Deus Ex Human Revolution EP21: Nice Hat

By Josh
on Feb 17, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

Rutskarn does make a pretty good point about all of the internet culture references in this game. They’re less ham-fisted than similar attempts in other games to give a nod to the supposed “internet demographic” were, but they still feel a little artificial, don’t they?

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  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So that guy is actually miranda?

    I dont think these things are “We studied your demographic,so we know what you like”,they strike me more like “I love (making fun of) this meme,so I need to put it in somewhere”.

  2. uberfail says:

    I know you’re speaking off the cuff but “he thinks he’s way more smarter than he is,” made me laugh.

  3. Ringwraith says:

    I never those got those references when I played.
    At least it shows how easy they are to miss. (Or not, knowing my total lack of observational skills at times).

  4. Gruhunchously says:

    “He’s not just a regular jackass, he’s the product of the greatest minds of a generation working together with the express purpose of creating the biggest jackass who ever lived”
    Oh, and just how dumb is he? If I recall, if you find or guess the code to his apartment door, it’s ‘1234’. By the end of the quest, I found it quite difficult to avoid crossbowing him in the middle of the club in full view of everyone.

  5. Gamer says:

    I have to agree with you guys, despite the questionable logic of how some of the evidence was created/preserved, I really enjoyed this side-quest. Plus, since Malik was the quest giver, it felt like helping out a good friend when she needed it.

    And that guy really was King Moron de Jackass. It was so very satisfying to put him in his place.

  6. Lame Duck says:

    Very cunning Josh, I see that you realised you couldn’t cover up the fact that you had broken into his apartment so instead you made it look like a burgalry.

  7. rrgg says:

    I was going to save this for Josh’s next TW entry, but I don’t have patience so I’ll just delegate that decision to Shamus’s moderation.

    Getting back to the idea of relm divide and keeping the game interesting once the player gets too powerful. This is a problem that plagues a lot of strategy games like this including the Civilization series, whenever your strength is relative to how much you’ve conquered. The problem of course being that the game will be very interesting at the beginning when everyone gets an even start, but as soon as the player conquers one other faction then they become twice as powerful as any else and the game turns into a no contest grind.

    That’s what usually happens but there is an optimum scenario that keep the game interesting. What you need is for opponents to progress at a similar rate to you. For instance if you had a conquest game with 16 factions then after the 1st stage you should only have 8 each at double strength, 2nd stage would be 4 each at quadruple strength, and finally you would end up with 2 empires of similar power duking it out.

    The point is that at any given time there should be at least one other faction rivaling the player’s own to keep things interesting. He shouldn’t ever pull up the faction ranking screen to find that he is multiple times as powerful as the second place slot (at least not until the very end game).

    That’s more or less the ideal scenario anyways but I’m not sure how you would ensure that happened more often without cheating. Maybe you could adjust their AIs to become hyper-agressive towards their weakest neighbors if they aren’t as powerful as the player faction (that’s what the player does whenever he’s not on top anyways).

    • Bubble181 says:

      Depends on what you want, I guess. Me, I play for escapism. I suck horribly at strategy games, but I do like playing them (to be fair, I don’t totally suck. I can finish most RTSs on “hard”. I just hate rushing and want to do things my way in my own time, so multiplayer isn’t my thing). I enjoy the feeling of being the strongest and bull rushing the rest after a while. As such, Realm Divide completely undermines what I want. Same as auto-levelling enemies in games like Oblivion: they’re meant to “keep the challenge in there”, but they just make it less interesting – to me, at least – to progress. In the case of Realm Divide, by the time you’re that big there are other things making life more difficult as well (handling wars on several fronts at once, micro’ing 17 provinces,…). I don’t like having to deal with “everybody suddenly hates your guts, and besides those two fronts you’re already fighting on, now your vassals’ll stick a knife in your back, too”.

      I can understand the reasoning, but it’s only somewhat logic if you assume the player is looking for a challenge and for problems to solve. A player playing to, you know, relax and unwind, nothing too difficult? Nope, sorry, not playing the right game. Which is a shame.

