Zero Punctuation: Deus Ex Mankind Divided

darkrage6

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Solkard said:
Racism? I thought the analogy was about gun control. I could understand the difficulty in removing the nano-augs of the old school Deus Ex world, but most of the cybernetic tech of this Deus Ex world seems pretty blatantly detachable. In which case, doesn't it become more an issue of, "I don't care if my Ginsu knife arm can go crazy and kill people on a whim. I've decided that it is part of my identity and so everyone else should just accept the risk of personal harm to themselves."?

I was not aware that people who feel entitled to be able to lift and throw vending machines with their bare hands, was a race.
There was a gun control analogy in there, but it was more subtle, there was definitely a racism analogy in there though.
 

Bob_McMillan

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darkrage6 said:
Bob_McMillan said:
I think this is the first time any critic has mentioned how annoying the cutscenes for EVERYTHING are. I play games stealthily because I like feeling sleek and smooth, like a ballet performance except instead of pirouettes I'm snapping necks. The last thing I want is 3 seconds of having no control of your player as well as a complete change in perspective. It's of the many annoyances I had with Human Revolution that made me stop playing the game 3 times in a row.
That sounds like a silly reason to avoid playing.
As I said, one of many.
 

Igor-Rowan

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darkrage6 said:
Considering Devil's Third came out last year, I don't know if it's elegible for the list.
Yeah, butYahtzee only reviewed it this year for some reason, it was released in December in NA and was already out by August of that same year everywhere else, I can understand Paper Jam, who only came out in Europe and Australia in 2016, when everyone else had it by the end of 2015. So I guess he will have to open an expception as it's not a retro review and he had to mention that one game to talk about Devil's Third.
 

Darth_Payn

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darkrage6 said:
Solkard said:
Racism? I thought the analogy was about gun control. I could understand the difficulty in removing the nano-augs of the old school Deus Ex world, but most of the cybernetic tech of this Deus Ex world seems pretty blatantly detachable. In which case, doesn't it become more an issue of, "I don't care if my Ginsu knife arm can go crazy and kill people on a whim. I've decided that it is part of my identity and so everyone else should just accept the risk of personal harm to themselves."?

I was not aware that people who feel entitled to be able to lift and throw vending machines with their bare hands, was a race.
There was a gun control analogy in there, but it was more subtle, there was definitely a racism analogy in there though.
Racism and Gun Control? I thought that's what Mutants are an allegory for in the X-Men comics, anytime a Mutant or Superhuman Registration Act pops up.
 

ToastyMozart

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woodlandkammo said:
It's funny, pacemakers were the exact thing I thought of. Seriously, in this world, exactly how easy is it to be classified as an "Aug"? What about people with cochlear implants? Or just regular prosthetics?
I'd assume the official designation is whether or not they have a Biochip installed (the brain chip that lets them control their robo arms/eyes/etc).

Amaror said:
You would guess that people would have more of a self-preservation instincts to not treat the augs like shit.
Reminds me of a few of the checkpoint cops in Prague. It's always amusing when they start trying to pull the bossy tough guy act and subsequently piss themselves upon reading Jensen's paperwork that tells them just who they're dealing with.

K12 said:
Couldn't agree more on the shortcomings of the racism analogy... now let's wait for somebody to come along and decide that this kind of nuance in criticism is either racist or SJW political-correctness. I wonder which will happen first.
There was certainly a strong bit of racism allegory in there, but writing it off on the grounds of the normal people's fears of the augs going nuts again being totally reasonable is missing the point a little.
It's deliberate, the idea is to set up an actual dilemma: people are completely justified in being afraid of the augmented after the incident in 2027, but at the same time the augs are suffering for it, for something that wasn't their fault.

It seems a bit unfair to reduce a setup like MD's to just racism, and then call it invalid because it doesn't quite line up with that mould.

(Plus there's little interesting in a straightforward "irrational hatred" setup like racism is in real life, if I wanted something banging me over the head with "racism = bad," I'd watch the last minute of a bunch of 90s cartoons.)
 

