It can’t be easy resurrecting a long-dormant franchise, but with the right set of tools and augmentations, anything is possible, as Deus Ex: Human Revolution showed back in 2011 after an eight-year hiatus. This year, the team at Eidos Montreal are readying its direct sequel, Mankind Divided, and what a game it’s shaping up to be. We’ve not only been hands on with the latest demo, but we’ve also rounded up everything else you need to know before the game launches later this year, including trailers, pre-order bonuses and more.
Exactly five years to the day since Human Revolution launched, Mankind Divided will be released on the 23rd August 2016 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.
Deus Ex 101 trailer
To help you get up to speed, Square Enix has released a brand-new trailer for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided that provides some much-needed backstory for those new to the series. Narrated by Adam Jensen himself, it turns out our super soldier has more augmented implants than he originally thought, allowing players to use even more abilities than he had in the first game. Handy, that, considering its sequel status.
The world has also become increasingly polarised since you last left it, though, as an apartheid has now been enacted across the world separating augmented and non-augmented humans after certain augs were hacked by terrorists and started killing their defenceless neighbours. Jensen, meanwhile, is working for a taskforce fighting augmented terrorism, but as with all Deus Ex games, nothing’s ever as simple as it seems.
Hands on review
The bulk of the game will be set in Prague, which is the beating heart of the game’s terrorist activity. Here, rubbish litters the streets, mixing in with the autumn leaves caught in the barbed wire around entrances to apartment buildings and local shops. Police are crawling through the narrow streets, too, stopping everyone that crosses their path to check their credentials.
It’s a sprawling world, but one thing you won’t see in Mankind Divided are flashing waypoints directing you toward your next objective. Instead, Eidos has taken a much more natural approach to signposting this time round, letting players discover new routes for themselves without breaking immersion. In my demo, which took place in an abandoned hotel in Dubai, an air vent grate crashes to the ground as Jensen rounded a corner, signalling a higher, more surreptitious route than simply creeping along at ground level.
I was also shown a section in Prague’s wider city slum area where Jensen’s alerted to an open apartment window by a TV that’s been left on in the gloom, its lights playing gently against the billowing net curtains. The scene awaiting Jensen inside that apartment isn’t particularly pretty, but it certainly helps paint a better picture of the underlying tensions in this graffiti-ridden district than simply bribing the officer on patrol outside to let you carry on your way in the neighbouring street.
That said, you might be wise to go back and pay that officer a visit at some point down the line, as Eidos hinted that such encounters could potentially lead to all sorts of different side-quests, some of which might last no longer than ten minutes, while others might take you on an entirely new, mission-length sub-story.
Whether you choose to engage with these is entirely up to you, of course, but your actions will have a bearing on the world around you. Newspaper stories will change depending on the outcome of your missions, and your behaviour will also affect how other characters perceive you. This will become particularly important when you come face to face with high-profile mission targets, as going in guns blazing might understandably make them less inclined to open up and negotiate than if you take a stealthier route and show your foes mercy.
There wasn’t much evidence of this kind of diverging path in my particular demo, but then it did end with a huge helicopter crashing through the roof of an abandoned hotel after an arms deal went awry. Instead of taking it out by force, though, I used an oncoming sand storm to bypass my attackers without so much as a whiff of detection before quickly whipping out the helicopter’s battery completely unscathed.
Regardless of how each mission plays out, though, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to adapt your approach as you go along – provided you bring the right weapons with you, of course. At the beginning of our demo, for instance, a series of conversations with our superior officer sees Jensen end up with a tranquiliser rifle for long-distance stealth takedowns, but I could have easily opted for the up-close-and-personal stun gun, or, if I’d decided to go down the ‘lethal’ route, a combat rifle. You can still pick up enemy weaponry as and when you find it, but for the most part you’ll be dealing with your chosen loadout.
There’s plenty of room to personalise your arsenal, though, as Mankind Divided features fully customisable weapons. On the combat rifle, for instance, you can install additional muzzles, side rails and scopes, and even alter the firing pattern and type of ammo you use. Combat is immensely satisfying, too, so you shouldn’t be disappointed if a stealth run doesn’t quite pan out the way you were expecting.
The main campaign isn’t the only thing you’ll be digging into come August, though, as Eidos is also including a brand new game mode with Mankind Divided called Breach. This arcade-style approach to Deus Ex uses exactly the same weapons and augmentations as Mankind Divided’s story mode, but here you’ll be using them to hack into top secret servers and steal information in short, fast time-attack challenges.
With its sharp, angular, prism-esque art style, this really is Deus Ex at its purest and most concentrated form. The story will paint a picture of how each breach actually takes place in virtual reality, where each would-be hacker makes their digital heist from afar, but whatever way you look at it, it certainly makes for a startling change of pace from the main campaign, especially when getting caught means you lose all the data you’ve just been trying to extract.
Once you’ve gathered enough data, an alarm will sound telling you it’s time to pack up and run, but bolder players might want to stick around a bit longer and see what else they can find, as they’ll not only earn more EXP, but they’ll also uncover more of Breach’s separate side stories, helping to fill uncover additional subplots in the Mankind Divided universe.
Each server has its own virtual defences, too, taking the form of sentry guns and patrolling guards to name just a few. Of course, this being Deus Ex, you’ll have plenty of weapons and augmentations at your disposal to help force your way through, but you’ll only be able to bring a limited number of tools on any given mission due to certain ‘memory’ constraints on your virtual avatar. It still features the same stealth and combat mechanics you know and love, though, making it a perfect fit for those who have rinsed through the main campaign.
You can also add up to three one-time ‘modifiers’ to missions to give you an advantage. For instance, one mission starts sounding the alarm as soon as you arrive, so you might want to give you a speed boost, more HP or a higher defence stat before you jump in. Alternatively, you can use modifiers to make things more difficult for yourself, too, earning you more credits to buy extra upgrade packs and better weapons. If that’s not enough, you can challenge your friends to beat your high scores as well, earning even more credits to spend on levelling up your avatar.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Collector’s Edition
Anyone pre-ordering the game gets the Day One Edition, which comes with a wide range of additional content, including an extra mission, a digital artbook and a soundtrack sampler. There’s also the Covert Agent Pack, which contains various in-game items, weapons, re-skins and upgrades. This will cost £55 on console and £40 on PC.
For those that want the complete Deus Ex experience, though, there’s also a Collector’s Edition available to pre-order for £110 on console and £100 on PC. This gets you all the Day One Edition content plus an exclusive black and gold Prism box, a 9in Adam Jensen figure, a 48-page artbook and a limited edition steelbook case. Both are available from all the usual retailers, including Amazon.
We go hands on with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, plus everything you need to know about Eidos’ latest Deus Ex game