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Human Revolution’s path of least resistance leads right into man-mountain

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Originally, I had intended to invest more time in Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike Online Edition and cover the PlayStation Network PLAY promotion; Deus Ex: Human Revolution has rubbished all chances of that happening. Well, happening in a timely manner at least. Perhaps that's another flaw of Sony's plagiarised marketing scheme? Instead of leading into the peak of AAA retail releases, they've decided to run with it concurrently. Brave (read: stupid) move

Believe it or not, I've opted to play Human Revolution on my laptop. It had nothing to do with renewed faith in my rig that failed to run The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings effectively, rather a new means of cost-effective grey importation is my motive for returning to the Master Race's platform of choice.

To my surprise – and my wallet's delight – the game runs reasonably well at default settings. Apart from some minor instances of screen-tearing during cut scenes, it looks just as good as – if not better than - a console game. Maybe I can buy more games on PC? Only time (and system requirements) will tell.

As for how it plays, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is nothing short of essential for those who enjoy the following intellectual properties: Batman, Ghost in the Shell or Metal Gear Solid. If you're like me, however, and you're a fan of all of the above, it's terrifyingly addictive. I can't stop thinking about it. I want to stop writing and play it some more….. right now!

Human Revolution's stealth mechanics work well enough, with the camera switching to third-person when players seek cover. The map details enemy movements and – with the right choice of augmentations – can even display cones of vision and the duration of an enemy's sense of alarm. At times, it even feels more fluid than MGS: an apparent source of inspiration. The ability to cloak also nods to both Konami's espionage action title and my favourite anime franchise. On the downside, you really need to invest in hacking upgrades if you wish to reap any benefit from reamining unseen; and the mini game that is the core of this aspect of the experience is just plain tedious. I dare say that Bioshock's effort was more endearing than that found in Human Revolution

For the record, the combat is awkward and there are some inconsistencies in context that are sometimes off-putting; but these faults aren't really enough for me to go shy of recommending this wholeheartedly. The aiming mechanics are a little too stiff, particularly with long range weapons. Also, NPCs don't really seem to mind when you perform suspicious actions, like decloaking after hacking a door that they were supposed to be protecting (provided of course that you're on the safe, publicly-accessible side of the doorway). I'm happy to suffer the combat issues (except for the instance outlined below), as I'm taking the stealth route, and the ignorant civilians and guards provide the odd laugh.

 Really, you're serious? No-one saw me?

The lone boss fight that I've conquered was unenjoyable and contradictory in terms of the choices that I had made for both augmentations and strategy. No dermal armour or aiming upgrades meant that I was barely able to put up a fight or even jump between sources of cover. The clunky inventory system didn't really help matters either, as I had to constantly drop or rearrange items in order to hold ammo that I would then hurl at this burly bullet-sponge. In the end, I had to rely on my opponent's careless disregard for explosive devices - specifically, his own grenades – to have any chance at victory. After dying twenty-something times trying to take him on legitimately, I decided to cloak and find a hiding spot, and watch nature take its course. A noticable blemish on the otherwise fun experience that Human Revolution has provided thus far.

How are you enjoying the adventures of Adam Jensen? Are you opting for the stealth option as well, or have you chosen to employ the Schwarznegger approach?


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