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- In multiple games, the main character has a bad habit of not acting on potentially-explosive information when they read it on a computer, despite it having the potential to change the plot in massive ways (or being able to thwart certain scenarios). One major instance of this occurs in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, when Adam finds a number of clues (if not tacit admissions) that both Dr. Delara Auzenne and Elias Chikane are acting as Illuminati moles within TF29, but never has a chance to act on the information or call them out on it.
Despite a massive number of variables that acknowledged player choice, the original Deus Ex was prone to this, largely due to the fact that the later levels aren't nearly as polished:
- In the first mission on Liberty Island, Paul Denton stresses non-violent means of dealing with the NSF (to the point of it being referenced by other characters as Paul "losing his nerve" against the enemy) in his first conversation. This is because he's turned against UNATCO and is helping the NSF. What usually happens after this point, however, is that a terrorist will stray too close to the dock, leading Paul to whip out a Plasma Rifle and go to town on anyone he sees in the vicinity.
- From the point that JC completes the first mission on Liberty Island to the point that he turns on the transmitter on Liberty Island, he can go around shooting friendly UNATCO troops with reckless abandon. The only time Manderley calls out JC on this is if the soldier walking up the stairs to secure the NSF commander on the island is knocked out or killed (and even then, it's only an indirect question in a post-mission briefing). Even at the Airfield, JC can slaughter all of the soldiers both before and after the confrontation with Anna, yet Manderley is only concerned with her death (to the point that if you screw up badly enough, he's very nearly willing to fire JC over it).
- At one point, JC finds Paul severely weakened and dying from his activated killswitch in the 'Ton Hotel. Paul is so bad he cannot even climb out of the open window, so he urges you to flee through said window and leave him. You do that — he dies offscreen. But you can also refuse to flee and instead battle the assaulting UNATCO/MJ12 squad to clear the escape route for Paul. Whereupon he whips out a machine gun and maws down the baddies like it's going out of style. Maybe he just didn't feel like doing it alone.
- While Gordon Quick will express surprise and amazement that JC has completed the Maggie Chow questline (investigating her apartment and finding the Dragon's Tooth Sword) before talking to him for the first time, Tracer Tong doesn't show any such surprise or wonder as to how JC knew where to go and what to do, especially since he suddenly showed up in the market without any warning. Even more noticeable, despite acknowledging if the player decides to sequence break the first half of the Hong Kong objectives, using codes to break into Versalife before you're actually given them results in him speaking to you as if you've already gone on several missions for him already.
- During the third visit to New York, despite Paul's apartment being trashed as a result of the MJ12 raid and the general rundown nature of the 'Ton Hotel, his secret room is restocked if you bother to go back and input the code again.
- Silhouette are encountered two-thirds of the way through the game. When JC finds them, he finds they're in a tenuous situation just trying to hunker down and survive, and they state that most of their members retreated from a fight with MJ12 without firing a shot. However, this doesn't stop them from whipping out guns and attacking MJ12 forces if they're near the bunker, even though it normally results in the deaths of several members. There's also nothing stopping the player from massacring all of them, yet the plot still continues as though Silhouette is still running with no loss of their cell. Additionally, even if Chad is killed, JC can later tell a pair of women at a club in Paris that Chad is still alive and fighting.
- Nicolette Du Clare has been keeping a low profile, and doesn't have anything to do with the resistance beyond her relationship with Chad before JC visits her. However, she can be baited into taking out an entire team of MJ12 commandoes at the Du Clare family crypt by herself, just before flipping back into her passive persona and telling JC about the area.
- Midway through the Shipyard level, the player can find an email written by Walton Simons that explains that the Versalife building in Hong Kong was demolished so that the company could cover their tracks after JC's two incursions into the UC facility. If the Illuminati ending is chosen at the end of the game, JC and Everett have a conversation in the main lobby of the Versalife Hong Kong building's Sector 2 labs, with no explanation given.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution
- The lack of non-lethal methods to take out bosses (a staple of the original game) was a common complaint by fans, to the point that the Director's Cut added more ways to knock them out without firing a shot. This doesn't extend to the post-fight cutscenes, though — bosses will be bleeding from the mouth and severely injured, even if you used gas barrels to damage Barrett or a tazer to knock down Federova.
- On the second visit to Detroit, the level begins with a cinematic showing a large-scale riot on the streets. When you exit the hotel, however, the most you find is a couple of car fires, and a few police officers guarding an equally few arrested protestors.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
- In-universe, the situation in Prague is rapidly disintegrating as the plot begins, with augs being treated with minor suspicion at best and outright hostility at worst, and multiple characters stating that the area is one attack from descending into outright anarchy. Despite this, Adam (a unique augmented individual and Interpol secret agent) can run around indiscriminately shooting cops and destroying mechs, no one ever calls you out on your behavior, nor does the situation change until the riots in Golem City spill out into Prague during your third visit.
- The Palisade Bank can be broken into as soon as you step outside your apartment at the beginning of the game, and can be stripped for a Monty Haul of goodies. Later on, when Janus asks Adam to access the Versalife vault at the bank, Adam is surprised by the request and expresses skepticism that he would even be able to do such a thing, let alone on his own.
- The Desperate Measures DLC is stated to take place comparatively early in the storyline, with the Ruzicka Station bombing still fresh on everyone's minds and dialogue at the end of the mission indicating that someone in ARC is working against Talos Rucker's ideals (placing it before the Golem City mission). Despite that, you can unlock any of your TITAN experimental augs at any time without overloading your system, which normally relies you to wait until just before you leave for the G.A.R.M. facility to install the calibrator that will address the problem.
- In Golem City, Tibor Sokol somehow makes it past Adam Jensen into ARC territory, despite (a) being stuck in a jail cell with no means of escape the last time he was seen, and (b) getting ahead of Adam in the Throat, despite there being only one visible path up (an elevator that hasn't been used). More noticeably, it is possible to kill Tibor when he's confronted in ARC territory, only for him to show up in the ending newscast going on a rant about ARC's true nature.
- This trope is invoked in the Criminal Past DLC. After taking the pill that gives your augs back, the player is given the choice to either respect the continuity of the series by limiting Adam to the augmentation set he had at the end of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, or giving him access to the experimental augs (which he canonically doesn't know about at this point in the timeline).