So, I’m a huge cyberpunk fan. From Ghost in the Shell to Neuromancer and the Matrix, I’ll watch, read or play pretty much anything cyberpunk to see whether it’s good. For example, I’ve recently been playing Dex on PC, Shadowrun Returns on my phone, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the PS4. And that’s why, in today’s review, we’re going to be looking at Mankind Divided to see how it holds up!
To begin with, I think it’s worth saying that I’m a huge fan of the first Deus Ex and Human Revolution. However, like the majority of people (and not because it is the popular opinion), I can’t really stand Deus Ex 2… So, with that being said, you should be able to tell that I am not going to just puke out positivity! So, let’s get started!
So, one of the major things you expect when going into a Deus Ex game is an awesome storyline! Human Revolution was gripping and tense, even if Jensen didn’t ask for it. You felt drawn to carry on and push through both the main scenario missions and the side missions. That’s why, when I jumped into Mankind Divided, I was really excited! Especially after the Mechanical Apartheid trailer.
And you know what, the first mission really captured that feeling! Going through a derelict (or rather, unifinished) hotel in Dubai quickly in order to stop the enemy from being able to kill your team allies. Of course, it doesn’t actually matter how long you take as the level isn’t timed… But it feels like you need to rush.
However, once you’re through that mission, everything seems to slow down… The main scenario is pretty good, and you’ll definitely enjoy it, but when it comes down to side missions, I found myself doing them for two reasons; to earn extra Praxis Kits and because I like to make sure I’ve done everything in an area before I leave it… That sense of wanting to know more, to learn what secrets lay behind these missions, just wasn’t anywhere near as powerful as it was in Human Revolution… On top of that, to me at least, the main scenario seemed to wrap itself up rather quickly…
It should be said, though, that this is still one of the best cyberpunk games I have played in a long time, and the story really does feel like the birth of a dystopian, cyberpunk future. You will enjoy the story, but don’t go in expecting it to be on par with Human Revolution, let alone the original Deus Ex.
Now, this is where Mankind Divided really stands up tall! As with all of the Deus Ex games, you get to choose whether to be a stealth-based player or run in to mission areas with all guns blazing! But that’s not all this time. The augmentations available in Mankind Divided are numerous, to say the least! And in order to make the game more customisable, the developers made it so you can only have a certain number of them “active” at one time. Effectively, you have to pick and choose which skills and special abilities you will have access to within gameplay, like in a lot of MMORPGs.
This, in turn, adds a whole new depth of tactics and customisation to the game, which is something I really love in games. In fact, it’s why Final Fantasy Tactics is still one of my favourites from that series! Oh, and did I mention that the aiming controls on console (at leaast the PS4) are really smooth, so just about anyone can pick it up and play relatively well?
That’s the gameplay footage that IGN showed off back in August. From that video alone you can see the interactive conversations that actually make you want to stop and think about your answer, or the cover system that has been immensely improved since Human Revolution (it was already pretty damn good then as well)! For stealth players, the takedown animations have been tweaked and make you feel like a real badass, whilst those who prefer to just shoot the place up can do with an awesome arsenal of weapons and destructive augmentations.
There really isn’t much that I can complain about when it comes to gameplay without being nitpicky. Human Revolution played amazingly, and Deus Ex Mankind Divide just improves on that system. They don’t try to change it and mess with it.
Finally, we need to look at the graphics. Now, this is a AAA game so you know that they spent a lot of time making it look like one. And it does. However, you should know that at the start of the game, it won’t feel like a cyberpunk game. For example, the dark alleyways and dystopian cityscapes you expect don’t show up for quite some time. Instead, you start off in an unfinished hotel before making your way to Prague, which is nicely lit in the daytime sunlight. In fact, visually it feel more like an HD remake of Half Life 2…
Get through that, though, and you will eventually find your way into a real cyberpunk world. And man, does it look amazing! The attention to detail has really been put into the game, and the graphical standard of models and textures in the world make it feel very real.
As you can see from that image, even the weather effects are really good. And on PS4, I haven’t experienced any framerate drops or graphical glitches so far. All in all, Mankind Divided really hits a home run when it comes to graphics.