Baresark

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I honestly thought the game was great. I spent almost 30 hours on my initial playthrough, and it didn't end as abruptly as people make it out to have. If they hadn't included that cinematic with Illuminati at the beginning, it would have not even been noticed. The actual story of the game is a terrorism group is trying to be terrorists, and augmented people are getting blamed.

I will agree with one thing... the shear number of augmented people were ridiculous. Like... 60% of all the people walking around are augmented. In Prague, the augmented people should be completely in charge since they clearly outnumber all the non augmented people. The Racism analogy is in fact in your face in the game, but I don't think it's as poor as he makes it out to be. The augmented people are living in a place where they are second class citizens, literally. They have special entrances to pubic areas for example. To me, the story while not perfect, is a perfectly reasonable followup to the events of the last game.

I think calling this a poor analogy is just going too far. I would like to know what constitutes a good analogy since all they really did was give augs the social status of pre-civil rights black Americans, which is both ridiculous and reasonable at the same time.

Also, it's not fair to call it short. Deus Ex HR + extras averaged just over 30 hours. I did that in mankind divided in 29 hours. That is not a huge discrepancy by any reasonable persons measure. Furthermore, the average game length was told to be around 30 hours by the developer.
 

weirdee

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Game too short? It's almost as if they removed the next two parts of the game and made them DLC. But I'm just tossing that theory out there, I don't think a triple AAA company would be so irresponsible to either launch an intentionally feature removed game as a full priced product and then package already made parts of the game into separately priced items that cost more total than a completed whole game, or sell an early access game packaged as a complete game in order to get the game through the super long approval process and shipped to market sooner while they continue making it in the form of DLC and charge us more money to get the rest of it. That would be a total violation of consumer rights.

Especially if it's because all of that is still the FIRST HALF of a game that was split in half to make two games.

Baresark said:
I will agree with one thing... the shear number of augmented people were ridiculous. Like... 60% of all the people walking around are augmented. In Prague, the augmented people should be completely in charge since they clearly outnumber all the non augmented people. The Racism analogy is in fact in your face in the game, but I don't think it's as poor as he makes it out to be. The augmented people are living in a place where they are second class citizens, literally. They have special entrances to pubic areas for example. To me, the story while not perfect, is a perfectly reasonable followup to the events of the last game.
The augmented don't have the capacity to be effective killing/suppression forces unless they get turned berserk again, and there's waaaaay more immigrants and minority population than there are rich people IRL, so the social dynamics aren't all easy mathematics.
 

K12

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ToastyMozart said:
K12 said:
Couldn't agree more on the shortcomings of the racism analogy... now let's wait for somebody to come along and decide that this kind of nuance in criticism is either racist or SJW political-correctness. I wonder which will happen first.
There was certainly a strong bit of racism allegory in there, but writing it off on the grounds of the normal people's fears of the augs going nuts again being totally reasonable is missing the point a little.
It's deliberate, the idea is to set up an actual dilemma: people are completely justified in being afraid of the augmented after the incident in 2027, but at the same time the augs are suffering for it, for something that wasn't their fault.

It seems a bit unfair to reduce a setup like MD's to just racism, and then call it invalid because it doesn't quite line up with that mould.

(Plus there's little interesting in a straightforward "irrational hatred" setup like racism is in real life, if I wanted something banging me over the head with "racism = bad," I'd watch the last minute of a bunch of 90s cartoons.)
Using "augs lives matter" and "Mechanical Apartheid" in their promotional material invited those comparisons so I think it's perfectly reasonable to criticise it for the places where the analogy doesn't work very well.

It's not just the semi-reasonableness of the non-augs fear's that makes the analogy a bit dodgy either. It's also the fact that people choose to become augmented (although they don't choose the injuries that might require them to function normally) and can become de-augmented at any time (except when their augments are keeping them alive). There's no heredity to create lineages or geographical subcultures of augmented people and the expense and the abilities of augmentations make it seem a bit weird to think of them as a group vulnerable to oppression.

