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Deus Ex: Humanity Divided Impressions: Augmented to the Teeth

Shacknews gets an in-depth look at Deus Ex: Humanity Divided. The world has changed quite a bit from the previous game. However, using a bunch of powerful augmentations and weapons usually solves just about any problem.


Deus Ex: Humanity Divided takes place two years after the events of Human Revolution, and things are pretty grim. After an event called the Aug Incident, where nearly all the cybernetically augmented individuals of the world went mad and killed people, public fear is at an all time high. The Golden Age of Augmentation is over, replaced with a Mechanical Apartheid. Augmented individuals are segregated and treated like second class citizens, requiring special passports and licenses to do anything.

Then there's Adam Jensen, who has moved on from doing private security to become a covert agent, working for a special anti-terrorist task force called JF29. In fact, Jensen is the only augmented person on the team. He initially looks like the same character we came to know in Human Revolution, but packs some significant upgrades. The same can be said about Humanity Divided as a whole. The game still focuses on the core aspects of Deus Ex, which include combat, stealth, hacking, and social interactions and critical decisions that change the way the experience plays out. There's will be inventory management and weapon customization. Missions still promise plenty of open-ended gameplay, with multiple entryways and approaches to any given room or situation. Most importantly, there will be plenty of augments to play with.

Many of the classic augments from Human Revolution will be brought over to the sequel, including Cloaking, Mark & Track, and Smart Vision to see through walls and detect weaknesses to punch through. They are mixed in with a host of all-new augments like Icarus Dash, which rushes players from one location to another, and Icarus Strike, which is a speed punch that quickly knocks out enemies from a distance. Players will also be able to fire Jensen's Nano Blade at opponents to silently take them out, or equip it with an upgrade so that it will explode into shards like a grenade.

The story starts in Dubai, where Jensen is sent in to bust an illegal arms and augment trade, but things escalate to a new level with a third faction arrives. Soldiers wearing gold masks suddenly de-cloak and shoot everything in sight. This mysterious group is likely the terrorist faction players must work to stop.

To that end, players can outfit themselves with gadgets to supplement the augmentations, like the Battle Rifle, which (as expected) is a really big gun. However, the gun can be equipped with different ammunition types to fit the situation. For example, armor piercing ammo is great for taking out robots, but they aren't quite as effective against organic enemies. I'm guessing even heavily augmented humans fall into the latter category. As usual, players can choose either a lethal, non-lethal, loud, or stealthy approach.

The new areas will be multi-layered, with an increased emphasis on verticality. In the expert level shown to us, Jensen infiltrates a theater using a skylight that doubles as a giant chandelier. Breaking through the glass draws attention, but Jensen is able to quickly take out enemies using Icarus Strike and a number of other augments, like the Tesla - a multi-target stun gun that's built into his arm. That's just one of the tricks Jensen has hidden up his mechanical sleeve. Icarus Dash can be used to reach high vantage points and quickly take out snipers before settling into a sniper position of your own. Jensen can also perform takedowns from cover, which will also automatically hide the body. Then there's the Titan augment, that makes Jensen bulletproof for a short time.

All that makes Adam Jensen out to be an unstoppable badass, but you haven't heard anything yet. Players will be able to chain together augmentations for some spectacularly devastating effects. During the presentation, Jensen was able to queue up several different moves. He rushed off a platform using Icarus Dash, quickly took out a couple of guards by crashing down on them with Icarus Strike, then topped it off with a Typhoon (loaded with non-lethal gas rounds) to clear out the rest. I asked how many moves players would be allowed to chain together, and didn't get a straight answer. So, the system will probably be limited to the amount of energy Jensen has.

Additional features include increased interaction with the environment, like turning on a projector in a theater to help distract the guards. However, we were told some interactions will be more useful than others. Interactive objects like computers and newspapers are automatically highlighted like in the previous game, but players will have the option to turn that feature off if they want to.

Lastly, there's the hacking, which will also be getting some significant upgrades. Described as Hacking 2.0, the mini-game will have an updated interface and a fog of war, but players will have some new tools to deal with it. Jensen will also have the ability to hack robots, turrets, and cameras remotely using a mini-game where players have to hit the button just as a needle passes over the right part of the screen. I'm not sure how well this will play out during combat, but it looked really good in the presentation. Remote hacking can only temporarily disable electronics, so you still need to use the main hacking system to take control of systems and turn off enemy tracking.

It looks like Humanity Divided is amping up all the features from Human Revolution several notches. At this point, it's still unclear whether the game will suffer from some of the same problems as its predecessor, like needing a ton of upgrades before combat becomes a realistic option. The presentation also didn't deal with the conversation system or critical choices, but we were assured that every effort is being made to ensure that players can play however they want, whether it's with a ton of augmentations or hardly any at all. We'll learn more as we draw closer to the game's release. Deus Ex: Humanity Divided is expected to release on February 23, 2016 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

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