Despite a rift of five years between Deus Ex: Human Revolution
and Mankind Divided
, this new adventure feels rushed and lazy in the way one expects of annual sequels in the Assassin's Creed
and Call of Duty
series. It fails to take advantage of a new generation of consoles in novel ways, while failing to deliver a gripping narrative and excellent pacing of Eidos Montreal
's first stab at the series. It is still a worthwhile game for series fans, but much like Deus Ex: Invisible War
, the team comes across as clueless as to what made the first game such a success.
The biggest change in this sequel is largely superficial. Instead of taking place across multiple hubs, MD
takes place in one large central hub of Prague with visits to interior environments elsewhere around the world for one-off main missions. What happens within them is identical to the previous game, give or take a few new augmentation abilities, a new -- and rather pointless -- crafting system and a revamped cover system that lets the player sprint to cover spots like in recent Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell
When the game gives you a lengthy mission in a large, detailed environment, it's as good as its prequel. The problem is that there are only three of these in the game and the first doesn't come until you are halfway your playthrough, assuming you do all the side-missions. This odd pacing doesn't only hurt player engagement, it also throws off the balance of the game as I went into the first major mission with most of my important augs unlocked and most of the weapons in my inventory.
A larger issue is that the game is so easy -- yes, even on the hardest difficulty available without beating the game -- that I rarely needed to make use of my battle augs or weapons. To put some perspective on things, the final confrontation in the game is four basic enemies and a turret at an elevator: I was able to take them all down with one ability and beat the game. The original Deus Ex
opened with confrontations on the level that MD
ends with. This made the game overall less fun than the previous game which, while not as difficult as the original Deus Ex
, had difficulty spikes and got downright masochistic in its DLC.
Perhaps it's a more subjective topic, but I didn't like how most missions in MD
revolved around innocent opponents that only a psychopath would kill in cold blood. We are talking security, police and grunt soldiers for neutral organizations. I liked how in previous series entries I was always justified in going loud with guns if the situation demanded it, but that only applies to the final missions of this Deus Ex
. This resulted in a game that felt far more repetitive than its prequel. I am to blame as a player, but as someone committed to roleplaying Adam Jensen, it doesn't make sense for him to kill a bunch of innocent cops and guards.
On almost every level, Mankind Divided
is a step down. Other than visuals and the new stealth system, nothing is improved upon. Some elements are downright terrible, like the character animation that feels like something from the early days of polygonal graphics with characters jumping around like cartoon characters going against the game's grounded tone and setting. Other elements are disappointing, like the city hub that feels underpopulated in comparison to other open-world settings this gen, including SquareEnix's own Hitman
series. Then there is the unremarkable story and it's abrupt ending which is as graceful as a record slap.
I've hit upon a lot of negative points, but it's important to restate that MD
still contains the great elements of Human Revolution
. Whether you should pick-up this sequel depends on how you felt about that original attempt at a reboot. If you loved it, you'll be able to bare MD
's shortcomings and find enjoyment in more of the same. But fans who want a game truer to the original will be disappointed to find a game that only goes further away from what made the 2000 original great.