Hello and welcome to another edition of "Do's and Don'ts", a series in which I talk about what developers and publishers should/shouldn't do when it comes to games, practices, etc. In this installment, I'll be talking about a non-Nintendo game for once and discuss what I would like to see in the recently announced Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
So, a new Deus Ex was announced recently, AND OH MY GOD IT LOOKS SO AWESOME! Okay I know it's only a CG trailer and doesn't reflect the final game, but oh my word is it beautiful. Seriously, go look it up right now; I can wait. It's good right? From the music, to the super sweet moves that Jensen pulls off, and that finale where he turns metallic to block the bullets AND OH MY GOD WHY ISN'T THIS GAME OUT ALREADY? Sorry about that; I normally don't get super hyped for a CG trailer, but then again Deus Ex isn't an ordinary series. Let's back things up a bit.
The original Deus Ex released on June 26, 2000 and developed by Warren Spector and his team at Ion Storm Austin (a.k.a the guys who didn't make Daikatana). The game is famous for it's merging of various gameplay elements (including a leveling up system seen and role playing games and first person shooting), and emphasis on player choice by designing levels and situations that could be handled in a multide of ways, with no definitive right or wrong solution to a problem, and while it hasn't aged well graphically (though to be fair the game looked bad even by 2000 standards), the original Deus Ex is still to this day considered a classic by many gamers and various publications. But after the disappointing (but not as bad as fans think it is) sequel Invisible War in 2003, the Deus Ex series went quiet for a few years despite Ion Storm attempting to make a third game twice. Then in 2007, Deus Ex 3 was announced to be in development and was being developed by Eidos Montreal. Fans were initally put off by this due to various design choices being discussed like regenerating health and highlighted interactive objects, but as time went on, people began warming up to it, and four years after it was originally announced, the third game in the Deus Ex series was released in the US, Australia, and Europe on August 23, 2011, now with the subtitle Human Revolution. It was met with universal praise from both critics and gamers alike, and was nominated for various awards. Personally, while it's not a game that I would include on my all time favorite games list, I still rather enjoyed Human Revolution for capturing the sense of freedom and immersion of the original while at the same time forging it's own identity, and it's easily one of the best games released during the Wii/PS3/360 generation.
And so, with the annoucement of the Mankind Divided still fresh in my mind, I thought I would take the time to let Eidos Montreal know what I would like to see them build on from Human Revolution and what they should avoid like the swimming stat in the original. I suppose before I go any further, I should probably give you fair warning that I will be talking about important story parts in Human Revolution, so if you haven't played the game and don't want anything spoiled TURN BACK NOW; this is your only warning. With that out of the way, let's put on our trenchcoats, fight some conspiracies, and throw vending machines at people.
DO: Add some more Social Battles
HIGH OCTANE TALKING ACTION!
Everyone who loved Human Revolution loved different parts of the gameplay; some people liked the stealth, others liked the hacking, some the combat, you get the idea. Personally, my favorite gameplay element were the parts of the game where you used your words, not your guns or your fists, to solve problems, otherwise known as the Social Battles. Yes really; I know it sounds odd that the best part of a video game is the part where people talk, but the way it was handled in Human Revolution was excellent. Smooth talking your way out of a hostage situation or knocking an anti-augmentation purist down a few pegs was genuinely satisfying, and these encounters went a long way in immersing me in the game's world. Granted, some of that immersion was lost once you got a social enhancment and realized that the best way to effectively get the most XP out of any experince was to select certain responses in a specific order, but they were still compelling encounters nonetheless. In Mankind Divided, I want more of these encounters, and considering there were a fair amount of them in Human Revolution, that's saying a lot.
Now I'm not saying every enemy encounter should boil down to verbal jiu-jitsu, but it would be nice to have the option to at certain points smooth talk my way out of a fight. Like maybe you encounter a boss, and instead of fighting them, there's an option to talk it out with them, maybe even convince them that what they're doing isn't the right thing. It sounds weird I admit, and it's something that could probably come off as lame if done incorrectly, but I feel like adding more of these kind of encounters would not only go a long way in getting to know the characters and this world, but also emphasize the importance of player choice and freedom. If nothing else, being able to talk your way out of a boss fight would be much cooler and more interesting than the boss fights in Human Revolution. Speaking of which....
DON'T: Outsource the boss battles
*insert "I never asked for this" joke here*
Yeah, I'm not going to sugar coat this: the boss fights in Human Revolution were terrible and felt out of place; all because somebody decided to outsource these fights to a different company. What was so bad about them, you ask? Well, besides the obvious problems that they were encountered in enclosed arenas that greatly contrasted the sprawling levels that preceded them and the fact they were REQUIRED to be fought (they're exempt from The Pacifist achievement in both the original and Director's Cut), the fact that the only strategy for these fight was basically "shooting them in the face until they stopped moving" felt like a step back from the game's sense of freedom and choice (get use to hearing those words used a lot) shown during the rest of the game. This is made more apparent by the fact that if you chose to primarily invest in stealth and hacking, you were royally screwed during these encounters, to the point where they came off as borderline impossible. To be fair, the DLC The Missing Link did give you a boss fight that was in more in line with what the game wanted, and Director's Cut did redo the boss fights so that players who focused more on hacking and stealth had a chance, but in my opinion these were just putting a band-aid on a wound that needed stitches.
