What we want to see from the next Deus Ex
Deus Ex: Human Defiance was trademarked by Square Enix recently, sparking speculation that a follow up to Human Revolution may be brewing deep in Eidos Montreal's fanciest limb clinics. Human Revolution was a faithful recreation of the original shot through a cool, edgy black and gold cyber-renaissance lens. It was a successful modernisation of a PC gaming classic that made our Tom Francis very happy indeed (find out why in our Deus Ex: Human Revolution review). But, like the man who's just received a pair of awesome bionic arms and can't help but complain, we're never entirely happy, so we got our heads together and formed a list of things we'd like to see from the next Deus Ex.
Will you agree? There's only one way to find out, and that's to
hack our brains have a read and see.
Bosses like the Missing Link
Eidos Montreal have already figured out how to make a great boss fight in a Deus Ex game, and they did it: just the once. The final bad guy in the Missing Link DLC is just a guy. The challenge is all in getting to him: he's in an office at the back of a large hangar crawling with powerful guards and security systems. But if you can get past them, there's nothing to stop you just knocking out the final boss in a single punch. There's nothing to stop you tazering him, chucking a gas grenade into his office, or anything else that works on normal enemies. There's even a way to steal his awesome custom revolver before the final confrontation, leaving him with a crappy standard issue one when you fight him. More of that, please!
Better living cities
Though most of the action in DXHR takes place after hours, and the streets have a certain appropriate sparseness, the hubs did occasionally feel a little too hokey and static. Detroit is supposedly decimated by riots - but they all happen off-stage. The odd moving car or clump of pedestrians going about their business would make the environments come alive.
New power resource
Why does one energy blip recharge after using a special ability, but the others you’ve spent valuable Praxis points on don’t? Why does punching a man with your awesome blade arms instantly exhaust a blip? If you’ve managed to get that close to a guard, it shouldn’t require a massive energy expenditure to take him down - the hard part is already done. A power resource mechanic that feels less arbitrarily restrictive would be a welcome.
Deeper hacking mechanics
For a fiction totally centered on the potential and threat of interconnectedness, the mechanics which reflected this in-game were spartan. The hacking mini-game was great, but it didn’t describe the range and power of hacking in a way which gave you control over a swathe of disparate systems. If more things were hackable - perhaps even other people - and the things you could then do with them more varied, then it would better realise that fundamental of cyberpunk fiction.
Alternatives to air vents
Deus Ex has to give you multiple paths through every location - it wouldn’t be Deus Ex, otherwise - but Human Revolution relied a little too heavily on air vents for its alternative routes. The act of crawling slowly through a narrow tunnel just isn’t terribly interesting. You could punch through walls, but only in strictly defined zones. It’d be nice to play with more inventive augmentations like this, all designed to let you traverse the environment in unusual ways - cutting openings through bullet-proof glass with finger blades, or rappelling down walls to reach an open window, perhaps.
Human Revolution, like the original Deus Ex, is guilty of suddenly locking you in a room at the end of the game and asking you which final cutscene you’d like to see. The options are interesting enough to create a fraught moral dilemma, but they’re offered offered in such a contrived manner that it’s hard to take the choice seriously. If the competing themes you’re choosing to side with in the final moments have been foreshadowed throughout the game you might have more sense of the impact your choice will have on the world. However it’s presented in the next Deus Ex, it shouldn’t feel like a fire-and-forget button press.
More non-combat augmentations
The social augmentation was a surprisingly neat addition to Deus Ex’ cyborg arsenal. It allowed you to read subconscious cues to better manipulate NPCs, and even release persuasive pheromones to nudge their opinions in the right direction. It felt like a novelty to use Jensen’s cyborg powers outside of a combat scenario. It would be nice to see that more. Denton and Jensen are hard-hitting SWAT types, but there’s no reason they can’t use their augmentations to become great detectives, using new implants to read more of their environment than the ordinary human eye ever could.
Nothing hammers home the gruesome nature of your diminishing humanity better than a cyborg eyeball. In Human Revolution, all of Jensen's augmentations were implanted in one crazy intense game of Operation at the very beginning, and gradually turned on as the game went on. Imagine seeing those augmentations change your character. A Borg-esque eyeball would look a bit out of place given the slick Ghost in the Shell technological aesthetic Eidos Montreal's artists rolled with, but even subtle effects like a change in eye colour or the spidery web of faintly glowing electrodes would map your augmentation decisions onto your avatar and mark their journey from ordinary Joe into a paragon of transhumanism.
- You discover that your dog Kubrick wasn’t really put down at all and is living on a farm.
- You can flick your futuristic shades on and off with the press of a button at any time.
- Stronger mirrors.
- Retractable knee chisels.
- In the next Deus Ex, you actually did ask for this.
- Datapads stream from the game onto tablets you own.
- When left idle Jensen produces a glass of whiskey and a cigarette and stares moodily into middle distance.
- Cancellation of idle animation causes Jensen to accidentally crush the glass and stare in horror at cold metal hands.
- Augmented horses.
And that's all from us for now, but what would YOU like from a new Deus Ex game?