Your comment actually made me think that a direct analogy to Islamophobia and radical Islam might have worked quite well. There could be a radical transhumanist uber-mensch type group who espouse aug-supremacy and terrorise non-augs. The backlash and anger from these guys end up having a really bad effect on the large number of perfectly reasonable augs, which in turn makes some of them more vulnerable to being radicalised... but I wouldn't expect a AAA game to have the balls to take on a subject as raw as that in any kind of meaningful way.

It's still a lot of fun and I generally prefer it when games make the effort to have complex cultural tensions in their worlds, even if it feels a bit wonky.
 

ToastyMozart

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Baresark said:
I honestly thought the game was great... it didn't end as abruptly as people make it out to have.
IMO the sidequests/POIs are about half the game's content, and they're a huge step up from HR's. Although I kinda have to disagree about the ending being unabrupt.
Even aside from the plot threads set up in the game's first half (before going to Golem and meeting Oneeye Mc.ObviouslyAVillian) not being further developed, the game kinda halted when it was still at around the Act 2 point of the gameplay progression.

To try and explain what I'm trying to get at, I'll compare it to HR. It's like if HR ended while you were still fighting the normal TYM security guys while using upgraded street-legal weaponry, we never got the 3rd tier of dangerous guys ala HR's spec ops, nor any unusual late-game weapons. The game feels like it went to intermission, then the ushers locked the doors behind us while the orchestra snuck out the back. (Guess Jim's source was right about the game being cut in half)

That said, I'd still say I got my money's worth for the ~$40 I spent on it, and that last level was fantastic.

Baresark said:
I will agree with one thing... the shear number of augmented people were ridiculous. Like... 60% of all the people walking around are augmented. In Prague, the augmented people should be completely in charge since they clearly outnumber all the non augmented people. The Racism analogy is in fact in your face in the game, but I don't think it's as poor as he makes it out to be. The augmented people are living in a place where they are second class citizens, literally. They have special entrances to pubic areas for example. To me, the story while not perfect, is a perfectly reasonable followup to the events of the last game.
I figured the large aug population was just because one part of the map is set in the small area augs that haven't been deported to Golem are allowed to live, and they handwaved it by explaining that augmented workers flocked to Prague to help build the Utelek complex (just throw a little tragic irony in there for good measure).
And they just haven't taken over because the armored-up-the-ass police would stomp their non-military robo arms pretty easily (leading to those funny moments where a checkpoint cop tries the tough guy act on Jensen before soiling themselves over his Level Orange ID). The police presence in that hub is insane, there's practically a SWAT team on every street corner.

I agree on the racism analogy being better than Yahtzee makes it out to be (though literally putting "Aug entrance in rear" on the wall of a building was a bit much).
 

ToastyMozart

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K12 said:
ToastyMozart said:
Using "augs lives matter" and "Mechanical Apartheid" in their promotional material invited those comparisons so I think it's perfectly reasonable to criticise it for the places where the analogy doesn't work very well.

It's not just the semi-reasonableness of the non-augs fear's that makes the analogy a bit dodgy either. It's also the fact that people choose to become augmented (although they don't choose the injuries that might require them to function normally) and can become de-augmented at any time (except when their augments are keeping them alive). There's no heredity to create lineages or geographical subcultures of augmented people and the expense and the abilities of augmentations make it seem a bit weird to think of them as a group vulnerable to oppression.

Your comment actually made me think that a direct analogy to Islamophobia and radical Islam might have worked quite well. There could be a radical transhumanist uber-mensch type group who espouse aug-supremacy and terrorise non-augs. The backlash and anger from these guys end up having a really bad effect on the large number of perfectly reasonable augs, which in turn makes some of them more vulnerable to being radicalised... but I wouldn't expect a AAA game to have the balls to take on a subject as raw as that in any kind of meaningful way.

