They’re calling it a “Revolution” – so why am I doing SWAT turns while bolshy grunts expose their backs to my iron sights? Why does the conversation system have a “property of Bioware” stamp on the inside cover? And why am I once again treading down the set of Blade Runner? For a game with its eyes on the sky, the third Deus Ex seems worryingly keen to follow in other people’s footsteps.
As you probably knew already, non-linearity is a franchise trademark, and one of the ways this first/third-person shooter goes about facilitating non-linearity is via cybernetic augmentation. Faced with some otherwise insurmountable obstacle or other, snappily bearded posterboy Adam Jensen can rebuild his very body from the bone marrow up, melding flesh and machine to develop superhuman abilities. Itch in the centre of your upper back? No problem sunshine – for see, with a splash of proto-plasmic silicon enhancement, I shall cause my fingernails to grow a good six inches.
The problem with the proceedings as they stand is that most of the augmentations on display – boosting strength to lift heavier stuff, becoming a better hacker, sprouting an invisibility cloak – aren’t all that breathtaking. We’ve seen their like in countless mildly open-ended action games over the past half-decade, from Harry Potter to Splinter Cell. So, Eidos Montreal – how about the following radical additions?
You may wish to watch this video before reading on.
“Level cliché generator”
Prototype matter recycling beam immediately transforms all visible inanimate objects into packing crates. Any pre-existing packing crates are transformed into oil drums. Any pre-existing oil drums are transformed into strippers (see also “Dirty dancing”). Any pre-existing strippers are transformed into videos of Cliff Bleszinski doing the Macarena.
“It’s secretly symbolic”
Synthetic additional frontal lobe allows telepathic assault on target, suffusing his or her vision with cheesy religious metaphors. Intense psychic trauma, facial hair growth and/or career in games reviewing results.
“Bring it on”
Elasticated silicon micro-fibres allow agent to “get down” with wobbly, fat-shouldered NPC strippers in Hong Kong dives. With upgrades, augmentation allows key NPC interactions to be resolved via the medium of Dance Off, complete with live commentary from Simon Cowell and Surprise Guest, call 0900 103210 to vote [all voting lines now closed].
“Skip to the sex”
Cyberdinetical electro-masturbatory aerosol compounds advance mood of NPC target to extreme of sexual arousal, thus saving you the trouble of searching Youtube for thirty seconds worth of sci-fi bra. May be used to “bypass” boss fights.
“Your shoelace is untied”
Embedded polymerised nano receptors allow agent to distract and confuse uncooperative subject by pointing to his feet. Upgrade to unlock complimentary interrogation technique “atomic wedgie”.
“There’s an app for that”
High level social technique. Chemically enhanced frivolity gland allows agent to immediately redirect all conversation pathways to some app he just downloaded from the iTunes Store. Post-upgrade: in event that enemies also possess iPhones and are immune to “app-ssault”, agent may reveal that Android smartphones are much better devices really, thus inculcating a crippling degree of insecurity and rerouting all AI scripts towards nearest hardware retailer.
Photo-synaptic filtering software. Where environments are confusingly “ambient” (e.g. due to surfeit of Chinese script or packing crates) agent may replace all texture maps in view with IKEA wallpaper samples by humping a digitised version of Philip K Dick’s corpse.
No that wasn’t very funny, and we really should know better. You’d better say so below, then.