(CBS) - The original "Deus Ex" was released in June 2000 for the PC to critical and commercial success. While certainly dated by today's standards, its aspirations were as great as any modern role-playing game. The game quickly became a cult classic for its cyberpunk influence and heavy emphasis on player choice.
"Deus Ex: Human Revolution" sets its story 25 years before the original, in a time of great technological advancement and social upheaval.
As the game's title suggests, themes of man's aspirations to god-like powers and their effect on humanity are deeply explored. The ethics of human augmentation and the influence of rapidly advancing technology has on the socioeconomic structure are at the forefront of the central conflict. The protagonist, Adam Jenson, embodies this dichotomy as he struggles with what has been taken from him, what he's been given and the meaning of his own humanity.
Like the original title, "Human Revolution" is an RPG all about giving the player the freedom to choose his own path. Every situation can be negotiated through stealth, conversation, hacking or confrontation. With only a few exceptions that are in place for story, combat is an option, but not a required avenue. Outside of a few scripted events, the entire game can be completed without taking a single life.
Every style of play is well balanced and open to their own rewards and benefits. There is no wrong way to play "Human Revolution."
The only exception to the otherwise unrestrained freedom the player is granted are the boss battles. These are straight-up assaults with little room for stealth or subterfuge. If you spent the entire game upgrading your stealth and hacking abilities and not your armor, you'll certainly want to stick to cover and avoid your enemy's line-of-sight. This isn't so much a design flaw as a plot choice. These confrontations are necessary to drive the story forward.
With all of the choices at your disposal for style of play, it must be said that no one aspect is done differently or superior to other games. Shooting mechanics are standard and include iron sights and weapon upgrades. The cover and stealth system is similar to "Splinter Cell: Conviction," and conversation is largely scripted with dialogue options akin to "Mass Effect."
While "Human Revolution" may fall a little on the short side, particularly for an RPG, it boasts near infinite replay value. When choice is your weapon, you have the power to shape the world around you. Completing "Human Revolution" once grants great satisfaction, but also plants the itch to dive back into that shadowy world and explore every corner, every alley and every choice.
"Deus Ex: Human Revolution" is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC. It is rated M for Mature by the ESRB.