Deus Ex Human Revolution EP22: It’s a Small, Small World

By Josh
on Feb 18, 2012
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

75 comments


Link (YouTube)

And a late, extra long, fourth episode of the week for you guys. Enjoy.

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From the Archives:

  1. Kailvin says:

    Thankyou for making my weekend.

  2. Nyctef says:

    It felt a bit cheap, but I was REALLY glad for the auto-hacker thingies I got with my preorder. They were limited and fairly expensive, so they weren’t too game-breaking, but they were really useful – particularly the last hack for Malik’s quest, which is a real bitch without hacking augs.

    Edit: If I remember right, one of the trailers spoiled the fact that Megan was still alive, with Adam going all Taken-stype I WILL FIND YOU RARGH. Interestingly, it gave me a much better attachment to Megan’s character from the start, since she seemed kinda interesting, and made me that much more pissed of at the (lack of) ending

    • Luhrsen says:

      The ending wasn’t so bad for me until the teaser at the very end. All by itself that opened all sorts of plot holes and invalidated much of the preceding game.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      If you are just a bit genre savy,youll know from the start that megan is still alive.The game does subvert many tropes,but this is not one of them.It didnt make me care for megan any more though.

  3. Nessad says:

    Josh, why didn’t you punch him and got your 5000 credits back?

  4. littlefinger says:

    2:00 What press conference?

    10:15 MAKE IT HAPPEN! Someone start a Kickstarter project for this!

    12:00 This is one of the more interesting parts of the story, but I’d go further than just the fact that money literally buys talent. Imagine a world where the rich class literally better than the rest of society. The amount of self-entitlement and egocentric mentality of the people in that position would be catastrophic for the society as a whole…

    16:12 Josh, are you all right? I’m getting a little worried dude, you seem like you’re seeing boxes everywhere… You need help mate!

    19:09 Once opon a time game developers actually made players pay for taking one path over another… Today devs seem to think players need to be able to minmax everything, even – or especially moral choices.

  5. Gruhunchously says:

    So Josh takes a rich guy’s fridge, and then, just for kicks, tosses it over a balcony and into the street where doubtless the poor and hungry are waiting to get their hands on it.
    He’s the hero of Heng Sha.

  6. littlefinger says:

    Does Tong’s bar remind anyone else of Tron 2.0?

  7. uberfail says:

    What was this press conference?

  8. Reet says:

    Late, extra long episodes make me happy.
    Thanks guys!

  9. Wandring says:

    The bartender handing over a praxis kit to you is the one of the worst moments of erroneously rewarding the player. Maybe what makes it so bad is the fact that it is the bartender who gives you a level, and not just a pop up that gives you xp for most things in the game. Rewarding regardless of your choice really takes the bite out of any decision that puts other characters ahead of your own…

    I think that a choice was made in development to encourage a thematic choice in the game that being “the good guy” should be reinforced as much as possible. I can think of plenty of examples to support this, but I think the one that gets under my skin the most is when you can perform a take-down an enemy in hand-to-hand and it makes (considerable) noise when you do it lethally and yet is silent when doing it non-lethally; You are then given MORE experience points for doing it the completely silent way than you do for being able to pull it off noisily!! My point is that the fact that you are given more experience for taking down an enemy non-lethally (at any range) and it is always safer and more rewarding for players to do it that way, means that it is PUSHING players in a certain direction, which is bad… Whats worse is that it PUNISHES the players who don’t want to do it their way!

    When giving rewards in a game, the “when and why” they are getting them needs to be carefully considered. In Deus Ex HR it really limits the desire to play the game in different ways… I usually like going through games only killing/helping NPCs who I think really deserve it. If I can expect to get my carrot (praxis kit) regardless of my choice, and my valuable xp by inducing naps and hacking everything insight.

    • Infinitron says:

      PUSHING players in a certain direction, which is bad…

      Is it? Take a look at the Ultima series, for example. In those games, you could be good or you could be bad, but being good was really the only correct way to play.
      There’s nothing intrinsically wrong about that. It’s just the way the game is.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Although he was intending to pay you a Praxis kit anyway for simply getting back the owed money, which is a measly 250 credits.
      Therefore the whole situation makes less sense if you actually carry out his request.

      • Wandring says:

        I don’t think you grasped the points I was trying to make… Perhaps I should say that it pushes players in ONE direction, and that is a bad thing; Especially for Deus Ex where it is all about solving problems in many different ways. It’s not that having a theme for your protagonist(s) to follow for is a bad idea, I’m talking about how it is important that your game mechanics compliment the reward to overcoming challenges (including moral challenges) instead of encouraging us not to make choices at all. Players will always try to maximize resources, and here the resource is experience points. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself if you ever clear an area and then go into a vent or hack a door just for the xp? It’s not the fun part of the game but we do it anyway for the advantage… It encourages farming and it’s bad design. (It is also commen design sadly).

