Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s Review Scores Are Perfectly Natural

Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s Review Scores Are Perfectly Natural

In the year 2000, Ion Storm unleashed the perfect marriage of futuristic shooter and skill-based role-playing in Deus Ex, a game so unique that even its own sequel couldn’t replicate its success. Can any follow-up possibly do it justice?

Deus Ex: Invisible War took the award-winning formula established in the first game and dumbed it down to the point where even Mass Effect 2 fans could play it. Players that reveled in the complicated skill advancement of the original were offended. Game reviewers were disappointed. It felt like the end of the Deus Ex series. Judging by the review scores rolling in for Deus Ex: Human Revolution, we’re lucky that wasn’t the case.

You can read a chart, so you can tell the game is good, but why is it good? For that we turn to the assembled (as in brought together, not manufactured from parts) video game reviewers.


Gaming Age Deus Ex is one of those franchise titles that’s never had a great showing on consoles. The PS2 port of the original wasn’t very good, and the Xbox port of the sequel was equally disappointing for me. Thankfully Human Revolution, the third game in the series coming from Eidos Montreal, doesn’t follow suit. In fact, it’s a pretty damn good prequel to the Deus Ex world in general, and an exceptionally well made game to boot. Like most, I was a bit hesitant to think that anyone could capture what I enjoyed about the original Deus Ex nearly a decade after its release. The sequel in ’03 certainly couldn’t do it, and if Duke Nukem Forever showed us anything, it’s that maybe some old franchises are better left dead. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked Deus Ex: Human Revolution though, and I think a lot of gamers will be as well.


Eurogamer Sometimes, Deus Ex: Human Revolution is just the best Deus Ex tribute act ever. You can still save the world by crouching behind desks and hacking into people’s email if you want, but it doesn’t judge you if you want to do something else for a bit. In fact, it rewards you. It gives you an XP bonus for not being seen, but it also gives you an XP bonus for brutally incapacitating two guards on patrol with the same takedown. There is no wrong kind of progress, there’s just success. It would be nice if more of the games that wished they were Deus Ex treated us like that.


Joystiq While the Mass Effect series sheds its stats and inventories in favour of forging an intelligent, emotionally driven shooter, Deus Ex: Human Revolution examines and embraces the structure of Ion Storm’s 11-year-old classic, Deus Ex: Didn’t Have a Subtitle. Environments don’t exist to funnel you through perfectly scripted events — they’re complicated, multi-tiered stacks of obvious and hidden pathways. And Adam Jensen, a stoic security manager who returns from dramatic near-death as a grumpy cyborg, can warp himself biologically to accommodate those routes. There is perhaps no greater proof that this is a role-playing game, however, than the ability to conclude just about every conversation by punching your quest giver into an unconscious rag doll.


IGN Human Revolution takes cues from futuristic cyberpunk fiction, but it finds an identity in the past. The colour palate eschews the blues of more pedestrian depictions of the future for a look that borrows from European painters like Titian and Rembrandt. There are visual references to the Italian Renaissance everywhere — from architecture, to fashion and body armour, and to the ornate construction of augments themselves. These artificial limbs don’t look manufactured; they seem wrought by blacksmiths and artisans, crafted like the clockwork machina of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. There’s so much care and consideration obvious in Human Revolution‘s look and style and execution that it’s easy to forgive some of the game’s genuinely uglier spots — see many of its less important NPCs and their botox faces, and a spotty framerate here and there, for example.


Edge Magazine Even Bethesda’s RPGs, with their malleable skillsets and open worlds, rarely allow players such dominion over the environment — even if, with Human Revolution, that dominion is often prescribed in the convenient design of ventilation systems. But it’s the way that your larger decisions trickle down through these low-level choices that makes the game remarkable and unique for each player. A decision to help a victim of extortion means that we end up spending half a day experimenting with different non-lethal methods to neutralise pockets of security without alerting the entire Heng Sha police force, just so we can break into a few lockups without harassment and find funds for the side-mission. Our multi-stage solution involving the split-second juggling of tranquilliser darts, dual-takedowns and invisibility is obscenely cool, a heist sequence of such fluidity and audaciousness that it would look the part in a Chris Nolan film, although we suspect he might have got the action in the can in a smaller number of takes.


Destructoid Deus Ex: Human Revolution, like its augmented hero, is a step above its mundane peers. With its flowing, open approach to mission structure, thoroughly engrossing story and gorgeous visuals, this is the kind of game that all others should strive to be. While there are some elements that don’t feel quite as developed as they should have been, and augmentation is more Hobson’s choice than true choice, Human Revolution provides a level of quality that only the most adamant cynic could fail to be impressed by. More importantly, it is everything a fan of Deus Ex could want in a game, and it effortlessly embraces the arduous task of living up to the legacy, standing next to its 2000 predecessor and holding its head up in pride. This game is truly deserving of the name Deus Ex. In fact, there’s no other name it could have had.

It’s a revolution in long-awaited sequels!


  • “…and dumbed it down to the point where even Mass Effect 2 fans could play it.”

    Yeah, I didn’t like the shooting mini-game in that sci-fi story simulator.

  • Loved how Invisible War WASNT stat heavy, one of my favourite games of all time! Human Revolution seems like the perfect balance between the two, cant wait till thursday!

