Experienced Points: Deus Ex Boss Fights

By Shamus
on Sep 16, 2011
Filed under:
Column

You may remember my first impressions post on Deus Ex: Human Revolution. I want to do a follow-up post now that I’ve been through the game twice. In the meantime, here is where I deconstruct the boss fights, which are dumb and stupid and also dumb.

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A Hundred!20827 comments. Suck it, base ten!

From the Archives:

  1. AlternatePFG says:

    Why has it been so long since you’re last Experienced Points on the Escapist?

  2. Factoid says:

    Hey, an Experienced Points! I was wondering where these went. Were you on a voluntary or non-voluntary sabbatical? I caught a bit of the rumblings happening over there with The Escapist losing Extra Credits and having trouble paying its contributors.

    Does this mean Stolen Pixels may make a return as well?

    • NonEuclideanCat says:

      I think Shamus said not too long ago that he simply didn’t have the time. Between his book, Spoiler Warning, this blog, and the rest of his life, he didn’t have enough time for EP and SP.

      At least, I think I remember him saying that…

  3. Karl says:

    I will not finish this game. The first boss was annoying; the second made me not care HOW awesome the bits in between are, I’m not doing all that knowing a third one is coming.

    • Mathias says:

      The last boss is so hilarious easy to cheese that you can hardly call it a boss fight (unless of course you’re going with no combat-related augmentations, in which case I take my teenage e-hat off to you).

      All you need is a rocket launcher, the Typhoon missile launcher, or the grenade launcher (if you preordered it like me).

      • StranaMente says:

        Since I discovered that 2 typhoon shots kill every boss (at medium), I acquired that augmentation only to win boss fights.

      • Gamedragon says:

        Laser rifle shoots through glass. Apply that to the final boss and boom you’ve totally cheesed it.
        I did a second no-aug no-engagement playthrough and learnt a bunch of cool stuff like breaching walls without the aug and stun prods disable cameras, lasers, turrets and bots.
        I only figured out the boss fight took more than 20 seconds normally on that playthrough.
        Also, i’ll say that the only reason i managed to beat the bosses that time was that i prepared way in advance.
        by the penultimate boss i’d stacked up something like 15 frag mines.

      • Danny White says:

        I actually found the laser rifle just broke the final encounter. It has this little quirk of having pinpoint accuracy while blindfiring, so I didn’t actually have to leave cover until everything was already dead. That gun broke the game as soon as you got it.

        • Kdansky says:

          Yes, firing with perfect accuracy from cover was too good. And on top of that, you can easily find 3000+ shots for the laser rifle (note that it burns through 10 shots a second or so), in distinct difference to the plasma gun.

        • Gamedragon says:

          did you try shooting directly at the final boss?
          The barrier means nothing to the laser rifle and you may have skipped half the boss fight without noticing.

      • Kyte says:

        Never got the Typhoon, only got the electric shield for the last boss. How to win? Grenades. Lots and lots of grenades. Also armor-piercing pistol headshots.

        • SlowShootinPete says:

          You can also just use the jumping augmentation to hop up onto one of those dividing wall things at the edges of the room. I just sat up there and chilled for a while, then used my sniper rifle to end the fight.

        • tengokujin says:

          If you set up and throw in 4-6 frag mines into the boss fight area, in the right spot, the minute you enter the fight, Namir sets off all of them.

          Kablooey.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Indeed.All the boss fight can be won with a bunch of grenades.I preferred tugging the rocket laucher with me,because Ive boosted it,and just spam emp grenades in between.Except for the last boss,where Ive used some gas grenades as well.Even the third boss goes down in under a minute,on the hardest difficulty,with your vision being blurry and you having no augs.So boss fights are easy as hell atop of everything else.

      • Groboclown says:

        For me, the boss fights are all incredibly tough. But then, I’m trying to finish those using only non-lethal weapons on them. Gas and emps help out, as does the stun gun. But you go through so many rounds of that stuff.

    • Tizzy says:

      I think this thread says everything that needs to be said against the very concept of boss fights when all the remarks seem to revolve around: “Oh, this boss fight looks hard, but actually it’s easy to cheese.”

      (BTW, this remark should in no way be taken as a disparaging the people who wrote in helpful if cheesy tips; on the other hand, designers of boss fights should feel insulted. Actually, said designers would do us all a favor if they died in a fire, or at the very least repented and mended their ways.)

    • Agammamon says:

      Hah! I know what you mean – I got to the second boss and quit playing. Didn’t even try to beat her, first time she killed me I just turned it off and deleted the game.

      Shamus’ bit about the cutscenes is right on. Adam Jensen is an idiot, that’s the only explanation for some of the crap he does. The cutscene at the end of the HK segment just creeped me out. The whole time I was yelling at hm to not let her get so close. And then to add insult to injury she taunts me about being too trusting of women.

      Though I did have a “crowning moment of awesome” at the end of this scene as I run out, jump over the railing and run through the soldiers swarming into the lobby, take down 2 who were in my way and out the elevator without anyone even having the time to get a shot off.

  4. JPH says:

    Well, at least the boss fights did do one good thing — they got you to write an Experienced Points article. :)

    I also ranted about the boss fights on my blog, though admittedly not quite as coherently. I’m really eager to hear your thoughts on the game as a whole.

  5. acronix says:

    I don`t know why all developers decide to make those boss` taunts infinite. I guess it`s because they can`t bother to record voicework for more than three taunts per boss. Maybe it`s because they like to hear the totally clever insults they came up for the player? I really don`t know what`s going on inside those minds.

    However, it`s even more horrible when the one repeating the same lines over and over again is an escortee. Like the ones on Dead Island. They can`t shut the pie up and they have only three lines, consisting of variants of “Move faster, turtle!”, “Kill them while I stand here doing nothing, or if I do something, I`ll do pie-mule damage and die!” and “Wait for me!”. The last one is activated by distance, which means they can be running away from you and still shout “Wait for me!”.
    You really wish you coul still get the reward from their cold, lifeless excuse of corpses. But, alas, the game just takes you to a Game Over screen and makes you repeat it from the last checkpoint.

  6. Zukhramm says:

    It’s like the developers thought there was some kind of obligation to have boss fights, because “games have boss fights, right?”