      • Thomas says:

        I agree with rrgg, I think the thing to do is adjust the diplomacy system so that the smaller countries are more and more likely to team up with 1 of 2 power blocs as the game goes on, until eventually you have a WW1 scenario. Then you have WW1 and after you get the over power bloc to capitulate you’ve won.

        Because the thing is, even with one other good 2nd place, what happens is you seek them out and crush them mid game and then you’ve got an overpowered empire and a dozen midget countries to conquer.

        Of course this relies way too much on Total War diplomacy not sucking :D

        • Spammy says:

          It seemed like that was how games in Galactic Civilizations 2 went, at least when I played. If everyone played safely and nicely during the colonization rush, the civs would be building relationships and eventually alliances, and then the not-so-random events say that someone’s president got assassinated and war begins. In fact I start getting wary in GalCivs if we go too long without a war, thinking the RNG is going to start one soon.

      • rrgg says:

        This is actually how I am as well, the problem I keep running into though is that the escapism starts to suffer if the enemy is too incompetent. This is what eventually put me off Empire when all the AI armies would do is bunch up and shoot each other in the back. The truth of any game I play is that for me to get immersed it has to feel like neither I nor the computer are cheating (actually on topic, I don’t like mr third-person-god-eye-around-corners Jenson)

        In the example I gave above I was purposely being oversimplistic. Obviously, you would want to see some amount of progression. So in a game of 16 factions then after the first stage you would want to see the player at double strength, perhaps 4 others at double strength, but the other 6 still at single strength. That way the player still has at least one rival somewhere in the world, but the weaker nations serve as good punching bags in the meantime. I think that would work better than the ‘easy, easy, easy. . . Brickwall’ progression of relm divide.

        In short yes I think the semi-leveling system skyrim uses is sort of the best compromise.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      Paradox does this well in their games. In Europa Universals, you can’t declare war without a Clausius belli, and if you do, there are heavy repercussions. Same for taking provinces on which you don’t have claims. Also since you need to get a peace treaty in order to actually OWN conquered territory, you can’t simply steamroll bigger nations. So to take down a big foe you need to do it in increments, in a series of wars, and since peace treaties forbid you to attack for 5 years (enough time to rebuild), it further slows down MARCH of DEATH. And even if you brave all that, and crafty players can, too quick expansion and than death of a good ruler that held the nation together can easily result in huge rebelions and general instability.

      And if you are crafty enough to play smart, and still want a challenge, you can turn on Lucky Nations option, which boosts random nations so they expand and progress quicker, so that you always face a challenger.

  8. Entropy says:

    erm, the answering machine message is from his current ladyfriend. It establishes he is currently at the Hive, not much more.

  9. Dante says:

    I heard that Adam!

  10. Jokerman says:

    They do feel pretty artificial or go over my head, I never asked for this in a Deus Ex game.

    • Reet says:

      You really shouldn’t complain so much, they could bee worse.

      • Methermeneus says:

        Is that a VGA reference or a typo? You must BEE one of those COOL chat people who’s always making bee and ice puns. Incidentally, the only two Minecraft servers I want to be part of: Twentymine and Minecraft Awesome. Now if only I actually had the time and creativity…

        As for the game, um, insert amusing Deus Ex reference here? I somehow missed Deus Ex as a PC gamer, and I can’t afford most new games right now, so I don’t really know enough to comment.

  11. Zaxares says:

    1:58: Those are pretty awful anti-personnel mines. :P Jensen’s standing less than a few metres away from one when it goes off and it still does NO damage?

    4:35: Yeah, these showers are just that, showers and laundry. They’re only open during the day, according to what the residents above say. Presumably there are still bathrooms on each floor.

    15:42: Actually, I thought that Bar Tab side-quest could be used as an argument FOR augmentation. Or at least, David Sarif’s ideal of cheap, easily available augmentations. The whole point of the side-quest is that you have this ambitious, but poor woman who studied and sacrificed a lot to get to where she is today, but even with all that effort she still can’t compete with the rich elite who simply buy augmentations and are instantly better in their job than the poor woman with all of her years of study. Sarif believes that augmentations are the way of the future, but that everybody needs to have access to this technology, not just the rich and powerful.

