Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Progress at its Finest

If there’s one thing that Deus Ex consistently nails as a franchise, it’s that each game released is at the very least good. I personally haven’t played any of the old Deus Ex games, but I did jump on Human Revolution a few years after its release and I really enjoyed. So naturally I was looking forward to Mankind Divided. I’m incredibly happy to say that Mankind Divided reaches and easily exceeds the likes of Human Revolution, setting a new bar for Deus Ex, while simultaneously setting itself up for a very likely game of the year award. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is not only what I think is the best game in the franchise thus far, it’s also the best gaming experience I’ve had this year.

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Rain effects are beautiful, and the occasional robot is too.

A World Divided

The Deus Ex games have always been well known for their intricate conspiracy ridden storylines, and I’m glad to say that Mankind Divided is no different. It picks up a year after the events of Human Revolution (if you haven’t played it or have forgotten about it you can watch a 12 minute catch up video) and once again follows the augmented protagonist Adam Jensen. The world is torn and unsurprisingly divided on the concept of progress and augmented human bodies. Augs are discriminated against, treated poorly, exploited, and Mankind Divided captures it perfectly. Without spoiling too much, I bomb goes off at a train station, killing and injuring many in the process, and it’s your job to find out who’s the culprit of said bombing. Various groups get involved with the storyline, and I found that it got a bit confusing once or twice, but after thinking about it for a while it became clear. The game has a fantastic cast of likeable characters, with the same protagonist as Human Revolution, and Elias Toufexis does another brilliant job as Adam Jensen. Mankind Divided serves as a satisfying continuation to Human Revolution with believable voice acting, a solid plot, and a fantastic antagonist.
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Mankind Divided’s Breach mode has a very different setting to the main campaign.

Augmented Pathways

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was praised for its various options and ways to tackle various missions and objectives, and Mankind Divided takes it to new levels. There are many possible paths to get to an objective, and it always feels like there’s no wrong way to do it. If you want to completely stealth through an entire map, non-lethally taking out targets, the game rewards you for it, but if you want to go loud and guns blazing, the game appreciates that too. Mankind Divided rewards the player no matter how they choose to deal with the situation, and that kind of unprecedented freedom is refreshing and much needed among the games of today. Various Augments to Jensen’s abilities, and they cater to various play styles. Most of the augments from Human Revolution return, but a few brand new ones are innovative, interesting, and they often never failed to stump me on my decisions when it came to upgrading Adam. If I’d gone to upgrade one of the new augments, it overclocks Adam’s systems, meaning you have to permanently shut down another augment. At first I thought this would mean I’d have to sacrifice some augments for others, which makes for a very interesting mechanic. Unfortunately, completing the correct side mission completely removes the overclock function, completely unlocking all augments for upgrades, which I found surprisingly disappointing. I found myself playing through Mankind Divided using tools like the tesla to silently take out targets that I believed didn’t deserve to die, while I used nano-blades to take out the targets I believed should’ve died, and I was consistently rewarded no matter what. I generally progressed through the world silently, using hacking and platforming to navigate through the game world. Level design is fantastic, and eventually doing with various enemy types keeps the game interesting and refreshing. Gone are the notorious boss fights from Human Revolution, which makes for a more fluent, cohesive experience as a whole. Gun-play feels tight, and I was always finding other uses for my augments upon further inspection, which consistently surprised me. Level design is fantastic, and exploration is heavily rewarded for those who go out of their way to find secrets. Mankind Divided’s other main game mode is Breach, which puts you in various virtual reality-esc scenarios. I was enjoying it at first and I thought the progressions system would keep me interested, but I eventually drifted away for it. It can probably provide some extra gameplay once you finish the campaign, but it feels underdeveloped and shoehorned in.
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The Gold Masks are some of the enemies you’ll see often throughout the campaign.

