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Deus EX: The Fall Review
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Deus EX: The Fall, a stealthy first-person shooter from Square Enix, is now available from the app store. Set in the same universe as the console series, Deus EX: The Fall features terrific graphics, an interesting storyline, and favorable controls that translate into a worthwhile mobile experience.

Deus EX: The Fall Pros:

  • Terrific 3D environments with lots of hiding spots/cover objects and interactive elements
  • Crisp, clear voice work and branching dialogue paths
  • Flexible control system with lots of options and easy-to-use interface
  • Plenty of purchasable/upgradeable weapons and cool augmentations
  • Play in stealth or run-and-gun fashion

Deus EX: The Fall Cons:

  • Combat hit detection is not good
  • Enemy AI is unintelligent at best

The storyline involves a futuristic world where science and biology have fused to allow for human augmentations, driven by a serum that has come into short supply. As mercenary soldier Ben Saxon, you must unravel the details concerning corporate involvement, government conspiracy, and all manner of armed thugs bent on stopping you from completing your mission. In fact, the game is so heavy on story that the action/shooter segments feel few and far between in comparison. Much of the game is spent exploring sparsely-populated locales, picking up pocket secretaries and snooping e-mail accounts on PC consoles, and having spirited conversations with adversaries in which your responses can impact the flow of the game. That’s not to say that the action is truly lacking in any sense, just that it isn’t as prevalent as you’d expect in this type of game.

One of the hallmarks of the series is the ability to choose between run-and-gun and stealthy ops, as the gamer sees fit. Thankfully, this aspect is alive and well in the mobile version, allowing you to use your upgradable, high-powered weaponry to dispatch enemies or sneak up on them and silently take them out one by one. There are plenty of additional interesting aspects that add character and flavor to the gameplay, such as quirky hacking games that grant you access to secure locations, wall-hugging and barrel-rolling to avoid detection by surveillance equipment, sneaking through air ducts, and much more. Of course, utilizing your augmentations is the most interesting, as you can pass through laser beams by giving your body texture a glassy quality, for example. Unlocking new abilities and learning how to use them to great effect is one of the more enjoyable aspects of the game.

Graphically, the Deus EX world has a gritty, worn feeling, with a monochromatic orange glow that further enhances the dreary nature of the imagined future. Locations contain plenty of winding rooms with areas and objects that offer places to hide and take cover as needed. There is a bit of sameness to some of the areas, but an indicator helps to orient you to the next location you are expected to move toward, so it’s hard to get truly confused or lost. The audio is crisp and clear, with decent voice work. Controls offer a lot of flexibility, giving you the option to choose how to control movements and enemy targeting. With tap-to-move and invisible joypad options, you can select a method that suits your needs. Similarly, targeting enemies can be handled by tapping on the enemy or using the auto-targeting that will lock on to bad guys when you move your aiming reticule over them. Aiming/Looking around is handled by swiping around the right side of the screen, and context-specific buttons pop-up as necessary that allow you to barrel-roll, vault objects, etc. There are persistent buttons for shooting, crouching/standing, and wall-hugging. Roll-out menus are available for your equipped weapons, grenades, and augmentations, allowing you to easily switch to your preferred option. Any object that can be manipulated will have a pop-up button to use, take, read, and more. It’s all pretty easy to figure out and control, though we did have some issues with the hit boxes for speech options. Additionally, hit detection in combat isn’t nearly as realistic as one would expect, as several point blank shots seem to be required to kill any individual, wasting ammo and leaving you exposed far longer than necessary.

Replay value is pretty good, as you can play very stealthy in one playthrough while blasting baddies at will in another. Your dialogue choices can also differ from one attempt to another, warranting additional playthroughs to see how these decisions play out. The gameplay itself is fun, despite (or maybe even in response to) the somewhat awkward enemy AI that often leaves them exposed like cutouts in a shooting gallery. A universal app for $6.99, Deus EX: The Fall is a pretty impressive 4-Dimple experience.

Deus EX: The Fall Review, reviewed by Kevin on 2013-07-14T23:46:53+00:00 rating 4.0 out of 5

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