    18:05: Others have already mentioned the answering machine part, but I have to agree that the clock part just… stretched the suspension of disbelief too far. Then again, this guy IS supposed to be not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Heck, even the code for his door is ‘1234’! :P

    • 4th Dimension says:

      – Maybe those mines are directional, and Josh mostly trigers them by standing ABOVE them.
      -But even with auguments being common and available to all strata of populace, rich people will still be able to afford better ones, and that robs humanity of one equality it always had. And that is that brilliance doesn’t choose where it gets born. Something similar would happen if we one day start ‘designing’ our future children.

      • Methermeneus says:

        RE: the mines, IRL anti-personnel mines are directional (hence the warning on claymore mines that says “FRONT TOWARD ENEMY”), but I’m pretty sure the only direction that matters on video game mines is “away from the surface to which the mine is attached.” The problem is more that Josh is setting them off from farther away than they really ought to activate, outside their effective range. Darned bullet-activated mines.

      • MatthewH says:

        On the second point, that’s true now. The rich can afford really nice hammers, awesome cars, et cetera. The situation we’re working with here is like the development of cell phones or similar. 20 years ago, only really rich stock-brokers who had a serious need for portable communication had cell phones. Now everyone does.

        Actually the existence of the CASIE seems the strongest argument against Augs. While the weakest and dumbest man may defeat the strongest and wisest if he has surprise, help, or a larger rock – he can’t make use of any advantage so long as the rich guy can just spit pheromones in his face.

        Bobby Bao even suggests in an e-mail that the reason the Triads can’t deal with her directly is because she keeps using the CASIE on them, convincing them to leave and give her a chance to escape (she might have even done to Jensen).

        • anaphysik says:

          Speaking of the CASIE aug… does no one ever bring up the ethical implications of it? I mean, you’re basically chemically persuading people to do things for you. Sure, we accept pheromones as simple biological triggers, but the CASIE uses them to convince, not alert. (Plus, it works as a sort of mind-reader (how does it give you their psych profile again? And so fast?).)

          I mean, basically anytime someone tried to convince you of something, you’d have to constantly worry they might be using their armpit farts on you.
          (Actually, I seem to recall people saying Malik calls you out on it if you use it on her.)

          • Thomas says:

            This is a cool question, another cool question is, if our brain has built in recognisable quirks, when does manipulating them become bannable?

            For examples, companies have found people are more likely to try a new type of coffee just after they’re married/have a baby etc, so they track store purchases that suggest a lady is pregnant and then target her with advertising. Is that wrong? What if they get better at it?

    • tengokujin says:

      Considering how many people live there and how it’s essentially now a tenement, I was completely unsurprised by the facilities at the Alice Gardens Pod Hotel. Again, cramped quarters, massive communal facilities, just feels right for such a derelict bit of modernised Old World, overpopulated China. Or any east Asian country, really.

      The people living out of this pod hotels? It’s been happening in Japan due to the recession. People were laid off, unable to pay rent, and they just ended up living in pod hotels because that’s all they could afford.

  12. Sydney says:

    Yeah. The guy with the #chan hat calls himself Anonymous X.

    Yeah.

  13. TraderRager says:

    Note to shamus.

    Bioshock 2 had MUCH better hacking. You could do it at range, it was based on timing instead of pipedream, and was generally really quick, intuitive,and fun.

    In fact, a lot of things were like that. The Camera was a much more involved and fun process, the combat was more varied and rewarding (Higher Health + higher damage weapons vs. around 3 times as many splicers).

    Too bad the story starts shit and gets good later on. It really hurt the game critically.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Wait,you mean this isnt how you hack things in bioshock 2?

      In all seriousness,at least it aint broken like the dispelling in amalur.

    • Mr Guy says:

      Caution: Batman-related tangent.

