[Updated 8/28/16 with advice from more playthroughs].
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is the latest epic in the long-running series about the moral dilemmas humanity faces with synthetic augmentations for humankind. You act as superhuman “aug,” or augmented human, Adam Jensen, with bionic limbs and other powers. You can play Jensen’s character in full stealth, without killing anyone. Or you can go into combat out in the open.
Both options are valid strategies in Mankind Divided, and you’ll find yourself trading off between them as discretion is often the better part of valor. It’s a complicated game, with a lot of different paths. You’ll have to make a lot of choices, and we’ll help you through that with our tips and tricks. We played it on the Xbox One, but many of these tips are useful for all platforms. We’ve tried to minimize the spoilers, but you will find some here.
Mankind Divided follows the aftermath of the “Aug Incident” of the previous game, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, where augmented humans were manipulated into a genocide that killed 50 million natural humans. The story is quite complicated, with lots of characters and lore. The good thing about Mankind Divided is that it comes with a 12-minute cinematic that shows you what happened in the previous game. That makes it a lot easier to pick up Mankind Divided, even if you haven’t played it before. Above all, the main tip is to savor the game, be patient, and make full use of the capabilities at your disposal.
Get the basics down
Learn how to master the controls early. It pays to follow the tutorials and get used to sneaking up on and taking out enemies. Remember to hug the walls and use the fast sneaking to concealed spots. (Left stick down when near a wall, and then sight the next spot and hit A). You should almost always crouch (pushing down on the right stick) because enemies are everywhere, and once they spot you, they call in reinforcements.
Make good use of your quick access to your augmentation powers. The D pad gives you an option for a one-button push to use augs easily. Those include the Typhoon, your ability to smash the ground and take out everyone surrounding you within a short range. The Typhoon is your nuclear option, with limited ammo, to use when you are surrounded. Later in the game, you’ll need to be able to do this with split-second timing.
Navigate using the map. Sadly, it’s easy to get lost in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. You can minimize that by using the mini map in your window to see what is nearby, and you can use the larger map to get an idea of where you need to go. Your objective marker (yellow for current mission) shows up on both your HUD (heads-up display) and your map. That tells you where you need to go for your active mission. You can change objectives in the objective window if you want to do a side mission first.
Holster your weapon and learn how to switch it fast. If you’ve forgotten to use the X button and then left trigger (for holstering), then you’ll needlessly scare a lot of civilians when you’re walking around. And if you cause them to panic, the police will be on you in no time. When you stop to look at your inventory (options button), time will temporarily stand still, giving you time to think or switch weapons. But if you’re hacking a door and an enemy sees you, the enemy will proceed to cut you down. If you want to switch weapons fast, hold down the right stick and keep holding it. A quick access wheel will appear. Move your stick to one of the items and hit the A button. You will use the selected item. And if you need to toss a grenade, hit the right bumper. But make sure you use your inventory to select the right grenade.
Stay out of the view of cameras. The cameras shine a light on a given area, and they rotate. If you are spotted by one of them, they’ll bring down a storm of enemies on you. Usually, the cameras have blind spots close to walls. You can shoot cameras, but one time, I found that I actually needed a camera that I had shot, so I had to go back and restart the section.
Investigate your environment
I’m in favor of exploring just about every inch of the open world environment of Mankind divided. That means you should carry out a number of side missions that you find along the way. Those side missions give you more lore and take you to new parts of the open world. Having side missions gives you more than one problem to solve at the same time. One tip: If you leave a region, such as Prague, and move on to the next place, you can no longer go back and do unfinished side missions.
Never pass up a vent. It always leads to someplace important where you can overlook the area of operations or find some good loot. If things get hot, remember where the vent is and run for it. Your enemies will rarely figure out where you can hide or run in a vent. This is just one part of a general rule in Mankind Divided: Always look for an alternative path.
Stop at every locker and look in hiding spots for loot. It takes a lot of time, but it’s almost always worth it to find ammo, health, or Biocells, which give you much-needed energy for augmentations. While we’re on the subject of Biocells, never waste your aug energy. You’ll need it during emergencies. You never know where you’re going to find Biocells, so that means you have to look exhaustively.
Talk to non-player characters. Many of the characters are a waste of your time. But once in a while, you’ll find someone like a bartender who needs help and will offer you something in return. If you have the speech augmentation, you’ll be able to analyze them and see what kind of response will get you a favorable result in a conversation. Some characters like Koller can be particularly useful.
