Deus Ex Human Revolution EP4:Cheese-Filled Terrorists

By Shamus
on Jan 18, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

I still think that the choice of letting Zeke go was a bit odd. For one thing, I thought, “Let Zeke go” sort of implied “in exchange for the hostage”. I thought that was the option for everyone to walk away, and the option on the right was if you wanted to capture Zeke AND free the hostage. Letting him go WITH the hostage? Why would Adam pursue that? It was strange leaving the room and finding the hostage dead, cops all around, Zeke gone, and no clear indication for how that set of circumstances came about. How did Zeke extricate himself from that many foes with itchy trigger fingers, escape unharmed, AND shoot the hostage? I mean, we can contrive our own scenarios to explain it, but I think extremely unlikely outcomes deserve some kind of explanation.

If nothing else, we need to know what happened so we know what to think of Zeke. Did he really shoot her, or did the cops do it as Rutskarn joked? Did he shoot the hostage once he no longer needed her, or was the shooting done when he was cornered?I don’t mind having a bad or sub-optimal option. I agree that dumb choices should have appropriately non-victorious outcomes, it’s just that this one didn’t feel like a failure, it felt like we skipped a page.

We’re not going to have a do-over every time we have one of these conversations, but I’m glad we did in this case.

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A Hundred!20202010Many comments. 170, if you're a stickler

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  1. Zagzag says:

    I was a bit conufsed by Zeke on my first playthrough of Human Revolution. I really loved the fact that you can call him out on the fact that his hacker is augmented, since I had been wondering for ages how nobody had noticed that.
    Also I liked the random steam popup saying “So and so is now playing: Half Life 3 Beta” part way through…

    • It’s just occurred to me that renaming an executable as “Half Life 3 beta”, adding it on Steam as a “Non-steam game” and running it in full view of my friends list would be the most diabolical act of trolling I could possible imagine. I like to think I would never do such a thing, but it’s like I’ve just been handed a lighter, shoved in front of the sun-dried savannah and left to it. Every part of me I care to mention would pull together to force the lighter, unused, into my pocket but it’d be naive of me to deny there’s a part wondering how pretty the flames would be.

      [INSERT OBLIGATORY DARK KNIGHT REFERENCE HERE]

      • LegendaryTeeth says:

        All you need to do is rename the shortcut to a non-steam game from within Steam. I play Skyrim with Skryim Script Extender, which is needed for the SkyUI mod. You need to launch another executable in order get it to work.

        I renamed my shortcut so every time I launch it tells everyone I’m playing “The Skyrims”

      • therandombear says:

        I’ve done that several times, started a non-steam game as Half-Life 3 Beta or Bioshock Infinite Beta.

        The replies when I do so are hilarious. ;)

  2. Hal says:

    On my first (and current) play through, I managed to convince him to release the hostage in exchange for letting him go.

    Is there a way to save the hostage and cap him?

    • X2Eliah says:

      Allegedly, you can stungun the hostage, or shoot zeke’s head off before he kills the hostage, or nonlethal-takedown the hostage.

      Allegedly.

      Idk.

      When I tried to do the ‘screw talking, let’s fight!’ option, he pretty much killed the hostage immediately, well before I could throw a stun grenade or aim a shot at anyone.

      • Sydney says:

        Which is why I hate those dialogue options.

        [kill him]
        My Character: “You shall pay for what you have wrought here, villain!”
        [everyone simultaneously settles into fighting stances; the bad guy gets initiative; my controls kick in at an unclear point in the animation]

        • Tse says:

          I struck him in the head with a dart. He went down like a sack of potatoes. And the best thing is, it was in Give me Deus Ex difficulty, so I pretty much nailed a blind shot.

        • Yeah, I practically never take those options because it seems like tactical suicide. The only time there’s been any reason to was in New Vegas once you got terrifying presence, then they became hillarious, and they also started the person you were talking to in panic mode meaning they probably die immediately.

          On the other hand I was playing EYE for some needlessly masochistic reason, and I went up to the leader of one of the gangs whose organizations I’d been infiltrating. He was standing in the middle of a conference room with all his lieutenants, and a terrible hideous looking throne that looked like something out of Half Life 1, and my options when talking to him were something like:
          1) Did you really think I’d join you? [Kill Everyone]
          2) STOP RIGHT THERE CRIMINAL SCUM! [Kill Everyone]
          3) I’m going to kill you now! [Kill Everyone]

          Ordinarily this would frustrate me, but because every single role playing option is how much of a laughably evil zealot you are, it felt totally appropriate and was awesome.

      • GiantRaven says:

        When I picked the fight Zeke option I straight up shot him in the head and the hostage lived. It’s definitely possible.

        • Eric says:

          This. You can a) convince him to release the hostage and run away b) let him go c) shoot him d) stun gun him, in which case he is arrested and you meet him in the jail later on. Never heard about stun-gunning the hostage but it also sounds valid.

      • tengokujin says:

        It takes time to pull out a weapon when it’s holstered. Unless you have it out, that delay will allow Zeke to kill Josie before you can even draw a bead on him.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      My only play through I got him to release her on the first try. It was harrowing, which I think speaks well of the dialog!
      I didn’t really feel bad about letting him go. At that point in the game I was just sort of figuring out what was going on, and Zeke seemed like he was in a similar situation.
      Zeke: “I’m just a pawn with a gun, let me go so I can figure this out.”
      Me: “Yeah, I’m a pawn with a gun too. I feel ya man. Good luck out there.”

    • Wandring says:

      Yeah, it’s called “Fight Zeke” and you shoot him yourself (it’s not a cut-scene either so watch out for that).

  3. Rasha says:

    Oh man ruts that joke about the blades was cheesy. YEEEEEEAH!

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Guys,you really need to bring Randy back.Josh has returned to his pacifist self.

    Also,do you guys discuss what your titles will be,or does Josh slap them on by himself?Because if the latter,I would so like to see Rutskarns reaction.Also,fuck mass effect 2!

    I liked the timed conversations in alpha protocol.It really felt like you have to think on your feet,like a real spy.Though I admit that addint a difficulty gauge for the dialogues wouldve helped it a bit,so that you could set the length of the timer to suit you.