Technical Augments

Mankind Divided from a technical standpoint is literally flawless. The open world setting of Prague is open and beautiful, and the snow-capped peaks of the Swiss Alps legitimately amazed me the first time I saw them. Mankind Divided consistently pleased me visually, with a beautiful art style and setting, and all of it runs at a smooth 30 fps. Would’ve been nice at 60, but 30 is definitely bearable when it’s consistent. I also surprisingly never ran into any bugs at all, which was definitely a pleasant surprise for a game of this kind.

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To say Mankind Divided is simply pretty is a severe understatement.

Verdict: 9.5/10

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is in my opinion, the strongest entry in the series. It does what all the past titles have done so well, and more, with a fantastic story, excellent, unrestricted gameplay, and enough content to justify a full priced purchase. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has been my favourite gaming experience this year, and I really do help Eidos Montreal keep putting out quality titles such as this.

Positives

-Unprecedented player freedom

-Fantastic story

-Looks beautiful and runs smoothly

-Rewarding no matter how you play

-Fantastic characters and believable voice acting

Negatives

-Augment limitation system is mitigated

Thanks for reading guys! Up next is Attack on Titan.

No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky

Enough Hype to Fuel A Ship

It’s a lot more than an understatement to say the hype for No Man’s Sky has been minimal since its announcement at the end of 2013. Everyone was amazed at Hello Game’s procedurally generated science fiction exploration game by the time E3 2014 rolled around, and i’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t hyped too. As amazed and interested as I was in the concept of No Man’s Sky,  I was incredibly sceptical and cautious when release was approaching. After numerous delays and years of waiting, is No Man’s Sky worth it?

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The entire game is procedurally generated using the same algorithm.

Endless Space

If i’m being quite honest, I don’t really know how to start with No Man’s Sky, it doesn’t feature any real story mode or campaign, so i’m just going to share my opinions on my experience with the game so far. No Man’s Sky is best described as a space exploration game, with procedurally generated worlds, NPCs, and environments. You’re put on a random planet with nothing but a multi-tool and a broken spaceship that needs fixing up. You mine materials and resources in order to fix your ship, supply it with fuel, and to fuel your own needs such as your environmental protection if the planet you happen to be visiting is radioactive, blisteringly hot or freezing cold. The initial 2-3 hours of No Man’s Sky were magical, and I enjoyed myself a lot experiencing it for the first time. Exploring planets, flying in and out of space, it’s all amazing, it looks amazing, and to say No Man’s Sky is a technical marvel is no lie at all. The sheer sense of scale you get when flying from planet to planet is incredible, and it really does immerse you into No Man’s Sky’s universe. Planet’s are home to various plants and procedurally generated animals, and they’re littered with various elements you can mine and collect to further improve your ship and multi-tool. You can discover alien monoliths, NPC trading stations and landing docks scattered throughout each Galaxy. You really only have one goal in No Man’s Sky and that is to simply get to the centre of the universe by any means necessary. As good as it sounds and as much as it sounds like I adore No Man’s Sky, I find myself drifting further away from it everyday. Once the initial wonder and woe wears off, it became apparent that No Man’s Sky is incredibly repetitive, bear and sometimes straight up boring. While each planet is unique, you do the same things on every single one of them, and the differences between planets are only minor. I grew bored of mining the same minerals for the same item in order to get to the next galaxy, and the only thing driving me to keep going was to find out what was in the centre of the universe. Shooting feels stiff when it becomes compulsory, mining just becomes a boring grind used to simply craft a means to progress further, and space fights felt the same every single time they occurred. It’s such a shame because No Man’s Sky had so much potential, and while it’s definitely not horrible, it’s not good either.

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Other players can be found although it’s extremely unlikely.

Crash and Burn

Unfortunately No Man’s Sky’s technical issues didn’t make my experience that much better. For a game as big as this, the visuals are very passable and some of the main textures look pretty nice (regardless of how strange these animals can get). I didn’t experience any frame drops at all during my experience, but glitches, well that’s another story. I had the game crash twice on me before I even started playing properly, and there were multiple occasions where my ship was sent back to space prematurely, I also had the game freeze on me at one stage too.

