The fifth installment of the Deus Ex series, “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is a cyberpunk action role-playing game that is set to hit shelves August 26th. I think the game has a good chance to be one of the biggest and best of the year, but I find myself hoping we actually get all the game that has been promised to us.
“Mankind Divided” is sequel to the hit “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”, which sold millions of copies for developer Eidos Montreal and publisher Square Enix five years ago. This new game takes place two years after its predecessor, in the year 2029. Fans of the series will know that is focuses heavily on player choice and on simple actions that affect how the world around you evolves and how the player is treated by non-playable chracters (NPC’s). But this isn’t cookie cutter stuff: each game in the Deus Ex series boasts an extremely different story from the last. It seems the only common connections are the secret societies trying to take control of the world.
The first game, “Deus Ex”, takes place in the year 2052, as the world faces extinction due to a mysterious virus named “Gray Death”. The protagonist, JC Denton, needs to decide between plunging society into another dark age or melding with an advanced AI. Twenty five years later, in Invisible War, the world is just getting over wide spread battles and chaos caused by Denton and his actions in the previous game.
This time, however, things are different.
The protagonist of “Mankind Divided” is a clone of Denton who is given the unenviable decision of which organization gets to rule the world. In the third installment of the series, “Human Revolution”, the protagonist Adam Jensen and the company he works for come under attack. As result of the injuries Jensen receives during the attack he is transformed into a RoboCop-esque cyborg who is tasked with uncovering the truth behind these attacks while also dealing with the impact that human augmentation has had on society. The Fall features Ben Saxon, an augmented ex-military soldier who is on the run from his previous employers who play a large part in Human Revolution. Finally, taking place just 2 years after Human Revolution and The Fall comes the much anticipated continuation Mankind Divided. This game is again going to feature super RoboCop Adam Jensen on his journey to unravel the lies fed to society by the Illuminati and uncover the truth behind why the world is in its current state of disarray. That is just the surface of what will no doubt be an extremely rich plot.
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Things do look promising for “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided”. A trailer released earlier in the year boasts some amazing gameplay. I like that each gamer gets to choose how he tackles the obstacles at hand. You can charge through guns blazing or you can take a more stealthy approach and sneak by undetected. The player has many different tools available, from the more obvious things such as simple gun modifications to something more elaborate and interesting mods that allow you to stun and incapacitate nearby enemies by shooting projectiles out of your arm. Of course, Deus Ex just wouldn’t be the same without all the freedom of choice, and consequences that follow those choices.
So why do I find myself so worried about “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided”? Simple. Some of the game’s early marketing tactics left a bad taste in my mouth. The ridiculous “augment your Pre-Order” debacle Square Enix tried to pull saw the company essentially treat their game like a KickStarter campaign, promising more content if more people pre-ordered it. Why would you attempt to hold all that content that could make this game so much better, for ransom behind a paywall? Thankfully, Square Enix cancelled this stunt after a large community backlash. But now who’s to say they won’t screw us over like Bungee did with Destiny and lock content away on a game that I paid top dollar for, and then have the nerve to try and sell it back to me as a $15+ “DLC” when it is already on the disk I paid for? Although I am hopeful they won’t, after looking at recent trends, I wouldn’t be surprised if they did.
Another common occurrence with video game companies lately is to actually cut content that was promised to us so they can meet a deadline. When this happens we usually end up with a game what feels much less like a game, and more like a beta test that is plagued with bugs and lacking in content.
Along with millions of others, I just hope Square Enix can live to the hype of this game.