      I liked the “hacking” of the door locks in the recent Arkham Asylum/City games. It’s fiddly to get right, but it feels plausible–the act of “dialing in” a specific frequency IS fiddly. You could do it at range. It took time, but never really crazy amounts of time. Your ability to “upgrade” your hacking prowess felt plausible (boosting the range on transmitter is something that makes sense. “Oh, you’re better at this now because I Said So” in many other games does not…)

      The “Joker gas” booby traps to require you to hack three times in a row did feel a bit forced, but in general IMO the most “real” feeling hacking “minigame” of any recent title…

  14. Hitch says:

    Yeah the #chan, anonymous, forever alone face seem pretty out of place. But I’m willing to give the Final Fantasy poster a pass. Provided it’s old, that is, circa 2011 or older. That wouldn’t be too much different than someone today having a movie poster from the 70s or 80s on their wall, which is fairly common. On the other hand if they got cute and made it Final Fantasy 48 or something like that all bets are off. I don’t remember the details of the poster.

    • Reet says:

      I think it was 20 something so…yeah.

    • Simon Buchan says:

      Final Fantasy XXVII. At the average release rate so far (14 numbers in the 25 years since ’87), that would be in about 2035. Unfortunately, HR is set 15 years from now, so they would have to nearly double their release rate to yearly to get through the 14 remaining numbers.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Or,they started numbering them differently,like they did with x2 and xiii2.

        • Ringwraith says:

          That’s only for direct sequels to main games, and don’t count in the normal order.
          As XI and XIV still exist despite X-2 and XIII-2 being there. In fact, XIV was made before XIII-2, (although they have only just started charging for it).

      • Thomas says:

        Well they recently announced they wanted to push out one a year and Eidoes is owned by Square Enix … co-incidence or revealing your business plans a year ahead of time through an obscure addition reference in a video game? hmmm and said video game is about conspiracies

      • Hitch says:

        Okay. A now current poster would have been so much better. That way instead of saying, “We’re going to keep churning these things out at an even faster rate.” The message they can try to send is, “You should go play this. In 20 years it’ll still be remembered as a classic.”

        No one’s going to buy it. But at least it’s a good line of BS.

  15. SougoXIII says:

    ‘Josh, Josh, the guy you’re looking for is next to is next to the recepti- no wait why are you turning around? No, those random NPC do not know anything. Yes, he’s on your screen, just turn righ- Why are going back there? There’s NOTHING THERE!!! GAHHAJSCBBDBJKHSA…’

    First time I experience something like this in a spoiler warning.

  16. Arvind says:

    Didn’t it occur to Lee to throw the clock in a ditch or something? I know the game tries to justify it by saying “oh, the investigators were all paid off”, but a rigged investigation would look more convincing if it felt like they were trying.

    If the police/Belltower are paid off to the extent that the murder weapon in the suspect’s apartment is overlooked, one has to wonder what Malik submitting the overlooked report to the same authorities would achieve.

    • If it drops off a building, it won’t be conveniently broken at her exact time of death either. I mean, I know he’s not smart, but come on.

      • Arvind says:

        It pains me to think that all Lee had to do to escape justice by jensen was to (a) get rid of the murder weapon prominently displayed in his apartment, and (b) delete suspicious emails that might hint at a motive.

        I think the quest would have been more interesting if Jensen had to wriggle that info out of Lee by interrogation, following a few leads, questioning his friends or just beating a confession out of him. The clue finding sequence feels like a super easy hidden object more than a murder investigation.

        • Jakey says:

          Thing is though, the game never stops beating you over the head with how much of an arrogant moron Lee is, right down to his boss battle. His family has enough connections to make him get away with murder, ergo he doesn’t really give a shit about it. Hell, the autopsy report doesn’t match the cause of death in any way, but not a single fuck is given by anyone because of the corruption and general shittyness of Hengsha anyway.

          I’d argue that his conversation boss fight is this kind of clever solution you described since you’re unable to actually take the evidence to the authorities and it’s merely down to you managing to make him break down and confess as you’re secretly recording him.

          • Arvind says:

            I agree that the conversation boss fight itself was pretty enjoyable, but I’m just saying the overall quest could have been made better by not making Lee as dumb as a doormat.

            • Pete says:

              But Lee’s character IS being a dumb-as-a-doormat jerk! If you take that away it will become just another investigation sidequest following the exact same script as every other investigation sidequest ever.

              • Arvind says:

                I don’t get how a smarter Lee would make the sidequest more boring. To me it would make the investigation more interesting (unearthing clues somebody made an effort to hide), but to each their own I guess.