  7. Another_Scott says:

    Although the boss fights DO feel somewhat out of place and the cut-scenes before them are teeth grindingly disruptive my immersion (and for anyone else who was playing their character with an iota of common sense) as I played a non-lethal stealth guy…
    I actually enjoyed most of the boss fights. I had to stealth around (sometimes dodging random grenades) while finding gas cans that would stun then guy and blast him with a hastely grabbed shot-gun; find that emp grenade or rocket launcher that would give me the edge to turn the tide; etc.
    My point being that having been thrown (albeit ham-fistedly) into a situation I was not prepared for, and having to improvise my way through it with the tools I could nab without being disintegrated, made for the most challenging and FUN moments in the game for me!
    It’s not a catch all defence for the design, but I felt I should voice that this is one of the cases where it seemed more like a feature than a flaw to me! =)

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I know what youre talking about,although its not the laughable boss fights that triggered that for me,but the place where you get shot down and have a chance to save malik,and I REALLY wanted to save her,because Im adam jensen,and no one touches my crew!And that one was hard,because you had just a minute,or even less,before the she dies.But unlike with bosses,you couldnt just stun everyone,because they were scattered around.It was very satisfactory though.I wish boss fights were more like that small mission(or quest,or challenge,or whatever it was).

      • Shamus says:

        It wasn’t until this comment that I realized you COULD win that scenario. I thought it was fixed and un-winnable.

        CURSES! Now I have to play through again.

        Also, I hated how you found her body later, but couldn’t tell anyone, say anything, or do anything about it. It was like, “Oh hey. Her. Too bad.” Also, considering how she died, I think her body shouldn’t have been in pristine condition.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          You even get an achievement for rescuing her.Though doing that,AND not killing anyone is extremely hard,and requires foreknowledge and planning.Killing everyone with typhoon and tranquing the snipers was a bit easier,but still tough.

          EDIT:Also,this just shows how that mission/challenge was much closer to the original deus ex.You can pass the entire game without knowing that it could be done,its a fun extra,so we need more of it.

          • TheRocketeer says:

            That scene really hit me where I lived, and yes, doing it non-lethally is ‹i›work.‹/i› It took a few tries, but I finally managed to save her with a virtual ‹i›hurricane ‹/i› of non-lethal violence. It remains Belltower’s only mission failure attributed to dozens of ghosts.

            When I blazed through the game another time, I just ran to the door to save time, and didn’t think anything of it until I faund her in the chopshop. I felt like such a monster; I’m never skipping that scene again.

          • Stuart says:

            It’s not that hard to rescue her without killing anybody. Stun gun. Cloak. Lots of energy packs. Run in cloaked, stun everybody you see, lather, rinse, repeat. EMP the robot when it’s dropped in.

            Okay, it took me two or three goes to get it, but if you move as soon as you land, it’s very doable.

        • NihilCredo says:

          You let her die? I have no words. You monster. -> read in GLaDOS voice

          (Joking aside, that was one of the highlights of the game for me. Up until that point I had been all stealth-y and nonlethal-y and gasgrenade-y, then when that kind of shit goes down? Oh well I had a few Praxis points saved up, was thinking about Cloaking but now I guess I’ll use them to HEAVY TYPHOON YOU ALL TO DEATH MOTHERF***ERS YOU DON’T MESS WITH MY FRIENDS).

        • tengokujin says:

          Actually, the time to get her killed is variable.

          If you stop the gas grenadier (he’s on the right), she’ll last longer, as it takes longer for bullet rounds to explode the chopper. The gas grenade takes her out immediately.

          The boxbot does a lot of damage, so remember to take it out, too.

      • Ian Kilmister says:

        That one was easy. You just need a pimped out revolver and an EMP grenade.

  8. Irridium says:

    Honestly, if the bosses were actually characterized well and had good and believable reasons for fighting to the death… I’d have no trouble with it.

    But they weren’t, and I did have trouble with it. Not that much trouble fighting them… but trouble with having to fight and kill them in the first place “just because”.

    Hell, the only character’s name you learn is Barret, and I only know that one chick’s name thanks to the art book that came with the augmented edition. No idea who that third dude was.

    • littlefinger says:

      There’s one or more emails where you can learn the name of the third boss from, Janir, and possibly the second boss’ name as well. That said:

      1. having to learn their name through emails shows that your ‘character’ has problems. The fact that their defining characteristic is ‘its a boss’ is another.

      *major DX 1 spoilers*
      2. One problem I have with this game is that – considering how long it is – not a lot happens and Jensen doesn’t do much at all. In the original Deus Ex (drink), Denton assaulted Liberty Island, tracked down an ambrosia shipment, destroys/shuts down a generator, broke into an airport, sent an emergency broadcast, broke out of a high security prison, sunk a ship, destroyed the equivalent of the Large Hadron Collidor only more sci-fi, broke peace between the Triads, liberates Vandenburg, goes to an underwater facility and steals blueprints, diverts an ICBM, and goes to Area 51 to have a huge impact on the future of our species.

      Contrast this to Jensen, who doesn’t *do* much if anything. At worst he breaks and enters a variety of buildings and gathers information for one party or another. For how long this game is, you also don’t interact with all that many people, and most characters are one-dimensional because we don’t get the time to get to know them. Hell, Zhao, Pritchard and Sarif are only individuals who interact with us at multiple points in the storyline.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        Man, reading that DX1 list. What a great game!

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well,to be fair,adam is the template for all the future augs.And though that “twist” is pretty obvious almost from the beginning,it was quite fun piecing the puzzle together through sidequests.Sometimes knowing the ending doesnt spoil going through the story,and human revolution deserves credit for that.

    • Heron says:

      I only know the names because they’re in the Steam achievement descriptions.

    • Eschatos says:

      There is a whole Deus Ex: HR novel with a ton of information on the bosses. I didn’t feel like buying it so I just read the Deus Ex wiki.

  9. Dovius says:

    Woohoo, Experienced Points! Always enjoy reading those.
    On a different subject, what happened to Spoiler Warning? Wasn’t the AC 2 season supposed to start this week? (Not trying to rush or bug you guys, just curious)

    • Irridium says:

      It would be hilarious if they tried to do it, but couldn’t because of Ubisoft’s DRM.

