Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Adam Jensen visits Prague, and is an outsider in more ways than one
PC, PS4, Xbox One
The city hubs of Human Revolution were atmospheric, but limited spaces. A handful of narrow streets connected to a central area, sparsely populated with citizens. But Mankind Divided’s Prague, the new home of returning hero Adam Jensen, is much more convincing. The Czech Republic’s capital is at the heart of an upswell of antiaugmentation sentiment in Eidos Montreal’s dystopian vision of the future, yet it’s an augmented city itself. The old, baroque architecture is retrofitted with stark, brutalist modern structures, holographic billboards, and monorails. And, for the first time in the series, we get to explore one of these futuristic cities during daylight hours.
An event in the previous game drove augmented people to violent insanity, resulting in the deaths of 50 million people. Unsurprisingly, in the wake of this so-called ‘Aug Event’, anyone with augmentations – whether it’s a mechanical arm or an ocular implant – is now viewed with fear and mistrust. It seems a strange place for the heavily augmented Jensen to relocate to, but Prague is home to the HQ of Task Force 29, the Interpol-funded counter-terrorism unit that now employs him. However, even with what a nosy police officer calls an “orange stamp” on his papers, allowing him to move more freely than other augmented people, the segregation in the city still affects Jensen, and by association you, directly.
A military checkpoint on a cobbled street littered with fallen autumn leaves is being watched carefully by armed soldiers. There are two queues: one reserved for ‘naturals’ and the other for augmented citizens. Were Jensen, even with his special status, to try to go through the naturals’ entrance, the police would open fire. This feeling of being an outsider, of being scrutinised wherever you go, gives the game a different feel to its predecessor. There was a degree of fear around augmentations in
Human Revolution’s world, bubbling away under the surface, but now the pot is boiling over. The officer who asks for Jensen’s papers is brusque and impolite, sneering when they
A degree of fear was bubbling away under the surface, but now the pot is boiling over
check out, almost as if she was eager for the chance to open fire. With 50 million dead, there’s every chance someone she loved was killed by someone like you.
Another problem for augmented people is finding a source of neuropyzne, a drug that stops their body rejecting their prosthetics and implants. The wealthy could buy it from LIMB clinics before the Aug Event, but now those are few and far between – and there are none at all in Prague. Augmentations are also prone to breaking down because they are, at this point in Deus Ex’s timeline, still an emerging technology. Solving this problem is the basis of an early side mission. Jensen has a contact, an underground augmentation expert called Václav Koller, who can supply him with neuropyzne and perform repairs. But the eccentric Koller, whose lab coat is covered in punk patches and metal studs, owes some gangsters money and can’t help you until you help him.
Koller’s lab is hidden beneath a bookshop, and when Jensen arrives he activates his smart-vision augmentation and sees the shimmering red silhouettes of two-dozen gangsters inside and out. This being a Deus Ex game, how you deal with this situation is up to you. Among Jensen’s new tricks is the ability to launch nanoblades from his forearm and pin enemies to walls, and he has a gunarm that can stun enemies from afar. The shop has multiple routes to the lab, a network of vents to skulk through, and locked doors that can be hacked or bypassed by locating the code. Jensen flits between cover, using gas grenades and silent takedowns to quietly deal with the gangsters. When the area is clear, he locates the secret entrance to Koller’s lab, which is hidden behind a bookcase.
Building detailed, lived-in worlds has always been one of Eidos Montreal’s greatest strengths, and a big part of Human
Revolution’s visual identity was its clutter. The new game looks to take this even further: the lab is strewn with hundreds of old rusting augmentations, snaking cables, and buzzing computers. A benchmark tool is being released for the PC version, which will also give you the opportunity to step into this, and other environments, in virtual reality.
Koller greets Jensen, thanking him for his help, and our demo ends. So far, Mankind Divided feels like an iteration on Human
Revolution rather than something entirely new, so it hits the target its creator set for itself when work began. Eidos Montreal promises livelier cities, more meaningful choices, better firstperson combat, and richer characters. From what we’ve seen of the Prague hub, it’s on the right track.
Eidos Montreal describes the segregation of augmented people in its world as a ‘mechanical apartheid’, which has generated some debate about whether using such a loaded term is in good taste
You’re now able to initiate takedowns from cover, grabbing an enemy and swiftly pulling them behind it to hide the body. Whether you kill or merely subdue them is, of course, your call
TOP LEFT Breach is a standalone mode that sees you, a hacker, infiltrating computer networks and stealing data. Arenas are small and focused.
ABOVE Lockdowns will trigger in Breach, giving you a short amount of time to escape with the stolen data. If you’re brave, you can try to grab a few more pieces as you dash to the exit
Modifiers such as extra weapon damage and easier hacking are unlocked as you play Breach, but only last for a single level. They’re represented as cards, tapping into the current popularity of CCGs
LEFT The heavy police presence in Prague makes moving around the city difficult. Fortunately, Jensen’s cloak augmentation, which allows him to turn invisible briefly, returns from the previous game