Do the side missions. One of the main benefits of doing the side missions is that they bring you into much deeper contact with the cast of characters. You won’t see much of some characters at all if you don’t do these side missions. You’ll wind up with more Praxis points and opportunities to load up on resources.
Go shopping. Check the map often for any important locations, such as manhole covers, ladders, or stairs. And look for stores where you can buy things. If you find a weapons seller, you can buy things such as a silencer, shotgun EMP ammo (which will stun an electronic enemy), Biocells, HypoStims, or armor-piercing ammo. Sell the worthless items that you have collected, and then use that money to buy the rare materials. Hint: You rarely need to buy any weapons, as you’ll collect these from dead enemies.
Find or craft Biocells for energy for you augmentations. And never pass up a chance to get a Multi Tool, which has a one-time use and lets you into locked security doors. Always stockpile HypoStim injectors to restore your health, and don’t use these consumables lightly. You’ll need them later in the game. Ammo is always in short supply, and you’ll wish you picked it up when you could from dead guards. Make sure that you find crafting parts as much as possible.
Find secret codes. You should always try to hack into a computer or pick up a Pocket Secretary and read through the emails. You’ll often find codes to security lockers or doors. And then investigate every security door you can. Just try not to fail and trigger an area-wide alarm.
Learn the hacking mini game. To hack a door, you have to engage in a mini game. In it, you have to unlock various points and eventually connect to the end goal, before you are intercepted by red traces that represent security measures for locking hackers. If you fail to hack a door, you’ll likely trigger an alarm that will bring enemies down upon you. So don’t try to take on a door that is too well protected.
You can improve your chances by picking up various pieces of hacking software, such as nukes that will immediately take over security points within the mini game (but also initiate the red traces). If you see a laptop, don’t hesitate to hack it as well. You can often use them to shut off an alarm or a camera.
Read the newspapers. If you want to understand the back story better, the Samizdat newspaper will help. You can also listen to broadcasts from Eliza Cassan, the dulcet-voiced beauty who is constantly airing anti-aug propaganda on Picus, the global news monopoly. You’ll see how Picus spins the news that you actually witness. And once in a while, you may see the truth about events, as reported in Samizdat. One of the cool things is that these newspapers are dynamic. You’ll see them change as the events you live through happen. Once in a while, you’ll gain some good understanding from reading them.
Understand your augmentations
Unfortunately, it’s quite easy to accidentally use an augmentation. For some of these, that’s bad because they are finite. Before you experiment with them, you should read about the ability, and then use them only in a real emergency. Each use will eat up some of your energy, and you can only recharge with energy boosters such as Biocells.
Augs will help you in a variety of situations, such as surviving combat and helping you stay hidden. The augmentation menu shows you the different categories of augs, which include helping you with awareness (if you hit the left bumper, you can see all of the enemies in your immediate area, as well as the locations of important items such as vents). Augs also help you with your eyes, your health, the strength of your arms or legs, your combat abilities, and you ability to hide or protect yourself.
Get basic augs first. You will need more battery life for your augs. You will need a larger inventory. You need to upgrade your hacking ability. And you’ll eventually need more health to survive wounds better. The fancy stuff can come later. Make sure you visit merchants to sell your excess inventory and make as much room as you can for the necessities.
Hacking is a basic aug-enhanced skill that you should spend Praxis points on. You can use those points to level up your ability to hack doors, raising it from level 1 to level 5. If you come upon a door that is a higher level than you can hack, your only hope is to use a Multi Tool, a one-time tool that is very expensive to craft or otherwise find in the world.
I also spent a lot of Praxis points leveling up my batteries. If you don’t do this, you won’t be able to use your augs in tough situations, such as using a stealth invisibility aug (glass shield cloaking) that will get you past cameras, guards, and even automated security machines. To escape some enemies, you may need to have your cloak last until you can pass two or three of them. That requires a long battery life.
The social aug is very much worth it. It only takes one Praxis point. It gives you guidance in important conversations about how the character you are talking with is responding to your own comments. It will show you the rival’s level of stress and what you can say that will lead to a positive outcome. At the same time, it doesn’t tell you exactly what to do. Sometimes, if you don’t get the outcome you want, you may want to redo the scene entirely, for a different result. This is very critical when you are talking with someone that you have been sent to arrest and take back with you. If you don’t get a good result in that particular conversation, you should recall a saved game and start that conversation over.
