I’m not breaking any news by saying that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looks incredible. But after I got a look at an extended demo at a VIP E3 event held by Square, I was surprised by just how completely the company nailed it.
The demo opens at a train station in Prague, as Jensen meets up with a woman named Alex to speak in secret about where the world is. Humans are clashing with augmented beings, and conflict is brewing.
As an Interpol agent, Jensen is trying to stop augments from committing terrorist attacks against humans, but he’s also working in secret to help bring down human organizations he believes are being controlled by the Illuminati. It's always the Illuminati, isn't it?
As Jensen and Alex talk things out, a huge explosion rocks the station…and everything cuts to black. Here is what we found out next.
Acting Is Everything
The facial animations, voice acting and physical movements are key to Mankind Divided. This title focuses more on story and character than action, and it shows in the care put into all of the little details.
The demo even showed off a “boss fight” that was just focused solely on debating the leader of the Augmented Rights Coalition. The game trusts players enough to expertly navigate through the discussion in order to get this adversary (or potential ally) on your side in order to find out more about the human/augment conflict.
The World Is A Beautiful Mess
This is cyberpunk, after all, so Mankind Divided puts a big emphasis on its setting. And the world Jensen lives in pulls pages out of classics like Half-Life 2 and Blade Runner to create a living, breathing world of conflict and story.
The most impressive setting in the demo was where the augmented humans lived, which is where the Blade Runner influence comes in. The buildings seemingly go up forever, as people (or freedom fighters) are piled on top of each other in slummy apartment buildings. This helps the game feel bigger and more vertical than other installments in the franchise.
The graphics, as expected, are absolutely surreal, with everything from futuristic cityscapes to ventilation shafts all composed in unrivaled detail. There are even much-needed splashes of color, as Jensen is seen in a more lush area of the slums.
Augmentation Is Still Key
This wouldn’t be a Deus Ex game without new augmentations for Jensen, and there are a few here that will fundamentally change the way the game is played, including:
Icarus Dash: This augmentation allows Jensen to “dash” over large gaps, up high buildings or—most impressively—through enemies. Think of it as either a mode of quick transportation or a snazzy battering ram. He can also use the dash to pounce from a perch to cause big-time pain for opponents. This adds a verticality to the game that just makes the whole canvas much larger.
Nanoblade: The nanoblade itself is nothing new, but now Jensen can use it as a projectile to literally nail enemies to walls or detonate in their face. This...this could come in handy.
Shield: This new shield wraps Jensen in an onyx barrier that repels damage and protects him from heavy fire. I don't know how long this can be used for, but in a firefight, it's a must.
If It Ain’t Broke…
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was so good on its own that Square knows it would be foolish to tinker. Instead, gameplay mechanics are simply being enhanced for this follow-up.
The look and feel of the Deus Ex world is intact, and the developer isn’t trying to introduce too much to upset what has worked so well. Still, the improvements take what worked in the past and amplified them here.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided should have been on your radar before, and after this demo I’m convinced this game will be a highlight for this console generation. If you need more convincing (and you shouldn’t) you can look at the latest trailer below:
Stay tuned for more E3 2015 coverage all week from TechTimes and T-Lounge.