You won't find many iOS games worthy of being compared to their console counterparts, but Deus Ex: The Fall isn't like most iOS games. When it comes to story-driven games on the iPad, there might not be a game with higher production values. However, this isn't necessarily a sign that a game is great or even fun, so does The Fall fulfill its own potential? Kinda.
The Fall is an action RPG at heart, and in its transition to the mobile platform, the Deus Ex flavor remained largely intact. Like the rest of the franchise, The Fall takes place in the future. In this case, the year is 2027, and you are a ruthless mercenary named Ben Saxon. You won't be relying on any James Bond-esque gadgets to complete your deadly deeds. Instead you are fitted with various robotic enhancements that provide you with superhuman abilities.
You are also provided with the option to purchase an array of weapons, letting you choose whether the dozens of enemies you'll encounter on each mission will meet their end at your hands or simply suffer a bad headache. Each weapon is also upgradeable with various attachments and other perks, and the same goes for your character. There is an extensive tree of customization, and you're going to be busy for a very long time if you're determined to try everything.
The world of Deus Ex looks quite fantastic on the iPad's retina display, and the majority of the environments look appropriately gritty and lived-in. But this eye candy comes at a cost, as I noticed several instances where the game would fall from its normally smooth frame rate and begin to chug for a few seconds at a time. This is to be expected with a game of this size on a mobile device, but it was still disappointing.
Controlling a character in a 3D environment using a touchscreen is rarely a fun experience, but The Fall manages to replicate the feel of a proper controller (or keyboard, if that's your thing) rather admirably. You are given the option to either tap on locations in order to navigate to them or use one thumb to move forward and backward and the other thumb to turn. The latter feels the most natural, and while your character may make a few unfortunate wall bumps here and there, it's comfortable enough to avoid frustration.
Unfortunately, not everything about The Fall is so well done. The artificial intelligence of your enemy combatants is one of the most glaring reminders that you are playing a mobile game, as they are often as dumb as rocks. Nobody in this virtual game world moves or acts with anything resembling rational thought, and when you see an enemy running into a wall or hiding in plain sight, you're going to be shaking your head.
Deus Ex: The Fall isn't perfect, but it gets more things right than wrong, and for a game as big as this, that's quite an accomplishment. If you have an iPad and you're looking for a futuristic adventure that sometimes forgets it's a mobile game, you can't go wrong.