“Deus Ex: The Fall falls short of the expectations surrounding the series.”
Deus Ex: The Fall has recently made an appearance on Steam, breaking away from its former mobile-based setting into the mainstream gaming arena. The game plays out a prequel to the 2011 favourite; Deus Ex: Human Revolution, being set in the same world and including a number of the same key characters in its storyline. You play as a different character, Ben Saxon, separate to the protagonist of Human Revolution. In doing so you will receive a different perspective to what you have seen before on the events which have played out and will play out here. Fans of the Deus Ex series will no doubt be intrigued by the appearance of the title, but the key question is will they be pleased?
First impressions certainly set back my stance on the game. The Steam marketplace had informed me that I could expect the game to be controller enabled. It lied. This feature is no less than quite simply broken. The menu navigation is not only impossible with a controller, but also seems to become non-functional even on the keyboard once you have tried the controller approach. In the game itself, some features work with the controller while others do not. For example I could look around using the right analogue stick, but could not move in any other way than using the WASD keys on the keyboard. What is worse that the problem itself is that there is no way to change the in-game controls on any given input device, which means what is broken cannot even be fixed. Needless to say, this was not the best start…
Having given into the fact that this was going to have to be a mouse and keyboard job, I went on to see how the rest of the game would work out. Following first impressions which could have been better, I cannot say I was overwhelmed by some of the features of the game which followed either. Graphically, things look like a polished set of PlayStation 2 graphics, and are quite clearly a straight port from the mobile version of the game. Speech does not sync to mouth movements, and in some cases mouths do not move for voices at all. Faces in general, and certainly hair, do not look anywhere close to real or natural. Body parts also look a bit mismatched… I suppose in short the character models are just not quite right in general. Other graphical elements of the game are a little questionable too, with elements not blending nicely together and little glitches and issues being a little too common. This all may be a bit less of an issue if the game did not also have cut scenes which seem to last an age. These are, for the level of meaning and entertainment they provide, far too unnecessarily long, and really slow down gameplay, or what there is of it to be slowed down. Ported graphics from the mobile title are really a bit of a letdown here.
Gameplay elements are also quite untidily ported in places too. Items on the screen look as though they are touch screen elements, but obviously you cannot touch them. The in game tutorials quite often fail to give you all the information that you need in order to work out what you should do instead too, leading you to have to go through a bit of trial and error to work the game out. Some gameplay elements are, like some of the graphical elements, a little bit PlayStation 2-esque as well. When you fire a gun for example, you seem to unhealthily fire one bullet at a time with an oddly large gap in between shots, given the high-pressure situations you can find yourself in. Some parts of the gameplay are long winded and quite unnecessarily boring too. It is possible to see how they might have worked better on a mobile device, but on the PC version of the game it just feels a bit like you are doing nothing useful or meaningful at times. On the up side of things, the ported menus in the game are well laid out and easy to use thanks to their original touch screen design and layout, which at least gives some credit to simply moving the title across.
In terms of story, without trying to give too much of what is going on here away to fans who wish to explore this edition in the series themselves, mixed feelings may arise. On the one hand there is an interesting storyline to be seen here. On the other hand, the way this is played out is slow, under dramatic and a little underwhelming. Pace is constantly brought down by the long cutscenses, dodgy dialogue sections and a lot of “exploring” time, which basically involves the more adventurous players of the game looking around in detail, expecting to find something nice but mostly just collecting random stuff. There are several logs and short story elements to be collected, but these do not seem to hold an awful lot of meaning or worth. In all, the potentially strong story is sadly let down by the elements around it.
Looking at the game from the perspective of a continuation of the Deus Ex universe, it is possible to say two things. One is that there are similarities and it does stick to the same basic premises. The world is the same, as are some of its characters. There is a focus placed on human augmentation which does indeed factor into your characters progression as in Human Revolution, and there is a deep political underlay to the storyline which you are presented with. The second thing however is that it sadly does not do the series justice. As a mobile title this may be a nice add-on to the successful series and a solid partner to the PC and console-based Human Revolution. On the PC, in this ported form, it does not do a lot to credit the series and sadly lets itself and the legacy down. In order to make this a successful PC title, a lot more work and tweaking was really needed compared to what has actually been carried out before the release.
Deus Ex: The Fall is not an intrinsically bad game. It is very possible to see its merits as a title on the mobile marketplace, but on the PC it cannot be said to be a strong title, or really even a very good title at all. Straight ports are becoming an all too common occurrence from mobile to PC or console games, and sadly this feels like just that; a disappointment given the strong developing and publishing houses behind it. Fans may be disappointed that this title is supposed to lay alongside the fantastic Human Revolution when they find that it does not hold the same merits or indeed quality in any way. This is a title which maybe should have stuck to its original, mobile market, and is sadly unlikely to pick up much in the way of hype, sales or popularity in the PC arena…
The Good – A potentially interesting storyline, some nicely laid out features, and a clear representation of how this could be a strong mobile game can be seen when playing.
The Bad – The game feels like yet another straight port from mobile to PC which sadly, like many before it, brings with it numerous issues and an underwhelming experience; Deus Ex: The Fall falls short of the expectations surrounding the series.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.