One of the best games of last gen was Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Due to the game’s success, a sequel was inevitable. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided takes everything that made the previous game great and ups the stakes with a story that is surprisingly relevant to today’s world. Despite the deeper, more intricate story and new gameplay enhancements, this sequel comes up somewhat short compared to its predecessor.
Mankind Divided takes place roughly two years after the events of Human Revolution. At the end of that game, an incident occurred which has turned the world against those with cybernetic implants. “Augs” are now treated as second class citizens at best, and terrorists at worst. With tensions boiling over between Augs and normal humans, it is up to series protagonist, Adam Jensen, to uncover who is really behind it all and hopefully put a stop to their plans.
One of the hallmarks of the Deus Ex series is the ability to play how you want. The game’s various abilities and modifications accommodate for aggressive, run and gun gameplay, or for a more methodical, stealthy approach. Though the game can certainly be completed by killing everyone in sight, one is more richly rewarded if they spend their praxis points on augmentations that allow them to hack technology or augs which make them more stealthy. The game is filled with detail and lore, so leaning more towards stealth and taking things slow is the way to go.
Though the environments are much more detailed than in the last game, they aren’t as plentiful. You spend the majority of your time in Prague, and only visit other locations briefly. The developers teased us with concept images of what major cities looked like in the futurist setting of Deus Ex so it was disappointing to mostly be relegated to one city. Despite that, each of the locations in the game offers a wide variety of ways to get around in them. Prague especially has a number of hidden passages that make traversing it faster. Most of the time, you are rewarded for being curious so it pays to explore.
Like all good science fiction, Mankind Divided takes a touchy subject and gives it a unique twist. The game presents a “mechanical apartheid” that should be familiar to anyone who knows the history of South Africa. You’ll feel a sense of unease and rage as you see how augmented folks are mistreated by the authorities. Mankind Divided doesn’t shy away from showing what happens to a group of people who have been unjustly persecuted, and this is something that certainly makes us think about the current political climate in America, especially with the #BlackLivesMatter movement that the game takes some inspiration from.
As great as Mankind Divided is, it is held back by the fact that you mostly spend your time in Prague and how the story wraps up. While the game does come to a conclusion, it leaves one with more questions than answers. The worst part is how it feels as though the story will fully be wrapped up in some forthcoming DLC. We don’t yet know if this is the case, but again, that is certainly how most folks will perceive it.
Some issues aside, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is one of the stronger games to be released in 2016. If you are into RPGs that let you play how you want, and are into stories that go deeper than the typical video game does, then this is a title you should check out.
This review of Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is based on a digital review code for the PlayStation 4 that was provided by Square-Enix.