How is the 2011 critical darling augmented for the Wii U?
While heavily rumored for months, Square Enix finally announced last week that Deus Ex: Human Revolution is indeed coming to the Wii U later this year. The more surprising news is the affixation of the “Director’s Cut” tag and the addition and reworking of content; this isn’t a simple port of a two-year-old game, but a chance for the team to go back and address some issues while also improving the overall experience. I was given the chance to play Human Revolution Director’s Cut this past weekend, and can attest to the changes to the core gameplay. Whether or not those justify playing the game on Wii U over cheaper options on other platforms remains to be seen.
Human Revolution still plays similarly to its older counterparts; players take control of Adam Jensen, security manager-turned-Robocop, as he attempts to uncover the truth behind the attacks on, and motivations of, his employer, Sarif Industries. Players have options in how they outfit and play as Jensen, and can emphasize physical prowess and gunplay, stealth and hacking abilities, or a healthy mixture of each. These choices, as well as those made in dialogue trees with a number of NPCs, dictate the type of experience players will have in Human Revolution, and the entire suite of options is present here in the Director’s Cut.
The GamePad, while not as vital to the experience as in something like ZombiU, allows for some new interface options. Reading documents, hacking computers, applying augmentations, and navigating menus all take place on the GamePad screen. While mostly cosmetic, I did find using the touch screen to perform hacking operations a bit more intuitive, as I was able to quickly tap nodes without wasting valuable milliseconds moving a cursor around with a traditional controller. On the downside, the Director’s Cut moves the mini-map to the touch screen, which means looking down and away from the action to observe enemy locations and movements, leaving Jensen open to ambush. Oh, and don’t worry, Off-TV Play is available.
Another unique feature tied to the GamePad is the ability to, at any time, pull up a walkthrough. Players may pause and then browse the in-game walkthrough on the touch screen to see where to go next, look for possible side-missions, or simply get more detail about certain aspects of the game. It’s a welcome addition; I assume I’m not the only one who kept pulling up GameFAQs page on my iPad as I played the original two years ago.
One fundamental change to the experience is the reworking of boss battles. The game's four boss battles, all outsourced to an external studio, were a common target of complaints in the original release, so it's no surprise that the Director's Cut takes a drastic approach to the pivotal encounters. The original developers at Eidos Montreal have designed new stealth routes around expanded environments and added more hidden guns and ammo to reward exploration, even in the game's most intense combat scenarios. The arenas have been completely redesigned to allow more varied strategies and win conditions, adding new cover points and enabling "no-bullets" solutions through using hacked turrets or robots. (The bosses still have to die, for story continuity.) New safe zones have been included, likely to provide a legitimate alternative to the scripting exploits that were often recommended among players seeking help online. Although the bosses themselves behave similarly to their previous incarnations, their stats have been adjusted to better fit the overall difficulty setting. It seems the ultimate goal is to make these boss fights feel more consistent with the rest of the game and to allow players to exploit whatever skill path(s) to which they may already be committed.
In addition to gameplay changes, the Director’s Cut also includes in-game commentary and all of the original’s DLC, which is built seamlessly into the main campaign. The representative from Square also assured us that the Wii U version was the best-looking iteration of Human Revolution, even beating out the PC version. It’s been two years since I played the original, so I can’t comment on that exactly, but it certainly ran smoothly and I never noticed any technical hiccups.
For anyone who missed it the first time, Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut appears to be much more than a simple port, and those who own the Wii U exclusively should keep an eye on this one. Whether or not the additional and reworked content warrants passing over a cheaper copy of the original on a different platform or double dipping, however, remains to be seen. I look forward to getting another, more thorough chance at seeing the game and how the changes improve the overall experience. Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director’s Cut launches in North America on May 7.