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    dkirschner's Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC)

    [September 6, 2012 10:42:05 PM]
    (Spoiler Alert for some parts of this entry)

    Finished this one last night. Quality game! I was ready for it to end before it did, but I like that it picked up the pace once you get to Singapore. I think I just mired myself in hacking too much and started getting a little bored with exploring everywhere to find items and xp from hacking/air ducts/etc. There are a lot of rooms and places to poke around if you want. I have some kind of problem with this and I've been trying to figure out what exactly it is.

    In my last entry I noted that the game rewards you more for being stealthy - more xp for takedowns instead of kills, xp for hacking, xp for exploring, praxis kits for exploring - but I thought Deus Ex was all about choice. But maybe I misinterpreted the kinds of choices I would have. The dialogue options, okay, those affect outcomes (I assume) pretty similarly for one choice over the other since my conversations didn't seem to yield any perks that the other choices wouldn't have yielded, as long as I completed the quest. But I thought I could be stealthy OR gung-ho and I'd have similar outcomes. Story wise, this is true, but like I listed above, you get SO MANY bonus perks for investing in stealth and exploring. If I want to go in a straight line from point A to point B, I miss literally thousands of xp from hacking and exploring air ducts in each level, miss xp from stealth takedowns vs. kills, and might miss a hidden praxis kit here or there (I looked online and there are 15 available throughout the world!). That's a HUGE incentive to suppress your desire to have a guns-blazing Jensen and to invest in a stealth-operative Jensen. Since both approaches are viable for completing objectives, how about similarly rewarding the guns-blazing approach? Perhaps if you complete a mission under a certain amount of time, you get some xp bonus or a praxis kit. That way, the stealthy person who won't complete the objective quickly might find the praxis kit in behind a level 5 security door and the guns-blazing person who will go much faster might get a praxis kit from a room with a timed lock on it or something. If you make it to the room before the timer expires, you get the goodies. If not, it's locked for good and can't be hacked open. Something like that. And since I did opt for the stealth line of action most of the time, I wound up being able to learn nearly all the augmentations because of X number of extra praxis points I got from all the bonus xp from hacking and finding praxis kits and whatnot. I thought that my choices of augs would matter more too, as in, early in the game I did not expect that I'd eventually learn practically all of them, so I was being very discerning for a long time. If I knew that I wouldn't be restricted at all, I probably would have played the game less stealthy because I would have known I wouldn't need all the bonus xp and things.

    I remember in the original Deus Ex that how you completed a mission affected how your team responded to you. I was kind of sad that that didn't seem to be the case here. No one on my team cared whether or not I killed everyone in the police station. In the Detroit mission to get inside the police station and steal some codes or something, I accidentally found my way in through a vent or something. For WHATEVER reason, the cops inside fired on me when they saw me, like I was an enemy. I don't understand why. Jensen and the cops aren't at odds really, and he used to be a cop. Why are the cops so hostile that they have a massive gunfight inside police HQ? Okay, so assuming it does make sense, then riddle me this: If I approach the front door of the building from the outside, the cops outside are friendly to me. If I exit the building from the same door, I'm greeted with gunfire. I did it like 10 times with the same result. If I want to go in, okay. If I want to leave, I die. A similar thing happens in The Hive night club in Hengsha. I didn't pay the doorman and sneaked in the restroom instead. For WHATEVER reason, every guard in the club wanted to kill me as soon as they saw me, like somehow they knew I'd sneaked in. Did they know I didn't pay or did they recognize me or what? There's really no way they could know who I am! And I had no gun out or anything! I'm just a customer, assholes! So I ended up sneaking around the night club (imagine how odd that would be in a real club) and found the DJ booth. If I stood up in the DJ booth, all the guards outside the booth would yell and crowd up around the glass and buzz around like angry bees. Assuming that they know who I am, I guess that makes some sense. But riddle me this! I remain crouched in the DJ booth so the guards outside the booth can't see me. But I COCK MY PISTOL and they swarm the booth again. How did they hear me cock my pistol inside the DJ booth?! Impossible. So eventually they'll start piling into the hallway in a massive bunch. One frag, they're all dead. And none of the other NPCs in the club even care! They just go about their business. They might cower for a minute, but then back to reading their e-books.