  5. Eddie says:

    What in the hell is up with Malik’s conversation animations? It looks like she’s been taken over by some body-snatching alien lifeform that is incredibly unfamiliar with how humans move their body. Or like her outfit is just incredibly uncomfortable, I suppose.

  6. psivamp says:

    I would like to see someone make a game with a deep conversational system, possibly with hostage negotiations and such, where you can interrupt ANY conversation with violence at any time. You could use it intelligently, like sidling up to a hostage-taker and getting him to let down his guard before — POW — arm-blade to the face. Or you could use it in silly situations: someone congratulates you for successfully juggling multiple interests and — POW — arm-blade to the face.

    Seriously, though, you could just have a second wheel of options for all of your appropriate weapons/tools. Then, if you feel the conversation isn’t going where you want: smoke-bomb, cold-cock the guy, shoot him in the chest, stun-gun to the face, whatever.

    I do like how these systems actually do seem to be mutating and evolving. Alpha Protocols system was polarizing and most people hated it at one point or another, but it was trying something new. Interrupts in Mass Effect 2 were a really good idea that, obviously, I’d like to see more of — potentially without a script. Skyrim lets you immediately back out of any conversation and doesn’t go into magical conversation-land where time has no meaning when you talk to people. Okay, so Skyrim conversational options are literally meaningless and indistinguishable from one another. And Mass Effect’s interesting conversational stuff was tied to an obtuse morality meter.
    Basically, I think that the essential elements to a really really good system are out there in chunks. I hope some developer puts together something really spectacular soon…

    • Nimas says:

      Damnit, now I really want to play this game now…

    • Sydney says:

      I’d love a game where the conversations still happened in-engine. Walk within this radius of an NPC and use one stick to control what you say. But the game never takes away control of your character’s body. If you want to bunny-hop while you chat, fine; if you want to interrupt conversation by juggling grenades, fine.

      It would take away from VERISIMILITUDE HARGH because it would be prohibitively time-expensive to code realistic, non-generic reactions to every bizarre anti-social behaviour. But it might also be more immersive in that you’d have to actually behave like a proper person in order to hold down a conversation.

      And you could shank people who bugged you at any time.

      • psivamp says:

        I can’t remember what game it is, but I know I’ve played a game within the last year or so that let you walk around in a certain radius of the speaker and have limited camera control. I don’t think you actually had any input in the conversations, though.

        I’m not 100% sure if I’d prefer to stay in normal perspective/controls or have separate controls (interrupts and such), the problem for keeping normal controls is that you now have to override some normal commands with conversation commands (at least on consoles, on PC you still have half the keyboard, but now the player has to switch gears a bit themselves).

        • Sydney says:

          Wouldn’t be hard, would it? Most games have enough unused controls that one could be appropriate to toggle. By default, the right stick controls the conversation if one is happening. Press in BACK button, or the left stick button, or hold both shoulder buttons, to make that switch to something that would normally be useless in conversation (like grenades, or destructive magic).

          95% of the time, that wouldn’t be in the way. The other 5% of the time, I’d be willing to spend one extra button press to go into Jerk Mode.

        • 4th Dimension says:

          That game might be Assassins Creed 2. Remember Josh trolling other people, by swirling camera ariond, and waling aimeslly.

          • psivamp says:

            Also this, but I remember a shooter doing it. Singularity?

            • Thomas says:

              Whatever the case it’s a terrible system. It’s the designers admitting their conversations are so boring they don’t want the player to pay attention to them and sacrificing any degree of realistic interaction in a conversation.

              I think the system above with a ‘get out of conversation stance’ button would be the best way to do it. At least if the player wants to have two humans interact normally they’d be able to do that and you have to make a decision to screw around rather than just fidgeting

              • Pete says:

                So, twice the work for zero the benefit.

                Yeah, sounds like a reasonable allocation of developement time.

                • Thomas says:

                  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of it, but if they’re going to do it, that’s how they should do it. Not Half Life 2 rubbish.

                  Actually Assassins Creed was even worse than the Half Life 2 style, because they’ll give you control, but not enough to actually do anything _but_ distract from the conversation. At least in Half Life you could explore the environment and smash crates or whatever

                  And in Half Life it at least makes sense from consistent design choices they were making, not to intefere with the player. In AC you’re still intefering with the player!!

              • Sumanai says:

                It’s more like designers admitting that the conversation may at some point, like when the player is going through the game the second or fifty-twelfth time, be boring.

            • Sumanai says:

              Half-life 2.

        • psivamp says:

          Anyway, this is kinda what I want except in an RPG/FPS:
          http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=1280

          Parley means “everyone else is flat-footed”.

    • Eärlindor says:

      I loved DX3’s dialogue system. Sooo much better than Mass Effect 2…. screw Mass Effect 2’s P/R system. I’d set it on fire if I could.

  7. Nimas says:

    WAIT WAIT WAIT
    Did anyone else see that? At 3:50ish Josh got a pop up to notify him that someone was playing THE HALF LIFE 3 BETA????

  8. silver Harloe says:

    Sorry, Shamus, this video contains copyrighted material. shamusyoung.com will have to go away now.

  9. Raygereio says:

    About Shamus’ comment about Alpha Protocol’s timed dialogue.
    Didn’t have time to read your options? Whu? There are just 3 different stances – each being described with one, short word – to pick from. That’s it. At no point are you presented with 10 different dialogue options consisting of 5+ sentences.

    Now, I can get the complaint of not having enough time to decide which option you want. I understand, though I will counter that complaint with the statement that you should just stop trying to game the system for whatever option of “best” and just go for whatever option your guts tells you you should go for. There are no “wrong’ dialogue options in AP.

    But the complaint of not having enough time to read them? That’s honestly rather baffling to me. o_O

    • Shamus says:

      Yeah, I shouldn’t have said “read” so much as “interpret”.

      Vader: Luke, I am your father.

      Options: Happy, angry, flippant. Quick! I hate Vader, so I choose “Angry”!