Spend your Praxis points wisely. The role-playing game within Mankind Divided allows you to choose how to evolve your augs. You can use Praxis points, awarded after completing missions, to unlock different aug abilities. These include new abilities that turn Jensen into a superhero, but may also cause his brain to overheat. You can overclock Jensen’s augs for a time, but they will start breaking down after a while. At that point, you have to bring his system back into stability by getting rid of augs.
You need certain augs for staying alive in boss fights and firefights. The Typhoon is very useful, but ammo for it is scarce. On the other hand, you can always use abilities such as your sight to gain awareness of the enemies around you. After a mission, you’ll think of 10 ways to spend Praxis points. But you’ll only be awarded one or two. If you want to prioritize getting Praxis points early, then you should undertake as many of the side missions as possible.
Since Adam Jensen operates as a lone wolf, you’re almost always outnumbered in a fight. Attacking enemies in the open will draw the squad mates, and it’s a sure-fire path to a suicidal last stand. Like in the Splinter Cell games, you have to fight in a stealthy way and pick off your enemies one-by-one before you consider open combat.
Gather an arsenal. You don’t have to pick up every item you find. But you should expand your inventory once or twice so that you can carry one of everything. The arms you’ll need include a silencer and a pistol, a shotgun, and a sniper rifle. It’s also important to have a combat rifle or a battle rifle and armor-piercing rounds. Keep well stocked with ammo.
Pick them off. So you should find the lone guards who are off by themselves and take them out quietly. You can knock them out or kill them if you get close by using the melee button (the B button). But this costs you some of your energy, which takes a while to recharge. So you may only get to use the melee once in a firefight, and then you have to shoot your way out of it. Or, you have to do things the patient way, and take out enemies slowly, one at a time, after your energy recharges.
Use the mini map. Get to know what the indicators mean. A gray dot means an enemy nearby isn’t aware of your presence. A hollow dot means the enemy is on a different level. A yellow or red dot means the enemy is after you or knows something isn’t right. A question mark means the enemy is suspicious and investigating something. If you hide around a corner or two, the question mark enemy will likely give up and go away.
Weapons up. The first thing you should do is choose the right weapon before you go into combat. If you are fighting armored enemies with their own aug suits, you may need armor-piercing ammo. The latter also works on mechs and stationary turrets. The best way to deal with turrets, however, is to wreck them or even grab them from behind. Save your armor-piercing ammo for the really tough battles.
Keep situational awareness. You can go into hiding during a firefight and use your awareness aug to find out where the nearby enemies are and which way they are facing. You can then sneak up on them and take them out via melee or by using a shotgun. This pauses the action a lot, but it gets much better results than running and gunning.
Don’t forget about your grenades and mines. I was able to craft explosive mines by combining a mine template with a grenade. On one particularly difficult level, I climbed a ladder and took out a sniper from behind. Then I set a couple of mines by the ladders, and then picked off the enemies below one-by-one. Some of the smart ones saw me and tried to come up the ladders, but they were blown up. I was able to take out virtually the entire enemy force using the sniper rifle. But I would like to have had that ammo for later.
Smoke grenades are awesome for bypassing a lot of enemies. But the smoke can confuse you as well as the enemy. When you use it, make sure you use your vision aug to see where the enemies are in the smoke.
Beating the boss
One of the enemies you come across is like a human tank. We won’t tell you who that is, as it gives away a good part of the story. But you’ll know the boss when you see him. He is aided by walking mechs and flying drones. Your main hope is to try to shoot at him from behind and then run to a hiding place.
If you don’t, the boss will mow you down, sometimes even when you are hiding behind weak cover. But it’s good to remember that bosses are slow. If you can eliminate his fast helpers, the drones, then he’ll be slow. But watch out for his own aug abilities, as he can jump quickly to where you are.
If you use your invisibility, you can run away into hiding. But that consumes energy. So you also need to hide out in rooms with cover. And you have to find the secret hiding spots in the environment, such as vents. In fact, if you stay in the vents, you can sneak out and take out the drones and the mechs before you have to deal with the boss. And for the final blow with the boss, make sure you can use a Typhoon aug. That means that you have to save your Typhoon ammo.
You can fully expect to use every single piece of ammo that you have in the boss fight. So choose your targets and ammo types wisely for maximum damage. Don’t use a pistol against a big mech. Use armor-piercing ammo from your combat rifle. And hit your targets. Don’t spray and pray. It’s a good idea to save your game just before you get into the boss fight, so you can go back and try again.
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