Prague is a great hub. There are lots of apartments, bars, shops and email accounts to break into. There's a small army of cops to taunt and gangsters to rob. That's all to be expected from a Deus Ex game, but what about the stranger side of Prague? As the game's big central hub, it has to host all of the artists' ideas in one place. Consequently, it's full of weird stuff, including strange sculptures, odd outfits and some aggressive advertising. Let's take a tour.
When triangles go too far: part one
The folded waistcoat/honeycomb combo would be enough to include this guy, but we really need to address the sleeve situation. I can see what they're going for, the idea that the digital self has become so important that polygonal essence of the digital realm has become part of the fashion and architecture of the time. However, this man has taken triangles too far. It looks he has origami arms. How is he supposed to roll his sleeves up if he needs to unblock a toilet?
Also note the mysterious figure to his right, who got dressed in an almost-normal suit, and then decided to add the shoulder pad at the last minute before he left the house. Now that's commitment to current trends.
Jensen's new coat is excellent
I liked Jensen's Human Revolution coat, even the shoulder bits that looked as though they were made out of curtains, but Jensen's new jacket beats it easily. It is shapely and subtly textured. The undergarment isn't a big turtleneck, and this jacket doesn't make Jensen look incredibly wide.
The question is: if it existed, would you wear it in real life? I like to think of this as the Rick Deckard jacket dilemma. You can buy the Blade Runner coat, but when people that aren't Harrison Ford wear it, it is not good. I won't link to the google image search that confirmed this, because that would be mean, but I suspect the same rule applies here.
Why is there a rock?
I spent a while staring at this rock, suspended above a street in Prague, wondering why. Having also seen the rock at night, I think it's supposed to look as though the light projecting upwards to the rock's underside is magically supporting its weight. However it is obvious that the huge chains binding the rock to five surrounding walls are supporting its weight. It is not even an especially pretty rock, and is clearly an accident waiting to happen. I will write a strongly-worded letter of complaint to Prague's 2029 council.
Beautiful ceilings return
Human Revolution had some of the best ceilings in games (seriously, go back and look up everywhere, it's amazing). The trend for gorgeous, highly impractical ceiling decoration continues in Mankind Divided. This is one of my favourites, but be sure to study the collection of Pentagon-style ring lights in Interpol's Prague base, and the structures above the entrances to the Prague metro, which look particularly good at night.
Relics of the past
Limb clinics in Human Revolution were glowing, almost heavenly spaces where augmented folk could go to buy praxis and get their legs tuned up. Since the aug incident, that is no longer the case. This dilapidated structure is a cool monument to both the world at was, and to the lack of imagination of Prague's graffiti artists.
I wonder where the resistance group is hiding
Think of the time and money they put into setting up that projector. Maybe they hoped that authorities wouldn't see the angle where the light spells out the name of the organisation. Unfortunately, because this is a corridor, this is pretty much the only angle you can get on their front door.
What is the meaning of the tree statue?
The Palisade Bank is an awesome level, and I love the way it looks, inside and out. It's a huge windowless obelisk designed to secure the global elite's most sensitive info. It looks impervious, but of course you get to crack it open. Outside there is this neat sculpture that invites passers-by to contemplate its meaning. The organic forms supporting inorganic forms slots into the whole human augmentation thing nicely, but what is it trying to say? Maybe: blocks are heavy but trees are strong? Also why would the bank commission this as their logo? It's time to hack the CEO's email and find out.
When triangles go too far: part two
He has the look of a man who has read the latest issue of GQ, seen that triangles are in, and bought the triangliest thing he could buy for lots of money. Here he is standing outside an incredibly fancy bank on his mobile phone. Easy pickings for local muggers.
The underdesigned man
Here he is, the most underdesigned man in Deus Ex: Mankind Divded. He's selling drinks in a strip club in the red light district, and is distinct for being so indistinct. Glasses, short crop and charcoal grey tee are all he needs. In a world of pop-collars, clear plastic sleeves and triangle patchwork I respect his lack of effort.
Ads in the future are kinda grim
I looked up and thought a man had fallen out of a helicopter. Turns out this is quite a dark advert selling a "mood stabiliser". "There's a better solution" reads the tagline when the ad is lit up at night.
Prague is a good choice for Mankind Divided's city hub because Eidos Montreal's artists get to merge old European architecture with brash futuristic billboard advertising. There is a layer of screen cladding on the frontages of many buildings. It comes to life at night to show intermittent adverts, and then fades away to show the old stonework of Prague again. It is a sad thing to do to an old building, but it looks really neat in the game.