Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the 5th in the Deus Ex series and the sequel to Human Revolution, set around 2 years after the Aug Incident that occurred near the end of the previous game. Yet again we are put into the shoes of Adam Jensen, a man who has plenty of things thrust upon him without his asking. Rising tensions between augmented individuals and those who wish to preserve their human flesh will follow players as they make their way through the streets of Prague.
The game starts off with Jensen on a mission with Interpol, taking out an arms deal, however like any other Deus Ex game it isn’t that simple as another force moves in to take the weapons and credits. Shortly after the botched operation, though slightly saved thanks to Jensen’s intervention, we are taken to Prague to talk with our contact in the Juggernaut Collective, and again that is cut short due to explosions… It’s a Bomb JC!
In normal RPG Sequel form, our skills from the previous games are reset to 0, oh boy such a great mechanic. We are tasked with fixing ourselves up, plenty of side missions spread around, with the final mission of meeting back with our Interpol task giver and working on our task for the Juggernaut Collective… wait JC!?
The game continues on a similar path to that of Human Revolution, secrets everywhere and a shady organisation we are trying to work against as they try to fulfil their plans of domination. If you ever played HR you will see many similarities from this game and it’s previous, even the layout of the city feels reminiscent, though more grey.
The main story will last you around 20 hours, though this can change drastically on your style of play, blasting your way through enemies can definitely speed up the game against someone who goes full on stealth/alternate route. Adding in side missions and collectables you can easily double that play time to 40 hours.
The controls have taken a slight shift from the previous game, and can be argued in their ease of use. The Left stick is for movement, with Triangle for sprinting, Right stick for the camera and pressing in for crouch mode. Jumping around with X, also contextually used for cover movement, Square for contextual interactions and Circle for takedowns, both lethal and knockouts. Beside those controls the rest are pretty ordinary, with some good tutorials spread around to get you used to them.
Jensen gains experience from defeating enemies, challenges and complete missions, when getting 5000 or 5500+ depending on level you will gain a Praxis Point. With an array of augments, though most you will be reobtaining if you played the previous game, you will spend 1 PP to upgrade existing augs or 2 to unlock them. Along with past augments Mankind adds in a few new ones in the form of experimental augs, though these need to be offset by permanently disabling your normal ones. You will be unlocking higher levels of hacking, higher jumps, new takedowns as well as long ranged ones and some more defensive augments to aid in your journey.
Mankind does smooth out some of the rough edges left from HR, though starting with the new controls and design this sequel can feel a bit wonky. Deus Ex hasn’t exactly been the best shooter, going for its alternate route style of gameplay over a focus on 1 form of play. Mankind continues the idea of 3+ ways to go about a mission, besides just going in guns blazing. You can hack you way in, sneak, distract, use vents, climb up to higher vantage points, you name it. However the game does award those who explore a lot more than those who don’t, alienating those who prefer an explosive experience, hiding codes in vents and experience rewards for no detections.
Overall Thoughts and Feelings
The music in Mankind is top notch, as it normally has been for the Deus Ex franchise, with a futuristic style infused with pianos, synths and orchestral tones. However it doesn’t shy away from drums and cymbals when it comes to the action and fulfilment segments of the game, really adding to the energy of the scenes or the power they wish to convey. While the game holds a variety of tracks for all the situations it has a consistent theme and no track sounds out of place.
Sadly the gameplay is still a bit under polished, parkour doesn’t always work as intended and actions don’t always work out the way you’d expect them to. The AI of enemies is very easy to control, making a silent but deadly approach incredibly simple, just throw a box and get 1 enemy away from his patrol to knockout, rinse and repeat. The fact that you have to reacquire augments from the first game is rather frustrating, as all that time kind of feels wasted, though it does allow for new players to enter the franchise a bit better.
The lack of polish can be attributed to the rumours and info released about the games development, a push for micro transactions and features being put in with only a few weeks before release. But the amount of effort and side content available can more than make up for the shortcomings. Exploring the world almost always rewards you, if not from exp for a challenge then in the form of pocket secretaries full of codes, info or background to items that you can use.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gets a 9/10, it is so close to being flawless but it was released a bit too soon with too much being worked on at once, disallowing each individual part to really have a clean polish. The side missions are amazing crafted and offer at least 2-3 endings each, emphasising the choices that players are given. The main story is kind of a rehash, with nothing really standing out besides the ending, dropped in the shadow of the original games that Mankind must adhere to.
If you are a PC Gamer and own a SteelSeries Sentry/ Tobii Eye Tracking found here https://steelseries.com/gaming-controllers/sentry, you cna experiance the game in a whole new way.
Check out the game running the software and peripheral in this video