                • Mr Guy says:

                  OK, I’ll bite. I do think a “smarter” Lee would make for a more boring sidequest. Because the other option is to turn this into every other “follow the rails” investigation sidequest in every other game every (I’m looking at you, New Vegas, LA Noire, etc.).

                  Let’s say Lee is smart enough not to keep the evidence around his home. And smart enough to not have an answering machine. Here’s how THAT quest would play out…

                  * There has to be a clue somewhere. Let’s say there’s a mysterious e-mail on his computer (hack level 1 so we can all play) to an unnamed recipient. “I have some…items I need to dispose of. Securely and permanently. They’ll be in locker 123 of the Get-Fit gym. Combination 9876. Same payment as last time.”
                  * It’s off to the gym (which will be on the other side of town). You open the locker. There’s nothing there, but there’s some dried blood. And a note reading “Pleasure doing business. –Reynaldo.” Malik breaks in “That must be Eveyln’s blood!” She doesn’t know who Reynaldo is, but she knows who might–an old friend of Lee’s named Bubs. He hangs out at the Scumbag Club.
                  * It’s across town again to the Scumbag Club. You can either pay to get in or break in. Bubs is sitting at the bar. You can either bribe him or threaten him into telling you Reynaldo lives at the Bachelor Pads Apartments across town.
                  * Across town again to Reynaldo’s apartment. For no good reason, the apartment is heavily trapped with mines and maybe a turret. You hack his computer, but it’s clean. Malik “There HAS to be a clue there somewhere! It must be hidden!” You eventually find a secret room with a pocket secretary. There’s a reminder to himself (for some reason) that his storage unit at the U-Store-It across town is unit 456, combination 5555.
                  * Yep, it’s across town again to the storage unit. Which will be strangely large considering it contains nothing but empty boxes making a maze. Oh, and some cleverly hidden mines. At the end of the box maze, there’s the bloody clock and maybe some bloody clothes, which for some reason are conveniently labelled “Take care of these for Lee Hong when I get back from my appointment at the Happy Ending Day Spa” or some other ridiculous contrivance. Using an “ex maching” (pun intended) ability never referred to previously and will
                  never be used again, Jensen’s augments allow him to do a real-time DNA analysis. Yep–Evelyn’s blood (how does Jensen have a sample of her DNA for comparison? Never mind!)
                  * Malik again. “Fantastic work. Take the evidence to my contact in the police department (The Last Honest Cop in the City). You can find in at the food stand across from the police station (which is, somehow, across town again). In a huge crime-ridden city, for some reason The Last Honest Cop still has this case eating at him, and he wants to do everything in his power to solve it. Because, like, he’s got nothing better to do. Last Honest Cop is happy to get the evidence, but he says it won’t stand up in court. You don’t have anything directly connecting Lee with the evidence. You need Reynaldo to testify. Last Honest Cop would send the police force, but he’s worried someone will tip Lee off. Yep–you have to go bring Reynaldo in.
                  * Off to the spa! (Across town again). There’s a computer in the lobby you could hack to find out which room Reynaldo is in. Which is actually pointless, because no one stops you from wandering into the back room, and every character’s name pops up when you target them. So you can just walk around until you find Reynaldo. Can’t be bribed, so you have to threaten him into agreeing to testify against Lee.
                  * Back to Last Honest Cop to finish the quest. Despite you being an augmented super-being, and taking the shortest route, somehow in the time it took you to get back, Reynaldo has already made a statement implicating Lee (because apparently lying to Adam to get him to go away never occurred to him), the police have already picked up Lee (apparently they’re NOT worried about HIM getting tipped off…), and Lee has already confessed to the crime. Great work, Jensen! Here’s your XP and a Praxis kit that Last Honest Cop had for no reason.

                  The problem with the above is the pointless quest-lengthening without adding any real interest. It’s an on-rails succession of linked fetch quests. Go here, find this, talk to that, good doggy.

                  The fact that Lee keeps all the evidence around makes the investigation quicker and simpler. It allows the interesting focus of “do you remember the clues you read?” instead of “have you passed Quest Gate 5 yet?” for the final challenge. It keeps the side quest from overstaying it’s welcome.

