Dues Ex: Mankind Divided Review

This Is The Game We Asked For


This review will contain light spoilers

 

With the amount of games that have been coming out recently (and my battle with real life) I struggle to find the time to truly dedicate my time to a game. This is why this review is later than almost every other outlet and why I’m kicking myself for not pausing everything to play Mankind Divided fully when it was released. This game matched the already high expectations I had of it, but didn’t quite go above them.

 

I was late to the party with the original 2000 Dues Ex (I’m really sorry), and didn’t play it until before the release of Human Revolution, but it left a mark on me. A variety of different ways to tackle objectives, leading to a variety of different outcomes, while adopting any play style you  wanted? Yes please. I honestly feel like that HR left the same mark on me as the original did and MD did something similar.

 

MD takes place 2 years after the events of HR, where the world is still handling the fallout of the Aug incident. The effect of this is felt everywhere, by everyone. Factions and organisations are popping up trying to voice their opinion, governments are trying to control and general citizens are struggling with their day to day lives.

 

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This is the first area MD excels in; the atmosphere. The game is mostly set in Prague, that has one of the highest population on Augs in the world, and so a high level of tension. Walking around the streets you can see and almost the feel split between Augs and ‘naturals’. Train stations have different waiting areas for the two groups, Police greet you with instant hostility and establishments struggle to trust anyone with an augment. With this drawing comparisons to the Apartheid it gives that heightened level of realism to the game.

 

As one of the more heavily augmented people you witness this all first hand. Despite working for a branch of Interpol and having high clearance the spot checks have Jensen treated the same as any ‘clank’. Conversations have the added weight to them and few naturals meet you with the same openness that augs give you. The language used by everyone is to the point and no one messes about. The conversation choices in this are some of the best I’ve ever seen. The flow of interactions feels mostly natural and a great step up from HR and games like it.

 

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The scope of this game is so much more focused. While the story very obviously spanned the world in HR this doesn’t have such a ‘world in the balance’ kind of feel to it. This works for and against the game. By honing in on the Prague situation and points closely connected to it it adds to the tension on your actions at that time, on everyone you can actually see around you. I really enjoyed this as it added more to my immersion in the world.

 

It doesn’t quite work because of this: many of the side line plots are hinted at but are just too far out of reach to be answered. They don’t seem to be close enough to match the main quest (both in location and importance). I’ll say this now – the ending is abrupt. It’s not even like it finished at the end of chapter, but a paragraph. While the ending begs for another installment (whether it be full game or DLC) it cuts the timeline and doesn’t bother to tie the ends to provide closure. On top of this is something the older Dues Ex fans will find upsetting and that’s the lack of alternate endings.

 

When HR was first released the ability to only kill the bosses was met with backlash as it didn’t give you the freedom that’s expected of the franchise. In this game, it feels as though they tried to avoid that issue altogether by giving you one boss fight, that can be over in such a short space of time. While a full pacifist playthrough can be done there are no real bosses to test your resolve.

 

Mankind Divided plays very well. I played the game on two systems. One being a X4 860k, 8GB DDR3, GTX 760 2GB and the other being i7 4790k, 16GB DDR3, GTX 980ti to see what performance differences I could get. The AMD based system didn’t struggle with mostly medium settings at 1080p (no filters), hitting between 35-55fps until one of the final areas of the game had it around 30. The 980ti naturally handled Very High settings without dipping from 60fps at 1080p. Aside from the filters, the game felt very well optimised.

 

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I always felt the gunplay in HR was a bit clunky, and didn’t match up to other first person shooters quite well. This has been improved with the overall control system feeling smoother and a more pleasant experience. Augs fit well within the Jensen’s arsenal and the ability to sneak around the game feels right at home. If you choose to use the cover based system then it flows quite nicely and allows combat to be painless (aside from the usual)

 

All in all Mankind Divided is a great installment in the Dues Ex universe. While the story doesn’t live up the previous tales, and the ending leaves a lot of questions, it’s strong throughout. The atmosphere and feel of the game leave you feeling intense and far more drawn into the world than so many other games can. Despite the negative points I’ve made I jumped straight back in for my New Game + playthrough. Some of fork in the road choices leave quite a gap so I’m looking to see what effect it’ll have on my play. I’d recommend this game highly and will be waiting eagerly for what happens next.

 

What are your thoughts on Dues Ex Mankind Divided?

 


 

– Bean

 


 

Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PS4

Type: First Person Shooter, Single Player

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