The Deus Ex series is known for its flexibility, and Mankind Divided is no different. There’s no one right way to play: whether you want to be a carbon-clad murder machine, a benevolent ghost, or something in between, the game provides the tools to support your chosen style. Below you’ll find our suggestions for augments that you’ll want to focus on for various approaches — roughly presented in descending order of importance — along with some more general gameplay tips that can be used regardless of what kind of cyborg you’re hoping to become down the line.
Deus Ex pulls from a lot of genres to create its cocktail of action, stealth, and role-playing, but one less obvious influence is Metroid. So much of the game is about exploring every nook and cranny of the environment and, like in the classic platformer series, many areas will be blocked until you’ve unlocked a particular ability. Getting these as early as possible will save you a lot of backtracking and open up more options for how to approach any situation, especially if you’re trying to be discrete.
- Cybernetic Arm Prosthesis – Optimized Musculature: Vending machines, dumpsters, and heavy crates block a lot of the vents you’ll want to skulk through, and, when repositioned, can sometimes help you reach higher ground. That being the case, getting strong enough to move them is necessary to explore every possible option.
- Implanted Rebreather: Certain areas are flooded with poisonous gas, and this will let you walk through them with peace of mind for a low amount of energy.
- Icarus Landing: The ability to fall from any height without risk of damage is a nice safety precaution when you’re prowling Prague’s rooftops, sure, but it also allows you to access a few areas from above.
- Cybernetic Leg Prosthesis: The entry-level leg upgrade helps you jump higher. It doesn’t open up too many new areas, but it certainly makes it easier to find higher ground.
Hack the planet!
It wouldn’t be a cyberpunk game without hacking, and Mankind Divided hides a lot of rewards behind hackable doors, safes, and computers. Multitools can get you into anything, but they’re best saved for difficult hacks when you’re short on time. Since single-use items can only get you so far, you really need to boost your hacking skills as soon as possible if you want to see everything.
- Hacking Capture – Level: All hackable items have a difficulty rating that ranges from 1 to 5, and your Hacking Capture level determines whether you can attempt it at all. Max this out ASAP.
- Hacking Stealth: Once you’re actually hacking, Stealth is the most important skill. It reduces your chance of triggering an alarm with each node you capture. This is right behind Capture in importance.
- Hacking Capture – Camera/Turret/Robot Domination: While you find other ways around all of these obstacles, being able to shut down automatic defenses once you’ve found a security terminal can make your life a whole lot easier. Cameras are common from the beginning, but the other two don’t start showing up with any real frequency until later on, so they can be saved or skipped entirely.
- Remote Hacking: One of the Jensen’s new experimental augs, remote hacking allows you to crack doors and the like from a safe distance when you might otherwise need to use cloaking or a multi-tool. It can be a huge boon in situations where cameras or guard patrols don’t give you enough time to hack something without being found.
- Hacking Fortify: So far as we can tell, fortifying nodes to slow down the security trace is a waste of time, since it you’ll risk triggering the alarm and not get any closer to your goal. You can safely skip this one.
While Mankind Divided‘s mechanics allow you to play as violently as you would like, it often feels like the game would prefer you take the stealthy route, especially since your boss admonishes you every time you make a scene. These are key skills for getting around without anyone being the wiser.
- Glass-Shield Cloaking: There’s nothing stealthier than temporary invisibility. Air ducts, darting from cover to cover, and meticulously taking out guards and cameras will take you far, but using cloaking effectively will save you a lot of time and effort, and acts as a great panic button if you ever get caught. If you’re going to be using it a lot, upgrade the energy efficiency as soon as possible. Retaining the cloak after takedowns is fun, but generally isn’t necessary.
- Wayfinder Radar System – Vision Cone: Stealth is all about situational awareness, and being able to know which direction your enemies are looking from the minimap is critical for planning how to avoid them.
- Tesla: One of the experimental augs, this wrist-mounted zapper is one of the best non-lethal options in the game. It especially comes in handy later in the game when facing enemies with powerful augmentations: Since the shock acts like an EMP, disabling enemy augs for a time, the Tesla allows you to knock out even heavily armored foes with a standard takedown.