      Luke: My own dear father? Why did Obi-Wan never tell me? He will pay!

      Once I was bitten by one of those counter-intuitive prompts I lost all faith in the system. It’s not so much, “I want to agonize over what my character would do”, but “I WANT TO MAKE SURE I UNDERSTAND THE CHOICE I’M BEING ASKED TO MAKE”. This is exacerbated by the post-conversation auto-save.

      • psivamp says:

        I have vague memories of picking a stance and the dialogue that came out the other side was completely inappropriate, had nothing in common with my goal and, to me, fit more closely in another stance.

        • Gamer says:

          That’s why I like Human Revolutions system much better. They give you a preview of what you’re going to say to avoid any ambiguity and the give you enough time to analyze the situation.

      • Raygereio says:

        “Yeah, I shouldn’t have said “read” so much as “interpret”.”
        Well, I must confess to some more befuddlement then. I honestly can’t recall an instance where the options were not clear. Nor can I recall a scene where whatever Mike said after choosing an option, wasn’t properly reflected in said option.

        For me the system worked well. I guess I just had a different gaming experience. Well, I suppose that’s proper for an Obsidian game. After all I also didn’t have any crippling bugs.

        • Sydney says:

          Just because your intuitions matched up with the developers’ intentions doesn’t mean the menu options were clear. It just means you and Menu Option Writin’ Guy think alike.

          • Raygereio says:

            So what you’re saying is that both my brain and the brains of those who wrote AP’s dialogue options are filled with kittens, puppies, boobies and incredibly sexy, beautifull and unbelievable intelligent thoughts?

            Well, I suppose I can’t do much else then agree with that.

          • psivamp says:

            Same thing with LA Noire. I’d try to politely bring up a piece of evidence and then — WHAM! I’m saying he killed the hooker in the ball-room with a .38 because I found a matchbook in his apartment, when what I wanted to say was, “So, you go to this club where the victim was known to work. Is it possible that you two had met?”

            • GiantRaven says:

              My favourite thing to do is accuse a suspect of lying and then back out with Cole going ‘whoops, my mistake’. Then I play a game called ‘mentally justify how this madman could rise so high in the police force’.

            • Gamer says:

              It got to the point where I would always pick lie just to see what Cole would say. There’s no penalty for doing so because sometimes he gives you clues to what evidence you need and you can always back out.

              Plus, this makes for funny exchanges like:

              Cole: “I KNOW YOU DID IT! I HAVE X EVIDENCE THAT PROVES THAT YOU WERE AT LOCATION Y AND KILLED HER WITH Z! WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO SAY FOR YOURSELF!”

              Suspect: “I told you, I didn’t do it!”

              Cole: “Looks like I’ve made a mistake.”

              No shit, Cole. And why did you go from totally calm to completely unrestrained rage?

        • Infinitron says:

          The system in Alpha Protocol was good at encouraging quick roleplaying, although it should have given you a bit more time for each response. The player should also have been informed ahead of time that the game was not so long, so that he could try other options in subsequent playthroughs, instead of feeling bad about choices that went awry.

      • Gamer says:

        I don’t think the goal was for you to consider what the character was actually saying. It was more “Do I want to be aggressive, suave, or professional at this point in time?”

        To its credit, Alpha Protocol did a good job of that. Only at certain points where you had to make a choice did it change this up, Even then, it was kinda easy to determine.

      • Zukhramm says:

        But the point of the Alpha Protocol was, as far as I understood not to decide how Thorton feels, he’s just acting regardless of what option you chose. So the options are not “what do I thinK” but “what do I think the other guy likes”.

        I guess how some people feel about the dialog is how I feel about all action games. Can’t the game stop and give me the time aim?

        • psivamp says:

          No, my problem was with the writers ideas about the stances. You’d pick Professional and smash someone’s face — which really seems like it fits more with the Aggressive stance. Or you’d use the Suave stance and act like an idiot.

          The problem wasn’t a matter of time usually, although some timers ended before the other person stopped talking. The problem was that the stances were up for alternative interpretation, they were wildly ambiguous and the writers don’t think like me at all. There’s a point where the Aggressive stance really does break someone’s face — I wanted to threaten the guy. To me a threat is Aggressive, breaking his face in public is Stupid.

        • Audacity says:

          This. Playing Thorton was less deciding what he would do or say (he was pretty much a blank slate anyway) and more; “how am I going to manipulate this schmuck most effectively?” I loved that the dialog wasn’t just about trying to get everyone to like you, or persuade them to see things your way. Instead you could try to piss them off so they’d lose their cool and slipup, or act professionally and convince them to help you in the future. From this angle it never seemed like I was making guesses in the dark. I did however complete all the dossiers.

      • evileeyore says:

        Unfortunately SWTOR does this all the damn time.

        sadface

  10. Eric says:

    Wait, what.

    What.

    The name Faridah Malik… sounds Latin to you? Or Asian?

    Even with your Google save, that’s kind of weird to me.

    • Packie says:

      Faridah is a rather common name in the the middle east, mostly Egypt, Lybia…etc. I guess Malik is Arabian-American or something like that. Which as a fellow Arab(Emirati specifically) makes her more awesome. :P

    • Infinitron says:

      Both David Sarif and Faridah Malik are obviously supposed to be Michigan Arab-Americans, and they look like it too.

    • ClearWater says:

      Arabic names are very common in and around Malaysia so I can understand Asian.

      Btw, Malik means king or chieftain, which I could read more about if SOPA hadn’t caused Wikipedia to be blacked out, and if Google didn’t think I was a bot for trying to load the cached page.

    • Eärlindor says:

      I know, my reaction was pretty much: Whuuuhhh??? Really guys? That’s totally an Arabic name.

  11. Even says:

    3:50 “BROKIAFApping is now playing Half-Life 3: Beta”

    Tell me I’m getting trolled here, please?

    As for Mass Effect and Bioware dialogue wheels in general.. Yep, I hate the system too. I think the crucial difference here is that this game gives you a clear explanation on the intent of your choice and it feels more natural, even if I still hold the whole wheel concept as somewhat detrimental to the freedom of roleplaying. Dragon Age 2 was just awful when you’re basically gambling on what your character is going to say based on the given tone leading to a lot of potential disparity between what the player may feel like should be said vs. what the character actually spewed out.

