It's easy to understand why brutalism has been such a potent source of architectural inspiration for games. The raw forms - solid, legible and with clear lineation - are the perfect material for level designers to craft their worlds with. Simultaneously, these same structures are able to ignite imaginations and gesture outwards, their dramatic shapes and monumental dimensions shocking and attention-seizing.
If you're looking for an expert on immersive sims, speak to Randy Smith.
Pull up the design materials for the original Deus Ex today, and you may be struck by what Ion Storm never quite managed to achieve. In a Gamasutra postmortem from 2000, designer Warren Spector presents a vision for the game that is actually two visions in competition - a splicing of genres to support a range of well-defined playstyles, versus the concept of a simulation in which there are no fixed outcomes, no pre-existing, over-arching formulations, just abilities and variables, chiming together under the player's hand. A simulation so intricate and responsive, it perhaps never had a hope of being made with the technology of the era.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is now available and we've now spent a good few hours with all three versions of the game. Powered by the Dawn Engine - an upgraded engine based on IO Interactive's Glacier 2 technology platform - this new title takes on a new look with plenty of advanced graphics features on display. The question is, how is it running thus far across the three platforms and which version should you play? Let's take a closer look.
Right out of the gate, we're looking at native 1080p on PlayStation 4 and 900p on Xbox One. Both versions employ a high quality temporal anti-aliasing solution that helps clean up edges, but this is somewhat spoiled by an aggressive, non-defeatable sharpening effect that produces visible edge ringing across the image. The PC version allows users to disable these options independently, in addition to taking advantage of the more demanding MSAA, though its impact on memory consumption - and indeed performance - is high.
In judging the technical performance of a game like this, there are a few key elements to consider including map size, loading times, and frame-rate. In this case, the Dawn Engine is capable of much larger maps than the previous Deus Ex, with a huge number of fully explorable buildings that can be entered without any additional loading. It's the first time since the original Deus Ex that we've seen maps of this scale and, in many ways, Mankind Divided is able to exceed that. The maps are simply huge and richly detailed throughout the game.
"The future is the same, but different." It's a phrase I've heard oft repeated and yet never attributed. Whatever its origin, it suits Eidos Montréal's vision for Mankind Divided very well indeed. Not only do the team want to continue to serve us their very particular flavour or cyberpunk cynicism, showing a world where technology has created as many problems as it has solved, they also don't want to alienate players who so enjoyed Human Revolution. "You don't have to reinvent the wheel every time," is producer Olivier Proulx's philosophy.
There's been some confusion: you cannot talk through all boss encounters in the new Deus Ex, Mankind Divided. There are debates with key figures, such as the one shown in the 25-minute E3 gameplay video, but they're a separate thing. Boss encounters require some form of action. Boss encounters and 'debates' are two distinct types of gameplay.
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