It's still a lot of fun and I generally prefer it when games make the effort to have complex cultural tensions in their worlds, even if it feels a bit wonky.
I usually try and distance a work from its advertising, since it tends to be the sole discretion of the Marketing department and Marketing is full of idiots, but yeah, I can't say it's unreasonable to look at it from a perspective the publishers made themselves. (God the AugLivesMatter thing was dumb)

The whole situation with ARC felt very much like the whole radical/nonradical muslim thing to me too, I'm with you on that one. A small subset of assholes start blowing things up, then people come down on the group in its entirety, thereby driving more of them to Team Asshole, etc.

I feel like things might have ended up feeling a bit more well-developed if we had actually gotten the second half of the game in the box.
 

Transdude1996

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So, going by the comments I'm seeing, while the game is better than given credit, wait for the DLC to come out, and then the inevitable "GOTYE/SE/DX/EE/AE/" of the game with minor tweaks and changes that fix common complaints.

Also, I'd like to point out that probably the reason the game was advertised as "battling racism" is because of how meaningless the word means today when you can call someone a racist for wanting people to go through the proper legal channels to become a citizen, or wanting to make sure that people entering an area do not have the intent to level it and everyone in the vicinity.
 

RJ 17

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I still don't know which side I'm on for the ol' bananas vs Hobnobs ordeal. I mean, the leader of the Hobnobs is a very charismatic speaker, but I have to admit that the bananas raise some good points worth thinking about.
 

RobfromtheGulag

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This is the first non-orgasmic review of this game I've come across. Thank goodness we have Yahtzee over here keeping it real among game critics.

(Granted I don't consume very many reviews period).
 

darkrage6

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Igor-Rowan said:
Well, at least it gets points for showing how confusing racism is in real life, I'm serious, go ask three different, unrelated people what constitues as racism and you will not stop scratching your head by how inconsistent it is. Also I find quite ironic a game that calls out capitalism and corporations is being called out by Jim Sterling for being a product of capitalism and corporative management considering how much the game was meddled with. Not going on many last-year best of lists, that's for sure.

Speaking of which:
Yeah the hype isn't getting any increases in the following months, so I'll save Yahtzee's trouble of making his 2016 best ofs, worst ofs and blandest ones so far released. These ones are my predictions following every respective review and articles Yahtzee may have written:

Top 5:
5. Xenoblade Chronicles X [might be replaced by an indie later]; 4. Salt and Sanctuary; 3. Dark Souls 3; 2. Inside; 1. DOOM

Bottom 5:
5. Starfox Zero; 4. Homefront: The Revolution; 3. No Man's Sky; 2. Devil's Third; 1. Mighty No. 9

Blandest 5:
5. Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam; 4. Song of the Deep; 3. Battleborn; 2. The Witness; 1. Ubisoft [The Division/Far Cry Primal]
The problem is augmentation is not at all like having different colored skin or being born gay or bi as those are not a choice, but getting augmented IS a choice(with some exceptions like Adam who needed it to survive).
 

darkrage6

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Transdude1996 said:
So, going by the comments I'm seeing, while the game is better than given credit, wait for the DLC to come out, and then the inevitable "GOTYE/SE/DX/EE/AE/" of the game with minor tweaks and changes that fix common complaints.

Also, I'd like to point out that probably the reason the game was advertised as "battling racism" is because of how meaningless the word means today when you can call someone a racist for wanting people to go through the proper legal channels to become a citizen, or wanting to make sure that people entering an area do not have the intent to level it and everyone in the vicinity.
Don't tell me you're a Trump supporter, the word is absolutely not "meaningless" in anyways(seriously stop watching Faux News), there's plenty of legal citizens FAR more dangerous then any immigrants.
 

darkrage6

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weirdee said:
Game too short? It's almost as if they removed the next two parts of the game and made them DLC. But I'm just tossing that theory out there, I don't think a triple AAA company would be so irresponsible to either launch an intentionally feature removed game as a full priced product and then package already made parts of the game into separately priced items that cost more total than a completed whole game, or sell an early access game packaged as a complete game in order to get the game through the super long approval process and shipped to market sooner while they continue making it in the form of DLC and charge us more money to get the rest of it. That would be a total violation of consumer rights.

Especially if it's because all of that is still the FIRST HALF of a game that was split in half to make two games.

