By Neil Schneider
Please note that the HD3D image captures in this review are a little blurry because of how we captured the images. This is only intended as a sampling of the 3D implementation, and is not reflective of the game’s potential clarity. While much of the original Deus-Ex review is intact, this is a refreshed version that includes updated findings for HD3D, and a new section for Nvidia’s GeForce 3D Vision as a result of their latest game patch.
The original Deus Ex was released in 2000, and earned critical acclaim for combining first person shooters and role playing character growth. Named the “Best PC Game of All Time” in PC Gamer’s Top 100 PC games, it frequently ranked high in “game of the year” candidates. Deus-Ex: Invisible War was also successful, but didn’t get as much critical acclaim as the original.
Eight years later, Eidos Montreal is taking another stab at the Deus-Ex franchise with Deus-Ex: Human Revolution. Continuing the tradition of mixing role-play and FPS action, Human Revolution is also boasting native stereoscopic 3D support. Has Eidos successfully upped the ante?
Today we find out!
Deus-Ex: Human Revolution is a prequel to the original Deus-Ex. The story takes place in 2027, and you are Adam Jenson, a private security officer working for Sarif Industries. You live in a world where traditional plastic surgery has gone the way of the dodo bird, and has been replaced by robotics and augmentations. In place of bigger genitals, people want stronger limbs, digital radio implants, new levels of dexterity, and all kinds of special abilities.
There is no subtlety in this new world as augmentations are rarely hidden. The warm touch of a mother’s hand is easily replaced with cold metal terminator claws, and once handsome faces look like jigsaw mixes of man and machine. Sadly, this hunger for human implant gadgetry has a dangerous trade-off…rejection. It turns out that the same way the body will reject a new heart or a new liver, it is equally resistant to getting a new arm or a new chest piece. The solution is anti-rejection drugs, but they are expensive and aren’t easy to come by.
The good news is your ex-girlfriend, Megan Reed, has discovered a breakthrough! She found a way for the gadget guzzlers to keep their toys and not have to buy the anti-rejection meds that go with them. Sadly, a hostage crisis breaks out, some nasty dudes kick your butt, and Megan has gone missing. Facing near-death, Sarif Industries gets you fixed up with an augmented body so you can get out there and figure out what the heck is going on.
While your new body comes with batteries included, it’s not all it can be. With time and experience, you get “praxis” points that are used to activate new augments and special abilities that will make all the difference. While expensive, you can also buy praxis points to accelerate your growth.
There are three main components to the game. The first is talking and personality. You will be interacting with those around you, and what you say can decide whether you will easily walk into a fortress, or be forced to sneak and fight your way to your next destination. This is a skill that can be augmented to make you more effective, and it may be worth it. Yes, scientists in the future have come up with a way to make you a more effective talker!
The second component is hacking. This was more complex and creatively developed than anything I have seen before. Computers are all over the place, and they can either store information that will further your mission and help you along, or they are security panels that can turn off alarms or help use the environment to your advantage.
Different computers have different levels of hackability, and will require increased skill as the game progresses. It’s not just about grabbing a password, though! You need to break in, avoid detection, and if you are really sharp, pick up a few bonuses on the side. Hacking is a very important skill to have, so don’t let it go unnoticed.
Something I learned while deep in the game is that as you pick up passwords, the system automatically stores them for you to make life easier. So when you are hacking a machine, pay attention to the screen to see if the password is waiting for you before unnecessarily breaking in. Sure you get experience points for going the hacking route, but a password is much easier!
When you have enough hacking skill, you can have the turrets and robots attack their own security guards (lots of fun!). In some cases, you don’t get to see it! One time, I hacked the robots, and only found out later after walking in a room filled with corpses that it really worked.
The last component of the game is the action itself. Are you a cold blooded killer? Or is it better to knock your opponents out with stun guns and sucker punches? Being the good guy isn’t easy because limp corpses can be woken up by fellow enemies.
This isn’t a traditional shoot’em up though. You can pick up some brawn here and there, but even when you are loaded to the hilt, you’re never going to be a human tank. It’s always better to sneak around and go unnoticed rather than trying to blast your way through the front door.
The environments are usually designed for this purpose and you get experience bonuses if you can get in and out without being noticed. You can move crates around to be better hidden, you can walk through vents and ductwork, and if you really need to take someone out, you can knock them out and move their body so they don’t get discovered.
While the game is somewhat mission based, it almost has an open sandbox concept – almost. The stages in the game are divided into cities with independent buildings, or secret lairs that take up an entire level. In most cases, you can go back to where you came from, but it’s not to the degree of an Elder Scrolls or the original Crysis.
