Monday, 24 October 2011

Deus Ex Human Revolution: The Missing Link

This is a quick, short review of The Missing Link DLC for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. For the review of the full game, click here.

The Missing Link is a DLC pack released October 18th 2011, which takes place during a three-day gap in the story near the end of the full game where Adam is in transit in a stasis pod for three days. As it turns out, Adam wasn't in stasis the entire time -- the Belltower operatives on the ship discovered the stowaway, captured him, and shut down his augmentations for interrogation and security purposes. Of course, with a little help, Adam quickly escapes and finds himself trapped in a secret Belltower base where he's forced to deal with a sinister black-ops project before he can continue on.
The Missing Link costs $15 and is a 2GB download.

Separate Game, New Jensen
The Missing Link is a separate game client. Divorcing the DLC from your existing character and inventory, as well as stripping away all your augs, may seem like a horrible move, but you immediately get a bunch of Praxis kits to rebuild your character, and earn more points through experience gain during the mission. But you don't get enough points to fill out all the augs; you're forced to upgrade along a couple of lines instead of having everything. This makes The Missing Link a bit more tactical than the end of the main game, where you had enough points to buy everything and become a mechanical superman.

We get some interesting character writing going on here. The focus is small, featuring only Jensen, the Belltower antagonist Burke, and a couple of other important characters. That means each of them gets fleshed out and developed to a satisfying extent considering the length of the content.

Same Old Thing
The Missing Link doesn't really add anything to the game. There are no new mechanics and no new equipment. The environment is just more metal walls and industrial design with no variation except a tiny fraction on the deck of a cargo ship. The plot content, while kind of interesting and including a neat (but  bypassable) moral choice, has no impact on the plot of the main game. The only thing that could arguably be called new is the "boss fight" where direct combat is not your only option -- this battle was developed by the main studio and not outsourced. But the reason I say "boss fight" is that once you allow the player to use all the normal gameplay elements, it stops being any different from fighting grunts. It's just another process of (in my case) sneaking around KO'ing the bad guys until there aren't any left.

I guess it makes sense that new additions are rather sparse, since the game had to feel complete without the DLC. But it makes the DLC feel tacked on rather than an exciting addition.

The Verdict
Recommendation: maybe.
If you loved Deus Ex: Human Revolution and you want more of that, it's worth considering, but it might be better to wait for a price drop. Now, don't get me wrong -- I'm not saying there's anything wrong with The Missing Link. It feels just as polished and fun as the main game. Mainly my issue is that the plot of the DLC is completely separate from the plot of the main game, feeling like an unrelated side quest than part of the narrative. So your decision is not about whether the DLC is good -- because it is -- but whether you want to pay $15 for something that fits into the narrative but doesn't add to it.

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