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The game has 18 quintillion planets.

Verdict: 5/10

No Man’s Sky will unfortunately be the prime example in the future for hype trains that derailed. It’s a promising idea, and the sheer sense of scale is amazing, and what Hello Games have achieved from a technical standpoint is incredible (minus the bugs). However, that doesn’t change the fact that No Man’s Sky eventually becomes a boring grind, no matter how hard you try to enjoy it.

Positives

-Amazing sense of scale

-Procedurally generated world is amazing

-Incredible technical feat

Negatives

-Gets really boring, really fast

-Game breaking bugs

-Repetitive

-Planets aren’t fundamentally different

Thanks for reading guys, up next is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. I’m really looking forward to this one so hopefully it’s as good as its predecessor!

Batman: The Telltale Series: Episode 1: Realm of Shadows

Batman: The Telltale Series: Episode 1: Realm of Shadows

The Telltale Treatment

To say the guys at Telltale are geniuses is pretty accurate, if not a massive understatement. They’ve achieved some incredible stuff over the years with The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, with a few minor missteps along the way with the Michonne miniseries for example, which even then wasn’t that bad. I’ve been a massive fan of Telltale’s work since the Walking Dead originally came out, I’m also a massive nerd for Batman, so naturally, excitement got the better of me when I learned that Telltale were developing their very own Batman game similar to the fashion of their other titles. Does episode 1 show promise for the next 4 episodes to come, or does it simply use the caped crusader in a struggle to please its fans. I’m glad to say that for the most part, Batman: The Telltale Series Episode 1: Realm of Shadows is looking to be one of Telltale’s best pieces of work yet.

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The colour of Batman’s gadgets can also be changed, making for a more personal experience.

Crime Fighter, Detective, and Entrepreneur

Set during the start of Bruce Wayne’s attempt to make Gotham a safer place, Realm of Shadows follows the story of a troubled Bruce Wayne solving crime, influencing politics, and still dealing with the death of his parents. Realm of Shadows does a fantastic job at establishing various characters like Vicki Vale and Jim Gordon, characters are easily likeable, or quite the opposite in the case of a villain. Convincing voice performances are everywhere, and Troy Baker does a good enough job as the Dark Knight, although I can’t help but feel it can be a lot better. Key choices are tense, I often felt like whatever I said could potentially end in consequence, and moments of immense pressure had me panicking. Who knew something as simple as choosing whether or not to shake a hand could be so intense?

Combat is fairly standard for a Telltale game, it’s purely pressing the right buttons at the right times. It’s definitely fun to watch but don’t expect any Arkham-like combat here. One thing that really surprised me was the detective aspect of Realm of Shadow. You have to look for evidence and piece together what happened using logic chains. It’s refreshing, intriguing, satisfying, and extremely enjoyable to finally piece everything together. Last but not least, visuals and performance are fairly standard for a Telltale game. It uses the same trademark cel-shaded art style and looks all the better for it. Gotham is captured perfectly with this art style, and it brings out the sort of beautiful grittiness found in Gotham. I hadn’t experienced any crashes throughout my experience, but I did experience frame drops fairly often, which was quite annoying.

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The Batcave is extremely high-tech. 

Verdict: 8.5/10

Realm of Shadows does a fantastic job at starting up Telltale’s next series. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with Realm of Shadows from start to end, I’m incredibly excited for the rest of the series to come out, and I’m definitely going to go through again to make different choices. If you’re a Telltale fan, buy this game right now, trust me, it’s more than worth it. For those who are curious, it took me just under 2 hours to finish Realm of Shadows, which is fairly long for Telltale.

Positives

-Likeable characters

-Pressuring choices

-Detective segment

-Well-captured Gotham City

Negatives

-Frame drops

Thanks for reading guys! Up next is No Man’s Sky which should be up in few weeks or so. Harry.