lameasfk rated the game Jet Set Radio
Feb 7, 2019
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I've seen several complaints that Mankind Divided is unfinished, and while I don't agree with this sentiment, at least not in that particular wording, it's incredibly easy to see where these people are coming from. The original Deus Ex, as well as Human Revolution (MD's more direct prequel), and *maybe* Invisible War (honestly I don't remember enough of it to really say), all feature *multiple* hubs, designed in a semi-open world fashion. These hubs often contain many friendly NPC's (that can be easily pissed off and usually executed), many optional areas, and side quest-like endeavors with many solutions that give the world a feeling of depth, vibrancy, and even a degree of realism, or at least immersion.

MD has one of these hubs: Prague, and it's shown in 3 separate iterations. It's a poor bastardization of something that was done really well in HR and probably the original as well (it's been a LONG time), returning to an area to observe the impact of both yours and the narrative's actions. Prague does that, except it adds a non-committal halfway point between the two extremes, and there's no other hub to break it up, just one-shot story areas. In short, you'll be really fucking sick of Prague by the end of this game, even if you ignore most side content, which brings me to my next point.

A lot of the main quest objectives feel like chores, and the illusion of importance is only preserved if you're the type to get sidetracked with mysterious air ducts and distressed civilians. I'm thankful that I have a near-obsessive compulsion to scrape content out of the corners of the map, or I would've *really* felt the back and forth nature of the questline.

Obviously, I'm addressing the campaign as a Deus Ex game. Even though the mechanics and formulae of Deus Ex are worth analysis and criticism, I enjoy its tropes, and these issues are ultimately irrelevant to my lukewarm opinion on MD. In fact, if the campaign were the only thing I'm addressing here, this would certainly be a recommended. I obviously have my issues with it, but the duct-crawling, armblade-extending fun is still largely intact. This is a game I wouldn't consider great by any measure, yet I can find myself engrossed in it for far more consecutive hours than most games I'd consider masterpieces. Take from that what you will.

The biggest threat to my opinion of MD is the pathetic, insulting, nauseating Breach mode. Before starting the campaign, I noticed the "Breach" option on the menu and made a point to investigate it after finishing the story. Throughout said story, I found many items titled "Breach Software", as well as a vendor that seemed to take those items and redeem them for *something*, without specifying what that something was. All of this made me very curious and excited for Breach, since I still had no idea what it *actually* was.

Breach is a bad multiplayer game, designed with a typical free-to-play economy at its forefront, and the primary goal of hemorrhaging its players to irresponsibly waste money on valueless fake currency, and to then irresponsibly waste said fake currency on intrinsically rigged and unfair lootboxes. You know what my "Breach Software" got me? Fucking lootboxes. I played an hour of this shit max, and it was incredibly obvious that many of the objectives being dangled in my face were designed to be impossible without a disgustingly bougie amount of money to burn and record-breaking lows of self-respect and dignity.

And that's all there is to say on that. On to the DLCs.

MD's DLCs are the definition of a mixed bag. Up first is Desperate Measures which is a pointless waste of time and belongs in the garbage. It's a single mission that fits into the main story. Like they actually just cut a mission out and sold it as DLC. Fuck you. Next.

Then it's System Rift which is...uh...okay, I guess. It's probably also pointless, but it manages to actually be enjoyable for the most part. Someone understood that breaking into the Palisades bank to rob corporate secrets was probably the dopest part of the main game, and it shows. Also at least there's a (very tiny) new slice of hub world. Even if it still takes place in Prague. My biggest gripe is a particular mandatory section of first-person platforming that just feels horrendous. Definitely not something the engine was cut out for. This is then followed by a really intuitive and intriguing bit of abstract puzzle solving which almost totally made up for it. But then the inspiration behind *that* short section visibly shrivels up and dies on-screen, taking the chances of this DLC standing up on its own two feet with it. But honestly, it isn't bad.

But then there's the last one. *Holy shit*, the last one. A Criminal Past is fucking top notch Deus Ex level design and gameplay. It's what all DLCs for this franchise should look like. A fresh and unique setting, familiar characters used only as a jumping-off point, new characters that actually have a point, world design that *rivals* and often *surpasses* that of the main game. Seriously, this bit in the prison is tangibly better than any section in the campaign. It's in a unique situation, where the thorough, meticulous, and immersive design of the main game, is paired with a story on a much smaller scale, and the result is ecstasy. It genuinely feels nonlinear, when you're tasked with breaking the prison's rules to accomplish your task, but the level is designed like an actual prison and not a corridor for you to progress through. You plan and execute your own jailbreak. Security is overwhelming and you're underequipped. Executing everyone and then casually picking your path is not a viable option. But even then it doesn't have to stay that way. Seriously the density of the prison as an area is absolutely fucking ridiculous and consuming. I joyfully tore through it in one sitting. 

Tl;dr the campaign and A Criminal Past are absolutely worth playing at least once, especially if you're a series fan, but keep away from the rest as far as you can *especially if you're a series fan*.
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