Who died and made non-linearity king? It used to be that you went left to right and that was it. Later we walked forward instead. Individuals we came across were shot in the face. These days you can't go more than five steps without having to decide where the next five steps will take you. Surely if BioShock taught us anything it's that we're happiest when we're doing what we're told?
Haha of course not. We like choice and consequence - or at least convincing illusions of choice and consequence. So does Eidos Montreal, and judging by Deus Ex: Human Revolution's display at gamescom this week, it is following in popular footsteps with confidence and intelligence.
Conscious that some people on the internet are not yet convinced that the game is upholding the first Deus Ex's values, the developers have chosen to show us a level in which protagonist Adam Jensen busts into a Detroit police station and retrieves a neural implant from a corpse in the morgue downstairs. We're going to see it three times in a row.
Jensen is a private security man for augmentation specialist Sarif Industries. By now you should be familiar with them and the general vibe in 2027, when the game is set. We pick him up around 90 minutes into the game. Anti-augmentation terrorists have attacked one of Sarif's manufacturing plants and Jensen's boss believes the guy in the morgue was a mole in their organisation, so he wants to find out what he knows. Or rather knew.
Entering the police station, Jensen heads straight past the front desk and is confronted by a cop who says the area beyond is restricted. He ignores his warning and goes on through, at which point it all kicks off. The cop pulls a gun, and in a flash Jensen does something clever to disarm and drop him to the ground, before spinning round to shoot the next cop to react.
He picks up a photocopier (he's got a strength augmentation) and repositions to act as cover, allowing him to safely dispatch two more cops rushing in from an adjacent room. He leans out of cover and shoots reinforcements, dives between cover points, then climbs some stairs and uses iron sights to shoot the cop waiting for him on the landing, which overlooks an open-plan office area where more cops are gathered.
At this point Jensen goes into X-ray vision to see where they all are, their glowing bodies clearly silhouetted against the darkened geometry of his surroundings. He spots a gap and jumps the railing, landing in cover. There are quite a few of them so the developer controlling him dips into a menu and attaches an explosive-bullet modification for his gun (other mods can be found or bought), which sends victims flying and ragdolling all over the furniture. Moving into a nearby corridor, Jensen switches to a non-lethal energy weapon, which sends enemies flying but leaves them alive.
By now we're at the door to the morgue, and it's locked, but Jensen has an app for that. He loads up the inventory and drags a frag grenade onto a "mine template", giving him a frag mine to attach to the door. He backs away and shoots it to blow the door, enters the room, kills the coroner without a word and retrieves the neural implant from the body on the autopsy table.