Adam Jensen is all wired up and ready to uncover more conspiracies. Also, we find out just how much he loves AMD hardware.
I write this after spending enough time with the game to know how well it plays, but not how the storyline ends. Apparently, it doesn’t end in a way that gives the same satisfaction as a tub of chocolate ice cream while binge watching the Olympics.
Er…anyway, to bring you up to speed, it’s been two years since the events of Human Revolution and Adam Jensen has now signed up with Taskforce 29, a secret police organisation that’s trying to stop augmented terrorists. Because everyone now hates augmented people, since you know, they kind of got trojaned and killed millions of people. Basically, the world’s a bit of a shitshow.
Adam gets back to Prague after a successful mission in Dubai and subsequently survives a bomb at a train station, which knocks out his augmentations. Once they’ve been fixed, you find out there are some mystery experimental parts that have made it into his system.
The mystery deepens, and Adam is left once again to investigate multiple leads.
Mystifying and plain bad things
To begin with, let’s get the bad stuff out into the air. People have complained about bad performance on PCs with bugs and frankly shite performance. I haven’t had this problem. I had some trouble starting the game at first. This was strange, as the game presented an all or nothing choice with pre-order bonuses. You either have all of them installed or none at all if you want to play it. Don’t know if this is a bug, or pure bad design choice, because if the bonuses were partially installed, it would crash on the loading movies.
Actually, about those pre-order bonuses. Did you know some of them were single use only? Why? And then you find out there’s actually a microtransaction store within the game. It’s a single player sneak-a-thon RPG, and there’s microtransactions. US$1 for a single use Praxis Kit. Frak me publisher dudes, this isn’t Candy Crush Saga. You may say that this is all avoidable, and besides games like Mass Effect 3 also had this kind of stuff in its multiplayer aspect. Sure, but those microtransactions were not single use only items that only worked for one save game. For frak’s sake.
I hope this isn’t a new low standard in gouging money from players, because it’s actually an affront to customer relations, especially since the last major AAA title I played and spent a lot of money on was The Witcher 3. That game and the DLCs were bloody well worth every single cent I paid. Also, that Geralt statue.
Also, this next gripe is very much a first world problem. We got a preload on Steam, which was great. But we also had to sit there waiting for the damn thing to unpack from 20GB to 40GB. Why can’t it just unpack after finishing the download so we can damn well play the game right on release?
The good. There’s a lot of good.
Now, I went back to playing Human Revolution just to refamiliarise myself with the game mechanics. And to jump into Mankind Divided straight away shows that this aspect is an evolution more than a revolution. Which is good, because there was nothing wrong with it in the first place.
The game feels smoother, you can do takedowns of enemies from around corners and, if they’re close enough, over the top of cover. You can now plot runs between cover points too, which is convenient because these sorts of planned decisions take time and patience to pull off.
Also, the new augmentations. Thank the maker for Remote Hacking. It makes the sneaking aspect much easier and gives you more options than EMP grenading every single camera you come across. Now, I really want to get that augmentation that lets you shoot your arm blades at people.
Now in general, the game looks fantastic. It’s not as gloriously pretty as the big open environs of a true open world game, but the Prague hub that you’re dumped in is still full of side missions which are quite fun. Plus, there are heaps of vendors and characters out there, and remote hacking into police vehicles is always a blast.
Heavy handed messaging?
The game’s been under development for quite a few years now, and there’s a bit of controversy about how its marketing has been tied to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign. It’s probably a cynical and opportunistic move, akin to the microtransaction store, but inside the game itself, you actually feel this discrimination. There are toilets and seats for ‘naturals’ only and restaurants that will flat out refuse to serve augmented people.
The thing is though, I can’t help but wonder just how easily society could fall into this kind of segregation. It can be anything. South Africa had the apartheid regime, Australia had the White Australia policy, and now France is banning burkinis for women because men are the ones blowing up buildings and killing civilians. Does it make sense? No, it’s not supposed to, because fear of people who are different is irrational to the point of stupidity.
All up though, Mankind Divided is a pretty good game. It has its good and bad moments, but you can’t fault its enthusiasm. Well, you can fault the publisher’s enthusiasm for greed, but not the game studio’s dedication to turning out as good a product as it could. The game world is tight, well designed and full of detail. The missions are fun and, unless you’re impatient for a gun fight, present a good challenge for all playstyles. Seriously, if you can get past the bullshit money grabbing elements, which is easy, then I highly recommend this.
I can almost give this game the ‘Completionist’ reward. Alas, some blatantly stupid decisions make it impossible to do.
Play this if you…
Like the idea of having swords in your arms.
Skip this if you…
Can’t stand microtransactions in a single player game.