Posted by BuckGB at 6:09 pm on 03.4.2011 (2 years ago)
The First Hour
The initial hour of the game serves as a tutorial while also introducing players to the game world, the main characters, and the impressive technology that exists in 2027. It also sets up the overarching plot, though it does so without granting the player direct access to augmentations, inventory decisions, hacking opportunities, or significant dialogue choices. As such, you won't get a chance to check out the game's intricacies until after you suffer through what can only be described as a near-death experience. More on this later.
As Adam Jensen, you are an ex-SWAT officer who has been hired on as private security for the biotechnology company Sarif Industries. The circumstances surrounding Adam's departure from SWAT aren't exactly clear, though the game and various NPCs that you run into make it clear that it had something to do with the events that took place at the "Mexicantown Massacre". Adam is no scientist himself, but he was romantically involved with Dr. Megan Reed, one of the most intelligent and influential scientists at the company (fun fact: Adam Jensen voice actor Elias Toufexis and Megan Reed voice actress Michelle Boack are married in real life). She's the one who landed him the job at Sarif Industries following his departure from SWAT, and based on what can be gleaned from some of the game's early dialogue, she may yet have some feelings for the protagonist. Either way, Megan is central to the game's plot, and that's how Adam finds himself involved in a global conspiracy of a grand scale.
The game opens up with an introductory cinematic featuring a mysterious group of individuals having a high-tech audio conference. Their discussion is purposely cryptic, but it's clear that these individuals are very concerned about a gene sequence that Megan has discovered, and are willing to go to any length necessary to keep Sarif Industries from releasing it to the world. Their discussion will immediately have you running several different conspiracy theories through your head, and if you're like me, you'll probably restart the game a few times just to make sure you catch every little facet of it. It's obviously impossible to decipher what it all means without additional information, but in any event, it sets the stage for what's to come.
From there, the game jumps to Adam and Megan in her office having a video conference with David Sarif about their plans to present this discovery to a group of politicians in Washington, DC and the security detail that will be needed to ensure that everyone arrives safely. David wants you to meet up with him to go over the plans, though not before you're given some time to do some detective work in Megan's office. This serves as your first opportunity to procure whatever information you can from the world around you - an ebook lying on Megan's couch gives you some very interesting background details about a "Patient X", a digital newspaper lying on her desk introduces you to the augmentation-friendly group called L.I.M.B. (Liberty in Mind and Body), and the emails on her computer reveal that the two of you have a dog named Kubrick, that her mother Cassandra is quite worried about her, and that she's concerned about whether or not the politicians in Washington will want to know how she acquired the first gene sample that's part of this big discovery. Predicting the future of human evolution through past mutations stored in the database of our mitochondria? The chemicals in Patient X's nervous system are undetectable by the human immune system? Patient X is now one or two steps ahead of the genetic curve? In the game's very first room, you're already able to assume that Megan was dabbling within a controversial and potentially dangerous area of research.
Following your initial discoveries, you'll follow Megan through the hallways of Sarif Industries, where you'll get a better idea of what the biotech company does and what sort of contracts they fulfill (many of which are for the military, as you might have expected). Long-time Deus Ex fans will catch references to Page Industries and Versalife during this walk, which concludes with your former squeeze asking you to meet her at the company's helipad after you finish your conversation with David.
As you might have expected, things don't go as planned, and the prominent company is attacked by three heavily-augmented mercenary types. You don't actually get to witness much of the attack, but as you pass through the carnage that the trio has wrought upon the facility, the game takes advantage of the situation to teach you how to crouch, move objects, travel through the ventilation system, and, eventually, how to unload a few clips of your own into some of the lesser thugs that are helping to carry out the attack.
Just when you start to get the hang of things, a cinematic kicks off, and you helplessly watch as one of the near-cyborgs tosses Adam through a wall of glass. A short lopsided scuffle takes place, but the eventuality is that the three cybernetic mercenaries have Megan cornered and Adam's world goes black as the unknown assailant fires a bullet point-blank into his broken body. From there, the game jumps into what is easily the most impressive credits sequence I've seen in a video game to date (though, to be fair, there isn't a whole lot of competition in this particular department). As the development team is listed, David Sarif and a team of scientists can be heard commenting about your near-lifeless condition as images of multiple surgeries involving metal, tissue, blood, and artificial components are depicted. Adam Jensen will not be the same man when he wakes up.
Adam's Augmented Reality
Will it actually be possible to be stripped of a majority of our humanity in the blink of an eye sixteen years from now? I don't know, but that's exactly what happens to our protagonist. In truth, it's a full six months before Adam's wounds heal enough for him to return to work, and once again it's due to an attack on Sarif Industries. This time, one of the company's warehouses has been besieged by a group of pro-human activists calling themselves Purity First. But enough about the story, let's dive into Adam's newfound augmentations and the upgrades he's able to acquire for them.
There are 21 augmentations available to Adam following his "surgery", and each of these has anywhere from 2-8 upgrades beneath it for a total of 69 upgrades across all augmentations. Acquiring an augmentation requires two Praxis Points (Human Revolution's primary currency for character development), while each upgrade only requires one. Allocating two points to pick up a new augmentation immediately grants you access to the first upgrade beneath it, so you'd ultimately need to utilize 69 Praxis Points to unlock every augmentation and its associated upgrades. According to a conversation I had with lead writer Mary DeMarle, though, earning 69 Praxis Points and therefore achieving access to all augmentations and their upgrades will likely be impossible during a play-through. I'm not sure what the level cap will end up being, but you'll earn one Praxis Point per level, and pick up additional points when you find or buy Praxis Kits.