Deus Ex: Human Revolution was a return to form for the Deus Ex franchise after the clunky yet still okay Invisible War, so I was supper excited for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. It turns out that the Dues Ex franchise must be like Star Trek movies where only every other one is good. That is not to say Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is bad. It isn’t. It is very competent in fact, but it lacks that hook that makes me want to play.
Mankind Divided takes place a couple of years after Human Revolution, and the world is still recovering from ‘The Incident’ where all augmented people went crazy and started attacking non-augmented people. This has caused places like Prague, the game’s main location, to start segregating people based on whether they are augmented or not. Of course all sorts of dangerous people are trying to use this situation to further their own goals, and it is up to Adam Jensen to stop them.
The story’s setup is pretty good, and it should provided a decent launching off point for this game, but they never really find a way to truly make anything matter. I am almost all the way through the game, and I still don’t care about any of the characters. ‘Augs’ are being treated poorly, and I should feel bad about that, but Mankind Divided must not be in my face enough with it or something because it all feels kind of shrug worthy. Worse still this game bills itself as an RPG, but much like Fallout 4 they have taken most of the choice out of Mankind Divided. You can choose to do side quests or not, and sometimes you can go left or right, but you are never having that big of an impact on the story, and that is a shame.
Another letdown is the loot. If you are like me and playing this game sneakily, then you will need next to none of the stuff you can pick up. You will never find a better taser pistol, or a better tranquilizer rifle. You can pick up things like shotguns and load them with EMP rounds then a attach a silencer, but it will still make too much noise. The same goes for the augmentations you can pick. For me, all I will ever need are, the one that lets me talk to people better, jump high and turn invisible. Hacking is nice, but not necessary. Everything else is cool to play with, but not practical for the non-violent approach.
I will say the one place Deus Ex: Mankind Divided shines is its approach to combat and level design. If you are trying to be stealthy there are all sorts of fun ways to get around guys and take them out without killing them, and based on all the gear and augs I am not using, if you want to be the human embodiment of death, you will have a wide variety of options too. Honestly its varied levels and combat options are why I keep pushing forward with this game.
In the end, I always have fun when I play Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, but I just don’t get that feeling that I ‘need’ to play it. I have to get myself to start, but then once I do I enjoy myself due to the cool levels and combat. I just wish the story, loot, and augmentation options were as good. Since Deus Ex: Mankind Divided seems like it is endlessly on sale for $30 or less, I would say it is worthwhile, but I would have regretted paying full price for it.