    Anyway, despite a handful of oddities, I tried really hard to treat NPCs (non-hostile ones at least) as scenery like jp suggested. That works pretty well. It's like sometimes you see a physically attractive person but when they open their mouths to speak they become much less attractive because nothing interesting comes out. Though granted I complained about the NPCs in Detroit only. I did continue talking to some here and there in other places, and I think that the ones in Hengsha and elsewhere had more varied things to say to me. So perhaps some combination of them being more interesting and me talking to fewer of them (which probably made them seem more interesting still) made it easier to treat them as good set pieces in the rest of the wonderfully detailed environments.

    I did LOVE the style of Detroit and Hengsha, and I wished there were hub cities besides just those two. Montreal and Singapore was just fighting in buildings and enemy compounds, no big cities to explore. And I SO wanted to see some imagining of Singapore since that's where I live. But alas, just a shipping center. So Hengsha really really impressed me with all the Chinese. I talked to a lot of people about the game while I was playing through that part. I can totally imagine a China like the one in the game, only because I live where I do. Similarly I can imagine a Detroit like the game too because of living where I have. These aren't just any cities. This Detroit works so much better because of the history of Detroit, namely it being the traditional home of the American auto industry, and for other places in Michigan being known for being abandoned by the same industry, like Flint. So having it as an American center for the augmentation industry really roots it in reality. Similarly, Hengsha I thought had a really impressive projection of life in Chinese cities in this kind of future. Many NPCs speak Mandarin or are voiced with Chinese-accented English by actual Mandarin speakers. There are Chinese characters on posters and all over the walls and naming buildings and shops and districts and everything. Just like today, most everything is written in Chinese, and there are occasional English translations accompanying the Chinese. The Mandarin NPCs do have English subtitles, by the way. I did find it interesting that, apparently in the future, there are a ton of resident foreigners in Hengsha. Tons of native English-speakers. Yet in Detroit, there are no Chinese. Anyway, I was called laowai more times in Hengsha than I've been called in 3 years in Chinese-speaking countries. "This is not the place for you, laowai!" Noted.

    All the cool use of language in Hengsha got me thinking about language in games. Even if there were no translations to the Mandarin, a player would get the gist of what some of the NPCs were saying by interpreting how it sounded and the gestures they made. Are they angry, dismissive, friendly? Of course, I still had my English-speaking Malik or whoever telling me what to do and talking with me. But imagine if there were NO English whatsoever in Hengsha. None of the NPCs spoke English and your only contact was a Chinese person with no translator. You wouldn't necessarily know what anyone was saying to you, but you'd figure out what to do. Why? Intonations and things maybe, but that big yellow X on the map would get you around. You wouldn't be too lost. You glean information from the environment, from the buildings. You'd recognize the LIMB clinic and the Hive as a night club. You know an apartment when you see it, versus a food stall. You know the guy behind the counter is a cook or whatever. If there's a buy/sell menu, you'd know what you can do there. And on and on. I was talking with a friend about her experiences playing WoW. She had a real hard time understanding how to do quests because she couldn't read the quest text very well and the fantasy terms were not something she was familiar with at all. She was saying maybe there was some language barrier, but then she retracted that and said wait no, because there are tons of kids who play the English version of WoW and don't speak any English, and they are really good at the game. So it can't just be a language barrier. I said you're right, because they've learned how to read GAMES, or the MMO GENRE in particular. They know what's most important in the quest text (the part that tells you how many of what to kill), they can understand skill trees and talent points through pictures and numbers and understand that the ones you get first open the path to the better ones later, they know how to use hotkeys and fight enemies, and so on. You haven't played games and so you don't know these conventions, and so you have to rely on written language in WoW much more than your 8-year-old cousin.