        Most iterations of Ultima really do not make a good case for the “only correct way to play” argument. In fact some of the best things about the Ultima series (particularly the later ones like Ultima 7) were that there were a lot of different ways to go about things: Whether you are virtuous, opportunistic, associate with the shadier types, finding creative ways to murder Lord British, or stealing everything that isn’t nailed down and on fire… You could accomplish your goals, AND be true to the way you saw your character.

        Yes, there clearly was a an expectation for the Avatar to be virtuous, and if you were a dick there were in game consequences, like characters adventuring with you would disapprove and leave you! Which was great! It was way better than them berating you and yet sticking with you regardless. I’m saying that having consequences gives weight to your decisions which is WAY better than having your xp or whatever essentials tied to the way you played it out.

        Perhaps the real discussion here is right way to use xp as a reward AND as a manor of progression, as a necessity in a game.

        • Mr Guy says:

          This reminds me of Bioshock’s “moral choice” of harvesting vs. rescuing the little sisters. Not only was “rescuing” the “moral” option, but it actually netted you MORE ADAM in the long-run thanks to all those teddy bears. Completely de-fanged the moral choice.

          This made me so angry that I deliberately harvested all the little sisters on my second playthrough. Just to teach the game a lesson. That’ll show it.

          • Thomas says:

            Bioshock was different though. Bioshocks plot wasn’t at all relevant to morality and it basically conflicted with the morality system it should have had. Waiting was objectivistly good as well as morally good.

            Deus Ex: HR is different. Jensen has a character and a certain type of gameplay is more interesting than others. Developers shouldn’t aim to reward you for whatever you do but push you out to explore new things. Examples: In shooters what most people want to do is find a chokepoint and camp it. Developers should aim to make that difficult and force the player to try other things.
            In Mass Effect 2 (through achievements) they rewarded you for trying out a new non-covered based style of it’s gameplay.
            So I feel it’s right the game tries to get you to play stealth based non-lethal gameplay. It’s more in tune with the game and more complex. The reward for being able to shoot people is being able to shoot people. The point of multiple paths isn’t to reward you equally for each one, but being able to offer you multiple paths. Remember at the end of the game they’re going to draw conclusions on the use and effectiveness of augments based on how you decided to play the game. What’s more shooting rewards you with bullets and money which is what you need to shoot, it’s just you’re gamer senses wrongly informing you that that XP is important. If you’re shooting, it isn’t.

            However you did point out one example of the game where it didn’t work, which was the hand-to-hand. Admittedly, as I said Jensen isn’t a cold-blooded murderer and that’s why there is only one evil sidequest in the game, but still there you have two identical choices and one rewards you more, so the question is, were they right to even include the other one if that was going to be the case? I think they should have and I don’t even think they should have been equal choices (otherwise again, what’s the point? Killing a person or knocking them out shouldn’t just be a matter of preference)

            Plus you’re not completely right with long range pacifist. It’s slower, less upgraded, longer to take effect and has a more limited ammo supply. In a straight up firefight it’s much harder to survive with the tranq. Finally the enemy can wake up someone you didn’t kill

            • Mr Guy says:

              Bioshock was different though. Bioshocks plot wasn’t at all relevant to morality and it basically conflicted with the morality system it should have had. Waiting was objectivistly good as well as morally good.

              Say what? The overriding question of “what is morality, really?” is pretty much the central theme of Bioshock.

              And given the game is basically a critique of Objectivism, stating that something is “objectivistically good as well as morally good” as a GOOD design choice makes no sense to me.

              • Infinitron says:

                Bioshock is a first person shooter with a bunch of pretentious Objectivist references in the background. I think Chris over at Errant Signal described it best in his Human Revolution video (skip to around 9:00).
                Only I disagree with him: Bioshock has even less to do with Objectivism than DX:HR does with transhumanism.

              • Thomas says:

                It’s kind of what I meant. Bioshock wasn’t ‘do bad things, do good things’ it was ‘it’s correct to be self serving, it’s correct to be altruistic’

                The choice wasn’t related to that. Instead it was be ‘hahah evil’. Objectivists would take the ‘good’ option

    • MatthewH says:

      This didn’t bug me so much. The deal was that Bobby needed an augmented, non-triad freelancer to hack 3 terminals, locate Jaya, and get her to pay up. In return, he offers a praxis kit.

