Deus Ex: Mankind Di­vided

Adam Jensen vis­its Prague, and is an out­sider in more ways than one

EDGE - - GAMES SECTIONS - De­vel­oper Pub­lisher For­mat Ori­gin Re­lease Ei­dos Mon­treal Square Enix PC, PS4, Xbox One Canada Au­gust 23

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

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