Best of 2011 Runner-Up: Deus Ex Human Revolution

This week Shacknews finally reveals its top five games of 2011. Today we begin with the fourth runner-up, Deus Ex: Human Revolution from developers Eidos Montreal and Nixxies (PC).

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You can't resurrect a widely-adored classic franchise a decade later, common wisdom goes. The game lives in nostalgia now; you can never come close to matching recollections and expectations. Besides, games have moved on. If you change nothing it will feel dated, but any changes will ruin what fans loved. And if it's being made by different people, well, that really won't work. Somehow, developers Eidos Montreal and Nixxes Software didn't succumb to its doomed fate: Deus Ex: Human Revolution recaptures much of the essence of the original, while updating it for modern audiences.

We're thrown into well-realized slices of a world, filled with people to chat with and boxes to smash and things we don't know and shops to buy things and alleyways to wander down and environmental vignettes and things we'll miss and things we'll feel clever for finding. We are given objectives, then largely left to complete them as we please. Leaping across rooftops, sneaking through vents, talking our way in, or barging through the front door with a large gun, we have a freedom we'd largely forgotten in this era of corridor shooters. Yes, the cyberpunk is jolly nice too, but roaming around and doing things my own way is the core of Deus Ex to me.

We can bicker and quibble about the problems, of course. Yes, the boss fights are a terrible and a baffling inclusion. Certainly, the plot feels impersonal and less engaging towards the end (though let's not forget Deus Ex made this mistake too). And it is unfortunate that the endings are largely decided by button presses (ditto). It is a shame that Adam cannot see plot points that were clearly revealed hours before. But on the whole, these don't ruin the experience, merely mar it. It's a flipping lovely game all right.

Aside from Troika's tragically flawed Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, the complex, roaming, story-driven FPS-RPG had all but died out over the past decade. After the raving success of Human Revolution, I'm quietly hopeful that more developers will now seize upon a hole in the market that so clearly is there--and viable. If they're set in a deliciously dirty Shanghai, that's even better.


The Shacknews 2011 Game of the Year awards are based on a weighted scoring system between all staff writers and editors [here's how it works!]. Last week we revealed our "Honorable Mentions," which include the titles that did not quite make our overall 'Top Five Games of the Year.' This week we reveal that Top Five list, with our Overall Game of the Year award being announced on January 20.

From The Chatty
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    January 16, 2012 12:00 PM

    Shack Staff posted a new article, Best of 2011 Runner-Up: Deus Ex Human Revolution.

    This week Shacknews finally reveals its top five games of 2011. Today we begin with the fourth runner-up, Deus Ex: Human Revolution from developers Eidos Montreal and Nixxies (PC).

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      January 16, 2012 12:07 PM

      This and Zelda SW are tied for GOTY for me. I was skeptical despite the rave reviews, but after an hour with the game, I was hooked.

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      January 16, 2012 12:14 PM

      Good to see at least the Shack has been listening to my incessant ranting about this game!

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        January 16, 2012 12:41 PM

        By far my favorite game of the year. Did not disappoint at all.

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      January 16, 2012 12:42 PM

      Awesome game.. I thought the atmosphere was spot on and the self satisfaction you would get sneaking through a whole section without being spotted. But next time, less boss fights :)

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        January 16, 2012 2:52 PM

        My inventory is filled to the brim with weapons. I'll sneak until the bastards annoy me, then it's a hail of lead and rockets.

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      January 16, 2012 2:26 PM

      Personally, I tie Catherine and DX:HR for my personal GoTY.

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      January 16, 2012 2:50 PM

      Man just say Skryim. We all know it's coming.

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      January 16, 2012 3:05 PM

      This is really dragging on guys. Seriously.

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      January 16, 2012 3:11 PM

      why is this best of 2011 stuff not a single post weeks ago? who even remembers 2011

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        January 16, 2012 5:42 PM

        It's been a while since the Reader's Choice awards too hasn't it? I think 2008?

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      January 16, 2012 3:12 PM

      I just started DX and it's really impressive so far, but the AI seems kind of retarded. I've had several encounters with NPC's where they are staring right at me and saying "Wait a minute, where did he go? What was that?" lol

      I know I'm sneaky, but not THAT sneaky.

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      January 16, 2012 3:47 PM

      Great game. I need to replay it as a world-ending gun god instead of the sneaky sneak.

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      January 16, 2012 5:17 PM

      Just above Portal 2 for my game of the year.

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      January 16, 2012 6:07 PM

      Question: Let's say you hate RPGs but love FPS games. I mean really, really hate RPGs. Borderlands was the closest you ever want to get to another RPG and and that was mainly because it was COOP. Would you buy Deus Ex:HR?

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        January 16, 2012 7:06 PM

        Yes. There aren't any role playing elements apart from a few story choices and the allocation of your upgrade points. It's a stealth-shooter-adventure, not an RPG.

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        January 16, 2012 8:08 PM

        [deleted]

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        January 16, 2012 8:16 PM

        I did and loved it. I liked the spy stuff because I need something to hold me over until the next Splinter Cell.

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      January 16, 2012 7:49 PM

      Awesome game. iRacing pulled me away but I will get back to it.

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      January 16, 2012 8:31 PM

      The sequel will be even stronger. Just you guys wait. DE:HR2 will be one of the top 3 contenders for GOTY. Nobody will forget it this time.

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      January 16, 2012 8:37 PM

      lol drag out a top 5 list over an entire week; good times

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      January 16, 2012 10:53 PM

      Fucking signed. What an amazing game.

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      January 16, 2012 11:08 PM

      This game was everything I wanted from a true DX sequel and more. It was so unbelievably well done, drom the atmosphere to the music to the gameplay. Absolutely top notch; I hope more games get greenlit.

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      January 17, 2012 8:49 AM

      Dues EX deserves this award! BTW any bitching about the boss battles from what I've heard most of them were outsourced. I can't wait for dues ex 2!

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