      • Destrustor says:

        Hilarious or just depressing?

        • James says:

          Depressingly Hilarious??, no no just depressing. on a different note, to boss fights are out of place, massively. the game rewards exploration and stealth and wants you to play that way for 98% of the time, and then BAM BOSS FIGHT. you dont get told 2nd boss’s name you do get 1st and 3rd (Barret and Namir (Zhao says his name) but i found against Mamir that 4 grenades from the Grenade launcher kills him dead and he stands at the start for a long time so BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM DEAD.

  10. Sean w/o an H says:

    Just a point of clarification: when did we find out the boss fights were outsourced? Was that a part of the Eidos-Montreal tumblr Q&A?

    Honestly, the fights were terrible, and I wouldn’t be surprised – this is just the first time I’ve ever heard that information.

  11. Paul Spooner says:

    Okay, look, there’s a simple solution to this. Just release a patch to the game with a “disable boss fights” check box in the options. This should be so absolutely simple! It’s one of the many times when a product can be improved by removing something. I’m guessing the sunk costs fallacy (or someone’s ego) led us here, but what are we doing standing around?

    Is there a patch or hack like this already in existence? If not, why not?

  12. guy says:

    My first playthrough was me saying, “Well, everyone says that this game is fun because you can completely sneak by everything. I will turn Jensen into a Street Samurai instead. This game is adaptable, right?” and I STILL hated the boss fights.

    The first one was basically, “Hey, look at all these shiny combat enhancements that turn a dude into a walking tank with a gun for an arm. YOU CAN’T HAVE THEM!” which was pretty mean-spirited to those of us who felt like playing that guy. Also, he was unreasonably resistant to multiple clips of automatic weaponry right to the head and tore through my level-3 dermal armor like it wasn’t even there. On normal difficulty. I don’t think its unreasonable to expect that pouring all of my resources into killing dudes would make me effective at killing dudes. And indeed, most of the time I was pretty good at just that. Jensen felt about as resilient as ME1 Shepard -Don’t stand around in the open but you can pop out and kill three guys- and my total recoil compensation plus playing lots of TF2 meant I did just that. But that boss fight was just such an incredible pain.

    I loved the second one in concept, since it was basically Jensen fighting another player’s female Jensen, but girl!Jensen had gotten the bossfight-breaker power and I hadn’t because my AP pistol and homing combat rifle suited me just fine. So I ended up glitching her with a stun weapon. Also, it actually avoided the incompetence issue, because Jensen was standing out in the open for a good reason and she is sneaky. Plus, she is apparently mute and the chick providing commentary was way cool. And said commentary mostly consisted of warning me that she was ready for another rush.

    I hated the third one, although it was partially my own fault. It was a bit like thinking, “Hey, there’s a banana peel on the floor. Someone else might trip on it, but not me.” and then stepping on it and falling. I knew, knew, that nothing good could possibly come of getting the new biochip, but then I did it anyway. Even disregarding my own astounding screwup, the fight looked to be incredibly hard. With my HUD screwed over, my radar nonfunctional, my aim steadying offline, and I think my dermal armor too, it was nearly impossible. Also, while the first guy’s combat taunts got repetitive because I kept losing, this guy had even more hit points and would not shut up. Seriously, screw that guy.

    • Heron says:

      I did the same spoilery thing before the third boss fight, and I had to try that fight several times. The last time I won because I just grenade-spammed him. (It stuns him for a second when a frag grenade goes off, so if you throw them at him one after another he can’t really do anything about it.)

      The second boss fight (against the mute girl) I also had to try several times. Eventually I gave up and spammed Typhoon until she died.

      Both solutions were quite unsatisfying.

      • evileeyore says:

        Namir is a push over once you realize he won’t chase you and two full clips from the combat rifle will put him down faster than he can throw taunts.

        The first Boss was rough, Namir was manageable, the other two weren’t dangerous at all.

        • guy says:

          What? Namir spends half the time invisible and untargetable and he has a plasma rifle. He ate two and a half clips of heavy rifle ammo and nearly two full laser rifle batteries before I brought him down.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Untargetable? I would like to direct you towards the the wonderful thing which is the enhanced vision augmentation thingie, as it even sees cloaked people pretty easily.

            • Alexander The 1st says:

              Let me fix guy’s comment for you then. “untargetable unless you choose a specific augmentation before the fight, with no pre-knowledge that said fight will require said augmentation until the…oh right, sorry, *if* you do a second playthrough.”

              • Ringwraith says:

                I simply had a ton of spare Praxis points as I rarely spent them, often only doing spending them on things which I all of a sudden need.
                I had like 30 unused points by the game’s end.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I expected something like that happening with the biochip,but I did it anyway because I was staying in character(and wanted the xp),and still I beat namir with ease.On the deus ex setting.Bosses are quite easy when you realise that emp grenades stun them long enough for you to shoot a rocket,reload,and toss another emp.3 rockets later,and its bye bye bossy.

  13. rofltehcat says:

    Well at least the guards (at least I hope so) don’t always talk stuff like:
    “I heard that Fisher guy took out our guys at the airfield.”
    “Hey Fisher! We know you’re here!”
    “Fisher! Come out and fight!”
    “Fisher, it’s Payback time!”
    Guard sees a shadow: “Oh my god, it’s Fisher!”

    This really ruined the game for me… there even was a Penny Arcade comic about it. Sure, add cover-based-shooter-crap to your games if you like but don’t produce this sort of atrocity! Also, make it possible to get through most areas without being detected. Getting in silently and getting out without them knowing you were ever there can be much more awesome than this “OMG IT’S FISHER!” crap.

    Or are the stupid taunts you mentioned exactly this?

    As for Deus Ex… hm… I don’t have time to play it atm so I guess I’ll pick it up when it is down to 30€.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its restricted just to bosses.Guards,on the other hand,think you are just a shadow,or that other guards are hearing things.And I think almost all the areas can give you the ghost and smooth operator bonuses(getting through unseen and without the alarms going off).Its a solid stealth game 98% of the time.

