The GWJ CRPG Club - Game 17: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (In Progress)

I played a bit of NewGame+ to do a few Side Missions that I'd missed (and to nab a few Achievements too). It really impressed me with how little of Prague is actually gated-off from the player: you can go pretty much anywhere right off the bat, even sites for future story missions (though nothing will happen there). Of course having a full set of augs (due to NewGame+) helps.

Spoiler:

For example you can go steal the Neural Plasticity Macguffin literally right after waking up in your apartment at the game start. There may or may not be a cheevo for this...

I played the free Jensen's Stories scenario, and it was ok but not great. Played a bit of Rift mode too, which seems like it would get dull quickly.

And......done.

I think the game is cool. I warmed to Prague as a setting, particularly how atmospheric it is and how it changes over time. I think the sidequests were generally good and in line with the themes of the game, and I like the story. But as the middle game in a presumed trilogy, there were too many threads left hanging to be totally satisfying. Plus, you know, the constraints that the story has to live by because of where the world is in the original Deus Ex.

I really played a pretty balanced game. I had all of the basic augs unlocked by the end, and only ever unlocked the remote hacking one from the experimental augs. And while there are a lot of cool tools out there to use, the tranq rifle and stealth punching fools felt like the right way to play this one, and so that’s how I did it. Not sure if that’s cyberpunk enough of me.

Now for some musings on the late and end game stuff.

Spoiler:

As for the martial law, there really wasn’t as much sneaking around as I thought there would be. Just a handful of busy intersections that had to be cleared. I’m glad I had the stun gun around to stun the big armor dudes so I can the CQC them.

And I didn’t bother sneaking into the smugglers area. Went fully loud, lighting up everyone I could find (except the bystanders). It felt good to just shoot, although the shooting didn’t feel great. I really didn’t put any points into guns.

Also, the walk on the train track to get back to my apartment with Jenson constantly fidgeting since the walk was so long sort of cracked me up.

I liked the final mission in London. The sneaking and knocking out the fake guards everywhere. Taking down Marachenko. And then sneaking/running past a lot of guards (while invisible and chugging Biocells) to prevent the delegates from drinking poison. It was good thematically, although I had A LOT of reloads in there.

But it ended sort of anticlimactically. Brown just basically says “yeah, you have a long way to go if you actually want to do this thing.” And then the game ended. And the Picus news report was the most bummer sort of “where are they now” I’ve seen at the end of a game in a long while. Like 80% of it was lies.

Nice work, Sundown! That seemed like a focused playthrough. Did it take you about 20 hours or so?

About 25 hours. I don’t know if I got all the sidequests, but I probably got most of them. And it was the only thing I was playing, plus I had a bit more time at the end of the year than usual.

Sundown wrote:

About 25 hours. I don’t know if I got all the sidequests, but I probably got most of them. And it was the only thing I was playing, plus I had a bit more time at the end of the year than usual.

Nice, thanks!

Finished the prologue this morning. Don't remember who said it but yeah, this whole intro section was poorly done. The shoot out at the end of the prologue also reminded me how not good DE is as a shooter. Added to that: very limited ammo and all my abilities were powered by a dime store battery. Simply being able to see through the sandstorm to aim at something was a trial. It's ridiculous.

Anyhoo, in Prague now where the game opens up nicely.

...and finished! With my first no-kill run. I also played through the System Rift and A Criminal Past DLC missions, both of which I liked.

System Rift could've been integrated into the main game with a little massaging, so it's a bit disappointing that they didn't do that. But as is, since it's a bank heist, it felt a bit like playing an elaborate Thief fan mission. Which I'm always down for.

A Criminal Past sending you undercover into prison gave me big Escape from Butcher Bay vibes, which I'm also always down for. The game started crashing quite frequently during that one though, which was a bummer.

Sundown wrote:

I think the game is cool. I warmed to Prague as a setting, particularly how atmospheric it is and how it changes over time. I think the sidequests were generally good and in line with the themes of the game, and I like the story. But as the middle game in a presumed trilogy, there were too many threads left hanging to be totally satisfying. Plus, you know, the constraints that the story has to live by because of where the world is in the original Deus Ex.

Yeah, Prague and the side quests are absolutely the star of the show for me. I love the look of Prague, and that it has so many apartments you can break into and follow little stories and threads that'll lead into sidequests. And it's got a great big bank to rob! What's not to love?

Basically, this game scratches my Thief itch in a big way.

