Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review / by Evan Hirsh

Released in August of this year for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the sequel to 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and is the fourth major release in the Deus Ex franchise. The series is known for its social stealth mechanics, futuristic setting, and stories that touch on global conspiracy and espionage. A science fiction series, the setting and tone of Deus Ex is in the same cyberpunk vein as Blade Runner, using the lens of technology to explore issues that modern society faces. The series continues these themes throughout each game, slightly molding to the political climate each time. This is more apparent than usual in Mankind Divided, with ‘coincidental’ references to real world movements.

The game takes place 2 years after Human Revolution, when people with mechanical augmentations were sent into a violent frenzy due to a broadcasted signal. The game’s primary location of Prague is separated into multiple districts, with a district specifically for the augmented, which is also the home of the returning main character, Adam Jensen. Playing as an augmented character means that you will be periodically stopped by police while walking through the small but detailed overworld.

A city divided: The faces and people of Deus Ex's Prague.

The game should have gone more into these themes of division and segregation, but ultimately it did not. Organizations such as ARC (the Augmented Rights Coalition), connect the main story with the themes of the game, but the story is never necessarily driven by those themes. It never goes deeper than a surface level look at the problems in their world, and by extension, ours.

As for the overall mechanics, I have little to touch on, because it is almost unchanged from Human Revolution, outside of providing more combat options for non-lethal playthroughs. However, I have no complaints about the lack of changes, as Human Revolution had excellent mechanics. I did find the level design to be an improvement over Human Revolution. Missions were highly varied in terms of layout, and facilitated many different strategies to complete.

However, the social system felt way less impactful than it did in other games, with only one impactful conversation. There was also only one boss fight as compared to Human Revolution’s three. In fact, Mankind Divided felt much shorter than Human Revolution, even though I completed all side missions in the former, and skipped some in the latter.

Overall Mankind Divided is a game that tries to differentiate itself from its predecessor but ultimately falls short of the same level of excellence and originality. However, if you are a big fan of the previous game, and are looking for more, I recommend giving Mankind Divided a shot, just maybe not at full price.

Sources:

http://www.polygon.com/2016/8/3/12368210/deus-ex-mankind-divided-augs-lives-matter-controversy