Join Date: Jan 2004
Gamescom is on, and 1UP has the most optimism-building preview so far
When we last spoke with Warren Spector, director on the original Deus Ex, about what he hoped to see from Deus Ex: Human Revolution (the prequel he has nothing to do with), he said he wanted Eidos Montreal to retain the element of gameplay choice that fans loved so much about the original. After having seen a demo of Human Revolution at Gamescom today, we're eager to inform Warren that his hope has been met -- Human Revolution looks as if it may even surpass the original in terms of its depth and gameplay choices.
The demo we saw was actually shown to us three different times -- it's the same exact scenario, just played through with entirely different approaches. Here's the setup: about 90 minutes into the game, you're given the task of infiltrating the morgue at a police headquarters to retrieve a chip embedded in a dead terrorist's head. This terrorist is part of a group against transhumanism (people augmented with cybernetics, which is the product Sarif Industries, your in-game employer). But here's the catch: the terrorist himself has cybernetic implants. So he must be some sort of plant within the terrorist organization -- but a plant by who? The government? You're on a mission to find out, which is why it's imperative you get access to the morgue and get that chip.
You have a few different ways to reacquire the chip. The first we see is probably what many gamers will instinctively do -- blast their way inside. That's exactly what our demoer does; he basically runs in, guns blazing, and shows off some of the cool tactics at your disposal. As he makes his way through one of the police offices, he picks up a copy machine and throws it forward to use as cover. Once behind it, he's able to position himself to blindfire at cops (who are using their own desks as cover). We also see how you can use your X-ray vision augmentation, which highlights exactly where enemies are within the environment (we could see several waiting behind some cube walls).
After that, we get a demo of some weapon choices, like enhancing the pistol with explosive bullets (each weapon has multiple possible upgrades). Another cool example of this is the mine template -- a schematic that lets you combine a mine with any sort of grenade you have in your inventory. And if you were wondering, yes, there are also weapons that just stun your opponents instead of killing them. Anyway, our demoer makes his way through the station, unfortunately taking out plenty of cops along the way. He uses mines to disable sensors and eventually makes it to the morgue, gets the chip, and escapes out a lower exit into the sewers.
The level is then restarted. The next goal is to use communication skills to, essentially, charm your way inside. The neat thing about taking this route is that you talk to a lot of guards and learn a lot of the backstories between you and them. In one part, you have to convince an old cop friend to stick his neck out for you -- you have to remind him of your history together. It's still possible to "lose" this part -- if you're not convincing enough you'll have to resort to other means (see tactic 1) -- but in our case, the friend gives in and gives us the access we need. And though we don't spend time doing it, you can use your time in the station to find out all sorts of extra information (by digging through peoples' email at unmanned workstations). Anyway, it's relatively painless from then on to make it to the morgue, grab the chip, and walk out the front door. Without an army of policemen in the way, we're able to avoid the sewers altogether.
The third and final demo is all about stealth. Our demoer shows how you can walk to the back of the station, use a strength augmentation, then pick up a dumpster and place it next to the security fence to climb safely over. Not that you have to use a Strength Augmentation -- you can simply climb to the top of the roof and make your way in from there. But then you'd have to make your way through multiple floors before getting to the morgue, which seems a lot more difficult. Anyway, once inside, your Cloaking Augmentation makes you entirely invisible to the guards (in fact, if you're careful, you can even steal things off of their desks). However, at one point there's the need to bypass a security door to progress further, which requires you to hack into it. Normally, it would be impossible to break the code, but by using a Cranium Augmentation, your mental skills increase and you're able to break the code with a minigame of sorts (though I should stress it's more of a mind teaser than a time-button-pressing game -- it keeps you in the experience).
It's neat to see that, even with all of the Augmentations you have available, you can still assign augmentation points to specific skills. And each skill has its own tree, meaning there's going to be a lot of room to progress your character just the way you like. Another nifty demonstration in this stealth scenario involves a sequence in which a guard passes safely through a section with infrared lasers (because they're tuned to recognize him, turn off, and let him by unharmed ). By stunning and then carrying him, you can make it through this section without setting off any alarms as well. Also cool is the ability to disable cameras and infrared sensors using EMP grenades. With those tactics our demoer eventually makes it to the morgue, gets the chip, and then sneaks out through the sewers (to avoid backtracking all the way through the upper floors again).
So those are three disparate ways of obtaining the chip from the police station -- but as you can probably discern, each strategy can be deviated from at any time. Getting spotted while attempting stealth is likely to result in a firefight, as will getting into a heated face-off with one of the guards while attempting Persuasion. Just this small window into the choices and paths available in Human Revolution is enough to have me really excited about the gameplay possibilities in the full version. And that's without even discussing the incredible atmosphere and audio design that wowed us during this and the E3 preview. Few games have me excited as Deus Ex Human Revolution.