Saturday, 5 January 2013

PC Game Review: Deus Ex - Human Revolution - The Missing Link

Originally posted at Accursed Farms Forums on October 19th 2011.

Platform: PC (Steam)
Released: 2011
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher. Square Enix
Buy on Steam (Director's Cut, includes Missing Link)

I think it's safe to say that Deus Ex HR surpassed all expectations upon release. After years of gathering hype within the community of fans of the original Deus Ex, not only is it a great prequel that builds upon the pseudo-reality conspiracy lore of the first game, it's also a great game in of itself, seamlessly blending stealth and roleplaying elements with classic FPS action. After the previously pre-order exclusive Explosive Mission and Tactical Weapons DLC's were released, it was announced a whole new DLC episode would be released.

The Missing Link takes place within the main game's story, explaining more or less what happened to Adam during his 3-day hiatus. Awakening on a ship in a torture chair, he soon realizes the situation has gone FUBAR, though after a brief scene he is let loose on the ship. The story here is pretty much presented as a stand-alone episode, as you slowly rebuild Adam's gear and augmentations from scratch. As the plot unfolds you soon realize that there is a lot more to the situation than you first expect.

The Missing Link presents the player with the only situation in the entire game where you are forced to use stealth. Stripped of all your gear, you have nothing but two energy cells to fuel your takedowns. This is partially my only criticism with the DLC. While it enables you to start over and rebuild Adam from scratch, which sort of fits the episodic formula of the DLC, it sort of removes the freedom you usually have in Deus Ex of choosing which gameplay style you prefer. However, it's not a big deal once you take down a guard and grab his gun. If you're like me and prefer combat over sneaking, it's all good from there on out, however you can easily do a nonlethal playthrough of the episode if you absolutely want to. The episode feels in many ways like a stripped down version of the main game in the sense you'll build your character a lot faster than you usually would, with considerably less resources to do so. You'll also meet most of the enemy types from the main game, ranging from light-armored officers to more heavily armored soldiers and robots, the whole shebang. You'll get most of the standard weaponry from the main game, though a couple of new guns find its way into the episode. It's only too bad you're not allowed to continue into the main game with the new augs and inventory as that could really add a lot to the main game experience, I really feel they have wasted an opportunity here by making the DLC a standalone episode, as I would've preferred them weaving it into the main storyline.

The graphics in this episode pretty much match those of the main game, I even dare say surpass them slightly. Aside from a few lighting glitches here and there and some slight lipsync issues, the new weather effects, the damaged Jensen, and other such details add a lot of atmosphere and character to the episode. I managed to crank everything up to max, running the game smoothly on 1920x1080 resolution with DirectX 11 enabled, and I only experienced lag in certain hotspots which never ruined the experience for me really.

As was typical with the main game, the voice acting here is superb. Adam still sounds like the badass he is and we're even treated to a character from the first game making a return here, with the correct voice actor as well. Other than that, the quality of the music and sound is pretty much the same as the main game, though I would've liked a few original music tunes since this is a standalone episode.

Setting you back about 10€, The Missing Link still gives you quite a run for your money, having enough twists and replay value to make it a great standalone addon to Deus Ex HR. My only criticisms remain that the player is forced to use stealth in the beginning as this should still have been voluntary, the slight graphic glitches and just the fact it wasn't woven into the main game, making the episode feel largely inconsequential as a result. It ends up feeling more like a probable demo for the game rather than a part of the experience, though if you've finished Deus Ex HR a couple of times and feel hungry for more Jensen action, it sure delivers on that.

I give it 6 out of 10 Jensen punches.

- Alyxx

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