Let’s get this right out of the way: Deus Ex: Human Revolution was one of my absolute favorite games of 2011 and of the last gaming generation; a triumphant return to form for this futuristic FPS/RPG/Stealth hybrid that somehow managed to be as fun as it was versatile. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only one who loved it; it was a solid hit. It’s only natural considering how successful it was that some kind of follow-up would be released. What we ended up getting was Deus Ex: The Fall, an iOS game set in roughly the same timeline as its predecessor, featuring a new protagonist.
Taking into account the inherent limitations of a mobile device, there’s a lot to be impressed by with this game. As a PC port, the accomplishment is notably less impressive, and downright annoying at parts. As an overall game experience however, it’s a pretty tasty slice of Deus Ex.
One thing I’ll say about Deus Ex: The Fall is that it definitely makes an impression right out of the gate: a terrible one. Aside from the iOS visuals blown up onto a PC screen, controls are locked down for both keyboard/mouse and for a controller, which in my case wasn’t actually recognized by the game. Additionally, it lacks the fluidity between stealth and combat that its predecessor had.
As with any port, there are generally issues that crop up. However, after slogging through the tutorial mission, I was beginning to really wonder if this series has completely lost the plot. It was right at that moment that I was thinking about giving up completely that I arrived in Panama City, and the Deus Ex I have come to know and love appeared.
You play as a mercenary named Ben Saxon (seriously), who begins as a member of the Tyrants led by Jaron Namir; the primary enemies featured in Human Revolution. On the run along with your partner, you are waylaid in Panama City and forced to dig around for medication to help with augmentation sickness. Naturally, this leads to a number of missions and situations where you have to infiltrate a nightclub, a gang fortress, a telecommunications high-rise, and a hotel.
None of the environments are terribly complex; in fact they are downright predictable in that the multiple paths available are pretty transparently available right from the start. In every area, your routes are pretty clearly laid out, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but, by the end, you can definitely see the strings of the game’s mechanics at work. Speaking of immersion, The Fall eschews the use of stores and instead has every item and weapon available in the main menu. While it is admittedly convenient to not have to worry about hoarding items, it does pull you out of the experience somewhat. I’m not usually the biggest nitpicker about immersion, but it really does matter in a game/series like this, so I wish they’d come up with something more elegant.
When I play a Deus Ex game, my preferred style of play is stealth/hacking. Busting security systems and door locks is the same as in the previous game, although I did encounter one frustrating issue with some of the security puzzles. When going into ‘hack’ mode, some of the nodes were not viewable and could not be reached by zooming out. I’m not sure if this is some kind of resolution issue or a byproduct of this game’s port to PC, but it left some areas unavailable to me.
I make no bones about being a huge fan of the Deus Ex series, and it pleases me to see that Square Enix is invested in releasing more from that universe. I think that while The Fall has some larger issues that unfortunately pop up right at the beginning, it’s definitely worth its $10 if you enjoyed Human Revolution. It ends on a cliffhanger, so with the follow-up let’s hope the development team learns some lessons from this and brings fans closer to the standard and features they’ve come to expect with the Deus Ex series.
[+More Deus Ex!] [+Cool game world] [+Multiple gameplay options] [-Control issues] [-Terrible first impression]