.

The role-playing elements have always been an enticing part of the series, especially for someone like me who leans towards swords and sorcery over pew-pew. There are plenty of side quests and hidden gems here to keep you busy for hours.

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Visuals:
This is a sharp, if not beautiful, game. While the environments are attractive and appropriate for the “cyberpunk-ish” theme, the character models and animation still remain a bit last-gen. Not ugly, no. Just a bit dated, particularly in the facial animation department.

Cinematic beats are achieved regardless and again, this is still an attractive game. It’s simply not up to par with what is expected from our current generation.

… not quite as intriguing as the last game …
Audio:
The score here is the definitive winner. There is something evocative of a time period that doesn’t yet exist. I felt the same when playing Mass Effect.

Voice acting is hit or miss, with an emphasis on hit. While the story here is not quite as intriguing as the last game, the cast here does more than enough to keep you engaged.

Online/Multiplayer:
While there is no traditional multiplayer mode, Breach certainly allows you to compare you sneaking skills against others with a leaderboard system. It’s another way to jump into the action when you only have a few minutes to play.

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Conclusion:
It’s difficult to call Mankind Divided an improvement over Human Revolution because the latter was such a great game in the Deus Ex series. Some of the automated stealth elements make for a smoother gameplay experience, particularly if you are not as good at the sneaks like me.

Augment distribution, and their effects, added to the role-playing elements that the series is known for, opened up even more options in dealing with situations. The fact that you could take out a boss without a major confrontation is another testament to the open-endedness. This is truly a game where you can play the way that you want to play.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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