Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Even better than shooting the lids off zombies.

I would’ve posted sooner but I’ve been terribly busy. You see, there’s been a bit of trouble at the office. These augmented thugs burst in and blew up the labs, killing tens in the process, one of whom was my ex girlfriend. I was very nearly killed too but I’m ok. Subsequently I have been modded to a fairly ridiculous degree. It was weird at first and I still keep acting like it’s not the most awesome thing that’s ever happened to me, but I’m getting used to it now. I can really mess people up, in increasingly cool ways, which helps. My clothes are all moody and spiky and yellowy black. And I will have justice. Oh yes. I will.

In case you are either very trusting or a moron, I should point out that I am not talking about my real life. No, in real life I’ve enjoyed a four day Bank Holiday weekend, drank far too much, lived it up with my homies and, crucially, spent a lot of time in front of the Xbox. No cybernetics at all. Because I bought Deus Ex: Human Revolution last Friday, and frankly it’s been taking over a little bit. I love games – always have, always will – but recently I had become disillusioned with my chosen hobby. I have recently sold my Nintendo 3DS because it was severely lacking any proper titles, it had promise but it seemed like a promise a long way from being proven. I used the money to buy the very iPad on which I now smash out this very blog, and I haven’t regretted my decision for a second (and I don’t expect to, barring one flurry of doubt on the release of Resident Evil: Revelations). I had enjoyed a few extended online sessions of Resident Evil 5 on the Xbox, merrily shooting the lids off of zombies with a similarly minded friend, but deep down inside I knew that even the joys of cadaver aerating would fade with time. The longest gaming session I was getting was on my phone, sat in front of the TV. And that’s just sad.

I’d been burnt before. I’d eagerly anticipated many a release, only to be left disappointed and alone. One game, that shall remain nameless, broke my heart by promising high quality, collectors edition goodness and delivering a shit plastic batarang. I was visibly shaken for days. I thought maybe that was it, maybe I was growing tired of these playthings, growing weary of the hours spent staring at the screen. Maybe I was growing up. Worrying times. Perhaps I’d have to stop riding a BMX, perhaps I’d have to start acting properly responsibly. Perhaps this was the end.

Then I saw it there, sitting innocently on the shelf. I’d seen the adverts and dismissed them as lies, more unforgivable lies. I remembered the boundless excitement of the first Deus Ex and I wasn’t about to have another sweet memory defecated upon by the Pointless Cheap Sequel Brigade. Then friends started saying they had to have it, glorious review upon glorious review started to arrive and I felt a stirring inside. A little voice started to make itself heard, it whispered at first, conscious of sounding silly. “Go on, Bob” it said, “give it a go. You’ll only spend the money on sweets or rum. And you get blades on your elbows”. And it was right. You do.

So I’ve spent a good twenty hours over the last couple of days clearing out warehouses, walking around what looks suspiciously like the streets of Blade Runner and feeling like a complete badass. While actually looking like a pathetic, sofa-ridden loser. I’ve become lost in a world of intrigue, murder, business, suspicion and clicky clacky weaponry. I’ve made choices, friends, enemies and countless mistakes. I’ve powered myself up, installing the ability to punch through walls and fire ball bearings out of my arms, amongst other toys, and I’m really having to think about what I’m doing and how that will impact on other people. I’ve also consumed about four litres of Coca-Cola, which is probably eating through the inside of my stomach and has left me feeling a bit sluggish, but no event is truly perfect. It comes bloody close though.JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.
Everything in the game world flows together, creating a beautiful and involving space to be in. The dialogue, though far from perfect, does it’s job just fine. In some places some of the speech actually shines, with a clever flourish or emotional subtext, and I have found myself forgetting to push buttons due to my brain thinking it’s watching a film. Periphery characters even interact fairly convincingly in terms of the dialogue, with workers and townsfolk often deep in their own conversation. One particularly memorable segment saw me happen upon a couple of fellow employees, discussing the recent terrorist attack on our place of work. I had just been thinking how obvious the plot seemed to be and how the game was clearly trying to steer me, when I overheard my work mates talking about how obvious the attack seemed to be, and how you could be fooled into thinking such and such. My face was red, I can tell you. How rude of me to assume I knew it all, I won’t make that mistake again, not in this game.

The other thing I’ve noticed – for what it’s worth – is that I’m not shooting as many people as I thought I would. And that’s not to say I haven’t had the chance, because believe me I have. In some cases I’ve played to type and opened fire on a room full of idiot guards, often manically laughing. But more often I’ve sat and carefully watched. Watched and waited. Making mental note of each guard, their every route, anxious to not be seen. Choosing to render them unconscious where possible, attempting to move completely silently. Then making more noise than intended and having to shoot people with a shotgun. But I haven’t wanted to, it was only because I had to. I’d rather not be a mass murderer, even though it is a fictional world. No, I’d rather hold onto my humanity. These are the thoughts of a young man playing a video game and I haven’t mentioned boobies or shown signs of committing a massacre.

There are very few television shows, films or even books, that are absolutely engaging – let alone games – so when the disc spinning annoyingly loudly in my console turns out to be just such a rarity, I feel justified in pouring myself in and screwing the lid on tight. Deus Ex is one of those games, so I’m not going to ruin any plot points or even go in to any great detail, just in case I reveal something that someone didn’t want revealing. Ain’t that sweet of me. I’m just going to say that it’s a game that makes you think about what you do, it’s a game that let’s you at least feel like you’re making choices. I’m going to tell you that it’s a game that has reminded me of an upcoming flood of fantastic looking games, and a game that has awoken the narrative driven, ass kicking, excited, spell bound child who wasn’t asleep actually, he was just playing with himself. I’m just going to tell you to buy it. Play it. Love it.

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