Deus Ex: Breach is a faux-VR "arcade" game in which players take the role of "Rippers"—hackers who plunge into a first-person digital world, looking to find, extract, and sell sensitive corporate data. It was originally released last year as part of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and now it's available completely separately, as a standalone, free-to-play game on Steam.
"Your objective is to obtain and sell classified corporate data by hacking into some of the world’s most secure servers, using the funds you acquire to upgrade both your skills and arsenal," the Steam entry explains. "By obtaining this data, you will be able to unveil and expose the deepest, darkest secrets of the corporations in the Deus Ex Universe, with your efforts potentially unmasking some of the most dangerous individuals in the world. Extract the data. Expose the truth."
The standalone Breach "is exactly the same as the one included in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided," according to the FAQ, with leaderboards, custom challenges, and, yes, microtransactions. "In Breach, there’s no loot in the maps themselves: you get credits as you complete levels, which you can use to buy items through Booster Packs," it explains. "If you wish to obtain certain items quicker, you can buy Chipsets through microtransactions. Chipsets allow you to purchase Booster Packs and premium skins and weapons. However, Chipsets are never necessary to progress through the game."
Breach didn't really turn my crank, but that's at least in part because I was hip-deep in the Mankind Divided campaign at the time, and it really adds nothing to it. It doesn't have the characters, story, or stealth-oriented gameplay that makes Deus Ex so compelling in the first place, and so the choice between continuing to follow Adam Jensen's adventure, or taking a break to shoot-hack my way through some anonymous, vaguely Tron-like digital world, wasn't really a choice at all. But that also makes me think that it might fare better as a separate game. Being free certainly helps, but I suspect that distance from the "real" Deus Ex adventure will do it some good, too.
Also on Steam today is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided – VR Experience, a non-interactive VR tour through four "iconic environments" from the game, taken from Dubai, Golem City, and of course Chez Jensen. It works with both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, and it too is free.