Also On: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Eidos Montreal / Straight Right
I know that I’m not alone in being surprised by how great Deus Ex: Human Revolution was when it originally released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 a little over two years ago. While the original Deus Ex is pretty much universally loved, it’s not a franchise that managed to capitalize on any of its initial promise. The original follow-up to the PC hit, Invisible War, was one of the more disappointing sequels I’ve played. Add to that the 8 year gap between Human Revolution and Invisible War, plus the fact that this was the first project for a brand new studio—Eidos Montreal–there wasn’t a lot of initial reasons to be positive.
But then Human Revolution finally released, we all played it, and I’d venture to say that most of us loved it. It did a pretty great job of evoking the original game and building up that universe in a way that few prequels manage to succeed at. And it was also one of the better stealth focused games on the market for current-gen systems, and remains so today. Level design was solid, with multiple paths, optional objectives, and the ability to play through nearly the entire game without lethal tactics. Even its hacking mini-games were fun and engaging, and the soundtrack was phenomenal. Gunplay wasn’t necessarily a strong-suit though, and the voice acting was fairly hit or miss. But overall the end result was far better than I think most of us expected.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut doesn’t really change any of the above statements in any significant way. What it does manage to accomplish, however, is give players that have already experienced the game another reason to do so, while hopefully bringing in the rest of you that skipped over the original release. And for the most part I think the material added here is reason enough to do just that.
For this review we were given a digital copy of the game via the eShop on the Nintendo Wii U. There are other versions available as well, for a substantially cheaper price too, but the Wii U does have a few things going for it. The biggest of which is the second screen support via the GamePad, something also present in the PS3 version of the game via the PS Vita, and the Xbox 360 version of the game with secondary devices like tablets and smartphones.
It’s also worth noting that this is a pretty darn good looking version of the game, improved via a new lighting system found in other versions, but with what appears to be better texture work compared to other console versions. The PC version ultimately trumps anything the consoles are capable of, but the Wii U version of the game does take a strong second place medal here. Finally, there’s the MiiVerse functionality not found elsewhere, giving players the opportunity to snap in-game pictures and upload them for other players, also offering up a unique function that allows you to add some limited voice-over to the pictures shared as well.
But the Wii U version isn’t without some flaws either. There’s some noticeable choppiness to the video during cutscenes, evident right from the start of the game. I’d be curious to see if this is present in the disc version of the game as well, but I’d suspect that it is. I also noticed some severe framerate drops at different points, generally during combat with four or more enemies, usually during explosions caused by grenades. It doesn’t happen often, but when it happens you’ll have a tough time not noticing it. I also found that loading was a little lengthy, especially on restarts after death; disappointing considering this was installed to the hard drive (internally on a 32GB system).
But that second screen support is what really makes the Director’s Cut version of the game trump the original regardless of platform. Having a more detailed map present on a second screen is a god-send here, allowing you to easily map out routes and find hidden areas. And while some games can be a little distracting when you’re stuck navigating maps or adjusting inventory with a second display, I never really found that to be an issue here. By default the mini-map is taken off of the main display, but if you’d prefer you can restore it and still keep the more detailed map on the GamePad.
Other bonuses on the Director’s Cut are also worth checking out. The optional developer commentary is well worth a listen, and is surprisingly candid in the information given. The making of feature included is also quite lengthy, and offers an interesting look at game development and studio creation that few fans get the opportunity to see. These two features in particular are something I’d love to see more games tackle, either with Director’s Cut releases like this, or in the original versions as additional material more substantial than your standard concept art.
Other bonuses here include a full-fledged strategy guide accessible via the pause menu while playing, with detailed area descriptions and maps pulled from the original printed release. The Director’s Cut also incorporates all the previously released DLC content, woven into the game in a near seamless fashion, providing more incentive for returning players that maybe didn’t pick up the content on the first go around.
Outside of some disappointment in the overall performance, and the ridiculous nature of the pricing on the Wii U compared to other platforms, I found this to be a pretty substantial re-release for a really great game. Again, whether you played through the original before and enjoyed it, or missed it entirely, this is well worth a look. I’d love to see more “Director’s Cut” titles in this vein, offering up more than just packed in DLC as an incentive to double dip.