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Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Gunpowder, reason and plot.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

I don't know about you, but there's something alluring about forcing patrolling soldiers into a state of sleep and then dragging them into a big sexy pile of slumbering leather and muscle.

With Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the verge of release and Thief 4 surely a shoo-in for an E3 unveil, Eidos Montreal is suddenly the king of this very particular fetish. "We're starting to have a slumber party here!" underlines art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletete while he headlocks a sleeping guard into an even deeper state of unconsciousness.

Mr Jacques-Belletete is giving us a run-through of an early-mid game Human Revolution mission, however, so he doesn't go as far as draping the guard's body over those of his tranq-struck comrades in the hope that (if discovered and woken) they'll get in trouble for nuzzling groin on duty.

That's for another time. Adam Jensen is on a mission, and there's precious little time to make FEMA grunts question their own sexuality.

As this level opens, Jensen seems closer than ever to picking up the threads of a conspiracy that might, just might, go right to the very top. "A lot of the Detroit city hub is about discovering what happened at your company, when Sarif Industries got attacked by those shadowy mercenaries. It's the beginning of the conspiracy," explains Jacques-Belletete, before describing our gravel-voiced hero's recent exploits.

The previous mission, previously shown to the press and the world at large at last year's Cologne games show, saw Jensen take a brain chip from the head of a hacker in a police morgue that is (depending on the way you played it) now filled with somewhat socially charmed people, forcibly snoozing people or lots of dead people. Well, more dead people than usual.

"When you retrieve the chip," continues Jacques-Belletete, "Pritchard, the tech and IT guy analyses it – and there's a signal that's sent and it pings in the textiles district. That's an old, run-down and abandoned sector. You're like, 'Why? Has someone crashed there? Has some guy died there?' It makes no sense."

The IT department having worked their on/off magic, then, Jensen jumps on board his standard-issue Deus Ex futuro-chopper – in this prequel piloted by a nice lady called Faridah rather than an infant Jock – and starts his investigations.

The second Jensen is spotted stepping lightly (or perhaps heavily, if you've augmented him in that direction) on the pavements of Detroit's textiles district it's clear that this is a game of true Deus Ex vintage.

There's something about the width of the courtyard, the lighting and the unhurried pace of Jensen's exploration that screams Deus Ex. There's even something wonderful and familiar in the way that Jensen is framed while his gruff bass tones are intercut with the people he questions.

I truly and honestly don't mean this as an insult, but the conversation Jensen has with an African American gun salesman near the landing site is a little stilted – in a fashion that's endearingly Deus Ex-y.

As could, perhaps, be expected, the abandoned warehouses of the textile district aren't entirely abandoned. Soldiers patrol areas packed with military vehicles and suspicious-looking crates – their routes unpredictable, and their propensity to twist around and look behind them truly alarming as Jensen rolls from cover to cover.