  14. Actually, my big beef with the game wasn’t the boss fights – arbitrary as they were – cause there are (so far as I’ve been made aware) only three of ’em throughout the game.*

    The real problem I had with the game was the lack of immersion when compared to the original. The inability to interact with ANY items that weren’t specifically intended for your inventory, or to simply hold an item that wasn’t a gun/crate and the simplified damage system just really grated on me…and they were constant reminders that I was playing a game rather than interacting in a fully realized world.

    You even pointed out in your last article Shamus how they detailed the world with all that bric-a-brac, but it rings hollow once it becomes clear it’s all set dressing. How ridiculous is it that I have more freedom to interact with items in HL2 than this game…

    *Which is to say there are only three characters so far who’ve been built up as obvious boss fights.

    SIDE NOTE: Anyone else notice how the first boss entered the boss room from the same hall you did mere seconds ago?

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      4 boss fights actually.

      Well you can toss vending machines and fridges around,thats always fun.You can even walk into the police building,steal all the vending machines,make a fort around a computer,then hack it,reassemble your “fort” around another computer,etc.Thats immersive,right?And you can shoot some hoops(well,one hoop at least).

  15. RTBones says:

    I’m not much of a fan of the boss fight mentality either. Being forced down the path that makes me ‘fight to the death’ when I have spent the entire game being non-lethal and stealthy doesn’t make much sense to me.

    In the first boss fight, I lobbed a concussion grenade, then spammed the stun gun after several reload screens. I typically dont even carry a lethal weapon unless I am on my way to sell it. This annoyed me greatly – to the point I bought the Typhoon augmentation, even though I’ll probably never use it outside of boss fights. The bad part? I’ve actually SOLD Typhoon ammo because I figured I would never need it, given my play style. Now I have to go buy it back, at inflated prices. Grrr….

    Approaching the second boss fight now, I think.

    • acronix says:

      The first boss can be dealt with without weapons: look around the walls for gas canisters. Pick them up, then play peak-a-boo with the boss and throw the canister at him. My prefered method was just to bomb the heck out of him wiith remote explosives.
      Yes, I know it`s a very weird definition of “without weapons”…

      Explosives: don`t EVER go out your home without them!.

      Hope you enjoy the second boss fight. Cue: get the electric resistance augmentation.

      • Daniel says:

        In fact, because of the strategy/spoiler mentioned above, the first boss fight is actually easiest with a stealth character. The only character I was able to win that fight on hard with was the one that had upgraded cloaking and bio-energy recharge — and with that character, I won on the first attempt. Since the key to the above strategy is getting behind him, 7 seconds of invisibility turns out to be more helpful than all the dermal armor/aim stabilization money can buy.

        Further, hacking can greatly help with three of the boss fights at least if you include learning (through hacking) that there is a plot to make people get a replacement chip by hacking and avoiding that chip as “hacking helping with boss fights . And, by the final boss, discussions of which build is favored by the forced boss fight are a bit moot: at that point, most characters will have all the relevant augs for multiple gameplay styles.

        Ad yet … despite all that, I agree that the boss battles are “dumb and stupid and also dumb” — I just don’t think it’s because they force players into one style of play. I’m not quite sure what it is (beyond forced player stupidity, etc as mentioned in the ExP article. Somehow they feel like they’re forcing you into a play style even when they’re really not.

        The more I think about it, the more it seems like it came from a shift in the level of realism. Not that DX:HR is ever hyper-realistic, but in the rest of the game gameplay (especially on hard) feels vaguely real: neither the player nor NPCs can survive more than a few shots. With an upgraded weapon (even a pistol) headshots are one-hit-kills, as are takedowns. And suddenly, I’m fighting a guy who can survive multiple clips to the forehead? (Or about 5 barrels of exploding fuel/toxic gas )

        More than being forced into a play style, it’s the feeling of playing not only a different game, but a game set in a universe on a very differnet place on the Sliding Scale Of Realistic Versus Fantastic

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Typhoon is nice,but I advise you to go without it.There is always at least one rocket launcher and a few rockets in the boss levels,and a few emp grenades.All you need is 3 grenades and 3 rockets,and you can beat all but the last boss with ease(the last one has a few henchmen,but those you can dispose of in numerous ways).This way youll have more skill points for the other augs.

  16. Alex says:

    Oh hey, Experienced Points! Always liked reading those. Although I swore off giving The Escapist any extra traffic, I’m glad to see it’s back for those who will read it.

  17. Destrustor says:

    I tried the first boss five times in a row, realized I’d only win if I spent far more time practicing than I had the patience for, and just turned to my last resort: brother-who’s-way-better-at-shooters-than-me-and-has-already-killed-this-dude-twice-without-breaking-a-sweat.
    So I outsourced the boss fights too!
    I stopped playing a while ago. The first boss made me feel bad at games and a game that does this to me doesn’t deserve my time.

  18. Jock says:

    If all the boss fights could have been like the last one I would have been happy. There were multiple paths that you could take (I counted at least Hacking, Social, and straight up Gunnery), and you started IN COVER, so you could take a minute to determine your desired course. I don’t mind so much that I was required to kill at least some people, just so long as I could choose how to do so.

  19. Ceebees says:

    I have, on my third playthrough, finally found something about DXHR (that isn’t the boss fights) that i would classify as a genuine failure.

    In the sidequest ‘Cloak and Daggers’, if you try to side with The Bad Guy and kill the one MCB gang member and plant the crossbow in the DRB stash, there’s nothing written there. The mission ends in failure, all the important NPCs involved phase out of existence, and you’re out a sack of money and XP for thinking that there may be multiple advantageous outcomes.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      There was one other thing that didn’t really rub well with me in the game. I felt that it fell too much into the reward goodness trap. There is a number of sidequests along the lines of “help the homeless” and few/none for the other side, which is weird since the potential is there with all the gangs, corrupt cops etc.

    • Daniel says:

      Similarly, in the sidequest “Lesser Evils” where Carella asks you to help him get the security footage of him stealing from Sarif there is no option to turn him in. (Or at least I couldn’t find it.) Really, game, really? I’m the head of security for Sarif, an employee admits he’s been stealing from the company and my only two options are “I’ll help you get away with it” or “Sorry, I’m too busy to help you get away with it”?? Where’s the corporate tool option of “thanks for telling me; now I have to do my job and make sure you’re fired”?

