Review: Deus Ex GO30 Aug 2016 0
Review: Deus Ex GO
Released 18 Aug 2016
When I heard we got code for Deus Ex GO I was hoping that Joe would just shoot it my way unannounced so I could tell him “I never asked for this”, in my best gravelly voice. I had the glasses ready and everything! But here we are.
Deus Ex GO is a turn based tactics/puzzle game in which you guide series hero Adam Jensen through areas, stealthing and hacking as you go. Anyone who has paid attention to Square Enix’s mobile releases when it comes to their western IPs will no doubt spot the similarities to Lara Croft GO and the game that requires you to observe the proper pause, Hitman GO.
As with the previous two spin-offs Deus Ex GO is set apart by an art style and mechanics derived from the main franchise. Everything is presented in a black-gold neo renaissance art style that the series has become known for post-Human Revolution. It never fails to look pretty and lends itself nicely into the minimalist look of Square Enix’s ‘GO’ series. As the game progresses though it’s easy to forget there are multiple locations as they all look the same, aside from different background clutter.
Every time you move a space in Deus Ex GO it is counted as a turn and any enemies who are also moving (which is only a few) will take theirs simultaneously alongside you. Unless you are coming up on them from behind or are cloaked, occupying the same space as an enemy will result in death. For most enemies wandering into the space in front of them uncloaked will also buy you an express ticket to St Peter and the augmented gates in the sky. You need to stealth, hack and shoot around them.
I came into the game cocky as all hell, dodging round guards and blazing through floor puzzles with ease. But fast forward a couple chapters and I was now hunched over my tablet tweaking this rube goldberg-esque sequence I’d set up in attempt to pass the same area for the umpteenth time. True to its stealth origins watching unit patterns and patrols is the key to Deus Ex GO. In terms of enemies you have armoured guards who charge you down one space at a time if you wander into their line of sight, flying drones that fire on whatever space you were on when they first spotted you and bipedal drones that patrol in a straight line, to name but a few.
You have to learn how to play them off each other to beat the game’s fifty four levels and six chapters. Rotating floor panels so that enemies end up blocking up each other’s paths, hacking turrets to shoot their own side and using some enemy abilities to open up paths for you are but a few things you’ll have accomplished by the time the story wraps up. Jensen also has a few tricks up his sleeve in the form a cloak that lasts two moves, a ranged attack you are given very late in the story and hacking. I was sad to see that the hacking minigame from Human Revolution and Mankind Divided didn’t make an appearance as I’ve often thought it could easily be a mobile game on its own. Instead you have to simply draw a line from the hacking node to your intended target whilst making sure it doesn’t come into contact with any other hack lines you may have up. You also have to keep an eye out for any enemies with a gold tinge to them as they prevent you from drawing lines through spaces on which they are standing and they also destroy the line if they stumble upon it in a patrol.
Yet despite all of that Deus Ex GO never really gets ‘hard’. Challenging, sure, but never difficult enough that I was infuriated or left utterly stumped. The difficulty curve is also more of a hill as I found the middle portion to be the hardest whilst the last two chapters constantly jumped between mildly challenging and laughably easy. I fear this may put some people off as an experienced player may be able to finish Deus Ex GO in an afternoon or two without really breaking a sweat.
The only form of micro-transaction comes in the form of “solutions” which essentially tell you how to complete a level. Since we live in an age where the internet is a thing, allowing you to access forums, walkthroughs and Let’s Plays, I honestly don’t see the purpose of these but I guess they have to charge for something. The game has weekly challenges as well as the story that give you a variety of rewards but once again I’ve yet to find those much of a chore to complete.
The PC and console Deus Ex games are renowned for their extraordinary attention to detail, especially when it comes to environmental design and Deus Ex GO is no different. Jensen has numerous different takedown animations for each type of enemy that are all fluid and yet also brief so sequences in which you’re making multiple attempts don’t drag on. The enemies themselves all also have their own kill animations for Jensen so even dying repeatedly is a joy to watch. There are countless other smaller details like how the lights on patrol bots seem to always pulse in time to the music or how crossing hacking lines causes the screen to flicker.
The story is functional and simply moves you forward from level to level. Though there’s nothing really wrong with that it's a bit of disappointment when you consider how the Deus Ex games are famous for their storytelling. Elias Toufexis’ gravely portrayal of Adam Jensen is also sorely missed along with voice acting all together making the game feel a little lifeless when the occasion dialogue bits pop up.
Honourable mention goes to the electronic/synth soundtrack that reminded me heavily of FTL of all things. Deus Ex GO maintains the level of polish and quality we’ve come to expect from the GO series and if you’re a fan of the others or simply want something to scratch that Deus Ex itch then it’s definitely worth a purchase.