As much as I love mobile games, their nature of fast food like consumption translates to little depth and replayability. Sure, there’s rare instances of one or two games that I’ve snuggled down with on my lazy boy but those are mostly attributed to being console ports, games the likes of the GTA series and the plethora of emulators. So to my surprise, I found Deus Ex: The Fall by Square Enix to be much more than a just a quick cash tie in on a successful series or even a scaled down port. With at least 5 or more hours of gameplay (depending on your style of approach, this reviewer lasted roughly 6 hours) and retaining series staples, Deus Ex: The Fall is an outstanding, stand-alone game, with one glaring flaw.
Of course, fans of the veterans will get more mileage of with Deus Ex: The Fall than series newcomers. This mobile iteration intersects with 2011’s excellent Human Revolution and retains much of the role playing first-person shooter gameplay. E-reading and audio logs also makes a comeback, fleshing out the conspiracy rich plot. Essentially all of the elements that made Human Revolution great, including the cyberpunk atmosphere, conversation choices, and skill tree are perfectly preserved in a mobile package.
To be continued
Without spoiling at the The Fall’s complex story, players assume the role of Ben Saxon, a newly recruited agent of Talon. Those who’ve played Human Revolution will recognize the name and antagonist of that game makes an appearance here as well. As Ben, you’ll peel back the onion layered conspiracy that concerns transhumanism as well as Ben’s past. The story is certainly rich in content and lore, but cliffhanger ending I found to be cheap and incredibly unsatisfying.
Augment these controls
Unfortunately Deus Ex experience suffers from the same problems that plague most mobile games: controls. The lack of tactile feedback and analog stick and just buttons in general detracts from the what could have a total immersive experience. This is where The Fall suffers from the most. Being a FPS game precision is key, but that’s not to say it makes the game any less enjoyable, though it’s a notable annoyance. To their credit, Square Enix offers players the ability to tailor and re-arrange the on-screen control to their liking as well as the HUD. Navigating Ben around also becomes less painful, as gamers can just tap on the screen to move or switch to manual controls on the fly. Combat is also simplified for the sake precision. Like navigating, you can tap your desired location and Ben will automatically hug a wall for cover, and reaching a corner lets players tap again to from jump cover to cover. At this point the camera switches to third person and tapping enemies also allows Ben to auto-target and aim. All these concessions aren’t ideal, but they make touch controls tolerable.
Speaking of combat, Deus Ex: The Fall lets players approach a scenario in various of ways. This becomes apparent right in the first mission where Ben is infiltrating a drug den. Players can either take the blazing gun approach, lethal or nonlethal or stealthily avoid combat altogether by finding vents or hacking your ways into locked rooms. Good luck taking the path of the former, as the touch controls simply cannot keep up with fast paced action, even with a fully augmented Ben.
Also speaking of augmentations, like Human Revolution’s Jensen, Ben can be augmented (which are essential upgrades) with new abilities such invisibility armor and more. Weapons can be purchased in the same manner but for the impatient, dropping a few real world dollars can unlock a full augmented Ben in seconds. Throughout my six hours gameplay I’ve yet to find these in-app purchase necessary nor was I pestered like a pushy used car salesman to drop a few bucks. Granted, I didn’t fully unlock all weapons and upgrades at the game’s conclusion, but the game offers a New Game+ for a chance to unlock everything else as well a upping the game’s replayability.
Graphically, the Deux Ex: The Fall is bright and incredibly crisp. Owners of high resolution 1080p screens will enjoy Square Enix’s liberal used of the golden hue lighting and dust particles that litter the screen. While it’s no technical achievement, it’s still impressive to see the Fall retain the same art style found in Human Revolution.
While Deus Ex: The Fall isn’t, ahem, a revolution in the mobile space, it’s console like quality coupled with a lengthy campaign (along with a New Game+) places it a number of notches above your typical game found in Google Play. Sure, there’s flaws, like the ho-hum controls (did I mention the ending?) but for gamers looking for something much more deeper than hurling birds and candy crushing should augment themselves into the world of Deus Ex: The Fall.