Deus Ex: The Fall is a new entry in the Deus Ex franchise, having ties to characters from Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but focusing on a new hero and storyline introduced in the Deus Ex: Icarus Effect novel. Upon its announcement and reveal by Eidos Montreal, the game was met with vehement negativity. Why? Because people are ignorant. No resources – besides consulting – were taken from the core team and their likely efforts towards a future Deus Ex title for consoles and PC as the game was developed by N-Fusion Interactive and the folks at Square Enix Mobile. The question now, however, is: were those quick to disparage it right to do so in the first place? And, will I be eating crow?…
Ben Saxon is a former British SAS soldier who was part of Strike Six and “Operation Rainbird” during the Australian Civil War. The story starts with Saxon telling his side of the events that occurred in the lead up to his defection from the Tyrants – an independent paramilitary group headed up by Jaron Namir. Strike Six was ambushed; shot down in their transport plane and wiped out by a drone aircraft. Namir found Saxon, the sole survivor, burned and suffering from terrible limb injuries and took him to the hospital. Upon waking up, Saxon was offered a spot in the Tyrants. He would go on to take it, on one condition: Namir promise they find who killed his crew. Years have passed since that alliance was made, and eventually broken, the reason for which is played out here.
While Saxon has some unfinished business with the Tyrants, he also has something more immediate and pressing on his mind – the shortage of Neuropozyne (Nu-poz). There’s an experimental alternative called Reizene, but there are reports of potential side-effects. This issue was referenced in Human Revolution, but not explored much. Here, it’s a driving force and one of the main focuses as every augmented man and woman is in danger of having their implants rejected (Darrow Deficiency Syndrome – DDS), including our main protagonist and his partner Anna Kelso (also from the novel). The story feels much more directed than Human Revolution, maintaining the political edge, but focusing on its personal effects.
This was always going to be where Deus Ex: The Fall could, indeed, fall. But thankfully, most established mechanics by Human Revolution have made the transition intact. N-Fusion have gone to great lengths to ensure there is little frustration in the controls by offering multiple methods of navigation, shooting, camera-work and cover use. The U.I. has also received an appropriate overhaul to accommodate the touchscreen control scheme, with full HUD customisation enabled as the gold-bordered buttons can be rearranged how you see fit.
The targeting mode can be switched between auto and tap. Auto does not mean lock-on in the traditional sense as your reticule does not automatically follow the highlighted enemy through all movement. It also doesn’t mean that you need not worry about manual aiming all together, because even when both parties are standing still, simply holding the shoot button with them in your sights will aim at their mid-section, which isn’t exactly effective. Movement can be achieved through using the virtual joysticks, or either single or double tapping a spot on screen. Cover can be entered in the same manner, with an “auto leave cover on tap” option available to you.
Look inversion and sensitivity settings are present as one would hope. The ability to auto rotate the camera and add a second fire button (for lefties or those who find it more natural) rounds out the control variables. Even with all these choices, shooting can still be a pain, especially at first and when not in cover. It takes some serious acclimatization. The highly impatient could rage quit after their first gunfight, but should just keep at it, and maybe modify their HUD. While in cover, you should make use of the second fire button on the left hand side of the screen (by default). I think the difficulty stems from console shooter-fans having to dissociate the left side from the left trigger on a controller, which is ordinarily for zoom. Other than the shooting mechanic, all other interactions play flawlessly with touch because they are pretty basic in nature already.
Choosing weapons, executing a takedown, picking up items and completing hacks are intuitive and simple (most require a single tap). There are a couple exclusions though: jumping and a familiar inventory. Jumping isn’t even really necessary here and would surely be cumbersome (you can still vault over cover). The inventory has been heavily altered – boiled down to a few quickslots for weapons and consumables that must be assigned. Having no limits on how much you can own simultaneously means micro-transactions are made viable. You can use in-game credits – can be earned, found or bought with real money – to buy within the “Inventory” tab of your pause menu. But don’t worry, those credits will be piling up through gameplay, especially if you’re an explore/completionist.
Visuals and Audio
Visually, The Fall is 100% consistent with Human Revolution, whilst also feeling fresh with regards to its new environments – Panama, Costa Rica and Moscow. Graphically, 3D models are low-poly and everything is understandably and expectedly scaled down in comparison to its console/PC brethren. The voice acting and music, however, is on-par with that of Human Revolution’s. Now, that is not necessarily a good thing in regards to the former…finding actors who can perform accurate accents doesn’t seem to be a strength of Square Enix/Eidos Montreal. It’s a little better in this instance, but the only real difference when it doesn’t work right, is now it’s South American accents being butchered, not Chinese.
Deus Ex: The Fall is a more than worthy addition to the series and its lore, for a very reasonable price of $7.49. Does it play as well as its console and PC predecessors? No, of course not. Does it look as good? Hell no. But you know to expect that from mobile platform titles. However, having said that, Deus Ex: The Fall holds up better than virtually every other attempt to translate a AAA console/PC franchise to mobile. Its shooting may be flimsy at times and difficult to acclimate to, but in all other respects, it retains what made Deus Ex: Human Revolution so great…and you don’t have to worry about forced boss battles; everything can be achieved through stealth. You may not have asked for this, but if you play it, you’ll be happy Square Enix didn’t listen to you.
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