The main story and its To Be Continued ending is a bit of a bummer though. And while Jensen's fine as far as gravelly-voiced protagonists go, he never feels like he has as big of a reason to be around as he did in the first game. they probably would've been better off switching to a new protagonist, and maybe have Jensen cameo somewhere along the line.

I'm still hanging in there. Had an interesting first week of the year as I'm starting a new job, so have had less time to play. I'm back in Prague and have dealt with the drink-the-kool-aid Machine Cult mission.

I suck at the stealth part of the game, this last mission I did as a total all out assault. I have several side quests I haven't been able to advance:

Spoiler:

Can't seem to find a way to get into the rave.

Also need to break into the CEO's office at Palisade bank, every attempt to do that so far has failed; I can't seem to find a way into the office that doesn't alert the authorities.

I'm enjoying things, and what I'd like to do after this is go back and play all the Deus Ex games in release order. Having trouble making total sense of the story - lots of little details whizzing past.

GreyWolf wrote:

I suck at the stealth part of the game, this last mission I did as a total all out assault. I have several side quests I haven't been able to advance:

Spoiler:

Can't seem to find a way to get into the rave.

Also need to break into the CEO's office at Palisade bank, every attempt to do that so far has failed; I can't seem to find a way into the office that doesn't alert the authorities.

Hinty hint

Spoiler:

There's a vent opening behind some vending machines on the first floor of the bank. It leads eventually to where you want to go.

I'm also fairly sure there's a vent/weak-wall that can get you into the rave too, but not certain.

I've had more bugs, games failing to save, games failing to load, freezes or the whole thing crashing to desktop than pretty much any other game we've played so far.

When it's in it's groove it's pretty good, but it's so inconsistent at applying it's own rules it makes having to go non-stealth inevitable in a lot of places. The number of times I've taken someone down, wait in the exact same point to take out the poor sod who come looking - the only person who could possibly see their buddy unconscious on the ground - and then have the entire place light up like a Christmas tree is really mindboggling. I'm currently creeping through Golem, it's really cheesing me off.

Edit: Also, as much as I don't want to shoot any of these augmented people, some of them make it really, really hard not to want to shoot them.......

...and I'm punting on this for now.

Too many ties to the previous game are really preventing me from getting into / really deeply understanding the story and now I'm itching to go back and play the previous games in the series. It was nice while it lasted but Mankind Divided is gonna have to wait.

Done!

This was a bit of a weird one for me. I liked so much about it. So much of the design is genuinely clever, the stories (main and side quests) were more engaging than not. (The murder mystery was super satisfying to have unfold.) But this game soooo often triggered my, "Thou shalt not waste my time," brain. The martial law lockdown, if you're trying to sneak past (and not incapacitate) people, is just a nightmare of back and forths:

Oh, I'm outside a main mission point, oh here's a new sidequest for you. OK back to the district I just left. Solved it (with even more district back and forth). Back to the main mission point. Hey, we've got another side quest to do, back in the exact same space you just lift. Rinse and repeat. Seriously, **** that noise. And it's an immersion disconnect every time Jensen lazily meanders a subway corridor like he's not got a care in the world.

There is a bunch of stuff like that, but the worst was the closing credits, which run for a solid half-hour, and if they're skippable, I couldn't find a way to do it. I get it. You're proud of your game. You should be. That doesn't mean you should feel OK about chewing out another half hour of my time and my access to my PC, when the only way out is to force close the game. Be better than that. (Yeah, I'm a little fired up about that.)

Anyway, I'm glad we played it. I did like it. I wish we were going to get the conclusion of this story. When the game is hitting on all cylinders, it's really really good. There was a bit where I used the Tesla(?) to incapacitate three guards at once and damn was that satisfying. The hacking minigame works well for what it is. Simple enough to not eat up too much time, complex enough to be engaging. And there are enough memorable characters and story beats to make it worth putting up with the nuisance items.

Spoiler:

Found it interesting that you get a choice, ostensibly, to save innocent people or the corporate guy, but if you do opt to save the corporate guy, you can still save the innocents after all. Curious if it works the other way as well. I also thought that final fight would be a slog, but turns out if you hit that roided out boss with the Tesla, you can incapacitate him straight away. I can see someone finding that anticlimactic, but I thought it was a riot. :)

Congrats to ubrakto and Alien Love Gardener on finishing!

Maclintok wrote:

Finished the prologue this morning. Don't remember who said it but yeah, this whole intro section was poorly done. The shoot out at the end of the prologue also reminded me how not good DE is as a shooter. Added to that: very limited ammo and all my abilities were powered by a dime store battery. Simply being able to see through the sandstorm to aim at something was a trial. It's ridiculous.

