With the announcement of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided came the revelation that the upcoming future is going to be a dark time for just about everyone, augmented or not. Living up to its title, the latest entry in the renowned series finds mankind divided by the act of augmentation, with humans creating aug ghettos for their augmented peers and generally treating them like trash.
This was shown in great detail in the demo that Square Enix brought to E3, as an opening cutscene follows Adam Jensen embarking on a mission in a train station. Humans are openly hostile towards augs, and the regulations placed against them has them being stopped constantly by authorities. The trip ends in a terrorist bombing on the station, which leads to the gameplay section of the demo finding Jensen in search of the man guilty of planning the attack.
Square took us inside one of the aug ghettos, which was full of dank, industrial interiors and featured an updated level of verticality. This matches Jensen’s new abilities, such as the Icarus dash, allowing Adam to reach new locations by dashing through the air. Hacking can also be done remotely now, giving Jensen the opportunity to open up new areas of exploration and progression without making too much noise.
Similar to Human Revolution, levels are wide open to exploration and allow progression however the player sees fit. Beloved vents are still a good option for stealthy movements, although the action side of things has been greatly improved, making it a much more viable route for the less patient gamer.
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Despite receiving much acclaim, the combat in Human Revolution was one of the weakest aspects, ruining most of the boss battles as well as making stealth feel like the only way to get things done. Thankfully, Square has entirely retooled the combat experience, making Jensen a much more capable fighter. A new nano blade can be launched into enemies, pinning them to walls or exploding after a few seconds. Different ammo types can also be used for each gun, including EMP and armor-piercing rounds, all of which can be changed on the fly dynamically.
New augmentations include the ability to turn into a human tank for a few moments, soaking up damage as you take out the enemies. Jensen can also focus to slow down time, making it easier to target and dispatch baddies. X-Ray vision returns as well, although it is much more useful this time around in detecting threats and helping Jensen see through the mess of battle to find his targets.
The demo ended with a conversation, showcasing the branching dialogue trees that have been reworked since Human Revolution. Square referred to these moments as social debates, and in the demo, Jensen lost the debate. This leads to the other character calling in reinforcements, rather than surrendering or otherwise going in peacefully.
Fans of the Deus Ex series have a lot to look forward to once Deus Ex: Mankind Divided hits shelves next year, especially since the combat has been tuned up and Jensen has been given plenty of new toys to play with. Until then, however, all we can do is watch and wait for what is hopefully a superior sequel to an already amazing game.