In Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, players are dropped in where the previous game left off: thrown into the well-traveled boots of Adam Jensen in an immersive dystopian 2029 world rife with struggles, caught up in cultural and class war that’s tearing society apart.
As for the antihero Adam, he’s been busy since we last saw him. Adam Jensen has sided with Interpol to stop violence and he works with The Juggernaut on the side–a group of underground hackers and militia trying to unravel the enigma of the corrupted wealthy and elite that make this dystopia work. The overarching plot pitches these two loyalties at conflict with each other as he often completes one mission only to leak to his hacker comrades, forcing Jensen pick his choices carefully and ultimately rewarding the player with a sense of gravity to every decision they make.
The game unfolds in Prague, a wonderful setting bustling with life. Alternating in a rhythmic content pattern of a core mission followed by a side quest, time spent in Deus Ex breezes by aided largely by the fact that it’s a setting and world that feels lived in thanks to its impeccable details and realistic story. Side quests with the city’s denizens offer some of the game’s most meaty content and encourage players to create their own Jensen, one who is defined by his actions and ultimately showing Deus Ex at its best narrative form yet: a solid story with memorable and numerous paths to go down that offer tangible differences.
In addition, these paths and their differences apply to missions too. Each mission is carefully crafted, pulling out multiple choices for how to run it and what outcome it can have. Players can be explosive, stealthy, or simply shoot up the joint. They can create their own type of Jensen not just in story, but in method of attack as well.
And of course, Mankind Divided also revised its gameplay to further heighten Jensen’s customization. In particular, Jensen has more talents and augments than before, and they all make gameplay a much more fluid and frenetic experience that serves to highlight its shooter core without detracting from the RPG.
At the end of the day, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided isn’t a flashy successor to 2011’s Human Revelation. In some ways, it’s barely different than its predecessor and it has the staples one would expect from the DE series. It doesn’t break any boundaries necessarily. However, what it does do is take its cues from the previous game only to immensely refine them in every way from better, beefier narrative choices to streamlined gameplay with satisfying talent trees.
In other words, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided does its job, even if the task at hand of being a sequel isn’t always an exciting one. Most importantly, it heavily improves on every aspect of the previous Deus Ex title–giving players full control of Adam Jensen while also offering poignant political commentary in a tumultuous world with immense depth.
For fans of the series, it’s a must play. For gamers as a whole, it’s worth the trip to Prague. There’s always something to do there and it will always be entertaining in one way or another.
Disclosure: A copy of the game was provided by the publisher.