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Deus Ex: Human Revolution – The Missing Link

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As we get deeper into the holiday game season, Deus Ex: Human Revolution still stands tall as one of the top games of the year. Adam Jensen’s gripping globetrotting adventure has recently been expanded with a new DLC chapter, The Missing Link. Exploring a three day stretch in the closing chapters of the core game where Jensen goes dark, the DLC provides players with a better understanding of the core game’s closing moments and offers around four hours of content for the price of admission. The Missing Link is an essential play for fans, though I can’t help but wonder if Human Revolution would have been even better had this chapter not been stripped from it in the first place.

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The Missing Link picks up Jensen’s story shortly after he stows himself away in a stasis pod in Human Revolution. Though we’re lead to believe that nothing went down during the three day stretch, The Missing Link shows that Jensen wasn’t napping, but instead getting tortured, doing a fair bit of sneaking and when necessary, taking out the trash. Opening on a cargo ship, the game eventually moves to a Belltower Security base of operations, giving players a glimpse of the group’s power and nefarious schemes.

Given the difficulty of integrating DLC of this nature with the core game, Jensen starts off unarmed and without augmentations. You play a little bit of the DLC before you uncover a cache of Praxis and weapons to choose from, giving you an opportunity to see what The Missing Link is going to throw at you. Though just as malleable as the core game, The Missing Link certainly encourages a more stealthy, cautious approach than other portions of the game. With the sea closing in from every side, Jensen is stranded in hostile enemy territory, giving the chapter a unique tension when considered against Human Revolution‘s canon.

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How the story is told is very similar to Human Revolution: characters who appear to be one thing are another, everyone has an ulterior motive and the protagonist/antagonist relationship that drives the final portions of the DLC is under-developed. What perhaps distresses me most though is how much this could have expanded the core game, had it been included from the start as a proper chapter in Jensen’s journey. The Missing Link gives players a grounding necessary to understand and appreciate the final battle of Human Revolution. Without, Human Revolution‘s closing battle was a letdown.

While the story offered is excellent, the gameplay leaves a little be to desired. The core shooting/hacking/sneaking mechanics are identical to what we saw in Human Revolution and aren’t offensive in any way, but there’s a segment toward the end of it that features a stretch of dull backtracking. For every two steps forward, you’ll take one step back. Environmental diversity disappears toward the end of the DLC, funneling you through very similar looking corridors.

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Perhaps The Missing Link‘s biggest offense is that it feels like the safe, easy way to go with Human Revolution‘s DLC. That isn’t to say that it isn’t good or that you shouldn’t purchase it, but it’s troubling that this content was denied to us in the core game. Without it, a chunk of Human Revolution was removed, and though not necessarily vital, it can’t be said that it isn’t missed. If you’re looking to know more about Jensen and the Human Revolution universe, The Missing Link is a necessary purchase, but I’m hopeful that the next DLC for this release explores new ground instead of showing off what was denied to us before.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

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