    • Naota says:

      I think you could also cite the lack of adequate rewards for true “ghost” runs of levels as a failing of Human Revolution, especially given how the game outright lies to you that it’s often better to sneak past enemies than it is to knock them out/kill them and haul off their bodies.

      Using takedowns to disable enemies can easily net you 2000+ exp per mission that you will otherwise lose out on completely, even if you manage to score the Ghost and Smooth Operator perks (which can still be earned if you eliminate all the enemies) in the process. The really irritating thing was that the mechanisms were already in place to reward this style of play – just toss in a bonus for “Spectre” or “Invisible Man” that nets you 3000 exp for doing the mission without being seen by or otherwise disturbing a single hostile enemy.

      I would also have greatly enjoyed an augmentation for either:
      -Leeching power from successful hacks (both to recharge your cells and so you could feasibly remain cloaked over a long hack if you were fast/skilled enough)
      -Hacking things remotely within a set distance

      Without one of those, you’re all but required to subdue half a building’s worth of people just to be able to get within eyeshot of a computer to begin hacking it. It’s particularly bad because Jensen stands up out of cover, without fail, every time he does it. I would love to be able to ghost through a level and read all the relevant lore.

      Equally dumb: the numerous places where smashing through walls would automatically force Jensen to strangle the poor sod on the other side who you couldn’t have known was there. Even if he had yet to kill a soul up until that point.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Ahh, This actually happened to me during the search for Sevchenko’s GPL. I got through the harvester hideout, reached Tong then everyone turned friendly so I thought I’d look around some more, maybe find some hidden caches or something. So I see a punchable wall, I smash through it and break the neck of the guy standing on the other side… sorry guys, my bad… luckily either nobody noticed (I could swear this happened in somebody’s field of vision) or once they turn friendly they ignore it.

      • Even says:

        You can work your way around the always-standing-when-hacking annoyance by stacking boxes to block the guards’ view. Might feel like cheating for some, but I didn’t care, I just felt a sense of accomplishment for finding a way around an obvious design flaw.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Vending machines are better than boxes.They make for an excellent fort in the police station.Only you need to get rid of the guards on the second floor first.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      This can be excused because you are playing a preestablished character,and not a blank sheet like in many rpgs,which can be a good thing.One thing that cant be excused,however,is what Daniel mentioned.

  20. THe boss fights does indeed seem to jar with the game. (sidenote, the ending of the game leaves something to be desired too, no ideas right now on how that could be improved though).

    but the boss fights, what should have been done is to focus each boss towards a archetypical character build.

    Such that a stealth character would have an easy time with the non-stealth bosses but a hard time with the stealth boss.
    Likewise a in-the-open combat character would struggle with the combat boss but have an easier time with the other bosses.
    A hacker (non-combat?) character would have an easy time with the bosses except the “hacker” boss.

    And the boss fights would not need to be the same way…
    Imagine if the “hacker” boss fight involved a race against time, where the whole thing is running around trying to lock/hack doors and so on to slow down the other while you repair/damage whatever the target(s) machines are.

    A combat boss fight should be just that, after all combat characters do like combat, some tactics wouldn’t hurt though.

    A stealth boss would be interesting in that it should be hard to find, and very hard to avoid their attacks. Tricking you into thinking their are somewhere else than they really are. Luring you into deadly traps, etc.

    Doesn’t bosses like that sound much more interesting?

    And without spoiling too much, that ending not-really-a-bossfight “fight” should have focused more on 3 alternate paths to win (stealth,combat,hacking), so a stealth character would have an easier time doing stealth, but much harder time doing combat or hacking.

    Of course with hybrids like a mix of stealth/hacking then half the boss fights would be difficult and half would be easy, I hope you understand what I mean here.

    Now I just came up with this while I wrote this comment, which isn’t very long at all. So why Deux Ex: Human Revolution devs didn’t come up with this worries me. Somewhere someone must have made a decision really bad but they all followed the order anyway?
    Is it possible the game was rushed? Or timescheduling issues? Would be interesting to read a Gamasutra post-mortem article from the devs.

    Still I hope that the flaws do not hurt the game or devs too much,
    because as far as old game franchise revivals goes, this isn’t half bad.
    Human Revolution reminded me in some ways (especially the way it “feels” in the cities) of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines,
    in fact I would not bee too surprised if some of the devs from tat game is still kicking around and worked on this game, it certainly explains the atmosphere.

    A sequel is really going to struggle, should it be a “spiritual” remake of Deus Ex original? (i.e. “If Deus Ex was made today”).
    Or do a parallel story line? Like “Blade Runner The Game” did (things could always culminate on a spacestation for example, in original Deus Ex one of the endings shows that station actually)
    Or a alternate timeline? (similar yet different)
    Or maybe a mix of all three ideas…

    Anyway, I’m rambling and I’ll shut up now!

    PS! Why no option for Adam to step into the “machine” himself? It would have been such an awesome nod to the original/Invisible War (Helios it was called?) if they had done that. Sure you would have not gotten the normal game endings probably but still….

    • guy says:

      Yeah, the endings kind of sucked. There was no “TREMBLE MORTALS, FOR YOUR GOD IS MANIFEST” ending, and there really should have been. Also, it would have been nice to actually see the results of the ending instead of listening to Jensen ramble about how moral he is over stock footage.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      The game was pressed for release time by the publishers, basically, yes. The devs at eidos-montreal intended to have two more city hubs(!), one of them being, obviously, Montreal (or what was that canadian city where you went to to find the newsreporter).. But they had to chop out a bunch of content and abadon other to meet the release. Possibly that’s also why the boss battles were outsourced and, heck, even in the game at all..

      Frankly the entire ‘you got boss battles in my Deus Ex’ concept seems like something that Square Enix forced on the developers from a management/publisher position.

    • Starkos says:

      See, what I find is silly is that they spent all this time making what you do earlier on affect certain things later on: If you take too long going through the first level, there are no more hostages to rescue; If you finish the first level a certain way, the shades in your apartment raise when you walk in. But when it comes to boss fights, can’t there be a way that you can face a certain boss or challenge that you would be strong against earlier in the game. Something that can dynamically choose which boss you face based on your skills, ramping up the bosses as the game progresses.

