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Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 9.0
Sound 9.5
Value 7.5
Developer: Square Enix
Review Date:
August 2013
Sean Warhurst
Price: $7.49



When Deus Ex: The Fall was first announced there was a resounding backlash from fans of the franchise who believed that an exclusive mobile platform release alienated the core demographic of console and PC gamers, particularly as many eschew mobile games, dismissing them as mere casual distractions. Concerns were raised about distilling the core mechanics of the seriesí in order to compensate for the limitations of smartphones and how effectively Square Enix would be able to replicate the feel and unique black and gold visual style of Deus Ex: Human Revolution when faced with the inferior graphical capabilities.

When the game was finally released many of these doubts were proven to be unfounded: Square Enix competently handled the platform transition and offered up a cyberpunk experience that, while short and self contained, tapped into the aesthetics of the series admirably. I gleefully dived into this instalment, having been rather impressed with the previous console effort, and despite some glaring issues such as inconsistent enemy A.I and some graphical errors (At one point I found myself seemingly suspended in the air with nothing but the backdrop of the city visible), I found the experience nearly as fulfilling as that on a console.

So, I tapped out a review praising the elements the developers had got right whilst lamenting the aforementioned issues and the near impossible task of manipulating movement, reticule aiming and firing at the same time; overall, I was incredibly impressed with what Square Enix had accomplished and viewed The Fall as an indication of the calibre of games that are now possible on mobile devices. Alas, a few days later the game had an update applied that addressed the enemy A.I shortcomings, the much publicised inability to fire your weapon on jailbroken devices and other issues that had hampered the game and I found myself playing through The Fall once again to discern any major differences that could affect the final score. Upon completion, I found that many of my major gripes with the game were no longer relevant, making my original review redundant.

So, here is my second impression of Deus Ex: The Fall (For the record, I originally awarded the game an overall score of 7.0).

Set in 2027, The Fall runs adjacent to Human Revolution, exploring the story of augmented former soldier Ben Saxon, a character originally introduced in the tie-in novel Deus Ex: Icarus Effect. In fact, the story itself is a direct continuation of the novel, which is a strange decision on behalf of the developers as only the most ardent fans would be familiar with the story. Thankfully, the game can still be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone experience (I certainly havenít read the novel) but it goes without saying that those familiar with the backstory would have greater emotional investment in the characters.

Without spoiling too much, the opening of The Fall is mainly comprised of flashbacks to Saxonís experiences working alongside The Tyrants, a terrorist group made up of augmented beings, and his questioning of their overall agenda. These early missions serve to catch the player up on the most pertinent details of the novel before focusing on Saxon and his partner Anna Kelso as they hide out in Panama and attempt to procure supplies of an anti-rejection drug for their augmented implants. You see, having augmented body parts afford advanced abilities to their users but there is always a chance of the body rejecting the implant due to a building up of scar and nerve tissue at the implantation point blocking the signal from implant to the body; there is a drug available that offsets this, but supples are tightly controlled and are fast becoming scarce.

Saxon soon finds himself forced to venture into the city of Panama in order to locate a black market source for the drug... And thatís about all I can reveal without giving away spoilers.

Deus Ex: The Fall is a remarkably faithful recreation of the Deus Ex universe, with elements from the preceding title coming across to mobiles with little sign of compromise, particularly the brilliant hacking mini-game. One of the main drawcards of the Deus Ex series is the ability to play whichever style suits you best, with both gung-ho shootouts and stealth tactics viable methods to get through the stages. Unfortunately, even with the update, strafing and aiming whilst firing is an extremely frustrating experience that practically forces the player to use stealth over barging in guns blazing. As a majority of playes prefer sneaking in the shadows this doesnít affect gameplay as much as it would for a dedicated FPS but itís still frustrating, particularly when you inadvertently alert the guards of your presence and are forced to flee rather than hold your ground.

The enemy A.I, as mentioned earlier, has been tweaked and refined and serves to make progress a challenging experience rather that the hit and miss nature before the update where you could sometimes walk right up to a guard and knock him out in clear view of other enemies without fear of reprisal. Graphically the game is gorgeous, slightly above PS2 quality, although there are still instances of clipping and minor glitches evident. The RPG component of the game, mainly the levelling of attributes and conversation trees make the transition untouched and the level design far exceeds the endless linear corridors usually present in games such as this, with Panama being a large and fulfilling environment to explore.

Final Thought

The iTunes app store has often been criticised Ė And not exactly unfairly Ė For its overabundance of shovelware in comparison to actual decent and robust gaming experiences. Thankfully, with titles such as The Fall this looks set to change, as hopefully more developers start to view mobile gaming as a viable alternative to consoles and PCs. Whilst itís not without its flaws, The Fall is a satisfying accompaniment to Human Revolution. If, like me, you mainly rely on stealth to get through the game youíll probably overlook many of the issues with firing and just focus on the experience itself; itís a shame that the nature of touch screen controls restricts your play style but, given the limitations and lack of actual buttons I think Square Enix did the best that they could with the control interface.

For fans of the series this is a no brainer, although the open ended nature of the conclusion can be frustrating as you realise that The Fall is only really the first chapter of a larger story. Recommended.



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