Deus Ex: a game so good it gave us actual neuroses about its sequels. Invisible War, a shonky but interesting and sometimes hilarious shooter, became reviled as a crime against gaming for declaring itself to be Deus Ex 2. And when Human Revolution started looking seriously, seriously good, none of us could quite believe it.
But it happened. This third game has the wealth of alternate routes and versatile tools that made Deus Ex great, and expands it with huge city hubs, packed with more sidequests and background story than the original ever had. It reworks the system for augmenting yourself to give you trickier choices between more powerful abilities. And all of those abilities are more slickly designed and satisfying to use. It’s not better in every way, by any means, but nothing else comes this close.
It’s an action game, which our neuroses tell us is automatically bad, but most of the concessions to blockbuster accessibility are genuinely, and surprisingly positive. Melee was almost comically unconvincing in Deus Ex 1: now it’s jaw-droppingly brutal and consistently satisfying. A cover system seemed like a frightening departure, but it ended up making for a much more developed and complex stealth option.
Mainly, though, it’s just so good to have it back. It’s Deus Ex! But shinier! And we haven’t played it through 26 times yet! And DLC is coming out for it! And everyone’s sharing stories about the incredible things that happened to them, and all the ways the quests can play out, and all the people they punched in the face, and what aug builds they want next. Deus Ex 4 is bound to be shit, though.
Read our Deus Ex: Human Revolution review for more.
I liked a whole lot of things about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, chief among them the way it felt like a loving tribute to so many different games that I love. It successfully combined a ton of familiar mechanics— Metal Gear-style stealth, Mass Effect-style dialogue, Deus Ex-style open levels, and even L.A. Noire-style interrogations.
But it made all of those things its own. This was due in large part to the its two most distinctive aesthetic attributes: Its glowing, gorgeous art design and its menacing, melancholy musical score.
Composed by Michael McCann, the soundtrack for Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an understated triumph. It recalls (and even occasionally quotes) Alexander Brandon's iconic score from the first Deus Ex while combining synths, electronic beats, and sampled vocals into a distinctive and evocative aural stew.
The Human Revolution soundtrack is an understated, brooding affair; even when the shit hits the fan, the music rarely if ever reaches the melodramatic highs of Batman: Arkham City or inFamous 2. But all the same, it presents a thicker, more atmospheric vibe than either of those games.
Here are three favorite tracks, though with this game in particular, the entire soundtrack is more than the sum of its parts.
The main theme from Human Revolution captures much of what makes the soundtrack great, while laying out a harmonic and sonic template for the rest of the score. Most of the pieces in the game do a steady build, from ambient synths up through layered vocals with an eventual beat, and finally, a chord change. (Usually to a chord based on the flat sixth—in this case, it goes from a G minor to an E-flat major.) That particular chord change is kind of compositional shorthand for "epic" - it turns up in many a superhero game (like, say Arkham City and inFamous 2) and conveys a uniquely intense, heroic vibe.
It's not the most explosive track on the soundtrack, but "L.I.M.B. Clinic" might be my favorite. More so than most games, the music of Human Revolution is tied to the places and experiences of the game. This is, of course, true of most games, but it's even truer of this one. The first time I entered the Detroit L.I.M.B. Clinic was probably the first time I felt the vibe of this game. It reminded me of nothing so much as the brilliant (and occasionally overlooked) Spielberg film Minority Report, all clean whites, locked hospital rooms, muted robotic clicks and aseptic menace.
This mournful track plays during a major revelation about 70% of the way into the story—it's another slow burn, with an even more paranoid, dark churn to it than "Icarus" before it. Notice some of the same tones from "L.I.M.B. Clinic," the high-pitched synths carving room for the sorrowful female voice. Then, the darkness sets in and builds, builds, growing synth stomps paving the way for the beat to drop. Distorted strings and ripped-up vocals mix together with a sweet electronic beat as past themes make their way into the fringes. It's a dense-as-hell track, and a great example of strong electronic music design and mixing; somehow, there's room for everything amid the dirge.
You can download the soundtrack on Amazon, and it makes a great accompanying track for any computer hacking or digital lockpicking you may have to do. It's also cool to listen to in less intense/futuristic settings.
We'll have more of the best video game soundtracks all this week!
"The Best Game Music of 2011" is a multi-part series highlighting the best video game soundtracks of the year.