      What I’m thinking is if each skill had values attached to it that corresponded with which type of challenge it would be effective against. So a hacking skill would add to the Hacking value, the cloaking skill would add to the Stealth value, etc. When it comes to boss time the game would look at which value was highest, and throw an appropriate challenge in your path. The next time it would ignore the value that had been previously highest and judge the next challenge based on which two remaining values was highest.

      This would have somewhat of a problem for Jack of all Trades characters who hadn’t specialized and picked skills randomly or based on whatever sounded handy at the time.

      I’ve encountered a bit of a hang up in my own (first) playthrough of Deus Ex: HR. Early on I felt the need to buy some hacking(capture) skills, to give myself more availability in where I could go and who I could spy on with their own cameras. So I expanded up to level three security and stopped. I was also annoyed at the time by having to race against the clock everytime I hacked into a network. Hence, I maxed out the hacking(stealth) skill (which makes you less detectable by the network firewall) and when I finally left Detroit, I was slightly distressed. As someone who has a tendency to literally comb deserts while playing anything I had to leave behind a couple of level five keypad locks, because I could only open level four locks at the time.

      • Mathias says:

        The endings did leave a lot to be desired. They could have just put in a cutscene or something, or have a Dragon Age-style “say bye to the one you sided with, here’s what happened besides that:” sort of thing.

  21. CalDazar says:

    YEAH!
    Experienced Points is back! I’ll read it and post my “this is what I think” comment on the Escapist, but I’m damn happy you’re back on this.

  22. X2-Eliah says:

    Btw, you are spot-on about saying that the boss fights were outsourced to a company who didn’t even understand what Deus Ex itself is about.. If you re-watch their video-diary they release a while back, where the manager or something of the company repsonsible for boss fight design talks, well… Suffice to say, I had to facepalm several times there, it was just so blindingly obvious in it’s disconnect from the game…

    video can be found here http://www.deusex.com/facebook# (warning, has agegate), in ‘phase three’, third row second column.. (no login for books-of-the-face required to view the vid).

    • The Hokey Pokey says:

      That was one of the most awkward things I have seen in a long time. He was obviously speaking off the cuff, and he had no business doing so. How did his company get the contract?

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      To be honest I haven’t followed the game news closely enough to know the boss fights were outsourced until this column but this explains a lot. And after watching this vid my first reaction is something roughly along the lines of:

      He’s just… I’m… a… what?

      I’m not sure what I could say to this guy if I was sitting right in front of him and he told me all that. He’s just so full of this misplaced enthusiasm, so proud of the job they did at the same time not getting at all how much they did wrong. I mean, seriously, that line that goes roughly like “there was no way for us to know which augmentations a player would take so we had to prepare for all possibilities, so we kept testing like ‘go with the shotgun, did it work?’ then ‘go with the machine rifle, did it work?'”. It’s like interpreting the augmentations as a choice between several skill sets in the warrior tree whereas they were meant to be a choice between a warrior and a rogue.

      I imagine if someone actually faced this guy and told him to the face that the boss fights feel completely disconnected from the game, that they neither follow the theme nor fit well with the mechanics, he would just stand there surprised unable to figure what he did wrong. I mean, they followed the gaming theory, they did the bosses in a way that worked so well in so many other titles…

      I almost cried when he “explained” the OODA loop. I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he (or someone who was actually doing the job) does understand the concept and its application in game development rather than just use it as a catchphrase and just didn’t want to get into it in a 5 minute promo vid, but when I was doing the boss fights it’s just the old “boss has a pattern and you need to know when there’s an opening in said pattern.”

      Also, yeah, Barret’s arm turns into a gun, I get it. I get it’s awesome, can you stop showing it to me already?

      • Deadfast says:

        Likewise, I had no idea boss fights were outsourced but now that I do, it makes complete sense. All of the boss fights were completely disjointed from the game, it felt like I suddenly was playing a poor man’s Metal Gear.

        Barret was a complete shock and the only reason I was able to beat him at all was that my non-lethal stealth hacker picked up an assault rifle and a bunch of magazines for it because I’m an in-game hoarder. Well, that and the fact that he completely froze when I shot the explosive barrel behind him, allowing me to unload the said magazines into his bulletproof face. Obviously I only managed to figure that out after spending half an hour staring at the loading screens in frustration.

        The Invisi-Russian-chick was no better but this time I was ready and had a bunch of EMP grenades on my disposal. And a friendly broken collision mesh she got stuck behind, allowing me to perform the same 3-mags-to-the-face operation on her.

        And finally, the third boss guy was an absolute walk in the park. By this time I knew the game was going to mess with me at some point again, so I fully upgraded the assault rifle and stocked up on ammo. Thanks to the guided rounds weapon mod all I had to do was hide behind a pillar and proceed to unload several magazines in his direction. While that would normally result in hitting absolutely nothing at all, thanks to the mod most of the rounds went straight for the guy’s face without me having to ever expose myself to any sort of danger. That felt extremely cheap, but what the hell, I had Deus Ex to play.

  23. Slade says:

    I really enjoyed Deus Ex; and I have to say the boss fighters are the hardest part of the game. But ones I figured out each boss’ power could be counter it became easy. Barrett, just get armor. Fedorova, get electric shock armor. Namir, get x-ray vision. What I enjoyed about the boss fights was that it changes the rules. Most of the game I could camp corners and kill every one. Or just sneak pass them. The boss fights required figuring out new AI, with new rules. I also liked how the bosses tied into the story. The boss fights also had great intros & exits.
    I know in allot of RPG you have to specialize; I suck at those kinds of RPG games. I like RPG like Deus Ex. Where I can fumble through the RPG point system; try allot of different abilities out, and still win the game. (same with Dark Messiah)

  24. AlmightyShmun says:

    Y’know, Shamus, this reminds me a lot of Alpha Protocol. Like, a whole lot. Various builds and ways to get through the game, neat story and generally good dialogue…ruined by wretched mandatory boss battles. Why do developers insist on doing this?!