    • Sydney says:

      You actually are getting trolled, more or less.

      See the first comment and the response to same. It’s just someone who renamed a different game to startle people.

    • X2Eliah says:

      Yeah, here you get the full text, here you don’t have just “GOOD/BAD” dichotomy, and here you don’t have to grind one single stance all the time to “unlock” the ‘best’ responses.

      • Gamer says:

        Yes. This was a huge problem for me in Mass Effect. At the very least they could allow for an option to still get the desired resulted without the prerequisite Paragon/Renegade points. They could make it difficult, but at least put it their like they did for Tali’s loyalty mission.

        • Packie says:

          As Rutskarn mentioned, I really hate how Mass Effect, especially the second one, never gives the player any reason to pick the paragon and renegade other than farming points to unlock future dialogue. I just didn’t care what the NPCs said most of the time and just picked up the upper right choices without caring at all and I never felt the game reacted to my choices in my meaningful way if I stuck with one path.

          I remember the sequence where Miranda fights Jack over something really stupid and I wanted to break the fight between them. I couldn’t, the option was greyed out because I didn’t have enough paragon points. It Makes No Sense, why is an important choice like this that can jeopardize the loyalty of your sqaudmates tied to a stupid and arbitrary point system. I really hated that part…grr.

          Oh, and I really liked how the dialogue was handled in this game and Dragon Age: Origins. More of that please.

          • Thomas says:

            It was even worse than that, because the Paragon/Renegade dialogue choices were insta win options. So if you’re having a lightside playthrough you could choose between being character true or mistakes having any consequences at all.

            Two people from cultures smarting from a long war against the other, finally letting their feelings be known in an all out death match as one tries to peddle enemy secrets back home.

            Shepard:Guys, wouldn’t it be nice if you all got along?
            Guys: That’s a great idea!

          • Destrustor says:

            I also didn’t have enough paragon to make everyone happy, so I blindly sided with Jack out of confusion. Then I found out you can go see Miranda later and apologize, basically saying “look, whatever is happening, you don’t antagonize an already angry murderous super-psychic psychopath, so I “took” her side only so she wouldn’t explode in our faces. Surely you are more reasonable than that, right?”
            And then she forgives you, so you can get loyalty from both. I don’t know if it would work the other way around (siding with Miranda and apologizing to Jack later), but at least bioware let you work around their arbitrary morality, at least this once.

  12. swenson says:

    …hang on, Detroit does have a Mexicantown. I’ve been there. You can get awesome tacos.

  13. Thomas says:

    Malik: There are consequences to our actions
    Jensen: Tell that to the guy who did this to me.

    …skip to later in the game where the guy who did this to him, is getting his face caved in by the augmentations he caused Jensen to have…

    huh

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Jenses sure told him.

    • Dovius says:

      Actually, that guy isn’t exactly responsible for that all, since Sarif took the opportunity when Adam was wounded to outfit him with literally every type of augment Sarif Industries has available, while all Adam would have needed to survive was treatment to his arm and abdomen. Sarif, by the way, does not suffer any serious repercussions for this as far as I know.
      Still, it is a nice bit of irony.

      Also, yay for finally being able to properly use the spoiler tags!

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        That depends on whether you save him from the lunatics or not.

        • Dovius says:

          I’ve actually yet to make it there, currently in the Harvester hide-out in Hengsha. Which reminds me, I gotta go finish this game sometime soon and get started on my stealth playthrough.

        • Thomas says:

          Or if you slip on that trigger button at a certain point of the game I don’t know if you can actually kill him. I know you can trank Taggart for being a prat at that part of the game. I assume that means you can do what you like to either of them

          Or you could feel betrayed and not support him. Or take the fourth option.

          But I feel Jensen was talking about the guy who broke into the labs and beat him up :D

      • Yeah, the only thing you can actually accuse him of is stealing your DNA to make better augs which made no sense to me because why would I care about that if it’s just making technology safer?

        Is that a spoiler? because I guessed it out when I read something in the first room of the game, then when I picked “Intrigued” here they basically confirmed it. Seemed kind of obvious.

        • Eärlindor says:

          I pretty much guessed it within the first five minutes of the game as well. And I agree, I don’t understand the angst this causes Jensen. The only possible way I could see it pissing him off is if it brings Megan’s love for him into question: did she ever love him to begin with? Did she only get close to him to get his DNA? But then that begs the question of how she knew where to look in the first place. Another problem (if you want to call it that) is that this is also subjective interpretation and its not clear one way or the other.

          So yeah, it doesn’t make much sense.

          • Which I thought kind of needed to be expanded – she has a pretty good femme fatale thing going on, but she’s such a complete non-character. You don’t even see audio logs of her, she just shows up for a scene or two and her role is never really expanded on. But how many games do the whole “kidnapped girlfriend” thing only to have it turn out she never loved you and she was just after your DNA all along? It would’ve been an interesting thing, especially if it was something you could discover the details of over the course of the game, and then Jensen’s reaction changes based on what he knows by the end.

  14. Alex says:

    In only a few paragraphs, you just described the precise moment/circumstance where I gave up on this piece of s—.

    • psivamp says:

      I tried to comment on your blog, but it rejected me.

      Anyhow, I thought it was interesting to hear from the other side on this game. I played and loved the original Deus Ex, I played and tolerated the sequel and I was cautiously optimistic for this game all through the development period — and I really enjoyed this game. I’ve played the opening at least eight times, completed the game three times.

      I’m not going to tell you that you’re wrong. That’s your opinion and your experience. Heck, we didn’t even play it on the same system and one of your sticking points was that it broke from the usual control schema — which I also find difficult when games do.

      So, thanks for the perspective.

