Deus Ex: Human Revolution is in many ways a rather simple first person shooter on the surface. You have your basic weapon types such as a 10mm pistol, a shotgun, sniper rifle, and so on. What gives it some spice is the blending of tactical stealth mechanics and hacking systems. The gunplay could be smoother overall, swapping weapons can be a pain at times, but the game has aged extremely well in most regards. The enemy AI isn’t the classic brain dead guard trope where you can stand in front of an enemy while crouched without them noticing you, rather the AI is incredibly intelligent, even surpassing some of the current AI quality in the AAA scene, and definitely some of the best for its time. The hacking also provided a huge advantage in a majority of the levels throughout the game. There are turrets strewn throughout the world of Deus Ex, and being able to hack them can be a life saver. I also found that the rather limited quantity of ammo made the game feel much more intense and pushed you to experiment with the many different weapons and modifications that can be discovered or purchased.
There’s also a RPG like upgrade system, allowing you to customize Adam’s augmentation’s to better fit your playstyle. The game provides you with the means to upgrade anything from your inventory space to how your retinal enhancements display information. I went with a moderatley stealth based build that didn’t shy away from being lethal if the situation called for it. The skills offered balance extremely well, never causing you to feel too under/overpowered regardless of how you decide to tackle the gameplay. The skills also extend into the side portions of the game. Some of the abilities you unlock might not have the most use during the main story, but the side quests are designed to utilize your arsenal in many diverse ways.
The side portions of the game are also the root of my biggest issue with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, having to constantly run back and forth from one side of the city to the other. The map isn’t particularly large, but with certain areas or paths being blocked off depending on where you are in the game, you have to consistently find new paths to get to and then turn in completed quest lines. If an issue as small as this is my largest issue, that should speak volumes towards how highly I think of the game. There’s so much lore, from Adam’s back story, the secrets of Sarif Industries, and heartfelt moments of Adam’s humanity glowing tucked behind the blue side markers on your screen. While these missions may not be necessary to make your way through the story with little difficulty, I’d argue you’re missing a decent chunk of what makes this game so special by skipping out on them.
Other than the map traversal with side quests, the level design is impeccable from start to finish. There are so many ways to complete each level that wikis to this day still have options for players to submit how they managed to get through the level. Every skill, every weapon from lethal to non lethal varieties all offer so much depth on their own, but when combined with level layouts that allow you to tackle each event from whatever angle you’d like, whether that be attacking it head on, picking off enemies from the shadows, sneaking pass the event completely, turning the enemies equipment against them, any combination of these tactics, and many more methods that would take far too long to list. With four different endings for you to hunt for, and a few other events mid game that can play out differently depending on your choices and actions, Deus Ex: Human Revolution has replayability in spades.