    • X2-Eliah says:

      THIS. So much this.

      The difference, in my case, being that you can get through the deus ex boss fights – as you can use stealth and gain an advantage (if simply by getting out of line-of-sight)… In AP, the boss fights for me were literal brickwalls, without any chance to pass. E.g. escorting some guy out of a rusian embassy, with a major firefight and me ‘keeping him alive’. Not happening. No way. I have to go all-out-gung-ho to even hope to succeed, but the pure and plain damage output is just not high enough.

  25. thark says:

    For once, Shamus, I 100% agree.

    Another game which had a similar issue of “I’ve ghosted true the level unseen, now I’m going to go walk into the middle of the room like an idiot in a cutscend and trigger the alarm”–although the boss fights themselves were less catastrophical–was Alpha Protocol.

    (The boss fights as such were less catastrophical, for all that the combat had some Significant Issues in that game, but it was still annoying to have your hard work ruined by a cutscene.)

  26. Sleeping Dragon says:

    Right, at first I was avoiding conflict, not even knocking people out if they didn’t stand directly in my way. As a result I arrived at the first boss fight with little more than a tranquillizer rifle, a 10mm pistol and a single EMP grenade. Fun times.

    Would it seriously be that hard to make a few ways through this? Like if you’re a hacker you can make a friendly robot/turret/whatever spawn. Or if you sneak you can get to a huge cache of mines… and I’m not even getting into the preposterous idea that we be allowed to get around the boss fight.

  27. Kdansky says:

    Apparently none of you have played around with the .357 much. With a few damage upgrades and exploding bullets, it can take down bosses two and three in less than one magazine. Since that is about 3-5 shots, you can pretty much just stand there and trade bullets for three seconds, and then the fight is over.

    As for the last fight, Lasers. Oh, and get the anti-electrical discharge aug, that one has a ton of applications and avoids many annoying deaths.

  28. Zaxares says:

    I actually didn’t mind the boss fights that much, but then again, I belong to the school of D&D player who believes in the “a good adventure has exploration, diplomacy, a bit of puzzles/riddles, but it must ALWAYS end with a good boss fight” mantra. I was actually quite impressed with the number of ways one can typically go about defeating the bosses. If anything, my biggest gripe with them is how unrealistic it is for some of the boss rooms to be chock-full of guns and ammunition when there would be absolutely no reason for those items to be in there in the first place. (The second boss is particularly bad for this.)

    My other major complaint has to do with how fragile the PC is. As some other people may have already mentioned, despite Jensen having supposedly top of the line, military-grade augmentations, a lone gangster emptying his 10mm pistol into you will probably kill you in a few seconds unless you’ve upgraded yourself with the armor augs. (And even then, you still can’t stand up in a firefight for very long.) Despite this, the game world goes on and on about how dangerous augmented people are, like some sort of superman, and if you look at the bosses (and some of the heavily augmented enemies like Spec Op Ogres), this is indeed true as they take ridiculous amounts of damage before dying. Is it too much to ask for the same power to be offered to the PC? If I wanted to go for a complete “Rambo” playthrough, I want to be able to turn myself into a Terminator-style monster that can rampage through enemy bases with guns blazing. (And of course, another problem with that option is how limited ammo is. Unless you carry just one lone weapon and about 10 or so stacks of its ammo, chances are you’ll run out of ammo after just one big firefight.)

    • Destrustor says:

      With the fragility of Jensen, the scarcity of ammo and the limited inventory, the game is basically strongly encouraging (and even expecting) you to play Sam Fisher.
      But then the bosses FORCE you to play Rambo ( in the “nigh-invincible combat expert killing machine” sense).
      Unless you are particularly skilled, these two are usually mutually exclusive.

      I am not particularly skilled…

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Spam grenades.Really,youll find bosses to be a breeze if you drop everything,and just carry an arsenal of grenades.

        @Zaxares

        Boss fights can still be interesting without being forced fights:Look at original deus ex,or portal,or planescape:torment,or hordes of the underdark.It can be just as fun searching for the right info/building the right stats to persuade the boss to give up,or to circumvent them altogether,or to puzzle your way through the fight.Especially if the boss can be defeated in all of those ways,but you can only pick one or two to try in a single playthrough.The way it is in human revolution,I can pass all the levels in dozens of ways,all of them being just as effective,but when I reach the bosses,I know that only stunning them with an emp is the way to go painlessly.Thats boring.

        • Zaxares says:

          Did that work on Jaron? I had a severe handicap against him because I decided to try the new biochip, just to see what it was like. (I KNEW it would be a bad idea, but I just wanted to see the plotline that came from it.) Anyway, I could barely see a thing due to the malfunctioning HUD, but I seem to recall Jaron not really being affected by EMP grenades, because it didn’t seem to slow his shots flying towards me. Gas grenades did stun him, however. I didn’t have any Concussion grenades to test it out.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            It works against him too.Emp grenades work a bit slower,but they still work.Gas grenades work like a charm.The only thing you need to worry about is not getting blinded by his first concussion grenade,and youll be fine.I had my hud being wonky as well,but I still did it with just 3 rockets,and a bunch of emp grenades(5 I think).There is a funny thing about reloading the rocket launcher,but if you toss a grenade half way through,it will end up being loaded and ready,so you dont have to wait.

  29. tengokujin says:

    Oh, hey, did my mention of the outsourced fights actually make it into the words of someone internet famous? Score!

    But seriously, it’s as if Eidos was covering its butt with the release of that video. “We are happy to be working with Grip Entertainment (sp?) on our boss fights.” (paraphrase) /sigh

  30. Grudgeal says:

    Playing the unavoidable boss fights only helped reinforce my view that Human Revolutions is not so much Deus Ex as Alpha Protocol set in the Ghost in the Shell universe. They break with the regular gameplay, can only be beaten using straight-up slugging, break the rules with their infinite augments/talents, immunity to melee and oodles of HP/unique bonuses, and intentionally punish people without a very specific character build.

    At least the Alpha Protocol bosses had HP meters so you could see how far you got before they crunched you, and most of them you could see coming by foreshadowing 2-3 missions in advance. Well, except Brayko, but he gets a pass because his boss fight was frankly *hilarious*.

