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Deus Ex: Human Revolution Review

Steve Butts | 22 Aug 2011 22:10
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When he said the tram would take a few minutes to arrive, he didn't need to add that I should to get ready for a fight. Once I pushed that button to bring the tram up to my floor, every guard in the whole building would know right where I was and would come running. I had taken out a few already on my way in, but there were many more I'd passed by as I crawled through the air ducts and crawled behind desks. Having them all show up at once while I waited for the tram to make its way to my floor was not an encouraging prospect.

I had the turret on my side, at least. I was able to hack into the security console in the nearby office and rewire it so it fired on the guards instead of me. It had taken out the two who were already in the room, but I didn't think it would last too long when all of their buddies began pouring in. To make things worse, I'd been running low on pistol ammo when the mission started. Things hadn't improved. I'd spent the past few missions upgrading my pistol with all sorts of useful attachments - a quick reloader, armor piercing rounds, a laser sight. The trouble is that the enemies I'd been facing lately had long since upgraded their weapons, so pistol ammo was in short supply.

There were a few places to hide, but that was, at best, a short term solution, so I needed to find a way to hold the enemies off long enough to get out of there. There were two ways into the room. The door in the corner opened into the room. Off to my right was a large opening into the hallway beyond. The turret could cover one of the entrances but not both. First, I decided to block the small door in the corner. My strength augmentation helped me lift things that were otherwise far too heavy to carry, and I was hoping the massive crates I'd piled up against that door would keep the guards from getting in. Just in case, I made mines from a pair of concussion grenades and laid them near the base of the door. If nothing else, it would buy me a bit of time. The large open door on the other wall was more of a problem. I couldn't block it off, so I headed out into the hall to lay my last mine.

That's when I saw the vending machines. Why bother defending this route, I thought, if I can just wall it off? Just a short way down the hall was a short set of stairs the enemies would have to come down to get to the tram. The hall here was just wide enough for two vending machines to stand side-by-side, so I picked them each up and wedged in at the top of the stairs. I dropped a mine on my side of this barricade and went back and pressed the button for the tram.

The alarm sounded immediately as I raced to find some cover near the back of the room. I heard noise just on the either side of the closed door and, thanks to a recent cerebral augmentation, I could even see the enemies on my radar gathering on the other side of the door. They jostled a bit, no doubt trying to push aside the crates I'd piled up as they opened the door. I took another look at the turret, to reassure myself that I'd have a fighting chance once they broke through. A minute or more passed before my contact radioed me to say that the tram was halfway to my level. I stood up and peeked around the corner to see my two vending machines still standing at the top of the short set of stairs. So far, so good.

Another minute passed before the tram arrived. I stepped in as the doors slid apart, pressed the button and was on my way, all without firing a single shot.

That's Deus Ex: Human Revolution. When I started the game, I was very aware of the distinctions between combat and stealth gameplay, or between the social and technological upgrades you can get. Eventually I found the real fun of the game lies in those moments waiting for the tram when you stop thinking about shooting or sneaking and just start improvising because it's the only thing keeping you alive. Granted, this specific sequence is a bit elaborate, but the same sorts of emergent gameplay happen even in the game's smaller encounters.

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