In 2011, Square Enix provided a sophisticated new touch on a classic game series with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, putting hero Adam Jensen at the forefront as he used his bionic augmentations to overcome foes, humans and robots alike, while trying to get to the bottom of a conspiracy. The game became a huge hit, although some felt that it was a little difficult in spots, particularly with combat. Fortunately, it looks like we'll be seeing many improvements in the forthcoming sequel, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
Being produced for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, this sequel once again returns Jensen to the forefront as he tackles events following the first game. He's working with an underground group in the hopes of stopping ongoing terrorist attacks, while at the same time trying to get answers from his own organization, as the opposition surrounding the use of augmentations has grown significantly over the past few years. That's easier said than done, considering Jensen's heavy reliance on them.
Square Enix showed us a lengthy 25-minute gameplay demo from Mankind Divided, to give us an idea just how much the team at Eidos Montreal have expanded what all Jensen can do within the game. After an exquisite opening that featured him having a conversation with a female operative in a train station, it isn't long before trouble emerges, as a terrorist explosion leaves people running and floods the station with vicious enemies.
From there, we were taken to another location, with Jensen seeking answers regarding the attack. Through this multi-layered warehouse, Square's team showed us just what all this augmented hero can do this time around, as there are two ways to play.
The first – and probably most traditional for Deus Ex fans – is stealth. You can sneak around with ease, using distractions to get around enemies and even knock them out cold (or kill them, if you're feeling merciless) by getting the jump on them. In addition, Jensen's abilities have greatly improved when it comes to getting around, thanks to the introduction of the Icarus dash. With this, he can quickly jump in mid-air, reaching another location within seconds instead of running over to it. This is an ideal tactic when it comes to getting out of an enemy's sight, or avoiding an ambush when guards are about to surround him. X-Ray Vision is at Jensen's disposal, and you'll want to turn it on as often as you can, just so you can get a "lay of the land" and see where guards are positioned.
One thing you'll notice in Mankind Divided is that there are a number of ways to get through a stage, thanks to an open-world approach. If you see one route blocked off heavily by guards, you can find another way around, either by using the Icarus dash to reach a higher ledge, or finding a ladder to access another pathway to reach your objective.
On top of that, Jensen can still hack via connective mini-games, but no longer needs to be close by to access a terminal. He can now reach them remotely, accessing terminals and unlocking certain doors or other items within a level so he can keep moving forward, without the risk of getting caught.
Some of you may prefer the action route in Mankind Divided, and we're happy to report that there's a lot more to do on this side as well, thanks to Eidos Montreal overhauling the battle system. Along with a number of weapons available throughout the game, Jensen also has access to a Nanoblade. With this, he can easily ping a foe by pinning them to a wall, and even setting an explosive charge, so if enemies come over to see what the noise was, they can be taken out in the blast.
There are also different ammunition types that can be used throughout the game. The EMP, for example, can take out many electronic items, disorienting a guard long enough for Jensen to take them down. There are also armor-piercing rounds, which prove useful against tougher enemies in the game, including bosses. These can be changed within a simple menu system, with just a tap of the button. We'll explore these more in-depth closer to the game's release, once we get hands-on with the game.
Along with combat, Mankind Divided also features a more immersive dialogue system, so that you can speak with certain people within the game (via dialogue trees) to try and convince them to see Jensen's side of things. The demo we saw featured a discussion with a potential target – a debate, in a way – that leads to certain results. If Jensen is able to convince him, for example, there will be less trouble in escaping the facility. If not, well, you'd better prepare for reinforcements on your way out the door.
With all these open possibilities – combined with an improved presentation that takes Human Revolution's design to all-new levels – Mankind Divided promises to be the most in-depth Deus Ex experience to date. With a number of ways to play (and explore), a healthy amount of tools and weapons to use, and a stunning new presentation, this game will certainly hit the spot for fans when it arrives early next year.
Be sure to check out the full gameplay walkthrough below.