I never asked for this,” is Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s most famous line, but it’s entirely optional. You play as cybersleuth Adam Jensen, who has a few limbs replaced with sleek mechanical augmentations after a terrorist attack on his company’s offices. Afterwards you can be grumpy about your fate for the entire game, or admit that having cool sunglasses built into your face is better than having no arms see, Deus Ex is all about choice.


‘Door or vent?’ is Human Revolution’s other main conundrum. Sure, you can use your hacking augmentations to turn turrets and luck security codes out of terminals, or sweet-talk your way through with a cloud of emotion-reading nanobots, but too often you’re hauling your awesome new body through narrow pipes. Human Revolution’s beautiful black-and-gold future is the most ventilated game world ever created, something that sequel Mankind Divided should seek to correct.

Much will be similar. You’re still Adam Jensen, and Deus Ex is still a first-person game that you can approach quietly with tranq darts and gentle punching, or loudly with machine guns and horrifying retractable elbow chisels. It’s two years since Jensen tangled with the international conspirators trying to use augmentations to manipulate the populace. Now a virus has swept through the augmented citizens of the world, turning them into frenzied killers. Hounded by the authorities, surviving augs have retreated to the ghettos to form resistance groups, and Jensen’s ordered to investigate.

He has a few new tricks that ought to help. Mankind Divided’s debut trailer shows him firing elbow chisels into guards, tasering them with detachable electric knuckles, teleport-punching them in a burst of golden lightning and resisting their shots with a golden shield. Reassuringly, not once does he pause his violent spree to chomp an energy bar a chronic issue with Human Revolution, where Jensen’s lack of battery power greatly restricted his abilities.

The trailer features plenty of non-lethal takedowns, and Jensen can still go invisible for short stretches. Deus Ex always lets you upgrade your bionic body to unlock different superpowers, but Mankind Divided adds a suite of weapon-customisation options. Screenshots show a rifle that lets you adjust the silencer, laser sight, scope, ammo type and firing pattern on the fly. In Human Revolution Jensen’s augs could eventually enable him to fire bullets round corners, and it looks like Mankind Divided will feature similarly experimental shooting. The trailer shows Jensen leaping four metres into the air to machine-gun a pair of drones out of the sky, the big show-off.
Reassuringly, not once does Jensen pause his violent spree to chomp an energy bar
It wouldn’t be Deus Ex without a globetrotting plot, of course. Prague is heavily featured in the trailer, and co-conspirators are seen chatting in Montreal, Hong Kong and Paris. A futuristic ghetto called Golem City is already confirmed, inspired by the claustrophobic apartment towers of Kowloon Walled City. Concept art shows glistening markets and city streets reminiscent of Blade Runner, and there are no vents in sight. Human Revolution’s locations were built as explorable hubs, full of sidequests to uncover. Mankind Divided will hopefully follow the same template, and the results will be much prettier thanks to the new Dawn Engine.

But what about the story? Human Revolution had four different endings, but you can’t carry your progress over to Mankind Divided. Trailer shots of Jensen sinking into the ocean hints at the ending Eidos Montreal has gone with, but it’s unclear if anyone survived the first game. The trailer offers a teasing glimpse of the Sarif Industries logo, suggesting Jensen’s devious former boss, David Sarif, could return. Illuminati supremo Bob Page even makes a momentary appearance.

Global conspiracy aside, Mankind Divided’s main theme is already clear. Jensen is an aug hunting augs, and as the trailer’s robo-fisted villain says: “This should be your fight as well, brother.” Admittedly, Jensen replies by stabbing the man, but in a game full of choice and shifting allegiances we’re faced with that dilemma again: will you fight to preserve your fleshy humanity, or embrace an extraordinary bionic future?

Die, Robot
Too many guards? Don’t worry: Jensen’s got an app for that
The problem with a stealthy playstyle is that you don’t get to use some of Jensen’s most satisfying abilities. he can spin around launching tiny warheads from his shoulders, kebab multiple guards with a single retractable fist-chisel, and even explode when he drops from great heights. Mankind Divided is sure to include more deadly tricks. It’ll be worth doing separate quiet and loud playthroughs to get the most out of it.