      And Jensen does all of this. Sure, he pauses to renegotiate the contract and then kindly throws in the 5000, but he has still held up his end of the bargain.

      What I want to know (and will discover in the next playthrough) is, if you decline Bobby’s offer and go back to Jaya -can you get her to provide the 5000?

  10. Piflik says:

    That Praxis Kit, you don’t just get it for the ‘Paragon’-sacrifice, but also when you get money from her and give that to the bartender. The only way to not get it, is bringing back the implant and thus depriving Tong from any money. I think it kinda makes sense. It is just a reward for a job done, no matter where the money is from.

    And that conversation you liked, Josh, I find it really awkward…all these rhetorical questions…I would have liked it much better, if Jensen simply accused him of all that instead of first asking and then answering himself…but maybe that’s just me…I hate rhetorical questions…

  11. Velkrin says:

    Malik does infact have specific dialog if you resolve her side quest via murder, unlike SOME people I could name (Sarif). IIRC she yells at you if you kill him.

  12. Zaxares says:

    0:44: Wonder what THAT death will be marked down to on the coroner’s report. XD

    1:30: … I’m ashamed to admit that Rustkarn’s pun actually managed to get a laugh out of me that time.

    3:22: And THAT’S the point where you can tell that Bobby Bao’s voice actor is not a native Chinese speaker. Lao-WAY?? He was actually doing a pretty good job of it prior to that point.

    7:02: Actually yes, there is. If you pre-ordered the game, you also unlock a special device in the game called Automatic Unlocking Devices. They’re like special “grenades” you throw onto a lock or terminal and it automatically shorts out the security system for you. You can also gain access to these devices by purchasing a DLC pack. The major downside to using these is that you miss out on the XP and loot you would normally get for hacking these terminals, so it’s a tradeoff between those and convenience.

    11:50: There’s actually an interesting nod to that in the game, Shamus! On some of the newspapers throughout the game, and later in the Picus Studios, there’s mention of the “Augmented Olympics”. There’s no mention of the normal Olympics, but tt seems that augmentations succeeded where drugs could not, and now all atheletes who wish to attain the height of sporting glory must be augmented.

    12:50: Yes, blue collar jobs today. In fact, Upper Hengsha? Built entirely by augmented workers, and it serves as a proof of concept of what can be done with the benefit of augmentations. The Panchaea project in the world’s oceans too, are all built with augmented workers. (In fact, Hugh Darrow even provides free augmentations to people who sign up to work on the project, and it’s widely seen as a lifeline for poor people who can’t afford the augments any other way.)

    13:38: Just a question. Who IS this Reginald Cuftbert that I’ve heard Josh mention now and again??

    18:35: And another thing. What the heck is a shylock??

    19:30: Some people speculate that it might be a bug, that Bobby is only meant to give you the Praxis kit if you complete the job for him.

    26:00: Really? I never had any problems hacking that terminal at all. Maybe it’s because I always managed to convince Tong to let me see him, which instantly turns all the guards/cameras friendly.

    • Andrew B says:

      A Shylock is a moneylender. It’s a reference to the Merchant of Venice, a Shakespeare play, which features a Jewish moneylender of that name. His portrayal is about as fair and balanced as you could hope for from a 17th century play (i.e. not very, but he does have sympathetic scenes). As I understand it the term has come to be used in America slang to refer to illegal loan sharks who charge extortionate interest that forever indebts their customers. (In the play the rate of interest charged is nil if repayed on time, but a “pound of your flesh” if late, giving us the “having your pound of flesh” phrase, meaning to take your revenge even at great cost.)

    • McNutcase says:

      Reginald Cuftbert is the legendary character created for the Fallout 3 season of Spoiler Warning. His notable features included being so sneaky the game was completely broken; carrying around huge amounts of heavy equipment he could barely use; being almost entirely aligned Chaotic Pyromaniac; wearing a pretty, pretty bonnet; murdering multiple people by means of stuffing grenades down their trousers; repeatedly pausing mid-combat to wolf down several pounds of food and multiple bottles of water; being addicted to every addictive substance in the game; and wearing a very impressive set of muttonchops. Every player character since has had some elements of Cuftbert in him or her.

    • Thomas says:

      Free augmentations is a trap tough, leading to a lifetime of addiction and quitting your job can literally lead to death by lack of money.

      And the thing is, however you manage the system, people are going to be left behind. Once you upgrade a few of your workers (I can see that happening from a few employers, even without the dependency it creates, it also makes them more efficient) you fire the rest right? Otherwise there’d be no point in upgrading them in terms of money saved.

