These takedowns are accompanied by canned animations. The camera pulls out as you watch Adam knock some sense into a guard (or two guards, with the right augmentation) before returning to the game. These moments are often dramatic, but like other parts of Human Revolution, they can also disrupt the atmosphere the game works so hard to create. Your target might teleport to a new location for cinematic purposes or clip through a wall or another enemy. Meanwhile, any other characters in your field of view are frozen in place as if time has come to a momentary standstill. Such foibles aside, takedowns are a satisfying way to release the tension that naturally builds as you carefully inch ahead. And there are other gratifying payoffs to successful stealth. Some areas are guarded by robotic sentries--some of them large and intimidating. You could throw an EMP grenade in their direction, which results in a brilliant eruption of metal and sparks. But it's even more fun to hack into a security panel and turn them against their unsuspecting masters, though again, you need the right augmentation to pull off that technique.
6330375Just because you wield guns doesn't mean you have to use them.None
Then again, you could discover other alternate points of entry. If you're strong enough, you can gain access to conveniently human-sized air ducts by moving vending machines and trash dumpsters out of the way. If you can jump high enough, you might leap a fence that stands behind you and the area you must access. Another augmentation allows you to see weak points in walls and punch through them. (Like stealth takedowns, this move results in a canned animation.) You might pluck a PDA with security codes from a corpse that allow you to open doors or access emails--emails that might contain even more such codes. You might also find PDAs sitting around on occasion. In Deus Ex: Invisible War, such codes were so easily found that the whole idea came across as relatively contrived. In Human Revolution, you might find such codes in hidden areas within a sewer or on a computer in a remote office. Because they aren't always found in ultraconvenient locations, the whole business of espionage feels less artificial. The game encourages you to thoroughly scavenge; whether you find codes, ammo, or a weapon you hadn't seen before (hey look: a laser rifle!), there is always an advantage to opening a row of lockers or getting into a locked storage area.
Don't worry if you can't find a relevant code, though. Hacking is a particularly enjoyable way of getting through locked doors. In the previous games, hacking was a mostly hands-free affair. Now, you must perform a minigame that involves creating a digital network path before the computer can shut you out. At higher levels, some locks can be rather tricky, though you can find hacking programs that ease the challenge. Some areas--a newsroom, for example--are full of computers begging to be hacked, and there are enough story tidbits, humorous Easter eggs, and other secrets to make it worth checking them all out. Hacking can get rather addictive, so don't be surprised if you lose 30 minutes or more just opening every lock you can find. But the joy doesn't just lie in the hacking on its own, but also in the context of such freedom. You could play as primarily a hacker, a sniper, or a sneak, but Human Revolution is flexible enough to let you mix and match as you see fit. If you get caught creeping around a rooftop or hacking a lock, shooting your way out is a viable alternative. If you tire of one approach, there's always another to try. And even when you arrive at your destination, you might see a vent in the corner and realize there was another way in that you never discovered.
This particular skill is mighty useful when facing cloaked operatives.
You can even talk your way out of (or into) certain situations if you so choose. Some characters respond well to empathy; others prefer tough love. If you prefer charming your way past obstacles, you will enjoy the related augmentation, which unveils personality details on your conversation partner, among other helpful features. Adam himself doesn't infuse these talks with much character. He speaks with a dispassionate rasp, whether you respond to others with anti-tech rhetoric or empathize with your fellow augs. That said, he's much like the original's J. C. Denton in this regard, which should delight fans who want Human Revolution to be closer to that game than the oft-maligned Invisible War. In any case, your dialogue choices influence how certain quest details play out and might open up additional avenues. (For example, you might be able to gain unhindered access to a police station rather than have to sneak around.) Furthermore, your decisions determine which of the game's several endings you receive.
It's both fascinating and frustrating that Human Revolution, a game that's special precisely because it allows you so much freedom, would occasionally force you into a single style of play. This is especially true of the boss fights, most of which turn this free-form, do-it-your-way role-playing action game into a shooter. This may not annoy you too much if you've been playing it as one, but if you've built yourself up as a stealth star, a hacking hero, or a jack-of-all trades, boss encounters are not a welcome change of pace. Not only does forcing you to shoot feel out of place in a game that generally rewards you for keeping your foes alive, but the fights also aren't that fun on their own terms. Once you figure out your enemy's pattern, you just repeat the same moves until you whittle down his or her inflated life bar. (A life bar, mind you, that you cannot see.) On the flipside, a few side quests require you to hack locks of a particular level, which might frustrate action-oriented players who don't want to forgo the quests but also don't want to be forced into buying augmentations they don't particularly want.
The right augmentation makes you a convincing conversationalist.
Don't let these imperfections dissuade you from playing Deus Ex: Human Revolution if you're so inclined. This is an extensive (20-plus hours) game that by the very nature of its complexity invites replay. It is true that many of its individual elements don't withstand close inspection. But those elements add up to an impressive and absorbing adventure that invites you to improvise. You glide from rooftops like a cyberpunk angel in a world on the brink of technological breakthroughs and socioeconomic disaster, and uncover conspiracies in the unlikeliest of places. The longer you play, the more the story grabs you and the more you appreciate the customizability of the game. Hybrid games like this are uncommon. Even more uncommon are games with Human Revolution's power to eclipse its quirks with such enthralling atmosphere and exciting adaptability.