For some, Deus Ex the Fall will be a letdown.
Deus Ex on iOS immediately presents itself as a mobile likeness of Deus Ex: Human Revolution with all-new characters, story and settings. Superficially, the game closely mimics its console/PC counterpart well. The graphics are top notch (for an iOS game), the techno-centric conspiracy story is serviceable, and the central mechanics of the previous games are all here. A core conceit of Deus Ex: Human Revolution was the struggle of mankind to rectify robotic upgrades with what it means to be ‘human,’ The Fall hits the same notes throughout its story. Sneaking, shooting, hacking, reading endless emails and engaging in choose-your-own-adventure style dialogue scenarios are key components of The Fall.
My immediate concern with the game was control, but in this aspect I was pleasantly surprised. The developers of The Fall have put some effort into including context-sensitive control options that make this cover-based shooter playable. Lock-on is available for those who have trouble with aiming, but I found that I was consistently able to shoot at enemies while in first person mode (enemies tend to sneak up and surprise me while in cover). While I am convinced that touchscreen devices will never be a viable substitute for a controller or keyboard/mouse setup, The Fall’s controls are serviceable considering the lack of options.
Many of you will be fine with this, and it will be enough for you to have fun with this $7 shooter. However; there were flaws that stood in the way of my enjoyment and negatively impacted my experience with The Fall.
While on the surface, The Fall checks all of the required feature boxes its design leaves much to be desired. Enemy A.I. is inexcusably poor. During many firefights, I would shoot at the enemy without them even responding. In one case, as I exchanged fire with an enemy combatant he ceased firing, ran around a corner, and proceeded to lose track of my character even as I followed him. The poor AI wouldn’t be highlighted so intensely if they didn’t take so many shots to kill. I’ve completely drained the ammunition from my pistol without killing an enemy- even though I had hit them with each shot. At times, I began to wonder if my shots were missing or if they were intersecting with invisible parts of the environment, but the lack of feedback from the A.I. made it impossible for me to tell.
The issues created by ammunition loss are magnified by the conspicuously present microtransactions within inventory and upgrade menus. Can’t afford a gun or augment? Just pay up with real money. This, as I frequently emphasize, throws into question the entire balance of the game. I don’t care if you can technically beat the game without spending extra money beyond the initial $7 (by the way, the original Deus Ex frequently goes on sale beneath $5, and you can snag Human Revolution for free on Playstation Plus or for $10 at times on Steam). For that amount of money up front, I want the whole game there without having to always be presented with an in-game menu of items, upgrades and weapons that can all be paid for with real money. You man not think Square Enix is trying to force its way into your wallet, but the company certainly isn’t being stealthy about it. They aren’t being kind and helping players who can’t easily beat the game, and why should anyone have to pay extra just to adjust the balance of a game in the first place? The option to more easily play or enjoy the game means there is a known, and intentionally present balance issue that forces a player to exchange their time or enjoyment for money.
The poor A.I. and hit point balancing make Deus Ex: The Fall a poor shooter in my mind. While the graphics are certainly nice, they are not on par with Human Revolution – which means that trying to execute similar up-close cutscenes has a diminished effect in this version. Most importantly, I cannot believe the extent to which microtransactions are shoehorned into this game. Were it to be free to download this wouldn’t have been an issue for me- heck, I enjoy Puzzle and Dragons, but they are inexcusable when the player has to pay up front as well.
A poor impression of what is considered to be an excellent stealth-shooter, Deus Ex The Fall is a letdown in many respects. $6.99, Universal.
This game was reviewed on an iPad 4th Generation.