Wanna know something? I’ve put probably a good 25 hours into Deus Ex: Mankind Divided so far and I have absolutely no fucking idea what’s going on.
You might think I’m joking. You might read that and go ‘Ahh Reed way to exaggerate.’
I’m not kidding. I could tell you about the side quests I’ve done, but the main quest? Not the slightest clue of what my purpose in that game is.
Wanna know something else?
I don’t care.
That’s how fantastic of a game Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is.
I’ve needed something new and different from video games for a while now. I didn’t know if that was going to be an FPS, an RPG, or hell, a puzzle game or some shit. DE:MD came up, slapped me on the face and said ‘Well, mother fucker, how about all three?’
DE:MD was one of the free games with PS+ a few months ago. I downloaded it for shits and giggles and didn’t really think much of it. But then I actually started playing the damn thing. Oh boy…OH BOY…you have no idea what you’re missing out on if you haven’t picked this bad boy up yet. (Yeah, I’m two years late to the party. So what?)
From the get go, you’re given a plethora of choices. Not just one choice, oh no, multiple choices. A) Do you want to go lethal, or non-lethal? B) Do you want ranged, or close combat? It’s not like these are meaningless choices, either. Two major choices right at the start of the game. That just blew me away.
The controls are a bit wonky, I will say that. They even admit to it when you set up your controller. They basically say ‘Look, you can choose one of these setups that act more like other RPGs you’ve played, but trust us. If you want to play the game in the way we designed it, you’ll use this really weird, convoluted setup where you have to push R3 for the weapon wheel and press triangle to run. Trust us, though.’
So I did. Yes, it did take me a while to get used to, and yes, I still pull up my weapon wheel every once in a while when I intend to sprint, but it’s actually working really well.
Then there’s the visuals. Oh boy is this game beautiful. I can only imagine what it would look like at 60fps on a 4K monitor. The shimmering lights that flicker around the cities…the light that bounces off of Jensen’s augs as I go into a cutscene…and the bleak cityscapes that populate the map. This was some A+ world building on Eidos and Feral’s part. Just gorgeous.
The cover system is also really cool. A lot of games botch the cover/movement system, but in DE:MD it feels almost seamless. You can crouch behind objects and move yourself around if you want to. Or, you can take advantage of the actual cover system.
Want to move behind another box? Just point your cursor a certain way and press X. You move back and forth so easily once you get the hang of it, and you eventually start doing it instinctively. It’s not often that a mechanic in a video game becomes part of your play style. Usually they’re just something that’s there – something you can use if you want to, but don’t necessarily have to if that’s not how you play. But the cover system in DE:MD works so well, that you feel stupid not using it. It would be like playing DOOM without running round tearing off demons’ mandibles: it’s just now how the game works.
With all the ‘typical’ review stuff out of the way now, I want to take a second to talk about something very important, but often overlooked. And to talk about that, I first need to bring up something else entirely: cheese.
See, a long time ago in video games far far away, you used to be able to interact with stuff. And I don’t just mean interact with like, one or two things: you could interact with everything. You could flush toilets, you could eat food, you could shoot walls and it would leave holes. And also…you could collect cheese. Yes, as ridiculous as it sounds, in Perfect Dark 64, you could walk around and collect little wedges of cheese.
But that was a different time. A time when you could flush toilets in video games. Well, do I have news for you…that time is here again. Yes, that’s right. In DE:MD, you can pretty much interact with anything you want. Turn on the showers. Turn off the showers. Start doing the laundry. Move boxes. Shoot plants. Do whatever you want to do. Because you can. It’s a trend that I think started coming back with the first Dishonored game, and I’m really glad developers are starting to realize that interacting with useless things is what makes a game really feel immersive.
Listen. There’s a lot that makes DE:MD a fantastic game. A lot more than I could ever cover here.
Just get it and find out for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.