    But no language could prepare you for the boss battles in Deus Ex. There were 4 if I remember correctly. First one I won and it seemed a cheap victory. Second one I hardly remember. She was stealthed and I just shot her in the face with a heavy rifle until she almost killed me. Then I'd run, wait for my health to recharge, find her again and shoot her point blank until she almost killed me, and repeat until she died. It was really easy and pretty much like the first one. The first boss used grenades. The second boss used stealth. The third boss battle was the first two added together, so he used stealth and grenades. I completed it exactly like the second one and it was easy. Plus the third boss battle had the best enclosed square/circle-room environment of the 4 enclosed square-room environments the boss battles all took place in. The third one was like fighting inside the Bodies Exhibit. I found this immensely amusing. And the final boss battle, I honestly had no idea what was going on in that enclosed square/circle environment. Did I mention that all the boss battles took place in the same kind of room? I did? Good. I just ran around hacking terminals and pressing some buttons and shit was happening around me. At some point some insane augs came after me, and there were a couple robots, and eventually the turrets quit shooting when I did something, I don't know what, and at some point I realized I could attack the boss directly, and when it died, I was like "...I won? I don't know what just happened, but...okay!"

    Then you get to choose between FOUR endings and you can save before you choose so you can see all 4 real easily, which was awesome. LEARN FROM THIS ye game developers. I don't want to replay the game 4 times, or even replay the boss battle 4 times. Let me see all the endings right at the end or else I will still only play your game once and then go to Youtube and watch the other endings! It was weird though. I thought throughout the whole game that I was totally opposed to Taggart, but it was his reasoning in the end that I supported first. But I know why! Here's the explanation:

    Some while back, sometime in Hengsha I think, I realized that Deus Ex avoids all discussion of religion in the augmentation debate. They cover some moral ground, but divorce it from religion. While on a personal level, I appreciate this, on an empirical level, this doesn't make any sense. People will ALWAYS relate morality and religion, especially when talking about anything related to 'playing God'. Human augmentation technology is playing God. Assisted suicide, abortion, cloning - all these hot topics involve playing God because we're changing the 'natural' course of life and death. People even argue that getting tattoos and piercings is like defacing God's property. Is it likely that in 2027 humanity can have a secular discussion of human augmentation? No. Impossible. I think the devs ignored religion because it would hurt their bottom line. People would get upset about whatever stance they perceived the game to take and the game would become too controversial, affecting sales. I think there are ways around introducing such controversy but still bringing in religious belief. I find its exclusion unfortunate, yet I understand the reasoning behind its exclusion (assuming my guess is accurate). Anyway, while playing Deus Ex, the Humanity Front just reminded me SO MUCH of a pro-life organization (see, people will read religion/politics/values and beliefs into it whether the devs intended a reading or not). They attacked doctors who performed augmentations, protested and rioted outside clinics, seemed like a mindless horde in doing so, were violent, discriminated against augmented people, and simply appeared as extremists. This seems to me like a pretty clear parallel to extreme pro-lifers, minus the religious aspect. I carried this association with me until the end of the game until Taggart explained his position.

