After playing two hours of a near-final build of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, I can say with confidence that it comes the closest to matching the singularly special original. That’s the highest praise I can give.
Mankind Divided layers on the expected modern niceties, of course. There’s a sizeable arsenal of weapons, from nonlethal shock pistols to combat shotguns and battle rifles. You can swap between specialized weapon mods mid-battle, à la Crysis, to add armor-piercing rounds, scopes, and more.
There’s also a helpful visual enhancement augmentation that’s a mere L1 press away. It highlights nearby threats, shortcuts, and item pickups, reducing the guesswork in navigating the game’s sprawling, multi-level cyberpunk cityscapes.
Multiple controller layouts are available, including one that more closely emulates the layout of 2011’s Human Revolution, and one that’s geared towards helping speed runs.
Much like the 2000 original, Mankind Divided tightly intertwines different genres and play styles. Are you a Rainbow Six purist? You’ll love the broad tactical FPS combat options. Splinter Cell fan? The strong stealth possibilities will impress you. Mass Effect devotee? Get ready for the deepest character building and branching dialogue choices this side of the Citadel. Fallout fiend? You’ll love the ability to influence the narrative and act like a jerk if you want to.
I could go on — Mankind Divided, like the best Deus Ex games, truly offers something for everyone. It’s all in how you choose to play.
And then there’s the narrative itself, a byzantine behemoth of social commentary, conspiracy theory, and old-school speculative fiction. What would happen if society discriminated between “naturals” and the augmented, who are equipped with artificial arms, legs, or organs? The team behind Mankind Divided thinks the resulting conflict would look eerily familiar.
One surreal sequence set in Prague played like a highly evolved game of Papers, Please. Most of the unmodified, “natural” NPCs I encountered mistrusted or even disparaged me, simply because protagonist Adam Jensen is augmented — a “clank.” It was an unnerving and dehumanizing ordeal, but it firmly planted me in the game’s universe. I’m betting all that societal strife pays off nicely in the final game.
Mankind Divided comes out on PS4 August 23 and it looks promising, and unique. If you’ve got questions, leave ’em below — I’ll set aside some time today to shed more light on what I can.