Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link
PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
Stealth/Action, Shooter, Role-Playing
October 18th, 2011
Eidos Montreal gives us The Missing Link, the DLC add-on to the cyber-punk thriller Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Missing Link promises 4-6 hours of additional gameplay and story, but the real question is whether or not The Missing Link truly augments game, or if players will avoid using a Praxis Point on this add-on entirely.
The Missing Link centers around the three days Adam Jensen was out of radio contact after stowing away on a boat in Hengsha harbor. The ship is crawling with Belltower and it is no surprise you are found and captured. With all of his augments disabled, a factory reset Adam Jensen must now find a way to escape, restore his abilities, and continue his quest to find the people behind the Serif Industries attack. Daunting as though it seems, Jensen does have a mysterious ally in his escape, one that will guide him to unforeseen discoveries deep in the Belltower blacksite.
Graphically, Missing Link is more or less the same as the main game. Weather effects are a new addition as the beginning of the DLC does feature some rain. An interview with Eidos also stated that the lighting effects would be improved in the DLC, but I didn't notice any changes, leading me to believe any changes in lighting to be minor. Also the same as before, characters still move like muppets. In fact it seems as if everyone has a neck augmentation that functions very much like the spring in a bobble-head toy. Dialog sequences usually show one or both characters over-acting in hilarious caricature, much like a Saturday morning cartoon.
As far as level design goes Missing Link does get it right. With the entire mission taking place on a ship and platform in the middle of the ocean, one would expect the sights to be very mundane and repetitive. Eidos gives us the contrary with your typical ocean freighter interior turning into high-tech prison, and then turning into something just short of super-secret-mad-scientist-lair. A particular elevator ride also treats you to a sort aquarium show as you descend into the deep.
Human Revolution's soundtrack was great and Missing Link's follows suit. I could hear a few tracks I didn't seem to recognize, leading me to believe a few more songs were recorded. They fit in perfectly with the game's espionage feel and cyber-punk setting.
Elias Toufexis returns in his role as Adam Jensen, though he is the only character from Human Revolution to appear in Missing Link. The new characters treat you to every other accent not featured in Human Revolution, but by now I expect we are all completely used to these voice-overs.
Missing Link can be started at any time by accessing it from the Downloadable Content option in the game's main menu. Personally I would really like to have the option to play the DLC chronologically within the game, but I guess that wasn't quite on the table.
The most emphasized part of the DLC, even in early interviews, is that upon starting the DLC you are given a clean slate to work with. That's right; all of Jensen's augs are disabled, leaving you without so much as a can-opener to your name. After a short amount of mandatory sneaking you are presented with some Praxis Kits and weapons to rebuild yourself. Whether this was a cheap way to avoid a character import function is debatable, but the fact remains the DLC is isolated from your main game entirely. Some players may relish the ability to experience new augments they passed up previously, while others may be annoyed at having to slowly recreate a character on the verge of perfection.
Depending on how you feel about DLC, and what they should include, you may be disappointed with Missing Link content-wise. I was personally disappointed to discover this DLC adds nothing new to the gameplay experience. There are no objectives we haven't seen before, no gameplay mechanics we haven't used before, and no new type of enemies we haven't fought before. Oddly enough this includes bosses, as there are no discernible boss fights in Missing Link at all (I say this because thinking of the DLC's final confrontation as a boss fight will only disappoint you). There aren't even any rewards that transfer over into the main game as a result of purchase or completion of the DLC. In short, if you're only in it for the story you'll be pretty content.
Despite all that the old adage of "don't fix what isn't broken" comes to mind as the same excellently executed action/stealth hybrid gameplay is back in full force. I still felt rewarded finding out all the different ways I could have reached my objective, some more direct than others. Gameplay still allows you to pick your play-style and follow it and gain experience from whatever that style may be. This experience was the single most appreciated thing about Human Revolution and I have to say regardless of what the DLC did not include, I'm very glad this was untouched.
Missing Link makes good on its promise to add 4-6 hours of gameplay. A few side quests are included aside from the main quest that help with this. So at the very least your $15 gets you 4-6 hours of gameplay. With that in mind I can see replay value going one of two ways. Missing Link is really great for a very quick Deus Ex one night stand, so to speak. You can play through the entire DLC in an afternoon and experience most everything you could in the main game (everything except for boss battles and social battles). Because you have access to Praxis Kits right off the bat this is perfect for getting your fix without playing through the whole game, or perfect for testing an alternate build for Jensen without affecting your main game. On the other hand, the story oriented gamer need only play the DLC once (maybe twice for a slightly different outcome) and be done with it. If The Missing Link could have added some perks to the main game, like a few extra Praxis Kits or the ability to keep Burke's golden revolver upon completion, I could see the DLC becoming a more permanent staple to the Human Revolution experience.
The Missing Link provides a great experience, no matter how familiar that experience might be. The story does not seem "tacked on" at all, and it doesn't seem to create any conflicting plot elements (I checked, I actually played through the storyline again to make sure). My only real gripe is the $15 price tag is pretty steep, even more so when you consider it works out to roughly one dollar for every 20 minutes of play time (assuming you only play it once). Gamers on a budget may want to wait for a sale, but for anyone who loved the mystery, intrigue, and sci-fi thrill of Deus Ex: Human Revolution will not let down.