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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review

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Gameplay:

After some storytelling, the first thing you will do in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is decide if you want to go into the tutorial mission with a lethal or non-lethal weapon, and if you want it to be short or long range. Of course this will not prevent you from picking up other weapons, but almost immediately the player is asked to make a choice that will impact the gameplay. This is practically a fundamental aspect of the gameplay, as player choice can impact a great deal of what happens. You can be a guns-blazing commando, silent and meticulous angel of sleeping darts and takedowns, or a ghost no one will even know was nearby. My preference is a mix of the last two, as avoiding fights is always the best way to survive, and typically you are rewarded for not killing people. But if you must, you must.

Because this is my preference, many of my gameplay decisions, such as weapons and how I invest points into my augmentation mods, are aligned with a non-lethal approach and other capabilities to get me through locked doors and over walls. At times this can be problematic, such as when you come up against an enemy that you do not have an elegant response to. In one case I had to deal with an enemy in a mech-suit and none of my fancy abilities were going to help with that (I think. I might have missed something). I was just happy I had some EMP ammo to disable it while I shot it with a more lethal option.

I mention this because while player choice is important, adaptation can be necessary, so try to be prepared for anything. Also be mindful of your saves, because you may end up reloading a lot. Perhaps your first attempt results in death or you just want to try doing something a specific way. I know I reloaded many times not because I died but to try doing something better than I just did. Fortunately the save system allows this.

The game uses a state save system, meaning that it saves exactly where you are and where everything in the world is. (In contrast to a checkpoint-like system that only places you in certain places in the world.) You will have normal saves that are, well, normal, two auto-saves, and a quick save. You only get one quick save slot, and quick loading only loads from that slot and not the most recent save. That means you may end up going farther back in time than you need to when quick-loading, but it is easy enough to select a newer save from the menu. Luckily the two auto-saves will likely have you covered.

 

Getting back to the in-game action, my preferred playstyle and how it supports and encourages me to explore everywhere is something the game rewards, so even if you do use loud and lethal force far more than I do, you should still look around you. Exploring gets you some experience as you find new paths but it also rewards you with more resources, key codes, and passwords. The hacking mini-game is enjoyable and interesting, but when you can avoid it all by just typing in the right code, that is what you want to do. Typically I was finding these codes on devices you can find sitting out in the world but also in enemy pockets, so search, search, and search again. What you find might get you through the next door, shutdown security in the area, or let you do something somewhere else. I do not mean to be biased towards my playstyle, but it does have its advantages.

This playstyle does expose one somewhat frustrating issue with the game and that is the inventory. Your personal inventory is slot based and fine as is. Different objects take up so many slots, so if they can all fit together, you are good to go. It is the stashes you have access to that are annoying. Those in your apartment (and I am not aware of them being anywhere else) add up to 24 slots that will hold any size object, which is really not that much. The game has several weapons and there are multiple kinds of ammo for each, so as you collect items, you will quickly run out of room. Or at least I ran out of room quickly, and I did not want to throw away anything. Eventually I realized the best approach is to stick weapons I do not use the stash, as they are the largest objects, and keep the useless ammo in my inventory, because the ammo is so much smaller. In theory that means I would be able to pick up these other weapons in a mission and be good to go, but I never had the room to pick these up anyway, and filled up the stash pretty quick too. Personally I just would like to see the stash changed to hold any number of items so I can just throw unused weapons and all of their ammo in there, along with the other small items I do not care much about.

This actually leads me to another issue that is related to inventory management; shops. Many of the shops in the game only sell certain items, accept certain currencies, and will not purchase the various items you want to dispose of. So I cannot even sell a lot of what I have because I do not remember which shop to go to, and I also cannot remember where to go to purchase certain items.

Now, neither of these issues are substantially important because managing your inventory is not really all that important either. Beyond having enough of the different ammo types and the stuff you need for healing and restoring energy, you do not really need to ever see the inventory. The difference between carrying just those items you want and need, and being able to carry everything you find is whether a prompt comes up about lack of inventory space. I would still like to see a change, if that is possible, but this is not something to hold against the game.

 

One menu you might visit quite a lot is the augmentation menu. This menu represents the primary means of progression for your character, as experience unlocks the Praxis points needed to unlock and improve the mods available to you. These mods allow you to cloak; increase your arm strength and leg strength; improve your defenses; increase your health and energy; and more. Even those just cover the base mods Adam Jensen starts with access to. As you discover shortly into the game, new mods were added to your body at some point, but using them can be problematic. Your body is not meant to support your original augmentations and these, so at first you will need to disable some of the original mods if you want to use any of the new ones.

The origin of these new augmentations is the subject of some side missions, so do not worry, you will learn at least some of what is up with them. This was actually not one of my favorite side missions. The one I most enjoyed involves the murder of an augmented woman, and how the police are not too keen on investigating it. You however may follow it all the way to its conclusion, and it is fairly interesting.

My favorite story mission is easily one of the final missions in the game. (It is at the end, but is not the end, and it is a little hard to differentiate them at that point.) It challenged me to be very cunning as I stealthily avoided detection while taking down enemies. It was just perfectly designed for someone that employs and enjoys my playstyle as I would patiently explore the area, finding the best ways to isolate my enemies. I actually felt disappointed that it was so near the end, but it just makes me that much more excited for the New Game+ when I can leverage more augmentations everywhere.

I spent 24 hours and 43 minutes finishing the game, and I do not know if I did everything. It is entirely possible I will discover more to do in the next play through, just as I am sure I will discover new ways of completing missions. With it being about 25 hours per play through, and this almost certainly being a two-play-through game (at least) we are looking at around 50 hours of entertainment, from just the main game. There is also the Breach gameplay that I have not even touched yet because I wanted to focus on the main game. There is definitely plenty to do and I have enjoyed doing it all. Now I want to do it again.




  1. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review - Introduction
  2. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review - Story
  3. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review - Gameplay
  4. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Review - Conclusion
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