The latest instalment of the Deus Ex franchise has divided the mankind into two groups, one which likes the latest episode while the other group thinks the predecessor was better. The Deus Ex franchise is set in a cyberpunk themed dystopian Earth in the year 2052. The video game is replete with espionage, terrorism, counter-terrorism and conspiracy theories.
The story has an interesting take on the Illuminati theory. Deus Ex Mankind Divided is set two years after the Deus Ex Human Revolution and Adam Jensen is the hero. The cyberpunk rendition of the modern world unfolds in the Czech Republic and the player has to track down the Illuminati, avert a terrorist attack which is plaguing humankind and creating a rift between traditional and augmented humans.
Deus Ex a first person shooter game franchise with stealth elements lets the players counter-terrorism in the savaged world either as a lethal or a non-lethal player.
By posing as a non-lethal agent the player has to devise various strategic moves and alternatives to procuring intel about the mission. In a non-lethal approach has access to many augmentations such as TESLA, Social Enhancer and Smart Vision.
As a non-lethal player one has to maintain a low profile and avoid confrontations. A non-lethal player has more control over the situation in Mankind Divided. But the player has to develop strategies and has to depend on intuition whether to engage in a face-to-face confrontation or lie low on the radar. If faced by a terrorist it is advisable to shoot rather than fleeing to maintain a low key.
The game instead of having levels asks the player to choose between ‘Give me a story’, ‘Give me a challenge’ and ‘Give me Deus Ex’. The different options offer the player different layers of accessibility to different groups of people. Hence why the game can be enjoyed by all fans of Deus Ex with varied preferences.
The trailer of Deus Ex Mankind Divided landed in soup when it was released. It created quite a ripple by using the term ‘mechanical apartheid’ and the tagline ‘Aug lives matter’ paralleling the active Black Lives Matter movement in the USA and protesting the deaths of countless African-American people. An in-game footage had revealed the protagonist Jensen fighting with new gadgets, including a pulse blast and a liquid armor.
However Deus Ex Mankind Divided now out on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC fails to live up to the standards of its predecessors. Deus Ex Mankind Divided is not exactly a fantastic piece of digital art as the other instalments of the Deus Ex franchise it has quite a few technical glitches. The new installation is all about exploration, goose chase, eavesdropping on conversations and side quests.
The storyline has the potentiality to strike a chord with the players when compared with the current global politics. In the backdrop of Prague the players would find many trigger-happy cops at checkpoints where the aug population would be harassed and upon refusal to show papers would be deported. The situation in the virtual world seems to be analogous to the apartheid in the current global situation, where people of darker complexion are being harassed.
Jensen has a Swiss army knife as an arm which encloses his lethal and non-lethal weapons. His arm includes non-lethal weapons like Stun gun Tranquilizer Rifle and a detachable blade akin to modern-day Tasers. His weaponized arm also contains lethal weapons like wrist-fired rockets and ballistic knives.
Deus Ex Mankind Divided opens with a mission called the Black Market Buy in which Jensen is seen participating in an Interol sting to apprehend a group of terrorists in an abandoned hotel construction site in Dubai.
Towards the end the covert operation goes south as a group of Aug terrorists arrive. A firefight ensues and the nucleus of the operation Singh is taken hostage. Now the player has to liberate Singh but how?
To reveal a little the answer lies in the non-lethal approach. The game contains myriad locked rooms, compartments, and safes full of booty. The passwords to these treasure troves can be found in most cases in the adjacent areas or on a person that Jensen has to assassinate.
The last instalment of the Deus Ex franchise Human Revolution had left little room for the development of narrative in Mankind Divide, which is about trans-humanism and attempts to incorporate technology in human biology. If the players think that they are blessed with superhuman abilities and mental capabilities With augmentations they are mistaken.
Their enemies the mechanically augmented humans or ‘augs‘, who were treated like “second-class citizens” and for this reason have become the bad guys a parallel is drawn here with the modern-day racism and xenophobia.