DEUS EX: THE FALL
Available on Steam (PC) and iTunes for iOS
Published by Square Enix
Developed by Eidos Montreal and N-Fusion Interactive
Set in 2027, British ex-SAS mercinary Ben Saxon and his close friend Anna Kelso set out to expose a renegade black ops unit known as the Tyrants, which he once worked for. Hiding out in Panama, both Ben and Anna are suffering from sickness and seizures due to a lack of Neuropozyne, a drug that helps the body accept enhanced mechanical augmentations. With both Ben and Anna in desperate need of the anti-rejection drug, which is in short supply globally, Ben accepts the advice of the mysterious Janus and decides to risk blowing his cover by walking the streets of Panama, where he could be killed at any minute by the Tyrants or the Illuminati. If he doesn’t, both he and Alex will be good as dead anyway.
DEUS EX: THE FALL is a mobile port of the same game which has since been made available for PC users on Steam. A short but sweet affair at around 5 to 7 hours long, the player plays as Ben who’s on the hunt for Nupoz. With such a global shortage of the drug, a cheaper alternative named Riezene has hit the streets from manufacturer Zaaphire Biotech and in the game’s storyline, Ben finds himself discovering a whole lot more about the street drug than he intended.
Having never played a Deus Ex game before but heard good things about the series, I was pleasantly surprised. The Fall is a first person shooter but incorporates some mini-games in the form of hacking computers, safes and door security systems as well as strategy. The game has an RPG element to it also, with players able to purchase upgrades for Ben’s augmentations and choose which enhancements they’d like to make from a generous list. I found it better to spend the ‘praxis kit’ points as and when I needed the ability. For instance, increasing my hacking level when faced with a Level 3 door security system, or unlocking the enhanced strength augmentation when confronted with a heavy object that can be moved.
The gameplay is relatively easy to get into with an engaging storyline and easy to use controls. I played with an Xbox 360 controller for Windows and it worked a treat. Like most games, the right trigger fires whilst the X button is the action button. For the most part, your task is to get from A to B without dying. The player has the option of using stealth with aid of the augmentations, quietly dispatching the enemies using hand-to-hand combat, silenced pistols or the crossbow, or a good ol’ shoot-em-up by going in all guns blazing. Having a choice in the matter makes the game much more inviting. The aiming system for the weapons is pretty spot on and the options to take down an opponent hand-to-hand are easy to activate, although you cannot actually ‘fight’ yourself – the CPU does all the work for you. The aiming system is also used to pick up any items, be it ammo, pocket secretaries, painkillers and even beer, that is found scattered throughout the map. After dispatching an enemy, he’ll disappear into thin air, and his possessions will be ripe for the taking, meaning a kill or maim is always good to boost your credits (money) or ammo cache.
For those who suffer with motion sickness, the responsiveness of the mouse or analog sticks can be adjusted so it’s not a nauseauting experience, although regular breaks are advised.
One of the little things I enjoyed about the game was the hacking mini-games and also reading the messages on the computer. The emails are often cheeky, full of wit and bouncing with personality, making it that much more interesting than a boring formal email. In one of the rooms in the hotel in Panama, I read an email that seemed to be from a video games writer who planned on nominating Final Fantasy 27 as ‘Game of the Year’ – a great nod to Deus Ex: The Fall‘s publisher Square Enix and their globally loved RPG franchise of Final Fantasy.
The hacking mini-game has an old skool charm about it, particularly with the use of the old dial-up internet tones. The task is to get from the starting node to the finish node before the system detects you. Some routes allow you easy access with their two-way communication, whilst other one way lines forces you to go the long way round. It sounds easy and whilst sometimes it is, the higher level security systems can be a challenge. Even operating the cursor to click the terminal nodes proved to be difficult at times with the use of analog sticks. It became a mini-game in itself to position the cursor on the nodes and activate them before the security system locked you out. All in all though, I enjoyed completing the hack and unlock juicy rewards that lay behind the security system.
Dialogue also plays a decent part in the gameplay, with Ben Saxon able to reach certain outcomes on the choices the player makes during conversations with characters. These outcomes can make life easier or harder for your character so its worthwhile thinking hard before choosing which response to go for.
The gameplay mainly takes place inside of buildings with multiple floors, with a section of the gameplay outside on the streets or rooftops. More often than not, there is more than one way to go about getting to your destination, which is pointed out by distance notifications on the screen. Using augmentation upgrades, Ben is able to unearth shortcuts, such as travelling through ventilation shafts or smashing through walls, rather than get past guards using firepower. I prefered to use a stealth approach by leaning around corners, firing arrows with my crossbow or sneaking up behind guards and quietly dispatching them face-to-face.
Side missions are also available to flesh out the story and I found myself taking quite a few of these on, as well as exploring every nook, cranny and waste paper bin for extra items, credits and ammo. If I’d have rushed through the game, I would presume I’d have finished it in around 4 or 5 hours, whereas my gameplay took me to 7 hours. Depending on your style of gameplay, you may get more or less out of the game than I did.
With the ability to save as often as you like, stunning visuals and cut scenes, engaging characters, dialogue and storyline, DEUS EX: THE FALL is a short game that is worth a play. The game itself ends on a cliffhanger with a hint of further chapters. Whether these chapters will arrive in the form of a free update or DLC remains to be seen, but for £7.99, this is a great little game to get into.