The game takes place during the year 2027, 25 years before Deus Ex. Nanotechnological augmentations have yet to be developed and biomechanical augmentations are the current state of the art. The main protagonist, Adam Jensen, is a private security officer with Sarif Industries, a leading company that specializes in human augmentations. After he witnesses a chilling attack on his company which leaves him horrifically injured and forced to undergo augmentation to survive, “the conspiracy begins.”
The player will visit five cities over the course of the game, including Detroit, Shanghai and Montreal. In addition, the protagonist will have his own apartment where he may store his secrets and collected information. The events in the game will lead to the formation of UNATCO from the original game.
Deus Ex 3 was announced on May 17, 2007, and an initial teaser trailer was released on November 26, 2007. Around one year later a first preview was launched which detailed some of the game’s mechanics and setting. Several of the design decisions mentioned, most notably the introduction of regenerating health, precipitated an initial backlash amongst many fans of the original Deus Ex.
The different “pillars of gameplay” are “Combat”, “Stealth”, “Hacking”, and “Social”. Players can switch between these gameplay types whenever they please, and certain pillars may flow into others. For example, a failed hack may sound an alarm and start a fight, and exploration might lead to the discovery of a stealthy way past the area’s enemies.
In the series, Augmentations are technological modifications to the body that allow the user to use superhuman abilities. While augmentations in the first two games were nanotech, Human Revolution is set prior to both and instead features mechanical augmentations. These Augmentations cater to each of the five gameplay types. While the player character is highly capable of bringing death on his enemies, the player is never forced into acts of lethal violence. Augmentations, while enhancing the player’s performance in each of the gameplay types, also allow players to craft their own methods of play should they see fit.
Every enemy squad will have an identifiable squad leader who will direct the team’s actions. If the leader is killed, the squad falls into disarray. Enemies will also react to subtle player decisions, such as a change in behaviour or weapons, etc. Unlike in Invisible War, weapons will fire distinct ammunition types instead of depleting a unified pool. They can also be upgraded to better suit the player.
Another major change seen in Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the highlighting of objects a player can interact with, explained via the in-game plot as tactical vision Augmentation. This highlighting of objects can be turned off in the game options. Human Revolution is primarily a first-person game, but will switch to a contextual third-person viewpoint when using the cover system, certain Augmentations, or for melee combat.
Deus Ex Human Revolution has received widespread critical acclaim in reviews. Reviewers who had access to the game in February 2011 praised the importance of conversations in the missions, and also the depth of the storyline. Various other websites also described that this is a game that “puts almost everything else in the genre to shame.”