Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has taken the established Deus Ex franchise and compelling universe and made it feel fresh yet again. Set two years after Human Revolution it follows Adam Jensen and his need to uncover the truth. Jensen is armed with augmented enhancements that enable wide ranging gameplay options. This is one of the things I love most about this series, the freedom to play however you want. Eidos Montreal has made sure that you can play the entire campaign without ever having to kill anyone. Violent situations can be avoided through stealth or crafty conversation. Conversely, you can turn Jensen into an augmented super solider and leave no one standing.
The story of Mankind Divided is one of political corruption, secrecy, extremism and racism. Jensen rails against all of this while simultaneously trying to uncover the elusive organisation pulling strings behind the scenes. That is of course if you want go about it that way. You could potentially aid their cause depending on your chosen path. The first mission is heavy on alluding to the events that led to the current status quo in Mankind Divided’s world. Decaying corpses litter the surroundings, the victims a violent augmented rampage that left many innocents dead. This and the actions of the current groups involved in the mission set the tone early on. Once you’ve completed the mission you already know a world of trouble is ahead.
On arriving in Prague Jensen’s augmented abilities are damaged and need to be repaired; classic video game mover. This allows you to build Jensen to suit your play style as you progress. You’ll start with some of the basic abilities such as hacking and scan vision, but repairing Jensen will also unlock new abilities. Prague acts as a hub, like a mini open-world and allows you to explore freely, complete side missions and find secrets. Side missions are critically important to upgrading as the extra experience is needed. They can also affect some of the main missions depending on your actions; choose carefully.
The core mechanics gel really well considering the variety of gameplay options. You can play as a cover shooter, typical FPS or combination of both. The conversational options are also great as you get a preview of the response based on your selection. Later, you can unlock an upgrade that allows Jensen to read the vitals of those you converse with. This helps when trying to avoid violent outbursts or can help provoke them if that’s your kind of thing.
The visuals have me divided (pun absolutely intended). Often, they’re absolutely stunning while some moments look and feel like a cross-gen title. I found myself reeling back in disgust at a couple the character models. There is a clear difference between interactive NPCs and plain old set fillers. As for the fear of bugs, I was pleasantly surprised. It’s to be expected that some bugs may occur in such an interactive game, but I only saw one for the duration of my playthrough.
Mankind Divided offers additional challenges and extras for those who crave more after completing the story. Newbies can – and should – watch the 12-minute introduction video, covering the events of Human Revolution. There’s also a super hard mode which is unlocked on completion. Much like DOOM’s Ultimate Nightmare difficulty, Mankind Divided’s hardest difficulty features permadeath and only one save.
Mankind Divided is a fantastic addition to the series. The story is fruitful and will keep you guessing with its many twists and turns. The gameplay is fluid and seamlessly combines several disparate styles into a superbly crafted whole. Characters have depth and depending on how involved you want to get, some characters offer almost human levels of emotion. Mankind Divided’s presentation of societal issues such as racism and corruption are moving go beyond simple stereotyping and broad stoke thematicism.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has a lot to offer. It’s certainly not everyone’s type of game, but fans of the series are going to love it. Those who are new to the series have two key considerations. First, do you like shooters? Second, do you have a sensitive soul. Mankind Divided can forces players to make difficult decisions at times and while ultimately it’s just a game, it may have you questioning your own moral values. I know it did mine. In addition, the strong subject matters and oppressive tone could be a deterrent. Regardless, there’s a lot to like about Mankind Divided, so for this reviewer it’s highly recommended.
Game Title: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided