Here is Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’s entire E3 gameplay demo. It’s pretty hot.
Normally in order to view this demo before, like, a week from now, you’d have to go crawling through E3’s vents and stain your sensation-less mechanical arms with the battery acid-infused blood of countless Square Enix employees. But not now, not today. Here’s 25 minutes of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, viewable from the comfort of your living room and/or toilet:
I’m not usually one to go into full-on “get hype” mode, but holy god did you see the thing? And the other thing? And the part where the guy turned invincible and then invisible, presumably to build a tongue twister that only the hardiest of cyber-tongues can conquer?
Seriously though, Mankind Divided is looking excellent. Its predecessor, Human Revolution, did a lot right, but it was also kinda weak in a few departments, most notably combat. While I still plan to play as master of the ancient art of tip-toe-fu, firefights in this one look much more satisfying. Bullets spark and ricochet like they mean business, and augment abilities give you one heck of an upper hand (sometimes literally, if you’re firing part of your arm at someone to pin them to the ceiling). Here are just a few highlights I noticed:
- Remote hacking: You can now hack things (for instance, cameras and robots) from a distance. Handy! There’s nothing quite like silently rallying your own little army and watching confused guards panic as they try to sort out the “malfunction.”
- Long-distance nanoblade: OK, so I already knew this thing could pin baddies to walls, but you can also fire it into walls next to enemies and then make it explode. Oh the possibilities there. Need to do some crowd control? Piece of genetically modified, nutritionally enhanced cake. Is an enemy doing his best impression of a groundhog behind some cover? Perhaps a nanoblade explosion behind his back will give him second thoughts. I still think nanoblade is a dumb name, though.
- Knock-out darts: Line ‘em up, knock ‘em down. Jensen’s new non-lethal darts seem ridiculously useful—maybe... too useful. We’ll see. They sure look awesome, though.
- The titan shield: Pinned down by a pitter patter avalanche of bullets? No problem! Become that one guy from Fullmetal Alchemist. The titan shield gives you a big defense boost, and you get to look cool—like a walking pile of boulders from the fuuuuuuuture—while doing it.
- Icarus dash: Somebody’s been playing a lot of Dishonored. The Icarus dash lets you zip across short distances—even vertical ones—in the blink of an eye. Kind of like, er, blink from Dishonored. It fits super well with Deus Ex’s “go where you want, however you want” ethos. I can’t wait to see how players use it to break the game.
- Combining all these things mid-combat: There’s a bit near the middle of the demo where the player decides to go in guns-a-blazing, but they seamlessly fuse their late-career-Rambo antics with early-career-Rambo antics (read: slaughter and stealth). One second, they’re an immovable titan shield mountain, giving as good as they get, and the next they dart into cloaked mode, dashing around while guards fire at their non-existent shadow. Then they use the Icarus dash to leap up a whole level, giving them one hell of a vantage point. I can’t say how it all feels just yet (usual disclaimer: I haven’t played; it might be garbage), but that certainly looks like a hell of a good time to me.
But, on the downside:
- Hacking still looks kinda annoying: I didn’t love the hacking minigame in Human Revolution, and Mankind Divided looks pretty similar in that department, except with More Stuff (TM).
- Bonus XP for non-lethal takedowns: I usually play Deus Ex non-lethally, but I like all playstyles to be equally viable. Or rather, I’d prefer that the consequences for choosing one playstyle over another come from moments, scenarios, mid-level consequences, enemies telling Jensen that his face is too pointy, etc. I don’t really like that the developers have signposted progression to say, “If you don’t kill people, things will go better.” Duh, I know that. I don’t need underlying game systems—the very fibers of the game’s being—tickling me in one direction or bludgeoning me in another.
- Jensen, punching through walls isn’t stealthy: It’s always jarring to see him do that after moving through a room so silently that a pin drop would sound like a nuclear detonation. Tip-toe-tip-toe-tip-toe-PUNCH A FUCKING HOLE IN THE MOTHERFUCKING VENT WOO MY BRAIN IS A WINDING LABYRINTH OF SLAYER GUITAR SOLO TABLATURE. Naturally, nobody hears him. Somehow. I know it’s not a big deal, but it still irks me.
- Was the newscaster lady wearing an Oculus Rift? Or was it Valve’s Vive? Hololens? Who wins the VR war, Deus Ex? Inquiring minds want to know (the future).
Anyway, what did you think? Notice anything particularly cool or worrisome?