      • Alex says:

        Rejected you? Dang, maybe that’s why I don’t get a lot of comments on that blog. Sorry about that, maybe I’ve got it set to some stupid thing where comments aren’t allowed. D:

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      There are 4 options for the starting weapon,not 2.Two lethal,and two non-lethal.Furthermore,the option to let a terrorist,part of a group that strapped dozen hostages to a gas bomb,go out with a hostage makes most sense to you,and the option to try and rescue the hostage from him doesnt?Riiiiiight…

      • Michael says:

        It took me a second to figure out where he was going wrong. He was thinking that the second choice determined which weapon you’d get, not that the first choice, lethal or non-lethal, would set up the next question.

        For the record it’s Lethal -> Close Range (Revolver), Lethal -> Long Range (Combat Rifle), Non-Lethal -> Close Range (Stun Gun), Non-Lethal -> Long Range (Tranq Rifle).

        • Alex says:

          I really wish it had told me this, or that anyone online or among my IRL friends who were playing this game had told me this, when I was playing and replaying that same mission over and over in different ways. I’d have preferred a static menu screen where I could select which weapon I wanted, with maybe a small paragraph underneath detailing the kind of playthrough I was hoping to go with. Cheap, but it would have saved me a lot of frustration and a lot of hours.

          Trying to intersperse that choice in the conversation, without giving you a heads-up on what your choices are, or how they’ll affect you in the long-run was senseless. The kind of arrogant design intended to not break the suspension of disbelief, at the cost of conveyance. Which just made them lose both for me.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            The game does tell you this,if you listen to sarif,he does ask you if you want lethal or non lethal,then he asks you if you want close or long range.

            Now if a button can get jammed,thats a problem,but since I was playing on pc,I cannot comment on how it controls on a console.

      • Alex says:

        @ Daemian:

        I never explicitly told him to leave with the hostage. He left anyway, and then she died, and then the cops gave me crap about it. And then I kept trying different things to say to him, to try to appeal to his character to let her go, and he left with the hostage anyway again and the game still gave me crap for it. Nothing was good enough.

        Also, I had no idea until weeks later that there’s actually a room with hostages you can rescue. I forget where I heard it, but I was under the impression that the hostages weren’t actually involved in the game, but that it was a time-based thing.

        I took it slow the first time and they all died, so I figured if I sped through the level they’d survive.

        Later, a friend showed me a wall I had no reason to look at or go to, where he found an out-of-the-way hatch that led to a hidden ladder, that led to a vent, that led to a rafter, that led to another vent, that led to a room I didn’t know existed. It’s like the game assumed I’d memorized the entire wikia dedicated to it BEFORE playing.

        • Shamus says:

          Alex is right that the hostage room is kind of goofy. It’s this posh room… what is this for? It’s got leather furniture. Is it an office? No, too much furniture. Break room? No, it has a desk and no vending machines. As far I can tell this is a room for holding hostages.

          It’s also oddly out of the way. If you stand on the production floor, you can’t really see into this room, which limits the usefulness of the room. (A boss can’t keep an eye on the grunts.) It says a lot that the easiest way to find the room was by crawling through the vent.

          The flow of that whole area is just a little odd. It would have been much better if the layout had led you to discover the room in the process of clearing the place out. Then the obvious route would have been to dash in the door, and the SMART route would have been to seek out the vent.

          I kind of suspect that the room was designed this way for AI purposes. They wanted to keep the bad guys far from the hostages, to avoid all the scripting mishaps that could happen. (Bad guys ignoring hostages shouting to you. Bad guys wandering into the bomb room looking for the player, etc.)

          Anyway, yeah. Could have been done better.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            I disagree.Just because we have been fed a ton of linear shooters in the past few years doesnt mean that when a game with multiple path comes out its the designers fault.This game awards exploration,and if you dont want to explore,youll miss out on most of the things.

            @Alex
            The dialogue option is “Let him go”,and the other dialogue option is “Try to save josie”.You just have to read both to know that the first one is letting him go with the hostage.Of course,you cant know what will happen to the hostage,but you are letting go a violent and unpredictable terrorist go out to a room full of armed cops,its not hard to figure that out.The only unexpected thing that happens is that he gets away.

            Oh,and that room can be accessed via a door as well,if you just explore for a bit.Also,the ammo for tranq gun can be found if you explore the level a bit as well.

            I too have let the hostages die the first time,because I was dicking around the office.But its not the games fault,since it did tell me to hurry up or people would die.If I dont hurry up,well thats my fault.

          • evileeyore says:

            I found it by going up the stairs. Those two very obvious stairs to either side of ti…

            I also kicked in the door and rushed the bomb… suffice to say sneaking in gives you all the time in the world to diffuse it, kicking in the door sets off it’s timer, which continues to count down as you disarm it.

            Tense.

    • Thomas says:

      You knew that if you didn’t like the checkpoints, you could just save anywhere you liked right?

      • Alex says:

        Checkpoints are there so that I shouldn’t HAVE to make a new save file every 2-3 minutes. That is the entire point of Checkpoints. A surprising number of developers do not understand this simple concept, and Eidos Montreal is among them.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Sorry,but no.If you have manual saves in your game,the only time you need to place a checkpoint is after a place where control is removed,so cutscenes and dialogues.If you put them anywhere else,its just bonus.If the player doesnt want to save,thats their problem.

          Now before you say anything,let me discuss one more issue tied with this:It seems to me that you are complaining about checkpoints because the game was too difficult on easy,and thats wrong way to look at it.The problem is not that the checkpoints are rare,the problem is that the game is too difficult on easy.It should be so that you can pass a level with no reloads,even if you arent that skillful.I cannot comment on your complaints about the controls and hit detection,since Ive played it on the pc,and there it worked perfectly.But it wouldnt surprise me if the game has them,and if it does,those should be addressed.

          • Gamer says:

            Yeah. I did find the game a little too difficult on easy mode. I don’t interpret easy mode as “Get dropped if you ever, ever move out of cover ever and more than 3 enemies are in the room.” That’s not even normal difficulty in most games.

    • You failed a hostage negotiation and that’s the game’s fault for not giving you good choices?

      • Alex says:

        No, it’s my fault the game put me into a conversation with an unpredictable guy who I’d never met, had no real information on besides: “BAD GUY GRR”, whose reactions would be a complete mystery to anyone playing for the first time, or who didn’t already know the -right- things to say.