Anyhoo, in Prague now where the game opens up nicely.

I have to remember this and jump back in. I didn't mind the prologue but it didn't leave me excited to dig back into the game.

I get what they wanted from the prologue: an appetizer experience where you could feel what a fully operational Jensen is like to play, then strip it away so you can build back to that the way you want. But in practice, I feel like it just made that opening hour+ a bit of a mess. A lot coming at you very quickly out of the gate, and just when you start feeling like you understand how to use your augs and when, they all get stripped away, and you have to slowly build back.

There is a version of this game on an alt timeline that is genuinely a masterpiece.

ubrakto wrote:
Spoiler:

Found it interesting that you get a choice, ostensibly, to save innocent people or the corporate guy, but if you do opt to save the corporate guy, you can still save the innocents after all. Curious if it works the other way as well. I also thought that final fight would be a slog, but turns out if you hit that roided out boss with the Tesla, you can incapacitate him straight away. I can see someone finding that anticlimactic, but I thought it was a riot. :)

Spoiler:

Yes, it works the other way too. You don't even have to finish the fight if you confronted the bombmaker and got the signal jammer, iirc. You can just saunter in, neutralize his detonator, and run off to save the delegates.

Marchenko also has a kill-switch you can find, so you can just bypass the boss fight.

When this game is working how it should be working - and not crashing every 5 minutes - it's really actually pretty good. The main plot is certainly very engaging, even if practically everyone Jensen is working with is either a dick or highly suspect (or both) but it does keep moving forward with a minimum of bloat and makes for a fairly compelling reason to carry on playing.

I agree with Ubrakto that some of the side quests however amount to little more than filler, even if it's supposed to be fleshing out the central "augs v naturals" background the game is set with.

I just spent a good half hour sneaking around an apartment complex trying to find someone. I won't lie, it was really rather fun quietly eliminating (well, knocking out) the enemy, robbing a few unsuspecting people of their possessions (does nobody turn their back when cooking?) and then working out how to exit.

So far I think I've only killed a small handful of people - two thugs because I ran out of stun gun bullets, and one policeman in an Exo suit because I didn't realise you can "just" take them down quietly. Or at least I hadn't figured out how to at that point in the game. He was hitting me very hard so I shot him instead. Harsh, but fair.

Hey, he started it!

And...I may already be losing steam on this. Sheesh! Was really hoping I'd be more excited to jump back into this after my previous false starts. It's the head space I'm in where I'm probably just not feeling an immersive sim-ish stealth RPG right now.

Will keep this installed and busy myself with other things in my backlog. Very possible I could return to this before the voting cycle begins anew.

Have fun, everyone!

Maclintok wrote:

And...I may already be losing steam on this. Sheesh! Was really hoping I'd be more excited to jump back into this after my previous false starts. It's the head space I'm in where I'm probably just not feeling an immersive sim-ish stealth RPG right now.

Will keep this installed and busy myself with other things in my backlog. Very possible I could return to this before the voting cycle begins anew.

Have fun, everyone!

Sorry it didn't work out, glad you gave it a shot!

I got kind of locked on to Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 for, like, a week, but I've pretty much totally burned out on that. I'm planning to jump back into this again.

And we're done

Spoiler:

Marchenko is no more, although Brown and all the UN sycophants are dead. I have no idea if that was the right choice or not, but considering there were lots of people in those tower blocks, and there was no guarantee the Human Restoration Act wouldn't have been passed regardless, I'm happy with that choice.

For me the game started slow and got considerably better as it went on. I think some of the level design early doors was just a either just a little too simplistic, or had "solutions" that sent you miles out of your way to try and bypass any inevitable shootouts. However as others have said, as you unlock more of your augs it gets a lot better, with more options and better maps to explore and exploit using those new augs.

The controls on PC got a little complex towards as more and more abilities unlocked, and I hit on an almost "get out of jail" tactic right at the end

Spoiler:

The TESLA aug would stun or have an EMP effect on anything, so for Marchenko I just stunned him and then unloaded using "The Destroyer" auto-shotgun you can find in a police station in Prague. That thing was lethal, provided you could find bullets for it

I was really enjoying it at the end, go through the levels eliminating people stealthily as I could and trying to stay out of the way of robots and turrets. It really knew what it wanted to be there, and was crafted very well to allow the player to explore those mechanics and the abilities the game gives you.