    Taggart's position differs from what you would think it is through the entirety of the game. Especially if you're comparing Humanity Front to extreme pro-lifers, you would think they wanted no augmentation whatsoever. And throughout the game, this is what you see. The signs the protestors hold, the speeches Taggart makes, and so on all point to total prohibition of augmentation. But Taggart isn't so extreme in the end. He says he just wants industry regulation. Okay, I would want industry regulation of augmentation too! He doesn't say research should stop, just that it should be closely monitored. Okay, makes sense. Then weighing this against the alternatives provided, I thought Taggart's sounded pretty good. Sarif wants no industry regulation, wants things to continue as normal. Terrible idea! You played Deus Ex and saw Detroit and Hengsha and all the social problems unrestricted augmentation technology caused. Why would you want the industry to continue unregulated?! The other option that seems to continue business as usual would be destroying the facility. Except in this option, not only does business continue as usual, but people are left with this massive question of what the hell just happened and why have the augs gone crazy and massacred people? Leaving the pro-augs vs. the anti-augs to fight out that question sounds like a terrible idea too. I imagine the divide would become even worse, augs would be blamed for violence, discrimination increases, corporations lose no power since they already seem to control every-freaking-thing, and so business as usual with more divisiveness and fighting since both camps become more extreme. And the last option, Darrow's choice, is literally impossible. Darrow wants society to revert to some kind of pre-technology-dependent state. Of all the ethically dubious people, Darrow definitely was the worst of them I think.

    If it isn't obvious, I really enjoyed this game, mostly for giving me so much to think about. This is high praise for its writing and design. There were so many great things about it that more than make up for the lame boss fights or the pro-stealth approach. If you like sci-fi or steampunk or shooters or stealth/action games or conspiracies or good stories or any number of other things, you owe it to yourself to play this.
    add a comment Add comment
    [August 26, 2012 08:32:21 PM]
    Started Deux Ex: Human Revolution sometime during the week. Last week I tried out the original, and was pretty happy with it despite the darkness, and it made me real excited to dig into HR. It was almost terrible at first. I had some visual issues with screen tearing and cut scenes stuttering and mouse lag and all kinds of crap that brought back horrible memories of when I tried to play Far Cry 2 on PC. I fiddled with settings and couldn't make it good enough, so I quit in disappointment that day. LUCKILY I opened it again to see if I couldn't figure it out one more time the next day, and lo and behold, it was fine. I guess it just needed a reboot. Lesson learned. Crisis averted.

    The game is essentially the original brought into the 21st century. Most of the same stuff is there and improved/expanded. The most obvious example are the augmentations. There are way more options now. Some are for improving stealth, hacking, other physical attributes like strength and speed, persuasion, and so on. You use experience points to upgrade them like in the first game, except here X experience points gives you a Praxis point instead of just spending the experience on the aug directly. There are definitely multiple ways to complete objectives like the first game. Every area so far has the front-door entry method, ladders, air ducts, and you can be more or less stealthy and aggressive, ignore or deal with all the computer systems, kill or skip most of the enemies, etc. One thing I find odd is that the game definitely seems to reward stealth more than assault. It keeps reminding me via loading screen tips that there's a huge XP bonus for completing a mission undetected. You rack up bits of XP and money and hacking items for hacking computers and terminals. You also get more XP for knocking out an enemy than killing him. I mean, I guess it's not really weird, it's just in a game about doing the mission your own way, they clearly reward you more for doing it one way, and I'm sure this leads a lot of people to do it that way.

    I usually lean toward stealthy and hacking characters in these types of games anyway, but I totally admit to being pushed to focus on hacking by the rewards, and because I hate being barred from rooms and things because a lock is too tough. So I've played through Detroit and can hack through level 4 (of 5) security. I also learned the jump aug way early and the strength aug because I realized there were lots of areas I wouldn't be able to go and stuff I couldn't find if I couldn't jump and move refrigerators. So now I can basically go anywhere after just the first city. I'm happy about that, but I do really want to experiment with some of the other augs! I have felt rather like I've been forced to learn hacking augs since I want to hack. I also want to take no falling damage and shoot bullets from my torso, but I can't yet. Oh I got the persuasion aug too so I can sense personality types and respond to NPCs favorably to get extra info and persuade them with pheromones. That's been pretty fun.

