I played The Fall on a tablet and thought it was pretty good. It did a solid job of translating Human Revolution to a mobile platform, at the expense of some complexity. But on PC it's like watching a 240p YouTube video on an IMAX screen.
Its mobile roots are obvious, from the tiny environments, blurry textures and low-poly character models, to the on-screen prompts, which use the old touchscreen icons. It's an unforgivably half-arsed port.
You play Ben Saxon, a gravel-voiced English war veteran and mercenary who joins the Tyrants, otherwise known as those annoying bosses from the main game. Your missions still revolve around a city hub, in this case Panama City, and it's filled with the requisite sidequests, chatty NPCs, vents, hackable doors, and hidden items. But it feels so small, even compared to the not-even-that-massive Detroit and Hengsha. The streets are bizarrely narrow, and there's no sense of it being a metropolis that's sprawling and alive. This wasn't such a big deal on a mobile screen, but on PC it feels claustrophobic.
It might look like Human Revolution at first glance, but it won't take you long to discover that it's a stunted and hamstrung version of the game you like. The AI is dismal, guards patrolling in slow, predictable patterns and standing motionless in firefights. When I was wrestling with the laggy touchscreen controls on the mobile version that was a blessing; here, with traditional FPS controls, the lack of intelligence is wholly unsatisfying. Enemy bodies vanish, even if taken out nonlethally, which was presumably to save memory in the mobile version, but makes no sense on a modern PC. Robotic animations, weedy shooting and floaty movement don't help.
The menus have been streamlined, the 'inventory Tetris' elements removed, and you can buy anything you need at any time from a magical shopfront. This is, of course, the microtransactions store from the mobile version, which has been brought over unchanged except for the removal of the real-world money option. Ridiculous. And why are the menus so unresponsive? Often you'll have to click on a button several times before it registers. Something as simple as upgrading your gun is rendered frustrating by the sticky, messy menus.
It's a shame, because this could have been a very decent slice of DLC had they remade it in the Human Revolution engine. There are a few good missions in here, and fans of HR's story will appreciate learning more about the motives of the Tyrants, whose backstories were only touched on in Jensen's story. Don't be fooled by the black-andgold screenshots and the familiar interface: this is not the Deus Ex you know and love. It's a bad cover version, and truly one of the worst PC ports I've played in some time, and I've played Deadly Premonition. I definitely didn't ask for this.
Expect to pay: £8 / £10
Release: Out now
Developer: Eidos Montreal, N-Fusion Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Deus Ex: The Fall belongs on your phone, not on your monitor. This is a woeful port with few redeeming features.