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Preview: Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Justin McElroy

We're still a good long way away from the release of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, so keep in mind that it's hard to say if what I saw inside Square-Enix is truly representative of what we'll get when the game finally releases. But the small sliver of combat and social puzzle solving I saw looked extremely promising for series stalwarts and newcomers alike.

Gallery: Deus Ex: Human Revolution | 9 Photos

The yellow and black color scheme you've seen in trailers and screenshots is highlighted from the opening moments of our demo as we enter a city outside Shanghai. It teems with life and, perhaps more noticeably, advertising that illuminates every corner of the narrow street with dingy yellow light. It's an impressive effect.

In a bar called The Hive, lead character Adam Jensen looks for a man who might have some scrap of information about who perpetrated an attack on his employer. A bartender Jensen questions refuses to let us in to see the man we need, even though demonstrator and art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête chose more relaxed, non-threatening dialog options. It's clear though, as we could tell from the bartender's shifting eyes, that he's hiding something. Jacques-Belletête tells us we could settle this with violence, but he takes a more subtle approach, wandering around the bar until he overhears a conversation that yields a valuable clue: An employee of the bar may have left some sensitive information in the bathroom. With a few seconds of hunting, we find a data pad with passkey that'll get us one step closer to our target. Jacques-Belletête assures us there are multiple ways to attack this and all the game's problems.

We jump forward in time as Jensen assaults a warehouse. Jacques-Belletête opts for a stealthy approach, using his cybernetic cloaking enhancements to sneak up on enemies before burying his wrist knife in their back. These takedowns are dynamically generated and a lot of fun to watch. At one point, Jacques-Belletête sneaked up on two enemies standing in close proximity with his and the ensuing takedown involved clobbering the duo into each other. Dynamic, fun stuff. Moments later, Jensen fires an arrow through an enemy's head, nailing him to a wall.

Again, this is early, early stuff. But I left confident that this new Deus Ex had a real shot at not only pleasing long-time fans and wooing console gamers that are less familiar with the series. Here's hoping it stays on the right track.

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