      So all unauged people are unemployed without money to aug themselves. Whats more whilst you’ll give workers some strength augs, you’d never give them intelligence augs that might threaten you’re job. And the demand for those augs and the low wages paid to manual labourers would mean the workers would never be able to afford them and wouldn’t even have the chance of natural intelligence, or study to raise them up out of their situation. You’d get stratas even amongst the elite.

      I think the only solution is government subsidised heavily controlled augmentation. Everyone gets the same slightly worse opportunity no matter wage bracket. Even this is impossible with N, but that problem will one day be solved. You’d still leave behind all the people unable or unwilling to be auged, but maybe you’d decide progress is worth that. But then that’s giving the government a lot of power and a lot of chance of corruption

  13. Dante says:

    Shamus, I don’t know if you’ve figured it out yet but….Josh is trolling you through his gameplay methods.

    • AbruptDemise says:

      We knew this since the inventory debacle.

      The incident in the first minute of the episode really just reinforces this, unless Josh has other reasons for not getting the parachute yet.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    There indeed is a distinct lack of elevators in this show.You guys need to play a game were elevators are featured prominently.Maybe even as a loading screen.

    Well,he gives you the praxis kit because youve helped him find where she is.And all you have is his word that he will stop harassing her,but you wont be in hengsha for long.

    Also,its nice how when you are almost out of this place,Josh will finally buy the icarus aug.

  15. Even says:

    So, you’re not even half-way through the game and you’ve already hit the Iceberg of Battle Fatigue. I’ll have to make sure to be ready to jump the lifeboats within the next 10 episodes.

  16. Hitch says:

    I get twitchy every time I see an elevator in a video game every since Mass Effect 1. It would be entertaining to put a realistic elevator in a game where you have 20 buttons to choose the floor you want to go to. Especially if they make it easy for you to miss that information expecting the elevator to only go where you need it to. Then if they add random NPCs getting on the elevator, the devs could really troll you by putting an obnoxious, invincible child on with you to push every button.

  17. Museli says:

    Huh. So a couple of the questions you ask Lee have at least two right answers. I went with the autopsy report being falsified rather than inaccurate, and I mentioned his family connection to Belltower rather than LIMB, and got exactly the same result.

  18. OK, I figured I had to get this title card I’ve been working on done before we got to Tai Yong Medical.

    This one is different in that it includes not only a background, but shading and stuff, and it was pretty fun to work on, even if I kept putting it off. There’s a more colourful version I made before this, but it’s not Deus Ex without an overly pervasive colour scheme.

  19. Gamer says:

    First off, I didn’t know the Stun Gun had that big of a range.

    Second, I didn’t know that that train was there a could it could take you back.

    Third, I didn’t know that that guy had the Praxis on him. Guess who going to die on my next playthrough.

    I learned a lot this episode.

  20. Gamer says:

    Shamus, they went hostile towards you because you snuck in. If you speech check Tong, they ignore the shit out of you inconspicuously hacking their light show.

  21. Fat Tony says:

    Hey, guys, remember when “we ran over time” mean’t “we we’re supposed to sit and play/chat for 30 minutes, RUTSKARN! You’re the time keeper how have we been at this for 1:20 minutes?”

    Those times were fun.

  22. Fat Tony says:

    Elevator Source, I second Chris’ suggestion.

    (I like Chris, good ideas man. He’ll go places, unlike you…Rutskarn, with your Thomas the Tank Engine slurring)

  23. Marlowe says:

    It ain’t over until the Fat Controller tries his hacks.

  24. Encroacher says:

    You know, Jaya’s quest really reminded me of the film Gattaca, although that was more about genetics than augmentation it still gave some interesting perspective to the idea of transhumanism.

  25. The Other Matt K says:

    One thing I thought was need about the Bobby Bao quest… so, the woman who got the implant offers you a very convincing and emotional story about her situation, and many players will feel sympathetic and back off or even pay the 5,000 credits to help her out.

    The thing is, the implant she got isn’t some ‘do fancy math in your head’ Aug – it is a CASIE Aug, the same exact thing you use to… you know, convince suckers to do whatever you want. (Or, at least, there are one or two e-mails/pocket computers that hint at that.)

    So the game never really addresses whether what she told you is true – or if she was just using the Aug to tell you what you wanted to here and get you to leave her alone.

    I thought that was a nice touch, and also helped show even more the potential problems with some of these implants. If anyone you meet could have a CASIE Aug and be manipulating you without you knowing it, how much of an effect does that have on people and society at large?

