Reviews: Deus Ex Mankind Divided

The Witcher III: Part II

It may just be a product of me playing too many western RP Gs at once, but theyíre starting to merge into one another. In the case of Deus Ex sequel Mankind Divided, the protagonist is a grizzled, scarred, bearded guy with a sardonic wit and a permanent scowl that hides a heart of gold; someone despised by society and regarded as a freak, but who also happens to be a superpowered fighter whom everyone confides in as soon as they need his help. I`ve basically just described Geralt.

The premise of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is that you are a cyborg agent, investigating a spate of bombings across a future version of Prague. I had some issues with the story, in that the protagonist, Adam Jensen, doesnít seem particularly invested in the case beyond it being his job to stop terrorists. This is evidenced by the ending, where you are guided into the game's final (and only) boss fight. The only variables to this finale is whether youíve managed to stop him killing some more people off screen. Considering said villain is leading a cyborg rebellion, and you yourself might have a vested interest in it by being a cyborg, itís odd and un-Deus Ex-ish that there's no option to sympathise with his cause more. We are given an unfinished, chopped down story that hints at a lot of significant locations and ideas that we never end up seeing. The previous game ended with you simply picking which final cutscene you wanted to view, but this is somehow even worse for not tying off the story properly, and without any real role playing.

Story aside, I had fun exploring future Prague, which is a mercifully small and detailed location, in opposition to the standard open world game mentality of BIGGER IS BETTER. I love the aesthetics of the game, from its crumbling aug ghettos to its seedy red light districts, to its eccentric, geometric-is-the-new-black fashion. The gameplay is fun too, giving you a host of highly powerful superpowers that allow you to traverse an environment in a half dozen different ways. Again, itís a shame how the game throws tons of options at you on a mechanical level, but then stymies you with a railroaded main story.

The game also insults your intelligence by inviting you to have an opinion on this huge issue of human rights, only to present it with a black and white (so to speak) segregation parable. You watch augmented people get beaten by cops and forced into ghettos, but your character never has to worry about any of that oppression beyond the occasional rude police officer. It takes a very cautious and self-aware writer to produce a story about prejudice, and this game messes it up by lazily cribbing from modern US protests and offering nothing further to say.

This only gets a weak recommendation. I thought about recommending it Deus Ex fans, but they're traditionally supposed to hate every sequel to this franchise anyway.
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