Deus Ex

We knew that the third in the Deus Ex series -- announced way back in May 2007 -- was supposed to be set in the future, but we didn’t expect that the game would be released in the distant future as well. But hey, we’re ready to excuse the tardiness of “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” because it’s looking like it could be worth the long wait.

A New Revolution

“Deus Ex: Human Revolution” is officially a prequel of the original “Deus Ex,” which brought its own kind of revolution to the shooter genre way back in 2000. Back then, the customization and role playing elements we’re used to seeing today shooters were pretty much nonexistent. But “Deus Ex” and to a lesser degree its sequel “Deus Ex: Invisible War,” introduced a RPG-lite experience to character progression, a multi-pathed story with multiple endings and diverse gameplay where you could choose you own way of completing objectives -- by straight up combat, stealth or via hacking computers.

Keeping with the tradition of its predecessors, one of the key aspects of Human Revolution is the freedom to make different tactical decisions in approaching objectives and solving certain situations. There are usually four ways to play the game -- combat, stealth, hacking and social.

You can blaze in to bad situations guns ‘a blazing like you would in traditional shooters, or you can sneak and stealth your way past many enemies. If you decide instead to boost your hacking skills, you can get access to computers, bust into safes, and break into enemy security system and reprogram sentry guns to shoot for you instead of directly at you.

“Social” means you’ll sometimes be asking questions first and then shooting later. You’ll find characters who you can convince to help or give you clues and hints about how to proceed with your objectives. There are even some encounters that Square Enix is calling “social boss fights” where you might have a task like trying to negotiate a hostage crisis.

You’ll be able to upgrade your abilities in combat, stealth, social and hacking by gaining “Praxis” points. But here’s the catch -- you can’t max out everything, so you’ll have to pick fairly early on what you’ll want to specialize in.

Conspiracy Theories

Of course, Deus Ex isn’t just the thinking man’s first-person shooter for its gameplay complexities. The first game had a cyberpunk aesthetic combined with a labyrinth-like plot with conspiracies galore that made countless references to aliens, the Majestic 12, Men in Black, the Illuminati and the Knights Templar to name a few.

Because it’s a prequel, Human Revolution actually takes place a quarter century before the first Deus Ex. You play as Adam Jensen, a security guard for an experimental biotech firm called Sarif Industries. You are hired to protect company secrets against prying eyes, but when a black ops team breaks in and nearly kills you, your employer implants mechanical augmentations in Jensen’s body to save his life. Then you follow Jensen as he investigates the attack and discoverers the wider conspiracy behind the whole thing.

With action and suspense combined with an interesting character development system, and a potentially mindbending story means Square Enix could have a winner on it's hands when it brings Human Revolution to stores for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC’s on August 23.

Follow Ryan Smith on Twitter: @RyanSmithWriter

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