Lethal or non-lethal? It’s one of the first questions flung at you in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Square Enix’s forthcoming reboot of the acclaimed Deus Ex.
It’s also a handy metaphor for the whole game, because Deus Ex is all about doing things your own way. The level that posed the question – one of two we got to try – has you taking on armed renegades who have occupied a manufacturing plant and taken the staff hostage.
You could be a sneak: creeping along rooftops and through air vents before picking of rebels one by one. At the other extreme you charge in with guns blazing. Either way Deus Ex is all about tactics and planning. Ammo is scare and so using the environment to your benefit is crucial. And what an environment it is too: all grimy Blade Runner skyscrapers and futuristic Art Deco interiors set to a moody Vangelis-inspired soundtrack.
There’s plenty of scope to approach each challenge in different ways and some gruesome fun to be had leaping out of cover and taking down enemies with Wolverine-style hand blades.
The basics – the cover-based shooting, the sneaking and the atmosphere – are all in excellent shape then, but there’s plenty we haven’t seen yet from how its web-of-intrigue story about the technological enhancement of humans develops to the full suite of upgrades available for your half-man, half-machine character.
But already Human Revolution is looking like the successor fans of the 12-year-old original have been waiting for and that alone could make this a game of the year contender when it arrives on the 26th August for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.