                  • Arvind says:

                    Yeah, but what you’ve described is the logical extreme of stretching this quest.

                    All I’m saying is the quest would feel better if you would see one Belltower guy dumping a black bag in the sewer and you recover the same evidence there.

  17. modus0 says:

    Anyone else question how the shower room that appears to have a foot of water covering the floor only has one small location that’s electrified?

  18. Elm says:

    I think my favorite little touch here is the fact that Mr. X’s e-mail address was at “smashthestatechan.net” with smashthestate being the very first (I think) computer password you can find from the NSF in the original Deus Ex.

    Also, I have to wonder if the #chan hat isn’t meant to be a sort of retro-hipster thing? It would help justify the time discrepancy, anyhow. :P

  19. ps238principal says:

    I don’t know if huge common bathrooms like that are a cyberpunk trope, but they remind me of the common areas that were a fixture of Isaac Asimov’s “Caves of Steel” and other books set on Earth where most people lived in high-density cities.

  20. MatthewH says:

    Did I miss where it says that Evelyn was killed a long time ago? I got the impression that the death had happened relatively recently, which was why he still had the e-mails, clocks, et cetera. Malik was in Hengsha a long time ago, and had not spoken to Evelyn in a long time -but the death itself was recent -and this is what brought Malik back (well, that and tracking down Arie).

    • tengokujin says:

      I had the same feeling, like the death’s been only a few days, maybe a week, at the most. I guess that to be sure, you’d have to actually cross-reference the time stamps on the e-mails with your “current” time.

  21. Hal says:

    The last minute reference to Maggie Chow’s apartment made me smile. My favorite way to screw with that: Get over to Jock’s apartment (at that point in the game, it requires a lot of climbing) and then fire a rocket through her window.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      Or go see her, then go down to street level and fire rocket from there, reducing her to chunky bits and totaling all the furniture in both her and Jocks apartment. Or set on fire and watch her fling herself out of her own window into the street in front of the cop on patrol. Or get on to her roof and snipe her through the skylight. Such an awesome part of the game.

  22. Marlowe says:

    In Doom, the reward for killing everything was not dying. Now people expect payment as well.

    It’s pretty obvious by this point that Jensen is “a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of the innocent, the helpless, the powerless, in a world of criminals who operate above the law.” Justice has total jurisdiction.

  23. Atarlost says:

    Re: pop culture

    I think it’s better to see pop culture references than the alternative.

    Remember Star Trek? Remember how there was absolutely no culture newer than the jazz age and precious little newer than Beethoven? Like the entire modern era was a cultural desert with the subtle implication that the creators thought the audience were uncultured heathens?

    Yeah, that’s bad. It’s hard to get around thanks to copyright and trademark law, but if you can get permission to use some real logos and reference real IPs you can create the impression that culture exists.

    Internet memes, though, probably don’t have that sort of endurance. Major webcomics probably do, but not memes. Someone like Mumbles probably has 20-30 year old Batman comics, but there aren’t many students of 20-30 year old graffiti. Stuff like Girl Genius that doesn’t rely on outside references and has significant ontological inertia is probably the most durable. Anything big enough to be self sustaining that isn’t overtly topical.

    I think if I were doing art direction for a AAA game or movie set in the near future I’d try to get non-exclusive product placement deals from as many places as possible even if I had to price them at a dollar each.

  24. Johan says:

    Eh, I honestly didn’t think they were hamfisted at all. I giggled at the guy’s hat for a moment and then moved on

  25. Drakkenmensch says:

    During the funicular section, you guys wondered if this was real or if this was made up.

    Well, it’s 100% REAL.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Stadium_(Montreal)

    The Picus building is the office space within the mast of the Olympic Stadium which is absolutely real. You can hardly see the structure because you land on top of the mast at night, but the view of Montreal you get from up there is accurate. To mess with your mind further, the electric lighting of Montreal at night even has the exact same orange glow that the entire game portrays!

    The funicular is also real, and for having riden it in real life I can confirm that it is indeed a slow-ass elevator ride that simply will not end. It’s that mind-numbingly SLOW. It’s also officially called funicular, so even that part is real!

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