Also, while certain levels like Detroit and Heng Sha Island have merchants and side missions like a true open sandbox game, it’s not consistent throughout the title. This is a shame because you could be sitting on a stockpile of credits that could be used for new weapons, ammo refills, or new augments – and you have nowhere to spend it!
Speaking of weapons, you usually pick them up as you progress through your adventure, and can buy additional options at a local merchant. Additional options could include ammo choices and enhancements that make the weapon better. For example, you may want to add a heat seeker to your rocket launcher, or target tracking to your crossbow, etc. etc.
While the acting isn’t Shakespeare, the game gives some entertaining commentary on our own society. For example, during a side mission, you need to help a prostitute rescue her friend who is getting forced to have augments. It’s obviously not boobs, as all characters of all ages in Deus-Ex already seem to have them. The augments are likely sex toys that are more robotic…something the human mind of this day and age can’t fathom…yet. However, as crazy as the premise sounds…is it really so different from the countless stars, strippers, and aging professionals that feel pressured to go under the knife to stay visually competitive? Hah! Makes you think….
Now the big question everyone wants to know…how is Deus-Ex Human Revolution in stereoscopic 3D?
Drivers are great because most games can run this way, even though there are often trade-offs with visual quality settings and remaining bugs and anomalies that need to be stamped out by driver profiles and optimizations. The exception to the rule is a handful of games that natively put out a left and right view to the display without driver intervention. The best example of this is Avatar: The Game by Ubisoft which supports almost every 3D solution under the sun.
3D image to the screen because there aren’t extra processing cycles being used by a middleware driver that is doing extra grunt work on behalf of the game. As expected, the frame rate is very good with Deus-Ex: Human Revolution, and any mid-range AMD graphics card owner (e.g. AMD 6870+) should be pleased with the performance.
Clearly, this was some kind of bug because the images overlapped perfectly without any differences. The exception was the HUD which had a minor 3D effect. In this case, the left and right images were just offset, but it’s only one camera view – not two.
Before the patch, Deus-Ex had other anomalies that had no business being there. For example, there were noticeable cases where lasers and lighting effects were disconnected from objects. I’m not sure if it was my GPU or the game, but there were also occasional flashing shadows and lighting mismatches in 3D mode too. As far as I can tell, these issues were fixed with the patch. In some instances, small bits of lighting disappear in one of two viewpoints – but it’s a minor issue.
Nvidia GeForce 3D Vision users were very happy to learn that Deus-Ex Human Revolution now supports GeForce 3D Vision as well. More than that, instead of being a driver implementation, Deus-Ex is using Nvidia’s quad-buffer equivalent to AMD’s HD3D. The results are very similar to what AMD’s HD3D offers with the same levels of visual flexibility.
While this isn’t a deal breaker for Nvidia users, there are some anomalies that aren’t in the HD3D version. For example, in some instances, there are missing (or strangely added – hard to tell) textures on certain wall panels in some levels. It’s unclear if Deus-Ex would need a further patch to fix – not a big deal, though.
AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition Quad Core Processor 2.5Ghz
Patriot Extreme Viper PC2-8500 4GB RAM
Nvidia GTX 585, AMD HD6870
Windows 7 64 Bit
Zalmon Trimon 24″ Monitor
TriDef Ignition 3.3.19 Beta with Beta Deus-Ex Profile
Given the 3D outcome included with Deus-Ex: Human Revolution before the patch, I reached out to the driver developers to see if they were interested in releasing their own profile for the game. Maybe a driver could have better results than the game itself?
However, even with all these bugs, the 3D is far more interesting and dynamic looking than what is offered with Deus-Ex’s native support – even after the patch. I hope DDD continues their profile development around this game.
For the fellow 3D gamers out there, it will leave you expecting more. Despite its potential, Deus-Ex doesn’t exemplify what makes 3D gaming fun and great, and its best hope in accomplishing this will likely come from a stereoscopic 3D driver rather than what the game developer originally had in mind.
For those interested in trying the DDD Deus-Ex beta profile, I have attached it to the DDD GameGrade3D profile. If you are wondering how MTBS managed to get the HD3D screen captures….keep wondering! MTBS was so late in the game getting this review out, we had to leave SOMETHING to the imagination!
The stereoscopic 3D scoring listed below is hotlinked to GameGrade3D profiles.
How Memorable Is This Game
Stereoscopic Effectiveness iZ3D
AMD/HD3D Overall Rating
NVIDIA Overall Rating
DDD Overall Rating
iZ3D Overall Rating