    The only thing I don't like about the game are the NPCs that populate Detroit (I assume all others are the same). They're completely one-dimensional. Apparently all anyone in the world ever thinks about is human augmentation because that's all they talk about. And everyone is either for it or against it, and every now and then you come across impossible NPCs who will say something like "What's all this debate over human augmentation?" Hello! Open your eyes! Or go talk to any NPC and they'll either tell you its great or terrible. I'm a guy who likes to see what NPCs have to tell me, but these are pointless to talk to since they tell me neither nothing new nor interesting. Also, they love to talk on the phone, read e-books and play mobile games. And smoke cigarettes. Apparently all the people on earth do one of these 4 activities when idly standing on the street or sitting on a bench alone outside, which is apparently also the cool way to pass time in 2027 or whenever this is. Also, no one gathers in groups of more than 3 apparently. The whole story and setting and all I think is awesome and convincing. The generic city-dwelling NPCs are horrible. But if I ignore them, I can let the other aspects of the world keep convincing me I'm in the future.

    I just thought to make an update-so-far for this after reading jp's latest. I read his others and can make a few more comments related to his experiences too. The game did seem oddly difficult at first. I died a lot near the beginning. I think it just takes some getting used to that Jensen is badass but not necessarily a supersoldier (though there is that aug that reduces damage taken!). So a few bullets and that's it for him. Also, the cover system definitely takes some getting used to. I've died more than a few times from accidentally popping my head out. I don't like that I have to hold down right mouse button to stay in cover. I'd prefer a toggle. Also, sticking to a curving wall is tricky because even if it curves like 30 degrees you still have to do the space+arrow to make Jenson move. I wish he'd just follow the dang wall!

    The enemies are much improved from the original, but they still aren't that smart. Sometimes one will flank me, but usually they just swarm to the same spot and then I can just mow them down all at once, or sneak around them all at once. The really stupid encounters that stand out involve air ducts. If you are in an air duct, you can just kneecap everyone in the room. 100 enemies in the room? Don't worry, none of them will shoot you. Sometimes one ducks down, but since they put their head right in your entire field of vision (the exit of the air duct), it's like impossible not to headshot them. Then just kneecap the others who are running around the room like "He's here! Where is he! He's over there! He's killed 54 of our men! Why won't someone toss a grenade in the air shaft or flank him from the other side of the air duct or just freaking shoot him?" Kneecap, kneecap! This is a flawless and cheap tactic.

    I completed my first boss fight, which I wasn't looking forward to after reading how bad they were supposed to be, including an official apology from the devs (ouch!). I died like 5 times, no big deal. He mostly kept cornering me and then getting me with frags. I played around a bit and got better at avoiding him, basically just crouching and circling behind some boxes/a pillar. He eventually loses track of where you are and turns around. The time I beat him, I realized that he will just empty his entire clip at where he thinks you are and then his gun will jam. Then you pop out and shotgun him in the face a lot. His gun unjams, and you just go hide again, wait until he unloads and jams his gun, pop him in the face some more, and just do that until he dies. It's kind of lame once I figured that out because I don't understand how he loses track of where I am, nor do I understand why he stands there for 10 seconds firing at the air. Then his gun jams and I shoot him in the face and he just stands there messing with his gun. Anyway, it wasn't brutally hard or anything, and I guess I found a cheap trick that I didn't really mean to find. I'll take it.

    So that's where I am now. This week I'll get through Shanghai.
    add a comment Add comment

    dkirschner's Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Friday 24 August, 2012

    GameLog closed on: Thursday 6 September, 2012

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    Freakin cool so far. More aug choices, great-looking, controls feel nice, cool setting. -------- Excellent game, provides lots of things to think about! Play stealth for greatest perks.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

    Related Links

    See dkirschner's page

    See info on Deus Ex: Human Revolution

    More GameLogs
    other GameLogs for this Game
    1 : Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3) by flyingcoffeecup (rating: 5)
    2 : Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC) by JordanC (rating: 5)
    3 : Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3) by jp (rating: 5)
    4 : Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PC) by locomania233 (rating: 5)
    5 : Deus Ex: Human Revolution (360) by Mazen15 (rating: 5)
    6 : Deus Ex: Human Revolution (PS3) by mmakows2 (rating: 5)


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