27 March 2014

Deus Ex: The Fall (2014)

Game score: 35%
Platform: Steam, PC

It's a rare chance for me to review an actual new game so I am very excited to take it. The thing is - I usually get games on super sales or in bundles and I cannot even remember how I got this one. I do remember I had it before it was available for actual download and play on Steam and that I had to wait for a certain date to "unlock" it.

Those who know me will tell you boring I can be with all the talk of Deus Ex. The original Deus Ex that came out in 2000. I remember how amazed I was with that game back then, it just blew me off right from the start. Even today I claim it's one of the best games ever made, seriously! Its sequel was a big disappointment, while Human Revolution was a nice surprise. Now, based on my experience with Human Revolution I really expected a lot from The Fall. What I didn't know up until recently is that The Fall was originally made for mobiles - I just don't really care for mobile games. If I did, I certainly wouldn't be so excited about the new Deus Ex game since most of the mobile conversions end up being a pile of crap. Unfortunately, I was right.

Deus Ex: The Fall tells a story of Ben Saxon, a former mercenary who used to work for Tyrants (the bad guys from Human Revolution) and the problem with Neuropozyne shortage. Neuropozyne is a drug that all augmented humans use to fight the body's rejection of augmentations and without it bad things may happen. Long story short, Ben goes on a mission to find a replacement drug in Panama City.

The game itself weird right from the start. After the usual tutorial mission where you learn how to move, shoot etc... you learn that you cannot jump. No jumping in 2014? In a FPS game? Seriously? You cannot even reconfigure the controls in the game at all. At all. I personally never reconfigure the controls (unless they are reeeeally awkward, which is rare and most usually ends up in me giving up such a game whose controls problem is the least of the problems it has) but such an option should be mandatory. Even shooting the enemies can be a problem, I am not even sure if the available crosshair is accurate. It seems to work fine if you zoom in on the enemy, but nothing happens if you just fire at them! Not always, but a lot of time. If you do manage to hit someone and they die - prepare for a surprise: 5 seconds later their bodies evaporate. This is a perfect spot for a smiley with big, surprised eyes, isn't it?

However, there is a way to actually enjoy this game. Sneaking. If you decide to go into stealth mode and avoid enemies, hack consoles and hide from cameras, you are in for a much better experience. It will even earn you an achievement if you complete the game without killing anyone. It is as if the game creators are aware of how much they screwed up with the combat so they are giving you a hint on how to have more fun with their game.

The graphics are simplified from Human Revolution, which is kind of expected from a mobile game port. If you think HR had too much yellow and amber - prepare for MUCH MORE. I had a feeling I was playing a game on my Hercules Monochrome monitor I used to have in 1992 (it was one of those weird monitors that had orange and black instead of white and black). NPC models are recycled versions of each other but it's not too bad, at least for me.

There's also a plenty of bugs all over the game. I saved a game before entering combat with 2 enemy soldiers, died and reloaded. They were gone. The controls are sometimes unresponsive, especially in game menus - you click on OK or BACK or whatever, but nothing happens until you try it again. A harder mouse button push might help, no matter how illogical it may sound. What else... Ah! Hacking. In case you didn't play Human Revolution - to hack a door you need to play a mini game (shown on a screenshot) to reach a certain module before the enemy anti-hack reaches you. However, sometimes you cannot zoom out enough to actually click on the next module. I haven't found a way to fix that and I even tried changing resolutions and using a window mode.

Overall, The Fall is a big disappointment for any true Deus Ex fan. It just feels cheap and not worthy of Square Enix and the games we are used to get from these guys. I know it's a conversion, but with a little effort (and less amber!) it could have been an amazing game. This way... well, I told you, it is possible to enjoy it if you play it in a very specific game, but that's not it. You should be able to pick your way through, as what we are used from Deus Ex.

Oh, and there is only ONE save game slot. You are warned!

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