Deus Ex: Human Revolution Beta - Final thoughts

When I last left off, I had just entered an "open world" city-at-large portion of the game, with various side quests and a main quest as options, as well as general exploration.

This part made me phenomenally happy.  It was the (mostly) barrier-free exploration I had been craving throughout the game thus far.  After experiencing this segment, my displeasure with the game has somewhat quelled.  Yes, I can often be quick to judge.  If you had only read my first entry in this series (and by you, I mean me, since I'm pretty sure I'm the only one reading this), you would probably think that Human Revolution was one of the worst games ever conceived.  While it still has many flaws, it had become a game I would definitely say is worth playing, and it is now compelling enough that you don't want to walk away from playing.  Also making it more compelling is the story, which has finally picked up and piqued my interest.  There are now a lot of parallels with the plot from Ghost in the Shell, an old favorite of mine.

My main gripe with the game at this point is what I would call qualitative inconsistency.  I'm not talking about stuff that would only fall under a beta-build issue either.

On the positive side, there are a lot of really cool details in the game that don't affect the overall gameplay, but when you see them, you pause and go "wow, that's really neat that they put that in." For instance, when you shoot someone with the tranquilizer rifle, you can actually see the tranq dart sticking out of their body where you shot them.  When you walk past a bum in an alley, occasionally they will be whistling the theme to the original Deus Ex.  When you are looking out the window of a tall building, the skyline you see is a stylized version of the actual Detroit skyline.  When I see things like this in a game, it brings a smile to my face, and lets me know that the developers were really passionate about the project.

On the flipside are things that make the game feel shoddy.  Many of these I've already mentioned — things like dialogue, npc animation, voice acting, the rigid plastic environment, etc.  The voice acting has been especially irritating to me.  It's hit or miss, like much of the game.  Sometimes a characters voice will be wonderfully emotive, and really draw you in to the game.  Other times the voice will be an absurdly cartoonish caricature, so much so that it breaks immersion and I actually laugh to myself at it — certainly not something you want to happen in a serious-toned game like this.  I'm fairly certain something as major as voice acting or character animation wont be fixed in the final release.  Those are more than just minor polishes.

It's because of these inconsistencies I'm still on the fence about the game.  Not about ever getting it — I would certainly like to buy the full thing and play through it at some point.  But the excitement and enthusiasm I once had for it is more or less gone.  So while I wouldn't call this game a "must have," I would say it's worth your time to check it out at some point, especially if there's any sort of reasonable price drop.

Oh, btw, apparently there is a quick save function.  It's assigned to F5 by default.  I only found out via a friend, and I have no idea how he found out (other than pressing all the keys?) since there is no indication of it in-game and no entry for it in the key-mapping options.  Hopefully these keybind issues will be sorted out in the final build.

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