Producers Adrian Askarieh and Eric Eisner are yet to take the film to movie studios or financiers. Last year the pair said they hoped the Just Cause flick would emulate Bond film Casino Royal.
Backing previous rumours, The Hollywood Reporter claims a third video game in the Just Cause series is in development. This was reportedly set for launch in 2012, but Avalanche told Eurogamer it will not release a game that year.
So, as of now, Avalanche hasn't confirmed Just Cause 3 as a project. The Swedish studio told Eurogamer it has two "huge" titles in development. Both are scheduled for 2013.
Danish Hitman developer IO Interactive will work on new IP following the completion of Hitman Absolution.
That's what studio head Niels Sorensen is reported to have told Gamasutra.
There was, however, no mention of what this new IP will be.
Sorensen explained that after Hitman Absolution, released next year, part of IO will go on to collaborate with new studio Square Enix Montreal on a brand new next-gen Hitman game. The rest of IO, Sorensen said, will begin work on the new IP.
"When people work on the same IP for some time, I believe that there's a sort of creative drain," Sorensen told Gamasutra. "Thankfully we managed to make sure we keep focusing on different IPs and keeping people fresh."
"We've built an incubation department whose focus is work on new IP and prototypes, and all sorts of things for existing and new IP. And that's a really interesting sort of secret place where they cook up a lot of new things."
IO has tried new IP for much of this seventh generation of consoles. The last Hitman game released was Blood Money in 2006, which was a last-gen game tarted up for Xbox 360. And what fun it was.
Agent 47's back! ...Again! Absolution's not even out yet, but Square Enix is already diving head-long into sequel territory. So said the publisher in a tweet announcing its brand new Montreal studio, which will apparently open up a whopping 150 jobs. Take that, the economy.
IO Interactive, meanwhile, will continue to meticulously craft sets of murder dominoes for Agent 47 to knock down, so this is beginning to sound a bit like the year-on-year model Call of Duty employs with Infinity Ward and Treyarch.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (RPS)
Gameworlds have become ever-more lavish, but has there been a dark price paid for this? Craig Lager believes so. Production values are up but these worlds don’t seem to react to players’ actions as fulsomely as they once did, he worries – are we allowing games’ strange logic to take us for granted? But there is yet hope. Frowned at: Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dragon Age II, Skyrim. Smiled at: The Witcher 2, Dwarf Fortress, Outcast. Please note these are Craig’s views, not necessarily those of RPS.>
In my version of Human Revolution, the police station should be surrounded. There should be SWAT teams, negotiators, probably even an evacuation zone. Adam Jensen’s face should be being projected from every single screen that litters Detroit’s streets as Eliza explains him as being a more-than-prime-suspect in a new, horiffic incident. An hour ago, she would explain, Jensen asked for access to the police morgue and was declined. Now the back door has been broken into, and a path of corpses and hacked computers lead to the morgue in which a body has been clearly tampered with. Instead, Jensen walks into the main lobby and is greeted with “Hello”. (more…)
People don't love Just Cause 2 for its story, or its characters. They love it for the fact it's a giant toybox, giving them the vehicles, the environments and the physics to do whatever the hell they want.
Want to tie a jeep to a plane? You can do that. Want to drive a boat off a pier and crash into an exploding motorbike? You can do that.
Want to throw a bus off a cliff and see what happens? You can totally do that.
We've seen the sixteen minutes of Hitman Absolution footage above before, but not with an informative developer commentary layered over it. Their main focus is on the instinct system that powers Agent 47's guard-prediction and stealth abilities, and on all the different ways that they could proceed through the level differently. They reveal that it's possible to assassinate the sergeant directing your manhunt if you're skilled enough, and you can start a gunfight with the police force whenever you choose. As the fight continues, SWAT officers will start appearing to try and take you out.
The developers say that this is an early level, too, and it's worth remembering that Hitman: Blood Money opening mission was a completely linear turorial. After that, it opened up enormously. At the end of this video we also get a glimpse of the upgraded crowd tech that wowed us in the memorable Mardi Gras level in Blood Money. Combined with an impressive new engine, Absolution will hopefully be a worthy successor to the superb fourth game. Are you looking forward to Absolution?
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Jim Rossignol)
VG247 has word that Avalanche are (reportedly) working on Just Cause 3. Which is both pleasing and disappointing at the same time. Pleasing because, hey, the last Standing Not Looking At Explosions Simulator was pretty ace, and disappointing because I had sort of hoped that the awesome Avalanche team might try and do something else [...]