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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Better than human revolution?

Content of the article: "Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – Better than human revolution?"

With now Mankind Divided completed, I've officially played all of the main Deus Ex games aside from Invisible War, for which I do not have an incentive to play. I've enjoyed both the original Deus Ex as well as the reboot Human Revolution, so I was actually very excited to go into this one. I know this game is often not favoured and most people will put it under Human Revolution or the original Deus Ex, so my expectations going in aren't very high.

Right off the bat, I thought the controls and movement felt really wonky, but after an hour I got used to it. Then the gameplay started to really kick off. While changing to cover mode, you can now select any area and swiftly run towards there in third person, unlike HR where you can only select areas with covers.

There's also a wide range of augs to invest in, including some experimental augs that are really cool. That being said, I've only invested in icarus landing, icarus dash, the invisible cloak thing and remote hacking. As you can tell, I did not invest in any aggressive augs, because I was planning to go for a full stealth playthrough, something I never did in any game. And you know what? I actually did succeed. I wasn't a pacifist because I did use silent pistols to kill some guards, but I never got into a gunfight with any enemies (aside from bosses).

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While the gameplay was very fun, I have a huge complaint for it, and this complaint applies to Human Revolution too. The fact that stealth takedowns take up energy is just bizzare to me. It's a bit better in HR because batteries actually recharge, but in Mankind Divided they don't recharge at all until you reach the lowest point. The once you reach the lowest point, while the batteries do recharge, they will only charge up to the lowest point, and with that amount of energy you can only perform one stealth takedown. Maybe the devs intend to do this so that players can strategise more and plan their stealth approach more, but personally I'm not a fan of this.

The game's main hub is Prague, which is a lot brighter and prettier than Detroit, HR's main hub. I think Prague is a brilliant main hub, and is one of the examples of why I favour "tight, small open worlds" over "huge open worlds" a lot more. While the city hub is big enough to give the players a lot of freedom and the ability to add a lot of side quests, it's not big enough to the point that 90% of the time players will be spent travelling and doing nothing.

Of course, there are a lot of side quests in Mankind Divided. I never liked completing a handful of side quests, most of the time I'll just focus on the main quest line. However for MD, I felt the incentive to complete every single side quest that is offered to me. I thought every side quest had an interesting story that sucked me in. MD is the second game where I wanted to do every side quest in the game, the first one being Prey 2017.

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Now I understand why a lot of people didn't like this game. The story was just okay and it's unfinished, the ending was also incredibly unsatisfying unlike HR's ending (I found the original Deus Ex's ending a bit unsatisfying as well). I didn't think HR's story was fantastic in the first place, so personally I didn't mind MD's dumbed down story. I did really like how MD handles the themes of segregation and racism. The game constantly shows you moments of injustice against the augs. I especially liked Golem City because it horrifyingly shows the mistreatment of the augs. I wished the game allowed me to stay in Golem City longer, but unfortunately only one main mission is set there.

In conclusion, I thought Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was a fantastic game. I personally would put it above Human Revolution in terms of enjoyment level. I really wish SE will continue this franchise and put a closure to the unfinished story of Mankind Divided, but it'll probably not happen because of the Avengers game. Currently playing through A Criminal's Past which I'm enjoying a lot too so far.


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