        Just because one of the chambers is empty, that doesn’t make it less of a loaded situation.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Actually you are being told quite a bit about this guy.I speeched him out the first time I found him without the conversation aug just based on what sarif told me about him.But considering that he does tell you this on the very beginning of the level,and you confront the guy at the very end,having a log of that conversation would be helpful,I admit.

          • Destrustor says:

            And actually, those speech challenges are there for this exact reason: you go talk to this dude, figure out what makes him tick, and find a way to make him do what you want. this only sucks for two reasons: they are basicaly forced on you so you can’t just not do it, and the reactions are somewhat random.
            Still, the point is to use this little thing called “socializing” to win a fight instead of the too-often-used “shoot stuff to death” skill. To me it felt like a refreshing change of pace, and a nice try at something new from the devs.
            I also speeched the heck out of him on my first playthrough’s first try.

        • There are plenty of opportunities to learn about him if you’re paying attention, from Sarif’s description, the SWAT officer’s briefing, various enemy chatter etc. If I recall they tell you he’s a veteran, that he’s known for his low civilian casualty operations and that he thinks his augs were making him crazy. Being a veteran with a clean kill record means he’s proud so he won’t respond well to belittling, not trusting augs means he’ll be suspicious if you try to get on his side too much. Finally he was willing to tear his own eye out to avoid being compromised, so if you can prove he’s being played using Reason you can probably get the best result.

          I think they even give you more than this, but there’s certainly enough to make some educated guesses as to his demeanour, though I admit I picked “empathize” initially because I just assumed I should try calm it down. The point is you’re really not thrown in blind, and you can reload if your strategy doesn’t work.

          Or if you decide it’s impossible to negotiate you can always try shooting him, which you can do lethally or non-lethally in accordance with your playstyle. There’s actually a lot of options for dealing with Zeke, even if not all of them lead to a favorable outcome.

          • Thomas says:

            I got in Zeke’s head instantly. And the way conversations work, you only need to have lifted them above apathy by the end, so you can screw up once or twice. In the first line of dialogue Zeke tells you everything, he doesn’t want to get people hurt, he’s in it because he hates augs, he doesn’t like being played and he feels like everythings gone over his head. He’s not completely callous, he probably would respond to a threat with a threat etc

  15. Sleeping Dragon says:

    That talk with Malik right after the Zeke scene? On my playthrough I did pretty much the same thing that Josh did (talked the guy into letting the hostage go, then he run away) and that right there is where I got cautious of the character, this was the moment where I got the “gamey” vibe of “voice of goodness and human kindness” from her. Later in the game she didn’t piss me off quite as much as this kind of character usually does but she never really earned my real sympathy again.

    RE: Hacking. For me it was partly XP, partly it was having a “smart” playthrough but what sealed the deal on breaking into every single piece of electronics I could find was, for me, the dread of missing some neat piece of backstory (or an off chance of locating some neat piece of backstory if you want to be more positive about it).

    • tengokujin says:

      The French e-mails in Montreal really made me glad for L5 hacking. :p

      • Destrustor says:

        What I really wanted was one email, Just ONE, written in thick-as-hell quebec slang. Knowing almost nobody would understand it would have been a great source of amusement. We don’t (or rarely) speak and write in dictionary-perfect international french, so it would have made sense for some personal messages to be written more casually.
        Besides, there are already numerous instances of (to me) difficult to decipher L33T H4XX0R text everywhere, So one where I was one of the few to be able to understand would have been nice.

  16. Sir Broccoli says:

    “I a-door this trick.”

    Pun intended?

  17. Paul Spooner says:

    I, too, was quite befuddled as to how Zeke escaped. Did Jensen black out after the conversation, and wake up when the police arrived? Did Zeke have a cloaking device which he activated just as he slipped out the door? It seems that having the police removed just one more room away, with a broken window that we can’t climb through in the intervening empty room, would have solved all of this.
    Oh well, you can’t have everything.

    • Thomas says:

      If the police were one room away it’d look equally stupid I guess, because he’d have gone through a door, and they’re all sitting their a room away not trying to get through it or scout the area with the hostages in. I guess the devs were suggesting the police only just arrived and secured the area he was in and tried to follow him through the door. What they really needed though, was just a dusky outside space, with some place wandering round and sounds of a distant search/chase being conducted

    • Hitch says:

      I think it’s supposed to be implied that a couple minutes pass during a jump cut between when Zeke runs out the door and the cops show up. Unfortunately, there’s no wipe or anything to clearly indicate that, so it looks like he must have walked/run right past them.

      • psivamp says:

        That’s really the only way it makes sense, because Mr. Thorpe is on the roof and either they evacuated him out another entrance or he walked right past you to get there — and he couldn’t have walked through that area or he’d have seen his wife, living or dead.

  18. Dovius says:

    I’m kinda disappointed that Jensen’s feelings on his augmentations are as pre-written as they are.
    Whenever someone asks him about it, the best you can go is careful optimism, yet the option I kept looking for was: “Well, it was kinda sucky for the first couple of days, but then I found out that I can jump like 10 feet and PUNCH THROUGH SOLID CONCRETE! I’m Superman now!”.
    That’s what I would do, I mean, just look at what he can do!

    • Thomas says:

      Jensen isn’t you and more importantly he isn’t playing in a videogame. In all honesty, as much as we tease Batman for not having fun, I suspect there aren’t many examples of people acting as happy as we like to imagine.

      Like take the supersprinters we’ve got now in the Paralympics. It’s hard to imagine that many of them went from ‘oh crud I’ve lost my legs’ to ‘look I’m a super sprinter’ in just 6 months. For that matter if a wheelchair user said ‘hey at least I don’t have to look for a seat anymore’ in his first outing, we’d think they’re trying to put a brave face on it, or they’ve got an exceptionally optimistic character

  19. Michael says:

    I thought Hanzer was an amalgamation of Human and Panzer. Though Hanzer may have been a mech manufacturer in Trier in DX2, much as I’d like to forget that game exists…

    EDIT: It wasn’t, the company was Panzerwerks. So, yeah, back to the Human/Panzer amalgamation.

