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Game Review

Just think of what it would be like if you could upgrade the fleshly bits and pieces God gave you when you were born. Maybe have scientists build in a gadget that would give you the strength to lift the side of your car when it was time to change a flat, or a thingamajig that could help you instantly fire up that sluggish brain of yours on those early morning business calls to Tokyo. Well, if you lived in the world of the new role-playing/shooter hybrid Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you could.

Set in the not too distant future, technology has advanced to the point at which people can buy "self-evolutionary" augmentations to make themselves stronger, faster and smarter. Of course, at the game's beginning there's a slight problem: People's bodies are rejecting the new add-on gizmos. It's an annoyance that can only be kept in check with a costly and rather addictive drug. But that drawback is rumored to be disintegrating with the latest breakthroughs from Sarif Industries.

Just before this new tech is announced, however, super-soldiers raid the Sarif corporate headquarters, steal important info and kill the project's lead scientists. Is this a case of espionage staged by other corporate entities? A terrorist attack from human purists crusading against humanity-sapping technologies? Or something much more sinister?

Make My Day, Robot Boy
Gamers are tasked with seeking out the truth as Sarif's lead security guy, Adam Jensen—a former SWAT commander who sounds and looks like a young Clint Eastwood in perpetual squint-and-grit-your-teeth mode. He was almost killed in the raid and has subsequently been rebuilt with all of the company's latest and greatest gadgetry. But due to the horrendous damage Jensen sustained, his augs can only be turned on one by one with time and experience. Players get to choose, then, which skills they will enhance and how they want to attack the twisting and turning mystery laid out before them.

If you focus on espionage—slipping silently in through back alley doors or ventilation shafts—it might make sense to enhance your ability to hack through complicated security systems and computer firewalls. Or if you're aching to face a threat head-on with guns a-blazin', beefing up your armor and sensory perception might help. Or perhaps you'll pump up your strength so you can lift dumpsters with one arm and leap over seemingly impassible fences. You can even ramp up your communication skills to charm your way past human obstacles. But you can't do them all at once, so each additional upgrade continually shapes your approach.

All those powered-up choices, intricate storylines, and multiple entry points and quest resolutions make this a very interesting and enjoyable game. And though its ultimate resolution avoids any truly spiritual answers, gamers will find themselves venturing down any of four contemplative paths—wrestling with whether the power of technology, government control, morality or self-sacrifice might somehow save mankind from itself.

Machete at the Ready
When you're running down clues in the dark, dank corners of several steampunk-like future cities, though, you can bet you're going to end up getting a little dirty. No matter how you choose to sneak, jump, hack or dash, firefights eventually break out. And when that happens, people die and blood splashes the alleyways and backroom walls. Submachine guns, shotguns, combat rifles, rocket launchers and laser rifles are just a few of the weapons scattered around the Deus Ex world.

Those armaments and Jensen's auged arm-blades spill blood in a large spray when enemies are targeted. And cutscenes feature fallen bosses with blood pooling beneath and around them. To the game's credit (outside of those boss battles), you're rewarded with more experience points if you can subdue your foes in nonlethal ways, such as with tranquilizer guns or hand-to-hand takedowns.

The aforementioned dark alleyways also lead to some off-color sexuality on several occasions. Prostitutes talk of getting augs designed to pleasure fetish-minded customers. And a Shanghai brothel features writhing pole dancers, women escorting men from room to room, and sultry come-ons. (Players cannot follow up on these offers.) Female characters wear low-cut tops and formfitting outfits.

Messy dialogue, especially in the midst of battle, is often peppered with everything from f- and s-words to "d‑‑n," "a‑‑," "b‑‑ch," "b‑‑tard" and "h‑‑‑." There are numerous references to drug use and abuse, especially marijuana. And when Jensen needs a little health meter pick-me-up, he can pick up and consume anyone's prescription painkillers or stash of booze. We don't actually see him down the substances, but the immediate aftermath is blurred vision before the health boost kicks in. Many of the characters smoke.

"The rare game in which theme and gameplay harmonize," gushes the reviewer for The A.V. Club. And 1UP adds, "It's rare that I play a game that doesn't just let me play the way I like, but actually showers me with prizes for doing so, and I love it." GamerNode notes, "There are plenty of open-ended games out there, but few really emphasize player choice like Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The result is the follow-up Deus Ex fans have been waiting for and one of the year's best."

All three observations are right on the money, actually. And the praise doesn't stop there in critical circles. But rare is the game review that also adds in a consideration about what kind of content you encounter while you're whiling away the hours harmonizing with your digital device.

I think this one just did.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Record Label


Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC


Square Enix


August 23, 2011

On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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