Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is one of the most anticipated titles of E3 2015, and after watching the gameplay demo Square Enix showed behind closed door I can understand why. You too can see the 25-minute demo below, comprised entirely of in-game alpha footage.
The gameplay demo is actually split into two parts. The first sees protagonist Adam Jensen arrive to the city of Praha, Slovakia in the year 2029 – two years after the harrowing conclusion of Human Revolution. The mechanical apartheid, as the developers call it, is in full effect. We see police officers and civilians alike treat augmented people as second class citizens, bullying and cursing them as they walk by. Augs are also subjected to increased security measures and we learn they are separated from the general population and put into ghettos.
Jensen and his contact at Praha walk across a train station, and between harassment by the police, they even talk about Jensen’s upcoming mission with task force 29. Jensen is a sort of double agent – on the hand helping the task force to fight augmented terrorists, but on the other trying to expose the Illuminati puppet masters that control the force from afar, influencing it from the shadows.
Even this relatively short “walk and talk” segment was enough to feel the atmosphere and overall vibe Eidos Montreal is going for in Mankind Divided. The air is heavy with hatred and oppression, and it seems that the future of guided human evolution that was celebrated in the previous game is no longer in the cards. Even Jensen himself is different, more jaded. If in the first game he “didn’t ask for this”, the Jensen of this game is much more pro-active and will attempt to take the fight to the Illuminati, at least according to the dev. The conversation is then cut short as a bomb explodes in the train station’s lobby, killing tens of people. A radical movement called ARC (Augmented Rights Coalition) takes responsibility for the attack, and Adam is sent into a ghetto called Golem City to bring the ones responsible to justice.
Once Jensen arrives at Golem City, the actual gameplay part of the demo begins. The developers assured us that Golem City is completely open to Jensen to explore, with lots to do and see. However, for the sake of the demo, we are shown a direct path through the ghetto to the leader of ARC, a man called Talos Rucker. Along the way we get to see familiar augmentations, some new ones and the new and improved combat system. Lets focus on the new and exciting additions to Adam Jensen’s
Deus Ex: Human Revolution has offered players two choices in each combat scenario – sneak or fight. While stealth players have enjoyed a multitude of possible augmentations that helped them reach their goal undetected, those who’ve chosen the path of action were left mainly with a pretty simplistic cover-based shooting experience. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided aims to fix that and bring the action to the same level of the stealth. First of all, Jensen can customize his weapons to fit any given situation. He can swap the type of ammo his gun is using, from anti-personal to EMP charges and armor-piercing rounds, and also add different barrels and scopes to create a weapon fitting his play style. Furthermore, one of his new upgrades include a gun-arm, as in an arm with a gun in it. We mostly see the non-lethal ways Jensen can use it, like the Tesla upgrade that allows him to target and neutralize up to four hostiles quietly, or a sort of shockwave that disables flying drones and pushes enemies back, but there are other, more lethal ways of using it.
There is at least one new and deadly feature to Jensen’s newly enhanced arm – one we are quite familiar with. I’m talking, of course, about the arm blades. In the previous game these where saved for the spectacularly lethal takedowns, but now Adam can launch those blades at his enemies, killing them instantly and even pinning them to walls. If those enemies are the stubborn sort that don’t like to leave the safety of their cover, the arm blades can be charged with energy and act a sort of small grenade.
Now lets talk augs, Deus Ex’s bread and butter. A lot of familiar augmentations make a return, like the X-ray scanner, cloak and the Icarus Landing System, though the latter gained a little bit more oomph between games and now lets Jensen crash his enemies like a spiky-haired meteor. In combat, there are two new augs that can give Jensen the upper hand – the Titan shield and Focus. The Titan covers Jensen’s entire body with black nanobots that defect and absorb damage for a short period of time, making him basically bulletproof. Plus, it looks really cool. Focus is very similar to bullet-time or slow-mo from many other games; it essentially speeds your reflexes, causing everything else to appear in slow motion. Outside of combat, we also see the new remote hacking ability, used in this instance to hack a bridge from afar to create a new path. This remote hacking upgrade can be used to take controls of cameras and turrets from afar and use them to scout ahead or destroy hostile combatants.
So far we’ve covered three of the four pillars Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is built on: action, stealth and hacking. The remaining pillar, social, does appear in this demo, but only just. At the very end of the demo we see a short conversation between Jensen and the leader of ARC, Talos Rucker. Jensen is presented with several dialog choices, each represents a different approach to the conversation. Conversations will have different outcomes depending on the choices you make, and I’m sure there will get to see more social augmentations that can give you an edge in these verbal duels. You can watch the end of the demo for yourselves to see the outcome of this specific conversation, and maybe chose differently when you play the game on Xbox One, PS4 or PC in early 2016.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is exactly what Dues Ex fans are asking for. The game is built on the same pillar as the previous games in the series, and seem to improve in every aspect imaginable. You can still play the entire game without killing anyone, but this time the combat looks a lot more satisfying so you might not want to. Hopefully we’ll see some more enhancements to the hacking and social aspects of the game, and learn more about the story as the release date approaches.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.