Set a couple of years after the significant events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided continued the story from the first game where society has now rejected augmented humans, and grown to despise their very existence.
This was mainly due to the “aug incident” that cost thousands of innocent lives, where mechanically augmented citizens were stripped of control over their minds and bodies. Fascination and excitement of the technology had now turned to fear, and that was being used to try and exert a greater control over all of humanity. Pretty deep stuff.
You once again assumed the role of Adam Jensen, who was now acting as an elite covert agent who found himself trying to unravel a vast worldwide conspiracy. He had more tricks up his sleeve than ever, but he needed to use more than simple brute force to figure out who to trust. He was working as a double agent for the hacker group “Juggernaut Collective”, in order to try and expose the Illuminati who were seemingly manipulating events from the shadows.
Due to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided being a direct sequel, many themes and elements from the previous game are present here. The role playing and shooter elements return, where once again the decisions that you make would have a meaningful impact on how your playthrough unfolded. What this also meant, is that there was increased replayability for the game thanks to the different endings you could experience.
You operated out of Prague this time around, and could complete a variety of side missions alongside the main story. Doing so would unveil different areas, and give you a better understanding of the game world, but more importantly EXP for Adam. This would in turn unlock the familiar Praxis Points, that could be used to upgrade his augmentations.
Once again you could choose to take a stealthy approach and limit lethal force, or instead make use of your many abilities to advance through the game like the Terminator. This time around Adam was more nimble on (and off) his feet and could dash for cover, but his enemies were also of a higher calibre. New augmentations such as the Titan Shield could be used to deflect all damage and buy some time, as simply running into a combat situation without any forethought would not usually end well.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided brought a fair few new tricks to the party, whilst respecting the old ones as well. Another newcomer, the Icarus Dash, could be used to move from cover to cover and reach otherwise inaccessible areas. The P.E.P.S. (an energy blaster) featured in Deus Ex: Human Revolution returns, but this time as an arm mounted weapon of Adam’s which can be used to knock back enemies. Many of his augmentations now also featured a secondary effect, increasing the amount of combat abilities at his disposal. Hacking also made a return with the familiar mini-game mechanic, but you could now also do so remotely.
Breach mode was a brand new way to play in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, which brought a puzzle arcade twist on the gameplay. It was set in a virtual world where you had to extract some corporate data from a computer system. It was a live game mode too, with online leaderboards which saw it double as a challenge mode of sorts. DLC was also released for the game under the heading of Jensen’s Stories which gave the player more insight into the character, as well as the return of a familiar face.
Of course, it would be remiss of me not to mention some small controversies that the narrative of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided generated. When dealing with such deep and often political issues, this was always a risk. The use of the word apartheid, for example, was criticised by many upon the game’s release.
However, the biggest backlash was seen as a dodgy five-tier pre-order campaign was scrapped as it became clear not all players would have access to all the pre-order content from day one. Following this, the use of microtransactions (such as purchasing quantities of the in-game currency “credits”) also came in for heavy criticism. These were not available in the previous game, and it was better off for it.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was released exactly five years after its predecessor, Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It built on the world set up in the previous game, whilst taking steps to evolve the gameplay further. Despite being a solid sequel, it didn’t quite manage to capture the imagination in the same way as Deus Ex: Human Revolution, despite being thoroughly enjoyable to play.
It’s been another five years and I would love to tell you we are about to see the next Deus Ex game get released. However, this is not the case. Despite the usual rumours, there is yet to be official confirmation of a fifth game. So for now, rewind a little and catch yourself up with Adam Jensen’s earlier adventures, and then keep your fingers crossed he will be returning soon. Now is the time.
Pick up Deus Ex: Mankind Divided from the Xbox Store if you fancy playing around with some Augs.