  20. Gamer says:

    One thing I noticed about the conversations is that they change in difficulty as well.

    I remember talking to Taggart and I pick one option on easy mode that worked on him. On hard, the same exact option turned him off. I found that interesting.

    • Michael says:

      Difficulty doesn’t affect them. The responses are slightly randomized each time.

      • Thomas says:

        How does it work? Do they just change the order or is their a list of correct question/response segments and the game randomises which one it puts in?

        Or is that the correct answer is chosen randomly? I hope it’s not because I had faith in the games writing

        • I’m not 100% clear but I have tried the same thing twice and got completely different results. I think the idea is to get you gauging their reaction rather than just adhering to a single option.

          • Thomas says:

            But the profiles on the social aug suggest there is a thought, pattern. Hmm I’m going to have to investigate this more. The time my friend did Taggart I could tell him how not to respond in instances and Taggart responded the way I knew he would, but that could be coincidence

            • Michael says:

              So, the first, node or two (I forget which) are set in stone, they’ll always be the same, and they have a much more detailed and explicit response to your statements.

              The following nodes have a positive and negative response to each, with varying stages and modifiers for each node. The conversation uses an ongoing influence level, which is modified by your choices.

              Now, here I’m guessing, but, it seems that there are different responses based on your current influence level after each node for each possible response. Each node usually has a gained influence and a lost influence response followed by a bit of dialog telling you where your influence level is at.

              If you have the social augmentation you can actually see this happening as you pick the responses.

              The psych profile you get from the social augmentation suggests which personality has been rolled up. As you watch it on these dialog boss fights, you’ll see that their personalities actually change from fight to fight.

  21. swimon1 says:

    I loved this part of the game. Zeke is well written and a nice foil (the last of his kind unfortunately) the level was really well designed and I really like sneak games and games that lets you spare people in general. Unfortunately I thought pretty much everything went slowly but surely to shit after this. Really the first time I thought ill of the game (by this I mean “well that part sucks” not “this game is bad”) is that very scene at the end of this, I think it’s a testament to how well made the start of this game is that I hadn’t found any faults with it up to this point.

    The first point I disliked is the “how do I feel about being made a machine” dialogue. Don’t get me wrong I like that it exists I just don’t like how it’s made. I was playing my playthrough as “damn it’s nice to be a robot” partly because I’m a bit of a technofetishist in real life and partly because while I’m sure it sucks to nearly die but it made sense to me to be grateful of being made a robot since you wouldn’t have lived otherwise. Seeing your robot parts as a reminder of the tragedy and holding resentment towards it makes sense too but I was playing more of a “I would have died otherwise” character. So I went with intrigued. I thought it meant “I’m just happy to be alive but I’m apparently also some sort of super human, I find this intriguing” you know, being psyched about your new potential and wondering where your new limit is. What it seems to mean tho is “I hate being this and I would probably not choose to be like this but perks exist” geez maybe throw some more qualifiers on that statement?

    What I dislike is that you’re pretty much railroaded into feeling bad about the first attack despite not really being given any incentive to do so as a player. Before the attack you’re a weak nobody, after: superman. I mean I can sympathise with Jensen feeling bad about it but I thought I was Jensen. I mean I was asked for my opinion right? The problem is that they made Jensen a character and not a character. Jensen sort of has a character arch. He starts out resenting what he has become smashing his reflection and he seethes with anger over what has been done to him. Over the course of the game tho he learns to accept what he has become and decides that what was done to him was ultimately for the better. in the end he decides that everyone should be allowed to enhance themselves. The problem is that that character comes at a price of player expression and player expression comes at a price of Jensen’s character. In most of the game Jensen acts differently then I would like to (he’s super combative against Sarif, Megan and Taggart for example) but the fact that I ever get to make a choice diminishes his character. For example if you decide to ban augmentation in the end Adam has no arch, he starts angry and resentful and he learns that he was right to be.

    You can have a main character that is clearly defined where you make no choices from his perspective or a more free game where you make the choices and the main character is muted and malleable. Both are great if well written. Doing both on the other hand isn’t (maybe there is some sort of genius way to do both that I’m not seeing but I doubt it).

    • Thomas says:

      I don’t think HR has a character arc story structure.

      It’s not quite as traditional a story structure but the trick is that the end choice is a much more general problem then the beginning. The broadest undeniable pattern in Deus Ex, is inwards out. Jensen starts with only his thoughts and experience, and gradually gains knowledge and interest in the problems of the world at large until finally he deals with them.

      In a way ‘presented with character flaw, gets over character flaw’ is by far the most trite, if common of story structures and their are plenty of others. It’s why Deus Ex, doesn’t suck really, is that even in your telling of the tail, Jensen starts unsure of his body, becomes more comfortable with his body and finally concludes this is right for the world. It’s still not a character arc as such because by the end it’s not his development but the worlds. A character arc would have ended mid-game which is roughly the time Jensen gets over his body issues. (I’d pin that one at least by the time he talks to Taggart at the conference)

      And because he doesn’t have a character arc is why Deus Ex can get away with the brilliant combination of player control _and_ story (although I admit this worked for me, much more than other people) because the decisions the player makes, ultimately don’t affect Jensen, but the wider way he sees the world. Even killing or not killing isn’t something about Jensen’s character, instead it measures the success he’s had. We know Jensen isn’t a psycopath and if we kill, it’s because the lure of power has overcome him, not because he was always the sort of person who would kill and in the end the story reflects that, the moral isn’t that Jensen is a killer, but that humanity can’t be trusted with the powers augmentations bring (or you can choose to interpret it as humanity is not a thing worth bothering with, depending how you react at the end of the game)

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      In the original DX I went for “I embrace your invitation, let us become a man-machine god together” for the ending (an old game but one of the few that still deserve a spoiler tag) and I was hoping to kinda pursue a character with similar views (even if not similar options) in DX:HR, the lack of which I lamented.

