It has been two months since Deus Ex: Human Revolution was unleashed onto the public like a rabid honey badger, tearing its way through the charts and dumping players into the futuristic, slightly dystopian world of Adam Jensen — part man, part robot, all badass. The game quickly went on to ship 2 million copies, while it gathered praise and solid reviews, so it would be a shame to let that world simply fade away. That isn’t likely to happen, and plans for a sequel have already been mentioned, but patience is for gardeners, and fans want more Deus Ex now.
Square Enix and Eidos Montreal have prepared for that, and released the first Deus Ex: Human Revolution DLC, titled “The Missing Link.” The add-on story is a side quest, taking place during the events of the campaign. If you have not yet completed the campaign, then this article probably isn’t for you to begin with. Regardless, beware very minor spoilers involving the main story.
The DLC begins with Adam Jensen having been shanghaied between levels of the game. Instead of emerging at his destination after the antics in Heng Sha that led him to a cryostasis chamber, Adam wakes to find himself receiving a beating at the hands of Belltower operatives who think that he is a terrorist. Fortunately for the guards, Adam is being held in a specially designed chair that generates an EMP field, disabling all his fancy gadgets and leaving him helpless.
He is soon released back into the wild to discover that he is on a freighter connected to a secret base where nefarious happenings are beginning to spook the elusive “sane” contingent of Belltower. So with a handful of Praxis points to re-power himself, Adam sets off through the base to discover what is really going on.
“The Missing Link” plays out like a standalone chapter from Adam’s larger adventure. There are connections to the main plot, but for the most part, the events in the DLC do not have a larger impact on the overall story arc, nor do they significantly alter the core game. Those hoping for an epilogue may be disappointed, but the story really is well done, and the mystery unfolds through what is essentially a five- to six-hour episode that could have gone into the main game, but would have been a bit out of place and detrimental to the pacing.
The biggest thing that will jump out to fans is that you are not able to use your progress from the campaign, nor can you use what you gain in “The Missing Link” towards the remainder of the main game. This is a good and bad thing, and many gamers will likely be upset that all their hard work won’t transfer over. Looking on the bright side though, you quickly receive a handful of Praxis points early in the game, and earning more isn’t a major problem. This gives you the chance to try out some of the many options you likely weren’t able to utilize during your first play through.
At the beginning of the game, you are steered into a conversation which gives you choices on how to play. If you want to crush your enemies and smite them with a righteous vengeance, you can choose a more aggressive response and be rewarded with more lethal weapons that will be waiting for you. If you want to exert your dominance and leave guards alive to spread stories of you in terrified, hushed whispers, then you can opt for a non-lethal loadout. It is similar to the very first mission of the campaign, but it has longer lasting consequences.
Regardless of what you choose, the vast majority of the DLC requires stealth, especially at the start, so Praxis points and heavy weapons aren’t really a major concern. If you try to start a fight early on, you will die ridiculously, over and over again. At the very least, you will make it much harder for yourself. Once you earn a few additional personal preferences, you can then proceed until you are at a point when you may consider changing tactics.
As with the main game, the idea of choice in how to proceed is significant. There are multiple pathways through most areas, and there really is no best way. Some paths are better than others, but the choice is yours. There are also a few sidequests. They can be skipped, but if you are hungry for more content, they are worth pursuing. Be warned though, they will involve a lot of backtracking and exploration through enemy-infested areas.
The levels look impressive and fit right in with the game’s dark and baroque imagery. The DLC begins on a ship, then takes you through a secret base complete with some dark secrets. It is fairly linear, but it will feel right at home in Deus Ex.
There aren’t many changes in “The Missing Link,” with one exception. Those who played the campaign with a heavy stealth emphasis were likely a bit upset at the boss battles, which seemed out of place, especially for people who weren’t gearing up for combat. They could be aggravating when, after spending hours making sure you weren’t seen by a living soul, a guy with a rocket launcher traps you in a room and blows you up.
“The Missing Link” offers a much better boss battle scenario, complete with multiple options and a better setup. Rather than just walking in a room and having the door slam shut behind you, forcing you into a head-on confrontation with a cyborg who wants to use your skull as an ashtray, the final section is much more smooth. There are multiple enemies leading to the boss, and once there you have a much better chance of using a bit of strategy to win. It is a far more satisfying and fluid way to play, and fits better with nature of the game in general.
“The Missing Link” DLC is a good addition to the overall package of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, but it doesn’t really expand the game as much as simply add content. That might seem obvious, but players who aren’t looking for more of the same should take note. The lack of saved game transfers also is a shame. Building Adam up into an murderous killing machine that chose a zen-like path and became a ghost instead of a monster was the highlight of my full game, and it would have been nice to continue making my Adam more God-like. It is interesting to try some of the new augmentations that you may have skipped, but at first it feels like you are taking things away rather than adding to the overall game.
That being said, once the story picks up, it is compelling enough to spur you on, and you quickly earn enough Praxis points to make it seem like you are powerful enough to do what needs to be done. That shifts things back to the gameplay, and the way you move through the game, both of which are right on par with the freedom of the campaign.
Without continuing the story or allowing you to carry over your own character, “The Missing Link” DLC may not be what many people are hoping for, and the $15 price tag might be a bit steep for a five- or six-hour side mission that expands the world without furthering the plot. But if you enjoyed the campaign, then this DLC has plenty more of what you like. It isn’t a “must have” for fans of the game, but it is a quality DLC that has a lot to offer.
(This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360 on a copy provided by Square Enix)