Any gamer who has played through Deus Ex: Human Revolution will likely remember how the game’s main protagonist, Adam Jensen, disappeared for a few days while aboard a flight. As it turns out, that was conveniently crafted to allow for the creation of the game’s first downloadable content episode, which is referred to as The Missing Link. It’s a convenient title which suits the story segment well. Though, the name perhaps understates the length of what is found in this two gigabyte download. Then again, if you look at the entire (lengthy) game as a set of large chain links, it’ll make more sense.
Apparently, our mechanically augmented hero was kidnapped while he was stowed away onboard that cargo plane. The Missing Link picks up shortly afterwards, showing a subdued Adam Jensen strapped into an electro magnetic pulse chair, which has completely zapped his robotic improvements of their power. Left at the mercy of some angry mercenaries, his face and body soon become bruised punching bags. The kidnappers apparently don’t know who it is that they’ve caught, but they’re taking as many precautions as possible, to make sure that he won’t escape their captivity. The chair is the major contributor in this effort, but gear removal was the first step and armed guards are another.
It must come at no surprise that the episode doesn’t end there. After all, it’s not like gamers would pay fifteen dollars for a ten minute cutscene. Not surprisingly, Mr. Jensen is saved by an unknown ally, who cuts off the chair’s power in order to allow for a vent-based escape. If there’s one thing that Deus Ex: Human Revolution has taught us, it’s that armed guards don’t have much interest in patrolling vents. The plentiful, metallic contraptions are the perfect way to get around unnoticed, playing a huge role in the game’s main campaign plus The Missing Link.
The Missing Link is another part of the search for Megan Reed – the incredibly bright scientist who was kidnapped during a violent raid on Sarif Industries in the opening fifteen minutes of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It’s unknown as to whether she’s alive or dead, but clues have been hinting that there’s some sort of conspiracy going on. Being that Adam and Megan were romantically involved, there’s not much surprise in discovering the lengths he’s willing to go to in order to try to save her. Risking his own augment-enhanced life is something that doesn’t even seem to come as much of a worry.
Within this download and its several meaty hours of gameplay, the player will learn more about Megan’s disappearance. Upon escaping from captivity aboard the large mercenary boat he’s been transferred onto, Adam learns of a mysterious base which is run by the Bell Tower security group. It’s an off the grid type of deal, where something is certainly going on behind closed and locked doors. Early clues point to the place having something to do with the loss of our hero’s digital love, but nothing is for certain. Given that it’s a great lead, drastic measures must be taken to get inside to find out what is going on.
In this separate story segment, which is launched directly from the game’s start menu, players get to essentially start their character over again. Adam’s salvageable supplies are discovered early on, with several Praxis kits placed alongside. They’re the enhancers which allow gamers to create their own unique experience, by upgrading select abilities. You see; Adam Jensen’s body underwent very dire stress during an attack at the start of the game, which prompted the need for emergency augmentations, in order to save his life. Those implants were only turned on slightly to prevent a catastrophic overload. Through the use of individual upgrade kits, you can choose which ones to flesh out more. Some are more helpful for stealth, while others improve your aiming or physical prowess. Pick the ones which fit your personal play style and get to work.
I’m doing my best to tip-toe around the specific details of this downloadable content’s plot. This is being done for a few reasons, with the first being obvious: I don’t want to be a jerk who spoils something people have been waiting to check out. The other group of reasons happen to be similar: Its narrative is well-written, interesting and somewhat shocking. The conspiracies showcased within are of great importance to the game’s overall plot, with the player’s sleuthing awarded in quite a few ways. Sure, you can rush through to find out what happens at the end of the episode. Though, doing that would mean missing tons of interesting e-mails, text logs and audio recordings, which flesh out the plot quite a bit. Not to forget a couple interesting side missions, which can positively affect your karma.
Apart from a more focused storyline, The Missing Link isn’t much different from its larger and lengthier brother. That certainly isn’t a bad thing, considering the quality release that Deus Ex: Human Revolution was. Fans of the core game should feel good about spending fifteen dollars for this extended piece of gameplay, because it’s worth that. This has to be one of the longest pieces of downloadable content that I’ve ever played. It’s also one of the most fleshed out when it comes to interesting and established story elements.
While this first batch of downloadable content is quite good, it isn’t without detractions. Gunplay still feels a bit clunky at times, hacking is quite often more about luck than skill and there are some noticeable frame rate slowdown occurrences throughout. Plus, the final boss fight (if you’d call it that) is a letdown, like the core game’s forced boss fights. Thankfully, it’s more of a quick event than a lengthy forced battle with deadly repercussions. I would have liked to have seen a more climactic conclusion to the whole proceeding, but the included finale segments were still somewhat interesting.
Military bases are generally known for being sterile and non-descript places. The Bell Tower facility found within The Missing Link is very much the same. It looks quite similar throughout, with a lot of long corridors that are filled with small offices to break into. It is where the majority of the action takes place, with the ship section acting as an introductory escape scenario. Outdoor areas are mixed in, with the ship decks being an available area for traversal. Plus, you’ll have to sneak around outdoors for a few minutes before breaking into your main haunt. The environments look pretty good as a whole, maintaining the yellow, gold and silver look of the core game. As a whole, this downloadable content episode looks almost entirely the same as what most have seen before, with unique art direction.
Elias Toufexis reprises his role as Adam Jensen, giving him life through the use of a gruff and scratchy voice. Although this portrayal has never seen much emitted emotion, I think the actor has done a pretty good job in making the character feel interesting. The rest of the voice cast is also quite good, allowing the player to become immersed within the title’s interesting fiction. Being that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an RPG first and a shooter second, there’s a lot of dialogue to listen to and a lot of text to read – all of which is quite well-written. Interesting guard chatter, gunshots, explosions and ventilation shaft scraping effects are what you’ll hear the most.
Returning to Eidos Montreal‘s digitally crafted world once again, with Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Missing Link, was a very positive and enjoyable experience. After playing through the story segment in its entirety, I’m left surprised by just how much content is available for a fifteen dollar price tag. There are some issues which keep it from being perfect, as well as a bit of repetition which is inherent in this style of game. For the most part however, they’re quite easy to overlook, as you become entwined into the neat conspiracy which has taken over our main hero’s mind, life and career.
This review is based on an Xbox 360 copy of the content, which we received for review purposes.