    • Yeah, I’m not far into IW yet but so far it feels a LOT better than the first game. I miss the lean and the ability to carry more than a dozen items and the fact you need to choose between cloaking & hacking is just bonkers but pretty much everything else seems better. If nothing else its just a joy to have a protagonist with a voice capable of inflection, jc denton’s voice had all the expressive qualities of a block of cement

      • JC’s voice was by design understated so that the player could project themselves onto him. One step short of Gordon Freeman.

  • “Deus Ex: Invisible War took the award-winning formula established in the first game and dumbed it down to the point where even Mass Effect 2 fans could play it.”

    Gold. First time I’ve ever seen Mass Effect 2 summer up correctly!

      • I thought it was a bit of an unnnecesary “fuck you” to fans of a pretty popular game.

        Kotaku US seems to have ingested a snark tablet lately. They’ve improved their writing, but they’re being dicks about it.

  • Excellent. So glad it’s doing well, judging from what I’ve seen the developers put in a phenomenal amount of effort.

    OzGameShop had better deliver soon D:

  • I’m probably the only person not buying Deus Ex this week, but I have reasons… I’ve never played the original… oowwww, please stop hitting me!

    Secondly this game looks superb and as such I would rather enjoy it on a newer system, so I am content waiting for my next build and I’ll be able to pick this up on Steam for $10 when I’ve got my new system.

    • You are not the only one I’m not buying it too, same reason I never played the original.

      That and why buy a new release game for ~$60 when you can just pick it up in a years time for <$10 with the steam sales, assuming its at price parity with the US.

  • For someone taking cheap shots at Mass Effect 2, you sure seem to have played it alot. Compared to all your other “1 or 2 achievement” games at least (including the original Mass Effect, I might add)…

  • IF anyone wants this game cheap as in $34 cheap on pc get onto here

    use this code at checkout 20PEC-FACEB-SAVER

    It will save you 20% on the $42.49 price which then you can that said cd key onto steam and activate it. No fuss no problems $30 something dollars 😀

  • GMG is great. If you use a Friend Referral such as you also get a $5 credit on your account with your first purchase.

    The games are all cheaper than Steam and they give you the Steam keys so you can Pre-load the games.

    I have Deus Ex already Pre-Loaded and if you use a US VPN you can unlock the game in 8hrs or so 😉

  • The title picture of this article makes me realise another potentially cool thing about being augmented, given how much his arm can transform, there’s probably no point on his back that he can’t scratch!

  • Ha! I’m playing through mass effect 2 for the first time right now… so true! I love playing it but the gameplay has no challenge or true variation in how to get through the sections.

    Looking forward to choosing how and when to fight in Deus Ex. I miss stopping to think about how to proceed in shooters.

  • I’ve been gaming since the 80’s and loved Mass Effect 2. Just because the gunplay was a bit bland didn’t make it any less special for me. I think the Mass Effect universe is near to many people’s hearts so its a bit stupid to use it as an example of whats bad in the industry. Rant over. I will buy Deus Ex HR on day one.

  • I feel like I’m being built up like I was with Farcry2.
    And we all know how that came out!
    Patches anyone? 😀

  • “Deus Ex: Didn’t Have a Subtitle”

    Hey wanker: Alternate title in some countries of “Deus Ex: THE CONSPIRACY”.

    Research: DO IT.

  • Original Deus Ex IMO was brilliant, sequel IW was disappointing, but this prequel looks good enough to buy and I think I’m going to enjoy it.
    Let’s hope this paves the way again for future shooters. I’m getting tired of seeing the same generic crap filling up the shelves.

  • Hrm, what Mike Fahey has done here is written approximately 150 words and made a petty, really snide remark at an astoundingly popular game then copypasted what other, well informed people have said about Deus Ex.

    I don’t say this because I, myself, am a fan of Mass Effect 2 but because it was quite a stupid thing to say. Is this what passes for professional writing? Random insults and leaning on other people’s work? Pick up your game Kotaku.

  • Yeah, the remark about Mass Effect 2 was just plain offensive.

    I love both ME1 and 2. I’d have preferred a little bit more complexity in ME2, but it isn’t like the game was totally devoid of RPG elements. Apart from the fact the game didn’t get rid of stats (although yes, it lessened the number of stats), the inventory of the first game was terrible.

    Unnecessary complexity is not a good thing; take for instance the outrage over DXIW’s removal of Inventory Tetris and replacing it with a slot-based inventory. This was called “dumbing down for console” over and over, but the point of both inventory systems is to limit amounts of items that can be carried so as to force players to make choices about what to keep on hand. A slot-based system does this more quickly and efficiently than Inventory Tetris.

    For all of Deus Ex Invisible War’s faults like abysmally small levels, that game did provide you with a lot of flexibility even relative to games today. It gave you a lot of latitude to choose your own play style. I’d have liked the game to have a modest skill system added into it (alongside the Augs), maybe more customization for the weapons too, but it still gives you flexibility and choice. At least, unlike Deus Ex 1, DXIW doesn’t have completely useless augs or skills (Deus Ex’s RPG mechanics weren’t very well polished and were often quite unbalanced with some skills being so much more useful than others… even Harvey Smith admitted as much).

    The original Deus Ex was great, but I liked Invisible War as well even if it wasn’t as deep as it should have been.

    But these are all digressions… point being that making snarky and degrading remarks about “Mass Effect 2 players” is stupid. Piling on stats and elaborate mechanics isn’t automatically superior game design, and PLAYING games which do such things doesn’t automatically prove that the player has a higher intellect than average.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!