Eidos Montreal, don't do what you did in Human Revolution and outsource the boss fight; I know it's technically not your decision to make, but please don't. Do them in-house and make them feel more organic to the rest of the game. Give me the option to kill the boss or not. Don't make me as a player make my version of Jensen invest in combat skills if I don't want to. I loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but those boss fight were terrible, and were the one thing keeping that game from being a 10/10 GOTY contender. It was still an awesome game, mind you, but still.
DO: Let my choices from Human Revolution carry over
Okay, so this one has kind of already been shot down over on NeoGAF, but the game is still in development, so until I hear something offical from the developers, I'm still pushing for this. I don't expect to see EVERY choice that I made in Human Revolution, but it would be nice to see major characters from the previous game show up in Mankind Divided. Like for example, maybe a thug that I spared in the last game pays me back in this one by giving me free weapons, or a friend/family member of someone I killed in Human Revolution wants to take revenge on me; stuff like that would be really cool and bring a lot to the game. Now, some would argue that Eidos wouldn't want to do that since Mankind Divided is an Xbox One/PS4 game, while Human Revolution is a last gen game. And I'd agree with that, except both Dragon Age: Inquisition and the upcoming Witcher 3 found a solution to this very problem. In the case of Inquisition, there's an app that lets you pick and choose what happens in the stories of the first two games, with your choices shaping Inquisition's world, assuming of course you don't have save files from either of the previous games. The Witcher 3 on the other hand, let's you transfer save files from the previous games on PC, while the console versions will have an NPC that asks you to confirm or deny events that happened in the prvious games, with those answers shaping the world. Now I'm not saying that Eidos should do it exactly what Bioware and CD Projekt did, but at the same time they shouldn't throw their hands up and start the story from scratch because it's too hard to carry over choices, since both of the games I just mentioned proved that it's possible.
And hey, if you're worried about which ending from Human Revolution to consider "canon", just copy Invisible War and make all the endings to some extent canon. But that's really the only thing you should copy from Invisible War.
DON'T: Make me relearn everything
Seriously, don't make me have to relearn ALL of this.
So this pretty self-explantory, but I don't want to have to re-learn everything again in Mankind Divided. I get that in Human Revolution Jensen needed to get use to his new augmentations, which is why you had to unlock the ability to hack computers and see through walls, but don't make me do that again. It's just going to be really lame and tedious. Instead, why not pull an Arkham City and let me keep my augments from the last game, but give me new stuff to unlock, or even let me build on what I already have? Case in point: in Human Revolution, there was an augment that acted as a parachute, so if you fell off a high area, you wouldn't die from falling: why not build on that and let me gaing the abilitiy to hover for a bit? Granted, in the debut trailer for Mankind Divided, it is shown that Jense gets some new abilities, such as turning himself metallic and teleporting across a room. And all of it looks super awesome. But at the same time, don't make me re-learn hacking.
DO: Have Malik return in Mankind Divided
In a world where most of the people Jensen interacted with was a liar, a dick, or a lying dickface, Faridah Malik was a breath of fresh air in that she wasn't any of those things. While you didn't interact with her that much over the course of the game, the few times you did were great, as she brought a human element to the whole affair, often offering words of encouragment and support when it came to Jensen. I was a sarcastic dick with most of the people I met throughout the game, but with Malik I didn't do anything like that. She was one of the only characters I would consider Jensen's friend, and when she asked me to help her out as part of a sidequest, you bet I said yes. I'd like to see her return in Mankind Divided because even though she doesn't look it, Malik has augements that help her fly. It would be really intresting to see how she gets by in a society that hates people with augments, and furthermore-
What's that you say? You're saying that late in Human Revolution she sacrifices herself so that Jensen can escape? And that later you can find her body being harvested for augmentations? That's preposterous! She doesn't die, I protected her from those armed soliders long enough for her to escape. Granted, I wasn't proficent in guns at the time, causing me to waste rockets, and it ruined my Pacifist run up to that point, and it took me almost 40 minutes, 50 game overs, and a ton of restarts, but I was able to save her. I don't know what you guys are talking about, Malik dying. You guys are funny. HA HA HA HA........seriously, don't make Malik's death canon.
So yeah, that's what I want to see in Mankind Divided. Sorry this one isn't as long as my previous "Do's and Dont'ts" but condisering we just heard about the game about a week ago, I imagine there are a lot of things that can be changed or ironed out. In any case, do you agree or disagree? Maybe you think I left something out, or maybe you have ideas of your own that you'd like to see? Sound off in the comments section. Thanks for reading, and have an awesome day (or evening, depending on where you live). Now if you'll excuse me, it is time for A SAFETY DANCE:
Good night, and good luck.