Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review – Great Gameplay Atop An Imaginative Design

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After the Aug Incident, which concluded the fantastic experience that was Deus Ex: Human Revolution, we have been eager to acquaint ourselves with Eidos Montreal’s next entry into the universe of Deus Ex. After delivering one of the best games of the last console generation, Eidos Montreal returns with a direct sequel, ambitiously going to great lengths to immerse players in a world divided. Racism, segregation, police brutality, fear and uncertainly are all at the heart of Mankind Divided and likes it predecessors, Eidos Montreal’s proven formula brilliantly delivers.

Mankind Divided places Adam Jensen (our augmented juggernaut and star of the show) in Prague in the year 2029, just two years removed from Human Revolution and the augmented bloodbath, an event in which mechanically augmented humans became uncontrollable and lethally violent, killing any and everyone in sight. Now part of the anti-terrorist group Task Force 29, Adam Jensen is caught in the middle of his past and the dangeous future awaiting the augmented.

As players will discover, Prague is bolstering with intriguing narrative side-missions and points of interest quests, running in parallel to the games main mission objectives. Maintaining its organic approach to gameplay, Mankind Divided refuses to hold your hand, instead allowing you to discover all the ins-and-outs of the undeworld conspiracies, diabolical aspiration and mischevious endeavors going on right under your nose and oftentimes in plain sight. With a sizeable amount of revelations to be uncovered, players are able to create their ultimate super agent in Adam Jensen, among gathering valuable weaponry and crafted tools aiding in new experimentations.

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The world of Mankind Divided looks great, showcasing a living and breathing Prague among civil unrest. NPC’s are supported by patrolling cops, and the divided citizens of Prague known as naturals or augs who go about their lives living, complaining, hoping and struggling to makes sense of this harsh reality. As you delve deeper into the lives of these people the more immersive the universe becomes, fueling your ambition to scourer every corner, seeking out the slightest hint of a ventilation shaft you can crawl through or a ledge you can jump or icarus dash towards to discover even more of what the city has to offer.

With hopes of learning more you may become a social butterfly, taking advantage of the necessary augmented social enhancer, or the option to speak with everyone you come into contact with, which I recommend if you want to play it safe and learn all you can. However, this may not be enough, as there is far more to this deep rabbit hole of intrigue.

While attaining a wealth of intel via hacked emails, pocket secretaries and story items, which in many cases gains you access, Mankind Divided has a masterful way of making you feel like an increasingly unstoppable super agent. This can be attributed to the former Sarif Industry augmentations, as well as to the newly acquired augments which for some could almost force your hand to go ballistic in an effort to feel the adrenaline rush as a killing machine. Yet, there is an undeniable attraction despite all of Adams abilities, to maintain your cool and go about your business as a professional stealth agent. In fact, I actually felt more empowered and fulfilled operating with stealth and controlled precision.

Even still, with the new augmented abilities such as the titan armor, focus enhancement, nano-blades and descent velocity modulator, for certain scenarios going ballistic just seemed necessary to scratch that kill itch, at least for my first playthrough. Of course, with the wealth of side-missions and expressive new augments I was unable to discover or unlock in my first 32 hour playthrough, it made it almost mandatory for a second playthrough in the New Game+ option, where I was able to unlock literally all of Adams abilities and uncover more side story quests which made the experience even better. I literally finished my first playthrough and immediately (within an hour) began my second fantasy run as Adam Jensen on New Game+ which I highly recommend.

With what seems like a consistent dose of auto-saves, experimenting with your augments and tools is encouraged just in case you get killed in your efforts. Initially I had a tough time mastering the Icarus Dash as it took some getting used to. Once I ergonomically understood its full potential, wow! From thrusting into enemies and zipping out of tight spots, to dashing across large gaps to enter windows or high ledges, it gave Adam a deity complex. For my second playthrough I made it a point not to kill anyone, however after an accidental death melee of an exoskeleton cop, my previous autosave data saved the day, allowing me to relive the scenario again without killing but only knocking him unconscious. You may be wondering how I was able to pull off a direct melee attack on an exoskeleton cop, well for starters this is not possible without first incapacitating him with either an emp round or an emp grenade, once he is stunned, go in for the kill or make him catch some Z’s, it is up to you.

With all of these new abilities, such as the manipulation of digital and electronic devices from a distance via remote hacking or the maxed out rhino and titan armor, among the extraordinary other augs, the harmony of Adams fully augmented reality epitomized my freedom within the world.

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Keeping Adam in check and running with what could be a balancing act as RPG’s go, out the gate performing augmented maneuvers came at a cost of draining power, making biocell’s a hot commodity in the world of augmentations. I learned early on that finding crafting tools would be a best practice while customizing Adam into the agent more suited for my purposes. Crafting tools such as multi-tools, biocell’s, as well as other tools more suited towards combat purposes, made life easier for Adam. Unable to attempt a level 4 or level 5 hack, pull out your multi-tool. Need more juice for Adam to perform a stylish melee takedown or go cloak in order to pass though some alarm lasers undetected, take a biocell. Unfortunately biocell’s aren’t as readily available as hack software. The need for biocell’s keeps Adam in check. Like myself, once your Adam Jensen has been fully maxed out you may not want to feel limited, especially when it comes to performing what should be foundational maneuvers such as a performing a melee, without it your energy being taxed. Yet, this dependency does force you to manage your decisions carefully, which I believe positively adds to the process.

Filled with meaty side-mission that felt just as fleshed out as the main course, though in capsulized succession as long as you were able to discover their origin whereabouts, Mankind Divided keeps you guessing while you seek new discoveries. Eventually your travels drop you off in the outskirts. However, none more harsh than Golem City, an outskirt hub of Prague. This is where the augmented without the right identification are deported and forgotten.

The world of Mankind Divided is supported by an engrossing story and great cast of characters. Returning as Adam Jensen, Elias Toufexis masterfully portrays our favorite augmented super agent in stellar voice acting fashion. While David Sarif make a brief and impactful return for this sequel, I must admit that I was looking forward to dialoguing with previous Human Revolution characters like Pritchard. I was even seeking more insight on Megan, though Mankind Divided did shed some light on both of their current whereabouts. As for the newbies introduced for this sequel, characters like Vega, Vaclav Koller and his cool time machine lab, Otar Botkoveli and Aria Argento left memorable impressions. I really want to know where Eidos Montreal takes Vega’s character in relation to her role with Janus. One character which has truly my peaked my attention is the mysterious doctor Auzenne, who Adam had to meet with for a quick psych evaluation. Doctor Auzenne, as you’ll discover from the game conclusion is more than just a doctor. In fact, in the beginning of the game, after the Dubai mission, as Adam is riding on the train, just before meeting up with Vega, Doctor Auzenne is actually sitting in the seat next to Adam sleeping. Be sure to pay attention because you will miss it. Of course on my second run at changing the world for the augmented I came cross this discovery.

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Mankind Divided is a great sequel to Human Revolution. Despite the fact that Human Revolution somehow manages to feels like an overall more grand narrative, Mankind Divided makes up for it in spades with intoxicating gameplay. From the brilliantly new and empowering augmentations, new Division-like cover to cover mechanic, added touches to previous augments, as well as the expected an impressive visuals and attractively seamless cut-scenes, Eidos Montreal’s certified credo shines brighter than ever.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a captivating journey, you will not soon forget.

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