Friday, May 5, 2017

ODIN NEVER ASKED FOR THIS

I apologize in advance for the lack of photos and a wall of text, I got a lot going on in my head, and I just can't be bothered at the moment to find things that illustrate my angst towards this game. So I leave you with some suspicious breakfast cereal:

So...how suspicious we talkin'? Like, "unidentifiable fruit flavor" suspicious, or "the wheat was blended with a select choice of orphan blood" suspicious?
Ahhh, Deus Ex, how I love thee. Chop up my limbs and glue me to a particle accelerator, then inject my veins with tiny microscopic robots. My body is ready.

So I have finished the most recent extension to the Deux Ex universe: Mankind Divided. And, it was a good game. Which is my problem with it. Good game. Period. Not an excellent game. Or even a solid game.

Let's start with the things I liked about the game so I limit the amount of rabid foam exhuding from my mouth.

Gameplay. Gameplay was awesome. They put a lot of thought into the concept of Jensen 2.0. The old augments were there, as well as others that fit in with a nice piece of lore. That lore however....I'll get to you soon...

My fingers and my brain have a real tough time talking to each other. It takes me hours to get used to the information being fed to me, and by the time the game is over, I would have finally got comfortable with my controller. So when I played the previous installment right before MD, Human Revolution, my brain was already hard-wired to the control scheme of it. I was quite pleased when they had a "Human Revolution" mode put in for me, but didn't exactly appreciate the glove slap of normal mode being "the way the game should be played." I don't barge in on you mid-coitus and tell you that you're stroking it wrong, fuckoff with that.

The UI was terrible in both appearance and functionality. Quick menus looked like hacked together buttons *I* made in MS Powerpoint. And my weapons were HUGE. I was glad to be doing a ghost run so I didn't have a bigass gun taking up literally a third of my screen. Holy shit. I wish I could zoom out of myself. Changing resolution and FOV was not helpful at all. Everything was just HUGE.

Like with the other Deus Ex games, there is not one single solution for every situation. If you don't like the obvious path, there sure as hell are alternatives. Maybe four. You just gotta do some digging, and talk to the right people.

Nonlethal options have been expanded, and the level design is well thought out. It isn't hard to locate multiple paths through a scene, but it isn't highlighted like a damned neon strip either.

On the subject of level design, the world did feel pretty self-contained, despite having open world mechanics. And I found it rather hard to locate landmarks. I did like the occasional move from location to location (Utelek, Hong Kong, etc) but it felt sort of jarring to transition to them.

Overall, it was an enjoyable game to play, but there were shortcomings.

Like, you know, the STORY. Pretty much the WHOLE REASON you play Deus Ex.

Now without getting into spoiler territory, the general arc was basically a bitchslap of WE WANT TO MILK THIS FRANCHISE FOR EVERYTHING IT'S WORTH.

And it's a trend that annoys the shit out of me. The industry is fickle, and stories must have SOME form of conclusion, because it is not guaranteed the next installment can/will be produced.

My biggest issues are with the ending, and the side quests.

The side quests are the biggest FUCK YOU to the player. They go over questions you may have (really, REALLY vital pressing questions, mind you), and all of them have the same answer:

¯\_(ツ)_/¯


SO. GODDAMNED. IRRITATING.

Without getting into detail, the boss was basically a minion, leaving you with more questions you never asked for. Also, you get ONE boss fight. That's it.

That being said, the last mission leading up to it was quite enjoyable, and well put together.

it's just....the climax was....anticlimactic.

Then you get a reel of LET'S SEE WHAT THEY'VE WON JOHNNY! after making (or not making) decisions around the game. Kind of like Dishonored, but even more lackluster. It just tells the player STAY TUNED :D!!!! And it's that kind of cop-out that has been trending too much in storytelling.

What makes this worse, is that the marketing team had a field day with third party apps and side games (what exactly the fuck is Breach, and did we need it? Spoilers: No.)

The mobile app is the part that irks me the most. It's this scanner code hunt from the mid 2000s that offer "insight" to the lore. And by insight, I mean SPOILERS. So you have be extra careful and take the extra effort to look it up on online forums before you scan it, if that thing is important to you. And supposedly you get Praxis kits as rewards, but I never got the damned thing to work on my ancient device.

But it wasn't really necessary. Praxis is plentiful, and early-mid game, you would have set in stone your play style and not really need anymore than what the game gives you.

I never asked for this. How many times can we squeeze that joke in?

Breach was a thing? I guess. I haven't looked too deep into because I was so unfulfilled that I really didn't think it could satiate my need for this beautiful world.

What is most infuriating is that if only they took the man hours and resources that it took to create these "extras" and actually put it towards the STORY, it might have felt like a polished product. But nope.

On a more positive note, the dialogue and character interactions were fantastic and well written. Characters were acceptably varied, especially considering the setting. Costumes and  textures were just amazing, they made the world come alive. Human representation was pretty good too, not perfect, but very well done.

In conclusion, I really don't fucking know. Eidos, I am watching you, and don't think for one second I have let you off the hook for what you did to Thief....

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