Archive for September, 2013
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has the mixed honor of being one of those games whose virtues outweigh its faults. Despite some questionable pacing, overpowered abilities (cloak), useless abilities (more energy cells), and very ‘video game-y’ narrative elements, the experience feels right. Stealth is both challenging and transparent, the themes of human augmentation are interesting, and the persuasion dialogues make you feel like you’re talking to a real human being. It works.
What I find particularly interesting is the sheer confidence with which the game presents its setting and the issues surrounding it. Detroit, despite being only a few street blocks of explorable space, is a wonderful fit to the issues of human augmentation. One one end, we have the image of an industrial city, once crippled by the collapse of its automotive economy, reborn by the efforts of an idealist entrepreneur; the metaphor of revitalizing the city mirrors Sarif’s dream of revitalizing humanity itself. On the other end, the streets and alleys of Detroit are filled with the evidence of its death: gangs, homeless, and people forced into unemployment by a system that treats the unaugmented as lesser beings.