Diary Ex – A Human Revolution Journal. Episode 1: Mistakes

By: Joe Martin

Published: September 5, 2011 Posted in: Diary Ex

A new diary series brought to you by Joe Martin – games editor for Custom PC magazine and running  bit-gamer.net. Without being a walkthrough, this series will take us through Human Revolution – chunk by chunk – and discuss what Joe finds and thinks. Obviously, then, this will unapologetically contain spoilers, but we’ll let you know where up to and how severe. Like this:

Minor spoilers up until the first big mission

Humanrevolution1 - that's joe right there

Deus Ex: Human Revolution has taken me through more emotions than most entire series’ are capable of doing and I’m currently only four or five hours in. I have felt anger, I have wielded cunning, I have crumbled in panic. It’s the panic that stays with me; crippling and desperate, enough to make me break my own rules for how to play.

My first rule of play is simple: the first time you play a game, it is OK to make mistakes. Failure is what makes a great story and regret is what elevates a tale over more than just a list of successes. I don’t reload or start from scratch if I flub a romance or miss a shot at a +2 Sword, I plough on and will revisit these errors in a later playthrough.

Or, that’s what I’d do normally.

The situation is familiar in framework, even if the details are new. I am Adam Jensen, a rebuilt man with chrome limbs and a gravel-filled voicebox, returning to work to find a hostage crisis in full swing. David Sarif, the eponymous billionaire behind Sarif Industries wants me to sort it out – I’m to meet him at the helipad. Get a move on, he says.

My second rule of play is even simpler: see everything you can. David may want me straight away, but I know this is just a game and I’m determined to take a chance to explore Sarif’s offices and line my empty pockets. There’s lots to see just in the lobby and I currently don’t know if I’ll ever come back here or if it’ll be the same.

David nags, because, you know, it’s a game and that’s his character. ‘Meet me at the helipad, meet me at the helipad, wah-wah-wah.’ I mime his words back to me while pitting my cyber-brain against Sarif’s paltry security systems and rummaging through air vents.

Humanrevolution1 - oh noes, it's that screenshot everyone took

Out of nowhere, the tone suddenly changes. David swears at me and I stop dead in my tracks, one hand in someone else’s desk drawer. The boss not-so-politely informs me that the situation has changed while I’ve been dicking around and I need to get to the helipad right fucking now because people are fucking dying.

The news hits my brain like a bucket of ice-water and I go through a spread of emotions at blitzkrieg speed – this is a pain in the ass/was it worth it for 50 credits?

Running with this failure – so big, so devastating to this company that genuinely does seem like a family – doesn’t seem like an option. I hit ALT-F4, start a new game and take a breath to recover from the rollercoaster-like jolt.

My next attempt at Deus Ex: Human Revolution is predictably cautious; I sprint through the offices and reach the helipad before David finishes his spiel. I employ stealth and cunning in the factory; there are zero casualties and I talk the terrorists down with disarming calm. I salvage every screed of information in the building, doing it fast and without error. It’s effortless, like Adam’s augmentations were meant to be controlled by proxy, by me.

Adam Jensen and I start to become one man and that man does not make mistakes.

Joe Martin