    • Zero T. Katama says:

      Where do you find out it’s a CASIE aug?

      • Jeff #3 says:

        You find a couple of computers with emails on them from people/thugs that were sent before you to ‘collect’.

        They all have the same ‘Yeah boss, I know I was supposed to get the money or the aug, but she used it on me and it made so much more sense at the time to let her go.’

        When I was speaking with her, I couldn’t help but think “Am I getting conned right now? She’s probably using a CASIE to make her story more convincing.”

        Athena is mentioned as having one as well IIRC, which I thought was why Adam was more accepting of her story when he approaches her to ask if what David is doing is really best for the company.

  26. Mailbox says:

    Ok so this quest for Bobby the bartender at the end when you give 5000 credits I was hesitant. 5000 credits was a lot but I wanted to resolve it peacefully. So what I end up doing was giving him the money and getting the praxis point. Now this is where I got creative and knew this game was great. On the left side of the bar there is an entrance you can use to get behind the bar you can also take cover on the inside of the bar. Behind there crouched down you are unseen by anyone and can shoot Bobby with the Stun gun. Take cover up against the wall of the bar next to the hole. You can wait out the hostile activity until it completely dispereses. Then come out from behind the bar and act as if nothing happened. No one is wiser. Better yet, you can loot your 5000 credits back. Easy! I laughed so hard when I discovered this. It was very gratifying.

  27. Johan says:

    Wait, so this small time criminal has unlimited access to your infolink? I mean Malik at least had the decency to be ashamed of looking over your shoulder.

    That was one of the “don’t think about it or it’s stupid” parts of Deus Ex original also. This thing of everyone having full access to your infolink, being able to see everything you do and send you messages as well. If I was Bob Page I wouldn’t even send robots or MJ12 troops after JC, I’d play really annoying music nonstop on his infolink

    • Shamus says:

      The user “Page, Bob.” is requesting unlimited access to your infolink. Doing so could compromise the security of your brain. Do you with to allow access?

      Allow | Cancel | More About Microsoft InfoLink Security…

      • Johan says:

        I genuinely wish now that they had gone over more about the infolink and its repercussions ingame (wait, do they? I’m not actually fully finished). They do a little nod to your HUD right at the beginning, but thinking about this raises a few questions for me.

        First, how exactly does it work? Your HUD is obviously a real thing, it isn’t there before you get augmented and then it needs to get fixed by Prich later. So is the infolink ACTUALLY a picture in the corner of your vision, and subtitles along with the words? How far does that go? Could there be a bug where the picture fills up your whole “screen” (vision) and you can’t see anything? And going one further, if people can force you to see things (their picture profile at the very least) while infolinking you, could this not be used for some very sci-fi things?

        First of all disable an enemy through their infolink, hack in and send a blank screen of a profile that takes up their entire vision

        Secondly and more sci-fi-y, I remember there was a… show I think? Anyway it was about humans who were fighting hideous bug aliens. At one point one of the soldiers realizes that GASP, the bugs are actually other humans, but some techno mumbo jumbo makes him “see” them as bugs. He tries to come in peace… and is then shot to pieces by the enemy humans who see him as a bug. What could this do for Jenson/Denton? Reality is perceived by what you see, hear, smell, if that can be controlled over the infolink, or even if it can be controlled period (the old “hack into their brains” cliche, which might actually work with augs), it creates a very effective form of control.

        The other thing is how these brain augments relate to intellectual property. This is a VERY sticky issue of late, but I will try to deal with it delicately. Now, I’ve read that, to your brain the process of recalling a song (singing it in your head) and hearing it is almost the same, but of course we can’t enforce copy protection on your thoughts and your memories. But when we get to the point where technically you actually have a computer IN your brain, what then? You could simply “download” the song to your brain, and playing it for yourself would be indistinguishable from your own memory. Let’s go back up to the infolink above, if you can see and hear whatever you want, couldn’t you also “download” videogames to your brain and play them in your mind? At what point then is enforcing a patent (not letting people DL vidyagaems) crossing into telling them what they can and cannot think?

        Ah, that really didn’t come out right. Let me try again.

        We often think of our body and our mind as our ultimate private space. The FBI is allowed to take your computer as evidence in a case, they can get a warrant to search your house, your car, your place of business for illegal stuff, child porn, drugs, explosives. But one of those could also be sitting in your augmented brain, in your memory, ready to be called up at any time. How now do we enforce these things, when the boundary between your personal memory and your personal computer is so thin?

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