A bunch of Square Enix properties have been getting the “GO” treatment lately. Lara Croft, Hitman, and now Deus Ex – all turned into puzzle games that sort of capture the feel of their namesakes but turn everything into a puzzle. It’s kind of surprising that there isn’t a Final Fantasy GO yet, honestly.
It’s time for the super sleek and utterly bleak world of Deus Ex (the newer one that’s all black, gold, and shiny) to take a stab at this whole puzzle thing. No pun intended.
It wouldn’t be a Deus Ex game without some sort of twisty-turny conspiracy plot to string everything together, so it’s no surprise to see one here as well. Some baddies break into a place and take hostages, then it turns out that they might be corporate funded. It’s kind of old hat for this series, to be honest, and it gets in the way more than anything. A Deus Ex-level story — even a stripped down one that may or may not tie into the upcoming Mankind Divided — isn’t really necessary for a puzzle game.
It’s also a shame that there doesn’t seem to be a way to skip any of the story stuff when replaying a level. The dialog that pops up on the bottom of the screen can be ignored easily enough since you can play through it, but the slightly fancier scripted moments definitely get in the way.
Despite the overhead perspective and turn-based movement, Deus Ex GO does indeed look the part. The visuals are suitably black and gold (although not for every single level, thank goodness), the character and enemy designs are all futuristic and cyberpunky, and many of the background elements that have been added for a bit of visual oomph harken back to the game’s bigger counterparts. That style also carries over into Adam’s slow motion takedowns whenever he gets the drop on enemies, which are all pretty cool.
It also wouldn’t be a Deus Ex game of any kind without stealth and hacking, which are both present and accounted for after a fashion. Whenever basic human enemies spot Jensen they’ll activate a shield and run at him, which is easy enough to avoid, but the temporary invulnerability can make them appreciably tricky to deal with at times. Turrets will shoot on sight, but can also be hacked. Cloaking power-ups can be found and activated in order to sneak past a single space unseen.
All of this works well enough in practice, and it can be satisfying to finish a level – especially in the optimum number of moves. The problem is that, aside from the Deus Ex style, it’s a very, very familiar game. The other two GO titles are fun, and Deus Ex GO is as well, but where Lara Croft GO felt like a significant step forward from Hitman GO, Deus Ex GO feels like no step at all.
Deus Ex GO is basically more of the same. The sci-fi coat of paint looks nice, the plot is pointless, the puzzles are tricky but satisfying — and it’s all starting to feel a bit by-the-numbers. Fans of the previous games will still probably enjoy themselves, but I wouldn’t blame them for feeling a little burned out, either.