Friday, 11 April 2014

[PC Game Review] Deus Ex: The Fall

Platform: PC (Steam)
Released: 2014
Genre: First Person Shooter
Developer: nFusion
Publisher: Square Enix
Buy on Steam

I'm a pretty huge fan of the Deus Ex franchise. I think the franchise is very unique in terms of gameplay style and Human Revolution was easily one of my favourite games of 2011 and the recently released Director's Cut of it was an amazing experience that I finally 100%'d on Steam recently. So naturally when the previously mobile exclusive game "The Fall" was finally ported to PC, I pretty much bought it on release. I've only played the first episode so far but think it gives a pretty good idea of how the rest of the game will play out once the rest of it is released from a gameplay perspective

As a game I think The Fall is pretty good. The story is set some time before Human Revolution and acts as a sort of prequel to that game that focuses on a character, Ben Saxon, who used to be with the group of mercs, the Tyrants lead by Jaron Namir, that you end up hunting down in Human Revolution. After departing from the group they pretty much want you dead and while they are hunting you down, you and your partner, Anna Kelso, are suffering from augmentation rejection and are in desperate need of Neuropozyne to deal with the symptoms. Most of the first episode centers around this dilemma of securing a steady NuPoz supply though you quickly get caught up in a bit of a web as you realize the mercs you escaped are on to you. I really loved the story in The Fall as it gave a unique opportunity to explore the characters of these mercs and their group and you get a lot of background info on it and what their original goal was. I loved all the emails and story bits that even offered a little extra for the long time fans as it mentioned them talking to some of the characters from Deus Ex 1 and the story was definitely the biggest reason I played through the first episode and can see myself playing through it several times. The only bad thing is that so far the first episode is really short and ends before you feel the game really begins and I really hope the second episode comes out soon.

Environments look really good for the most part. This is the Tyrant airliner.
The gameplay is pretty much what you can expect from a Deus Ex title and I am happy to say that some aspects about it are improved in relation to Human Revolution. For instance, you can buy weapons, upgrades, ammo and items at any time through the menu as long as you have the cash for it which makes the game feel a lot more streamlined and free as you're not restricted to only getting items from shops at certain points. The inventory has also been much more streamlined and obviously suited to a mobile device but I find it very easy to use and makes the game a lot of fun to play. While there are not as many weapons as in Human Revolution, especially if you compare it to the Director's Cut, there are more variations on weapons here with unique abilities that you can buy at any time, which is a nice touch that I liked.

The controls are also fairly easy to get used to if you've played Human Revolution on PC, though I disliked that there was no option to customize your keys and there is no jump button, making the game feel a bit like playing Deus Ex as if it was Doom. Of course being a mobile title, this makes perfect sense so I wasn't all too bothered by it. The one big issue I came upon though was that the mouse for some reason gets really glitchy after playing for a while and mouse clicks didn't even register properly, making the menus unnecessarily difficult to navigate. I really sincerely hope they patch this issue quickly because it IS a huge issue for me as the only fix for it seems to be restarting the game which is very tedious to do.

Many familiar enemies from DXHR make a return, such as the infamous boxguard robot.
Graphically the game looks very scaled down, especially compared to other PC titles. I really wish the animations and texture detail had been improved for the PC port but you sort of get used to it. The style from Human Revolution is very intact though and the game looks really good for a mobile game even if it doesn't in any conceivable way shape or form hold up to PC standards. Some of the models do look a bit bad though and the stiff animations made the game definitely feel a lot cheaper than it should. The environments also feel a bit cramped and small compared to Human Revolution so the game, again, does tend to feeling a bit like playing Deus Ex in Doom, though I quickly got used to it. The frequent loading between areas does make the game feel a bit tedious though as the areas are quite small.

Sound-wise the game pretty much re-uses music and sound effects from Human Revolution with no original music tracks or much original sound design to speak of which I found a bit boring. It makes the game feel more like a spinoff title than its own game, which it pretty much is. I really wish the game had its own unique soundtrack but the tracks from Human Revolution are still really good and it's hard to imagine the game without them. The voice acting ranges from tolerable to absolutely horrendous. The accents feel laughably fake and I almost fell off my chair several times listening to the NPC's talking, it was an absolute disaster. Some of the voice acting wasn't even enjoyably bad, just really tedious and ear-raping. I especially remember one NPC that gave me a mission and I kept skipping the dialogue because her voice literally felt like it was raping my ears. Thankfully most of the voice acting isn't that bad and it was nice hearing some of the cast from Human Revolution again.

Doing takedowns. Like a boss.
All in all, Deus Ex: The Fall as a game is not as bad as people are making it out to be, but it definitely feels like a mobile port and feels by all means more like a spinoff title than its own game. As a mobile game this is a pretty decent game and I can see it being perfectly tolerable on a mobile platform as you only pick it up and play it now and then and it offers you a portable Deus Ex experience. As a PC game though it fails utterly to live up to Human Revolution. The voice acting, scaled down graphics and sometimes annoying mouse clicking issues makes it feel like a chore to play at times which is a shame as there are some genuinely fun elements here such as the story and gameplay. If you're a big Deus Ex fan like me, I definitely recommend it but if you only have a casual interest in Deus Ex, it's probably not worth it, at least not on PC as I can imagine this being much more playable on its original platform. Judging this as a PC game it's not in any way holding up to PC standards, especially compared to Human Revolution. I personally really enjoy the game, I do not at all regret buying it, but objectively, it isn't a very good port and an average game experience at best.

STORY: 10/10
SOUND: 3/10


I normally don't do this but it's come to my attention that there's an easy way of working around the mouse clicks not registering properly. If you don't move your mouse at all when clicking it should work just fine. It has something to do with the touch screen emulation registering moving the mouse as swiping the screen, not touching it. If you can get used to this, the game becomes perfectly playable.