    • GiantRaven says:

      I love that Brayko is one of the most hated bosses of Alpha Protocol since gameplayp-wise it’s tough and seems unfair, yet he’s easily the most memorable simply because of the setting surrounding him.

      • Grudgeal says:

        Kind of hard not to remember him, especially with the music and the costume. Also, with the whole ‘hardcore spy-thriller’ theme of the game, he comes completely out from the left-field. The bizarre setting actually helped keep me motivated to re-fight him again and again until I finally kicked him, unlike that infernal second boss of Human Revolutions who is both boring story-wise *and* a royal pain to fight.

        Come to think of it, Alpha Protocol was (at least to me) a lot better in giving me *motivation* to come back time and again even if the bosses were horrible to fight: Brayko had the setting, Omen Deng had the whole ‘stop the assassin’ rush factor, and Marburg had the ‘make him pay’ motivation. The Human Revolutions people were basically ‘those three evil mechs in the prologue’ whose current evil plan and motivation to kill them was ‘because they’re there’.

  31. Even says:

    My insistence on carrying something lethal for worst-case scenarios in the form of a modded Combat rifle and 10mm pistol really paid off with the bosses (only places where I used them, besides demolishing a door or a window with the pistol occasionally). I agree though, the boss fights were quite a bit of a letdown. They weren’t that hard for me, but they do put you off-key if you’ve played most of the game using the silent non-lethal weapons. As it were, the PEPS gun never saw other action either than the bosses since I preferred take downs and the stun gun in the regular gameplay.. It was mainly useful for the stun effect.

    I think it’s a bit of a shame since if you invest in stealthy non-lethal playstyle, there’s not a lot of reasons to put points in the more combat oriented augmentations which I discovered were a lot of help in the last two of the bosses when I’d already maxed the most useful augs for my playstyle. I’d say the game does however make up for it with all the extra experience points you can get when staying stealthy, making non-lethal take-downs and hacking. I seriously doubt I’d had the points to invest in the combat skills otherwise.

    Edit: And yeah, the cutscenes. The guy keeps walking into traps and bad situations I’d smelled or known to avoid from a mile away in regular gameplay, which irritated me to no end. Personally the most annoying was the one in that one lady’s appartment. WHY ARE YOU SUCH A TOOL, JENSEN?

    • Jarenth says:

      I was nearly yelling at the screen at that point.

      IT’S A TRAP JENSEN. SHE’S FOOLING YOU. DON’T STAND THERE LIKE A GODDAMN SALT PILLAR, DO SOMETHING ALREADY.

      • Stuart says:

        I was more along the lines of, “Dude! You’ve sneaked your way through all of these offices, and hacked into all of these computers, reading emails that SHOW you that she’s a conniving, vindictive, psychopathic bitch! And you’re JUST STANDING THERE AND ACCEPTING EVERYTHING SHE SAYS AT FACE VALUE?!?!!”

        Dear $DEITY, for an ex-SWAT guy, he’s ridiculously naive! How’d he ever get out of kindergarten?!

  32. X2-Eliah says:

    Hm. actually, this got me thinking:

    I want to do a follow-up post now that I’ve been through the game twice

    To those folks who have played the game two or more times… did you end up doing different builds and paths, or did you end up having mostly the same sneaky/hacky dude across the playthroughs?

    • Drinking With Skeletons says:

      I found my two playthroughs to be very different. I think the point system is a good example of a glass half-full/empty scenario. By the end of the game, if you are fairly thorough, you will have about 2/3 of the available skills and, yes, Jensen will be an all-around strong character. However, since this is a 30-hour game that features mostly 1-way trips to each area–as opposed to being very backtrack-friendly–a playthrough can be very different simply because you can have a very different build at any given point in the game even if your final build is identical.

      Case in point: SPOILERS During my second playthrough, I hacked a turret when escaping the pod hotel and carried it around until the end of the level, throwing it out to slaughter my enemies while still remaining undetected. I didn’t have that hacking upgrade the first time through, so this wasn’t an option. In fact, I didn’t get that hacking upgrade until the Omega Ranch and, though it saw some use by game’s end, it simply didn’t make the difference that it did in my second playthrough.

  33. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The boss fights are,on top of all that,extremely easy once you realize that you can stun them all with an emp grenade,and for quite a long time.And those things can be found almost everywhere,by the dozens.So you can just fill the inventory with them,and you can win even with a pistol.Though rockets or grenades would be better.Id much more like if boss fights were like that one fight around the crashed plane.

    • Joe Momma says:

      You can take the bosses out with just the stun gun as well. It takes them longer to recover from a stun gun shot than it does for you to reload, so once you get the first shot in you can just keep zapping their paralyzed forms until they drop (7-8 shots even on “Give Me Deus Ex” difficulty).

      It not only makes the boss fights easy but also inadvertently hilarious. The boss does their intro bad-ass swagger and then spends the whole fight twitching helplessly like a drunken frat boy being tasered by campus security. The only exception is Namir — he recovers quickly but you can just stun him, take cover while reloading, then stun him again.

      Of course, even tasering the bosses unconscious still somehow leaves them bleeding from multiple bullet wounds…

  34. thebigJ_A says:

    I’m like three quarters of the way through the game, and I have every single useful ability unlocked. The only things I skipped were useless things like enemy tracking (pointless with the radar and seeing thru walls) and accuracy while moving (rarely shoot, and even rarer to move+shoot).

    I’m playing pacifist, knocking everyone out, and I’m at this stage putting points into stuff I don’t even want. So even playing pure non-lethal, I could kill everyone with ease. What kind of messed up leveling system is this?? It seems like the choice is between killing people and getting less than half the experience, so you’re stuck playing that way, and not killing people and getting everything. Every single thing.

    The game suggests you avoid people, and I guess the “Ghost” exp bonus is supposed to reward people for that, but I have knocked out most every enemy and I still get that bonus most missions. Why would I avoid enemies when I can knock them out for 40-50xp, with little effort, and still roleplay an invisible superspy?

    The first boss fight was stupid hard, yeah, but by the second I could outrun the lady and kill her in two assault rifle clips.

    It’s absurdly unbalanced.

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