Baresark said:
I will agree with one thing... the shear number of augmented people were ridiculous. Like... 60% of all the people walking around are augmented. In Prague, the augmented people should be completely in charge since they clearly outnumber all the non augmented people. The Racism analogy is in fact in your face in the game, but I don't think it's as poor as he makes it out to be. The augmented people are living in a place where they are second class citizens, literally. They have special entrances to pubic areas for example. To me, the story while not perfect, is a perfectly reasonable followup to the events of the last game.
The augmented don't have the capacity to be effective killing/suppression forces unless they get turned berserk again, and there's waaaaay more immigrants and minority population than there are rich people IRL, so the social dynamics aren't all easy mathematics.
The game was definitely intended to be longer, Jim Sterling talked to people who worked on Mankind Divided and Square Enix seemed to be actively trying to sabotage the game at every turn:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVbj4GuuZTA
 

Don Incognito

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I liked the game quite a bit. (Aside from the DLC issues and such, which I can ignore by not buying it.) Interesting characters, the main storyline was fine, the side missions were very good, very nice aesthetic, fun stealth gameplay.

However, there are some major limitations in prequels just by their nature, and the DE prequels are doing nothing to avoid them--indeed, MD steers right into them. At the end, Adam tells Alex he is going to bring the people behind the conspiracy into the light, namely Joseph Manderley and Bob Page.

But we already know he's going to do no such thing; in fact, they are only going to become more powerful in the years to come, whereas Adam and his allies (with the possible exception of Samizdat, merging into Silhouette) disappear. Nor will he be exposing others behind the scenes, like Simons or DeBeers or DuClare or Everett. The best he can do is take out low level terrorists like he did in this game; setting him up to take down forces we know he won't take down paints Square Enix into a very small corner.
 

Darth Rosenberg

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Don Incognito said:
But we already know he's going to do no such thing; in fact, they are only going to become more powerful in the years to come...
That was always a major issue I had with HR - it seems more damaging to DE than most to abuse prequels 'cause you can't be arsed to deal with continuity and yet want to make more moneyz; there are a lot of artfully crafted elements to HR (and, I assume, MD though I've not played it yet), but at it's heart it's ironically deeply soulless and commercially exploitative.

DE broke new ground, but what do HR and, apparently, MD do? Wallow in that game's world, whilst not actually doing anything constructive or surprising with it.

Invisible War was much maligned by fans, but I still think it was an incredibly intelligent game in terms of writing and themes. It was pretentious in a kind of written-by-a-teenager way, but I admired its shameless philosophical musings. That game's writing nudged me into getting into Plato and reading de Tocqueville, so it was quite literally intellectually and philosophically inspiring, at least to me (and the game itself was pretty damn good, particularly if that was your first DE, as it was mine).

Human Revolution, by comparison? Didn't have an intelligent thought in its head. Fine gameplay, gorgeously detailed world, but it had had a veritable lobotomy, and it seems like MD's just carried on down that track if its 'aug-lives matter' thematics are anything to go by.

George Weidman/Super Bunnyhop did a pretty decent review of it as well, btw:


He had issues with it, but still thoroughly enjoyed the actual gameplay elements. Since HR I kinda just see the series as Adam Jensen: Badass Simulator, and as that it can work superbly, so more of the same doesn't overly bother me this time, if that's the case.
 

Don Incognito

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Darth Rosenberg said:
Since HR I kinda just see the series as Adam Jensen: Badass Simulator, and as that it can work superbly, so more of the same doesn't overly bother me this time, if that's the case.
It is very much the case. Adam being such an unlikable stereotype of every gruff dudebro videogame protagonist doesn't much help my enjoyment, though JC Denton was much the same in the original. Invisible War's greatest success was shaping a more likable and relatable protagonist. It was a decent enough game, it just fell flat in level design and plotting, especially compared to the original game.
 

Atratzu

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Gotta love games that say your actions have huge consequences, only to find out no one cares who's face you melted in the last chapter/activity/block-away.