Extra Punctuation

Extra Punctuation
What Human Revolution Got Wrong

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw | 13 Sep 2011 16:00
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And that's fine. HR should have had that sort of thing, rather than only being able to take down enemies with a context-sensitive button press that leads to a cutaway finishing move. It's like they're deliberately baiting me now - the worst parts of games like God of War are the endlessly repeated pre-baked brutal finishers and now they've literally cut straight to the bloody things. I might have tolerated the boss fights more if I could run up behind them, twat them around the back of the head and run away.

Also, melee weapons have more uses than just battle, such as smashing breakable objects without spending ammo. Early in HR when my HUD informed me that the cardboard boxes were breakable, I wasted some time hurling them against walls hoping they'd split open and disgorge goodies. I'd like to see Adam Jensen get a job with a removals firm.

3. There's danged specialization

My interpretation of a role-playing game is a game in which you choose a role from several alternatives. The classic model is fighter/rogue/mage, but in Deus Ex things were a little more nebulous. You could be a sneaky locksmith who carried a pistol for emergencies, or an invisible hacker who secured the area with a long-range rifle before they went in, or a mad bastard who ran around smacking people with a light sabre. Watch me blow your mind as I accurately describe the character most of you played in Human Revolution: a bloke who started out with the intention of doing a stealthy run but had to start carrying proper guns after a few hairy moments, who by the end of the game was also an expert hacker with very good arm strength and the ability to jump over buses.

See, what characterizes the "action game with RPG elements" rather than the action RPG is that by the end of it you're basically skilled across the board, so every player eventually becomes the same thing. And this removes both replay value and the potential for "water cooler gaming", which I've always found appealing, where every player has a unique experience they can share over an office coffee break or after-hours sex orgy. Even Alpha Protocol made you specialize. You could even specialize in shotguns if you were dangerously thick.

4. The danged endings actually danging mean something

The multiple endings gambit is a tricky one to play. The problem with Human Revolution was that the ending was decided by a single four-way choice at the very very end. And while this was very convenient because I could see them all by immediately reloading, it meant none of the endings carried much in the way of canonical weight and I didn't regard any of them as the one I had "picked". And while Deus Ex 1's ending is also only determined by your actions in the last mission, each option has a set of somewhat different locations and gameplay objectives to deal with. It wasn't much, but it was enough.



Yahtzee is a British-born, currently Australian-based writer and gamer with a sweet hat and a chip on his shoulder. When he isn't talking very fast into a headset mic he also designs freeware adventure games and writes the back page column for PC Gamer, who are too important to mention us. His personal site is www.fullyramblomatic.com.

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