Square Enix just released the announcement trailer for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, the sequel to Deus Ex: Human Revolution that is not a mobile or browser game (because to hell with Deus Ex: The Fall). As you can see from this website’s design (as of this posting), I quite like the look and feel of DX:HR. However, it was far from perfect as it had some “broken” parts that got in the way of immersion. These are my thoughts on what can be improved through the new game.
Please watch the trailer for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided because it’s actually pretty good.
Looks like it’s still Adam Jensen in the lead, so the game will most likely be a bigger and better DX:HR rather than an entirely new game with a completely different look. That’s all well and good for the most part due to how good the visuals, soundtrack, and most of the gameplay were in DX:HR, but there is always room for improvement.
Here are 5 suggestions (that won’t likely be seen by Square Enix and Eidos Montreal, but I’d like to share anyway).
More Open Level Design
There really isn’t much open world stuff in the Deus Ex series other than really big city levels with various NPCs standing around, much like a traditional computer role-playing game. It would be nice to see something extra to go with the usual Deus Ex level design to make it look and feel more open.
But then again, the problem with many open world games is that they tend to be less memorable since they’re so big and players have to move around so much. The most important thing here is still about encouraging exploration, which the Deus Ex series has been known for through things like hidden items and secret locations.
More Cool Augmentations
This is easier said than done since the augmentations that have already been in the games already have a good bit of imagination in them. Perhaps they can include the ones that were underused in the older games. I don’t know how many people got the augmentation in the first Deus Ex for swimming. Maybe the designers can make that more useful by including more levels that require swimming (but then again, people hate water levels anyway).
Maybe they can add an augmentation that lets you climb walls and ceilings, but that would be overpowered since you can get over obstacles and roadblocks quite easily with that. But maybe if they can find ways through level design to make it work, then you can finally become a nanotech Spiderman.
Surely, there are more ideas that can be had here as there is some good potential, and I hope that Eidos Montreal adds some new ones to surprise us in the new game.
More Interesting Stealth Gameplay
At first, hoping for improvements in the stealth gameplay was the first thing that came to mind, but it then needed some more thought after realizing that it’s not as simple as refining it since it had already was quite fun in DX:HR. As far as improvements to the stealth gameplay are concerned, there isn’t much needed, but I did think of one aspect that could use some work.
Looking back on my stealth playthrough of DX:HR, I do remember how success was mostly dependent on recovering battery for takedowns. It’s true that the limited battery does do well enough in making easy takedowns more scarce and less viable in taking out multiple enemies, but being stealthy while moving around in itself takes up enough time for the battery to have recharged for one more takedown.
Perhaps takedowns can be made more interesting by having variations that have different effects when certain augmentations are acquired or when done while moving in certain ways. Take note, I don’t mean the different takedown animations that are already there; I’m talking about variations that are functionally different.
Maybe they can also implement more movement options as well to make stealth more dynamic. Thinking about this made me recall being able to roll in order to get a backstab in Skyrim, but maybe there can be more things like crawling and climbing up walls in narrow passageways like in Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell. That’s quite a stretch, but this post is all about dreaming, after all.
Even Better Hacking Mini-games
Hopefully, they don’t go down the same route as EA and Bioware did by removing hacking mini-games altogether in Mass Effect 3. I’m not sure if players are into them or against them, but I personally enjoy them as it makes successful hacks actually feel rewarding and not just the result of pressing the use button.
Perhaps they can have hacking mini-games that branch off to different hacks that you have to choose between in order to get what you really want. It can then either lock you out altogether after a successful or unsuccessful hack, or still be hackable but more difficult in subsequent tries.
They can still retain the use of nodes and timers like in DX:HR since that was actually pretty good, but it would be interesting to see some twists and new ideas in DX:MD.
Fix the Boss Fights
This has got to be the most important one in this list. For those who aren’t aware, if you go full non-lethal stealth in DX:HR, especially in your first playthrough, you’ll most likely end up under-equipped in the boss fights since you have to save space in your inventory. This was a huge design gaffe in the previous game that should not exist in the new one; doing so would be a disgrace. However, that still leaves a question regarding how boss fights are to be handled.
Those who are going full non-lethal would address this in DX:HR by picking up a gun from an enemy just before entering the boss area. That’s how I got through the Yelena Federova fight in my first playthrough — I picked up a machinegun from an unconscious enemy when I realized that the door up ahead was most likely a boss fight, and I didn’t read any FAQs, watch LPs on YouTube, or hear any spoilers at all (I’m still a bit proud of that gaming moment).
Perhaps the most obvious solution for the new game is to have a much bigger inventory so that players can carry a backup gun throughout the game, but that’s way too simple and does not address the fact that a non-lethal game should be so all the way through; being able to not kill anyone in the game is a big part of the Deux Ex series.
Let’s scope this out for a bit. When players enter the boss fights in DX:HR, they watch a pre-rendered cutscene that introduces the boss, then you have to kill him/her. My idea for a solution is to have at least two ways to enter the boss area, both loud and stealthy. The conditions for each are dependent on where and how you enter that area, as well as how you played beforehand.
Each mode of entry leads to a different ways of fighting the boss, whether by killing him/her up front or by a creative and indirect way that lets you stay non-lethal, makes that boss kill himself instead, or some other way. As I wrote the preceding sentence, I realized just how complicated it would be to do that, but that could be something developers and writers can figure out together.
The thing with the boss fights was the only real deal breaker for DX:HR, so this upcoming game should be come out pretty good on its own with the foundation built by its predecessor. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided has an interesting title that alludes to a story full of anarchy and societal conflict, and the trailer does exude much of that vibe. Once the game is fully released, I can write a post comparing these assessments with the finished product (if I can ).