PAX East 2013 | Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was released in August of 2011. Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut will be released sometime in 2013. That’s about a twenty month long wait between releases. So, if you pardon me for being blunt, why the hell should we care? I got some answers at PAX East.

Before I go into the details of the game’s demonstration, I’d like to echo a familiar refrain: “This is the definitive version of the game.”

That’s what we’ve heard plenty of time dealing with similar director’s cuts and various ports onto new systems, but it’s also a statement Wii U owners have heard many times. It’s applicable with Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, Need for Speed: Most Wanted U, and it’s being used here once again. In the first two instances, the statement is pretty true. Will lightning strike a third time? Emile Pedneault, one of the game’s designers, is pretty confident that it will.

As you can expect, Pedneault wasn’t afraid to give the Wii U‘s GamePad plenty of love. Hacking by touch is cool, pulling up the game’s actual strategy guide is nifty, and the constant mini-map on the screen is pretty handy. But many people will cry out that these features aren’t essential, but instead gimmicky. So how do you help convince these stubborn fans that Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut is worth there time? Again, this is a two-year old game we’re considering buying. Well, one way is to make the game look better. I’m not talking just about the visuals, either.

Pedneault wouldn’t specifically say that the Wii U‘s hardware allow them to make the Director’s Cut a better looking game with expanded environments, too. The game even felt bigger, something fellow journalists during the media demonstration also noticed. We couldn’t put our fingers on whether it was the camera’s field of view or optimized engine, but it did indeed look larger.

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Of course, none of this would matter had developer Eidos Montreal tackled the game’s biggest issue: boss battles. In the original, players have the option to control protagonist Adam Jensen in various ways. One of these ways is to go through the game in a stealthy manner. However, you couldn’t exactly stick with this style when you arrived at various boss battles throughout the game. Many people complained that they felt completely out of place and unnecessary. It was like biting an apple and finding a plum inside. That’s not the case here, though. One of the first things we were shown was a demonstration of how boss battles now work. Jensen was able to hack into a turret and use said turret to eliminate a boss. While it allows players to stick to a stealthy style that may be better suited for them, everything was over in a relatively quick amount of time. It didn’t feel or look like a boss battle just happened; there was no sense of challenge.

It seems strange, then, that one of the biggest changes for Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut doesn’t appear to be its best. While the boss battle shown was one of the first in the game, it wasn’t necessarily the best way to demonstrate how they’ve been changed. Instead, I came away more impressed with the enhanced visuals and environments, as well as the game’s new hacking mode. I’m not talking about the pure touch-screen hacking either. As you hack, the game will still happen around you, which I can imagine can sometimes lead to a sense of urgency in tense moments. The in-game strategy guide, too, is something that I approve of, as it keeps players in the game without necessarily holding their hand. The help is there, but only if you want it.

Whether or not all these changes will lead to sales remain to be seen. Undoubtedly, Wii U owners who missed out on the original release will eat this up. But what about people who have already played through Adam Jensen’s story? Will this be the game to help win back the hardcore crowd with Nintendo? Is this the title that will move systems? Emile Pedneault would certainly like that to be the case, as he smiled and laughed that it’d be nice for the Director’s Cut to be the game that moves systems, but the chances of that are pretty slim. Still, it’s nice to see a developer show confidence in a game that’s appearing on a system that the public looks down on.

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