Originally released last year on iOS only to be ported to Android at the start of this year, it wasn’t long before an HD port was bound to hit a larger gaming platform. Going as far as calling this game an HD port is largely overrated. Deus Ex: The Fall is at best a large screen Android app which makes use of the Steam store by throwing in a copy of the original Deus Ex: Game of the year Edition that released back in 2000. This may actually be the most positive aspect of purchasing the game, whether it’s for the sake of nostalgia or curious newcomers.
Taking the role of ex-mercenary Ben Saxon, Deus Ex: The Fall takes place as a side story to Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The obvious faults that this game presents is largely unforgivable, and these stay with you up until its awful ending. Treading the thin lines of conspiracy theories and a future wrapped in trans-humanism agenda, the dull and stiff characters struggling to hold this game together both on a visual scale and in the sense of general interest are easily in the running for being the worst aspects of the game.
While the game’s storyline is a struggle at best for keeping players engaged, and I can confidently say this also applies to the hardcore fans of the series, there’s an inevitable and consistent feeling of irritation when being forced to interact with the over dramatic characters trying to be relevant to the story, that clashes with the lifeless NPCs that contribute nothing to the game. Playing through Deus Ex: The Fall had me feeling like a member in the audience watching the rehearsals to a bad sitcom, with muted character extras that where stage props at best.
"During my playthrough with the game, it was an extremely hard task to accomplish without the words "Port" whispering in the back of my mind. The amount of bugs, unusual button mappings, and odd behavior coming from the gameplay itself all screamed Port."
The need to care about what actually happens as a consequence of the multiple choice scenarios presented to me, simply had me pressing the inaccurately placed interaction button at a fast and consistent pace, just to skip through the poorly animated characters that did nothing other than contribute to the degradation of the Deus Ex series.
One of the biggest problems with Deus Ex: The Fall, amongst the many that there are, is that it tries to invoke serious characters and a dramatic storyline into a platform that was originally intended for quick-burst gaming sessions, that play at their best at keeping you entertained while on the go.
The blockbuster action of a fully fledged triple-A title that one would prefer to experience on a larger screen and at the comfort of a couch, doesn’t workout well with the nature of mobile gaming platforms. This is one of the issues that Deus Ex struggles with and it maybe its greatest. The word “port” often presents itself with a lot of brash and negative short comings that often turn out to be true, and Deus Ex is no exception.
During my playthrough with the game, it was an extremely hard task to accomplish without the words “port” whispering in the back of my mind. The amount of bugs, unusual button mappings, and odd behavior coming from the gameplay itself all screamed port. With no real background history on the Deus Ex series, it was somewhat of a difficulty to get immersed into the game, or to even care for the characters for that matter.
"The time it takes to make your way from one end of the level to the other, only to progress on to the next through a loading screen destroys all hope of immersion and investment, that the game struggles at giving the player in the first place."
The game attempts to deliver a feeling of importance to the background of its world and story through written notes and eBooks left behind by unseen NPCs. But seeing how these are littered in almost every corner of the game including trash cans, it comes off more to the likes of desperation. Coupled with its illusionary sense of exploration delivered through miniature sandbox areas, that have you crawling through vents with predictable outcomes which undoubtedly lead back to the location in which you entered. It makes you wonder what the goal was here in creating a game with such pointless actions.
As the player is guided through each area in the game by the means of a directional hint marker there’s a real feeling of “why bother?” with the use of such false open areas, that carry no sense of life or locations worth exploring anyway.
The time it takes to make your way from one end of the level to the other, only to progress on to the next through a loading screen destroys all hope of immersion and investment, that the game struggles at giving the player in the first place. Where a lot of people had a love it or hate it attitude to latest game in the series, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Deus Ex: The Fall, places an image on the series that leaves it in an odd position for newcomers.
Touch wood this will never be someone’s first entrance into the series, but should it happen the bond will never form. This transference of taking a well established and popular series to a mobile platform, only to port it right back to its original roots presents a real problem, not only for the Deus Ex series, but for the temptation of trying it out with other games.
"With nothing at my control but vertical-synchronization, anti-aliasing, and screen resolution, the thirst for texture filtering and anisotropic filtering could leave one feeling dehydrated. Deus Ex looks and plays like an android emulator with a user submitted config-file improving upon its already disastrous button mappings."
Just to add to the list of awful mis-happenings that Deus Ex: The Fall manages to succeed at, it ultimately backfires on establishing a solid control scheme be it via the use of a mouse and keyboard or to that of a controller. Unable to navigate the main menu by the means of a gamepad without manually changing it first is wasn’t something to be mad at.
