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Deus Ex — Mankind Divided review: Fun at first, but falters

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's world is beautifully realized,

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided's world is beautifully realized, but the missions are surprisingly dull. Photo Credit: Square Enix

PLOT Adam Jensen says hello, Dubai, as he tracks down an arms dealer.

RATED M for Mature

DETAILS PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC; $59.99

BOTTOM LINE Sizzling start, fizzling finish.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is futuristic science fiction, but the message it delivers stems from today’s societal problems. Police shoot unarmed innocents, extremist groups unleash acts of terror, and communities are torn apart by segregation. Sad sack protagonist Adam Jensen is on assignment in Dubai, tracking an arms dealer through an unfinished skyscraper. This mission delivers true excitement, culminating in the surprise assault by a new terrorist cell. It’s a strong introductory sequence, but the game never finds that pulse again and becomes formulaic.

Once the action starts in earnest, the missions are surprisingly dull, mostly having the player navigate a sea of enemies to track down people to communicate with or an object of desire. Outside of the critical-path missions, the world opens up and allows players to sink their teeth into what the Deus Ex franchise is known for: player freedom. None of the hub worlds are huge, but they are all truly open, with numerous side missions to tackle and secrets hidden well off the beaten path. The world itself is beautifully realized, visually giving us a look at the different wealth classes, and the impact government has had on their states of living. Just walking the streets can be an intense experience, given how heavily policed some areas are.

The game makers have done a great job of leaving navigation up to player discovery. Thorough exploration is often required, and rewarded with helpful shortcuts, loot galore, interesting people to meet, and additional side quests.

Unfortunately, some of the battle sequences are infuriating and the game ultimately gets bogged down in a dull and slow-moving story. Mankind Divided starts off with a bang, but quickly becomes a muddled mess of politics and technobabble.

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