I am very sad that this game is over. This is typically the highest accolade I give to a game: the admission that five minutes after I finish it, I miss it already. I could play it again, but it wouldn’t be the same. The suspense of not knowing what happens next. The joy of discovering a hidden passage, the thrill of acquiring some rare and powerful weapon. The challenge of analyzing the many different ways I could go about completing the level, then the sense of accomplishment at having finished it in some optimal way.
I knew this game was going to be great right from the introductory cinematic. Usually when I have been looking forward to the release of a game for as long as I looked forward to this one (at least half a year) I begin to have doubts, but the cinematic dispelled them, it was just that cool. When I actually began playing the game I got even more excited. Deus Ex: Human Revolution exhibits a balance that is missing from most games. There are many different ways you can finish a level, and certainly the stealthy method is encouraged, but other methods (the mass murderer route, the stalk and stun all enemies route) are not penalized by drastic reductions in the total amount of experience gained. Well, maybe the mass murderer route, but if you’re doing that you’re not getting into the spirit of things anyway. By the end of the game I had earned so much experience that I didn’t have a single augmentation left that I wanted to upgrade.
The levels are large, and well designed. During each quest sequence you will progress naturally through almost all of the building or city you are in, yet there are always more places you can take the time to explore, but only if you want to. If I had really tried to explore everything I would probably have ended up with so much experience I’d even have the augmentations I thought were completely useless. The game has a large variety of weapons to play with, but although I lovingly upgraded and hoarded them, I was too pacific (or sneaky) to use them through most of the game. Still, rocket launchers are great fun. I love sniper rifles, but literally couldn’t find any good opportunities to use them, so just ended up selling them for money (even though I was drowning in money, really). In a way, the fact that all the augmentations can eventually be acquired lessens the replay value of the game, since no tradeoffs or hard choices over what augmentation to take and which to skip are necessary. But I probably won’t play this game again for at least as long as it takes me to forget how to do the levels and where all the secret passages are anyway, because that’s what makes it so much fun.
The only let down was the last level. It wasn’t particularly challenging, and the knowledge that what you do now won’t affect the outcome in the least dampens the fun. On the other hand, it’s a great opportunity to use those shiny weapons and all the fancy powers. The four different endings and their accompanying cinematics were all very generic and uninteresting, however. The final boss fight was a joke.
Doesn’t change the fact that the rest was fantastic.