      However, I’m somewhat on the fence about Jensen’s personality. I agree it limits playerchoice and railroads the plot somewhat but on the other hand a completely empty shell of, for example, Shepard doesn’t entirely work for me either. I was OK with Jensens starting at the point of “I have been turned into something less than human” and during this conversation with Malik I was hoping to start him on the path ending at “I am something more than human” (with other options being available of course, just saying that’s the choice I’d like to be able to make). Sadly the closest I could get, in my perspective, was “thank goodness I am still human despite my augs.” Still, this was a good starting point I think the conversations where Jensen explores his own nature just don’t come that much after this and simply don’t handle the situation well.

      On that note I disagree that going anti-aug doesn’t make for a good Arch, it’s a valid choice (if not one I would make) where Jensen lands in a situation that is despicable to him, decides his own experience gives him the right and perspective to decide this is not good for humanity and follows it through. Again, not something I’d go with but a valid choice and, IMHO, gives the character some closure on the matter.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I myself liked that jensen wasnt a blank slate for me to fill,but was already established,and I was merely nudging him in various directions.Blank slates are really hard to do in a crpg,and usually end up being crappy.

      • Alex says:

        To paraphrase/butcher something Roger Ebert said:

        “The more specific a character is about human nature, the more universal they are. Characters made ‘for everybody’ seem to be made for no one in particular.”

        The real quote replaces the word “Character” with “Movie”, but you get the idea. Blank slate characters are alright for old-timey RPGs or MMOs, but they just feel out of place to me in a story-based game. I’m glad Deus Ex HR established the broad strokes of Jensen, while letting us choose the particulars.

  22. guy says:

    I think Hanzer is a distortion of Enhancer, and means someone who has gotten augmentations.

  23. Benjamin says:

    This talk about choices was fresh in my mind when I logged into the Steam store and saw that Evochron Mercenaries has been released – a game that touts itself as focusing on freedom of choice/gameplay/story in a space adventure setting. You can see from the trailer that this was possible due to graphical “cutbacks” – it looks like it was made with cutting-edge video technology circa 1995.

    I know it’s only tangentially related, but still… this looks like a game made deliberately or even exclusively for Shamus, perhaps based on a design doc formed from an amalgamation of his posts and articles. I hope it delivers on its promise, for his sake.

    • psivamp says:

      Now by cutting-edge video technology do you mean movies or games, because this looks, from a visual tech perspective, better than Freespace 2 which was 1999?

      The game looks fun, but there’s no demo and I just picked up the X collection over the holidays for my space shooter/trader needs.

      • Benjamin says:

        I contemplated putting 199x instead of a specific year and decided to go for the middle of the decade. Having been a starry-eyed youngster during that time, most game graphics seemed to lump together into the category of “awesome”.

        Besides, isn’t there a bit of flexibility with the word “circa”?

        • psivamp says:

          It was a fast-paced decade for graphics. I didn’t mean to sound like a judgmental dick. I wasn’t quite as young, I guess and I was very interested in video games and graphics advancement.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Although it looks intriguing, it seems that the “construction” and “trade” aren’t major elements. I could be wrong, but the interface and the demo videos seem to say “flying a spaceship” more than “malleable interactive world”. I could be wrong though; I haven’t looked into it very deeply.

  24. Wandring says:

    When Josh chooses the “let Zeke go” option, you can hear all of us across the internet screaming “NOOOOOOooooooooo”…

    Which is of course what he really wanted all along!

  25. Venalitor says:

    Hey, Mass Effect 2 is easy to talk about. it’s got a wide array of both good and bad points.

  26. Zaxares says:

    Embarassing confession: When I first ran into Josie, I thought she was a man owing to her unusually deep voice. O.o

    Dialogue Battles: I agree with Josh. The conversation battles were one of the most entertaining and fun aspects of the game. Some people criticise the Social Augment (or CASIE) aug for trivialising these battles, but I disagree; even if you know what kinds of responses to choose, it’s not immediately obvious which of your dialogue options correspond to which kind of response. Furthermore, sometimes the conversation is a lot more interesting to listen to if you DON’T choose the right options. You can actually go through a dialogue battle with the guy’s approval going up and down, like a heated negotiation, but you pull ahead in the end.

    Zeke and Josie: I personally think that Zeke DID shoot Josie, when the cops cornered him outside. Zeke does the same thing if you refuse to let Zeke go and force a gunfight, so he’s clearly capable of doing the deed when forced to it. He would have preferred NOT to do it, but when push comes to shove, he’s still a terrorist.

    “Hanzer”: I think it’s a slang term for “enhanced human”. “Enhanced” -> “Hanced” -> “Hanzer”. It’s never fully explained anywhere in the game though. (Aaaand Rutskarn just made my explanation irrelevant 5 seconds later. Thanks!)

    Useless SWAT guys: To be fair, they were being told to hold back by your boss, David Sarif, who only let them go into the building at the last minute. It still seems funny how one unaugmented guy could still escape from at least 7 SWAT guys though, I’ll agree.

    Faridah Malik: Faridah Malik is actually a Farsi (the Iranian/Persian language) name, I believe. Which means she’s of Arab descent, not Mexican.

  27. evileeyore says:

    HEY!

    I say “Copy that” all the time!

    I am not a douche!

    sadface

  28. decius says:

    Nice work. So far, you’ve sold at least one copy.

    For added pride, I’m going to play as Deck, from the fanfic.

  29. Simplex says:

    ““Hanzer”: I think it’s a slang term for “enhanced human”. “Enhanced” -> “Hanced” -> “Hanzer”. It’s never fully explained anywhere in the game though. (Aaaand Rutskarn just made my explanation irrelevant 5 seconds later. Thanks!)”

    How did he explain that? I thought Hanzer stems fromChinese pronunciation of Hengsha, which is a wet dream of all augumented people.

  30. Halceon says:

    There’s actually a playable side called Al-Malik in Emperor of Fading Suns. Never wondered about Malik’s origin here because of that.

  31. Johan says:

    Half bobblehead, I like that

    Also, not sure if anyone else said this, but Malik means “king” in Arabic.

    So yeah, although they could be going for a different etymology, I read somewhere that Darth Malak was named so because it sounded like “Malice”

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