- Cybernetic Leg Prosthesis – Silencer/Wayfinder Radar System – Noise Feedback: Being heard is a secondary concern after being seen. If the AI were smarter, than being careful about the sound you make would be more important, but, as it stands, you can generally get by just by crouching and taking your time when you’re trying to sneak around.
Shooty shooty bang bang
If you would rather take on challenges head-on instead of ghosting your way through, there are plenty of options for making Jensen deadlier in a fight. Even if you’re mowing down everyone with bullets, however, be sure to take your time and explore after you’ve taken out threats instead of barrelling forward, or else you’ll risk missing out on a lot of the game’s best rewards.
- Rhino Dermal Armor: Without augs, Adam won’t hold up long to gunfire. If you plan on getting into a lot of fights, this will help you live long enough to fight back.
- Cybernetic Weapon Handling: If you plan on doing a lot of shooting, you might as well get good at it. Whether you want to prioritize aim stability, recoil compensation, or reload speed is a matter of preference, so just focus on upgrading whatever annoys you the most first.
- Titan Armor: The flashiest of Adam’s new experimental augs, the Titan nanomesh shield makes you essentially invulnerable for a short time, which can make all the difference when the action gets too hot. It drains your batteries like nothing else, though, so be sure to upgrade its energy efficiency if you intend on using it regularly.
- Typhoon: The most dramatic aug from Human Revolution returns, and is still Adam’s best tool for doing damage over a wide area of effect… so long as you don’t mind getting into the middle of the action.
- Focus Enhancement: While not as exciting as the Titan, the ability to essentially slow down time for short period can save your life when precision counts.
Upgrade energy and health as you need them
The Sentinel Rx Health System and Sarif Series 8 Energy Converter each have nine available sub-upgrades that improve Jensen’s health and energy, respectively. These consist of three levels that raise the maximum, three that improve the recharge rate, and three that decrease the delay before recharging begins. Because these simply improve functions Jensen already has, you can take add more responsively to perceived weaknesses as you play. If you’re going stealthy, for instance, you should skip health upgrades entirely since you shouldn’t be taking damage at all; if you’re getting shot at, than things have usually already gone wrong. Energy upgrades are more broadly useful, especially if you’re relying on skills that drain it heavily, like cloaking and the Titan shield.
A little OCD goes a long way
Taking your time and being thorough is greatly rewarded in Mankind Divided. There are nearly always multiple points of entry to anywhere you want to go, so take your time and really explore all of your options before committing to anything. Always make sure to look high and low on walls for air ducts, and peek behind movable objects.
If you’re playing stealthily, get in the habit of closing doors behind you, and flipping switches to make windows turn opaque. Anything you can do to obstruct your enemies’ line of sight will make it easier to explore uninterrupted, especially when you’re breaking into offices.
Knocked out guards won’t wake up unless someone finds them, so be sure to drag bodies out of sight if you want to avoid raising the alarm. The game’s AI isn’t great, though, so don’t stress about it too much — leaving bodies just a little out of the way is usually enough.
Don’t sell your neuropozyne
Part of what makes Jensen the most badass cyborg is that his body apparently does not reject the augmentations like most people’s do, meaning he has no personal need for the ubiquitous drug neuropozyne. That doesn’t mean other people don’t need it, however, so it’s generally best to hold onto it for bartering instead of selling it, like the game advises. Various characters throughout the game will exchange items or information only for a hit of neuropozyne, which are generally worth more than the cash value of simply selling it. As the game goes on, you’ll start to find more and more of it, so don’t be a miser when your stock is high, especially early on.
Have your cake and eat it too
Very early on in the game, Jensen’s go-to augmentation specialist, Koller, finds experimental augs lying dormant in his body. The cost of using these powerful abilities, however, is that he has to deactivate another aug in order to maintain system stability. This is manageable, however, since you almost certainly won’t be using every ability available, depending on your play-style. However, Koller immediately presents the option to pursue an item that does away with this restriction. It’s being held by one of Prague’s crime bosses. If you’re sneaky enough — or have no qualms about killing a lot of people — then you can simply take it. Just asking for it, however, is also feasible, if you have the social grace. He’ll want a favor in exchange, but don’t be put off — this just amounts to a couple extra side-quests later in the game, both of which can be resolved without doing anything untoward if you prefer.