However, the fact that the game recognized the inputs off the controller by fading out the mouse cursor, delivering the illusion of gamepad control only to realize it still had to be activated first from the options menu was the first sign of a bad port. Scrolling through the list of options ranging from audio and video to gameplay and controls, there’s a certain level of expectation that PC gamers feel they should be treated with on the subject of visual options. While this sounds narcissist and to some extent quite elitist, it’s only because of the norms that one would be used to when it comes to user control in PC gaming.
With nothing at my control but vertical-synchronization, anti-aliasing, and screen resolution, the thirst for texture filtering and anisotropic filtering could leave one feeling dehydrated. Deus Ex looks and plays like an android emulator with a user submitted config-file improving upon its already disastrous button mappings. The control scheme which Deus Ex gives the player conflicts with its gameplay in terms of what the character can do. As the game was ported over from iOS and Android, the effort taken to optimize the controls in an appropriate manner to the layout of the gamepad is non existent.
"Playing through the majority of the game in the method of stealth proved to be a more suitable option, and aside from avoiding gun fight, the small cinematic stealth sequences, that has Ben drawing a blade and executing enemies from behind actually makes you feel like a badass."
A strange and inaccurate scaling of aiming sensitivity that didn’t seem to care for the adjustments I made to it in the settings menu only made the experience worse the more I played with it. The obvious problem here is down to its mobile development. It’s easy to see how well the game would work when being played through the use of a touch screen, but playing with a gamepad is as much a disaster when presuming it would be easier with a mouse. This damages the gameplay mechanics particularly when using fire-arms and leaning in and out of cover. As the enemy A.I. can be overwhelming at times not to mention daft in their movements, keeping track of enemies becomes a nuisance that’s far from actually enjoyable.
Playing through the majority of the game in the method of stealth proved to be a more suitable option, and aside from avoiding gun fight, the small cinematic stealth sequences, that has Ben drawing a blade and executing enemies from behind actually makes you feel like a badass. But other nitpick gameplay elements such as not being able to jump or step up to ledges when Ben is fully capable of traversing a wall from cover, lets down what little fun I actually gained from it. Continuing with the aspects of character movements, Ben is able to dash from cover to cover and hack security doors by finding hidden notes, or purchasing door hacks from its upgrade menu.
There’s alot of elements in the control scheme that are reminiscent of touch screen game development, that didn’t translate well to the use of a mouse. The only time that the use of a mouse actually works and aids in navigation aside from clicking “Exit to Desktop”, is on the upgrade menu. But the revolving circle of bugs and glitches that plague this game come right back around when actually using the upgrade menu. The game practically holds your hand at every new element it introduces to you through the use of tutorials. Using the upgrade menu proves to be an optional part of the game in which you would never visit again if you had the chance.
"With all said and done as tedious as it may be, the biggest achievement of Deus Ex: The Fall is the included copy of the original Deus Ex, and if that counts as replay value then it's certainly worth its small price tag."
The upgrade system allows the character to raise the level of his augmentations and gain new abilities. But the only need to upgrade your character comes at the need of an obstacle you inevitably meet in the game, which is then taken over by the game’s tutorial of using said upgrades and abilities. There’s no inspiration or an actual want or need to even visit this menu, and even then its a cramped disaster of icons, and far too much irrelevant information. I guess I could be thankful that these tutorials only come in the form of text and don’t make use of voice overs, as the audio within the game is best described as unfinished.
There’s nothing more embarrassing in a game, as well as the suffering of the person playing that game, than missing character voices that are trying their hardest to get you immersed into the game’s world, as well as instructing you on your mission objectives. This wasn’t just one small section of the game or something of a rare occasion, if a patch was ever needed it would be now. I would prefer an entirely new version of the game built from the ground up for PC, but I’ll gladly settle for a patch.
The only thing that’s actually relevant to the Deus Ex universe in this game that actually translate well are the urban cyber-punk environments and the gold and black colour scheme that popularized the visual style of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Something that left me largely confused with Deus Ex: The Fall was its achievement system. Being constantly swarmed with achievements caused me to question what I was being rewarded for. Was it awarding me for the amount of time I put up with such a game? Was it a case of “Hang in there buddy it’ll get interesting soon!” This feeling of gratification and enjoyment that the game was so persistent on giving me just felt unwelcome and unwanted. With all said and done as tedious as it may be, the biggest achievement of Deus Ex: The Fall is the included copy of the original Deus Ex, and if that counts as replay value then it’s certainly worth its small price tag.
This game was reviewed on the PC.
Slick stealth sequences and a visual style reminiscent to Deus Ex: Human Revolution.
Infuriating control mechanics and a prop-set appearance.