It was very buggy for me though - at one point I was afraid I was going to have to restart after returning to Prague for the final stages. I'd just gone through one of metro lines and when I exited, practically every police person on the map started shooting me outright. I certainly hadn't done anything to activate that - the alarms were blaring as soon as I was on the platform and in the end I had to resort to grenades and lethal weapons to get through. I was trying not to kill them but in the end ran out of choice, I just couldn't stun them quick enough.

I'm certainly more tempted to play through the DLCs now than I was when I started I'll say that. It's not the best game we've played in the club but it's not the worst either.

^Man, everyone is killing it this time around! I think this might be the fastest we've ever had five people finish. Nice work!

I'm glad to hear that your enjoyment went up the more you played. I'm hoping to make progress this weekend. 3 days off, woot!

Math wrote:

Thank goodness for the Deus Ex: Human Revolution recap video. I forgot almost all of the plot.

Who needs recap videos, when you can do the:

Dumbass Deus Ex Marathon for Morons! (DDXMM)

Starting from the very beginning:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/r16NdBp.jpg)

I began the marathon at the same place any old game playthrough begins: on the game's PCGamingWiki page.

There exists a community patch for Deus Ex which is still being maintained. The patch includes a Direct3D 10 renderer, which looks nice, but you need to enable an external framerate limiter to keep it from stuttering on newer NVIDIA drivers. Not a problem, just something you gotta know going in.

The only real bummer I've encountered with the community patch is that, while it's set up to let me launch through Steam like normal, I don't get the Steam overlay, and thus can't use Steam's screenshot function to easily snap screens and paste them all over my Steam activity profile.

Coincidentally, the game I was finishing up prior to playing Deus Ex was another Unreal 1 engine game: Unreal itself. Both of these are games I played when they were new, but have hardly touched since. So my memories of them were formed at 1024x768 on a 17" CRT monitor. Now I'm firing them up at 1440p on my new 32" Odyssey G7 display, and it's... quite a different experience. Those Unreal 1 engine reflections really stand out on the large screen. DX's environmental design, though, is definitely more barren and sparse than Unreal, owed of course to its nature as a more open-ended immersive sim rather than a traditional boomer shooter (though Unreal still had a lot more openness than I expected).

I'm eager to see what my opinion of Deus Ex is once my playthrough is complete. I'm a big immersive sim fan, and I hold System Shock 2 to be the pinnacle of single player gaming. I remember enjoying DX but feeling it fell a little short of SS2, and I've always felt that the "best game ever" praise heaped on DX belonged to SS2 instead. A few hours in, and that opinion is so far holding. The early environments in DX are enjoyable, but don't land with me the same way as the UNN Von Braun.

My JC Denton build is starting off heavy on the hacking/bypassing/lockpicking. I'm trying to be very thorough with my exploration. In my original playthrough and every subsequent brief attempt to re-play, I never freed Gunther at the Statue of Liberty, so I made damn sure to get down there and not just ascend right to the top of the Statue as I always did before.

I am cheering you on, *Legion*! You got this!

Godzilla Blitz wrote:

I am cheering you on, *Legion*! You got this!

He's quite insane you understand......

So...long time lurker. Decided to make one of my gaming goals for 2022 to be a more "social" gamer. This is my start. I hadn't played anything Deus Ex before, although I had them all in the backlog based on previous sales. I am not typically one for stealth as I generally lack the patience, but I enjoyed how I could play either stealthy or go in all Danny Devito and still succeed.

I did have many bugs and crashes, so saving often became a priority. My total hours came out to 26 total, and that is even having to Alt-F4 out of the ending credits as others have mentioned. I too get it that everyone deserves credit for what was a solid experience, but at least give us a fast forward!

I'm glad I dove in and gave it a shot, decent game overall. I look forward to the next CRPG!

prodiginy wrote:

So...long time lurker. Decided to make one of my gaming goals for 2022 to be a more "social" gamer. This is my start. I hadn't played anything Deus Ex before, although I had them all in the backlog based on previous sales. I am not typically one for stealth as I generally lack the patience, but I enjoyed how I could play either stealthy or go in all Danny Devito and still succeed.

I did have many bugs and crashes, so saving often became a priority. My total hours came out to 26 total, and that is even having to Alt-F4 out of the ending credits as others have mentioned. I too get it that everyone deserves credit for what was a solid experience, but at least give us a fast forward!

I'm glad I dove in and gave it a shot, decent game overall. I look forward to the next CRPG!

Congrats, prodiginy, on playing, being social, and finishing! Most excellent work! And welcome to the CRPG club! That's an impressive start. I've leveled you up, and keep in mind that you can always play our older games in the CRPG Retirement Home.

It's odd that some people are having a high number of bugs and others seem to be fine.