IN 2000, Eidos Interactive published a revolutionary shooter titled Deus Ex. The game's combination of gunplay and character progression, along with its intricate gameplay design, won a legion of fans—and to this day, it's considered the best first-person game ever created.
Three years later, Eidos published a follow-up, Deus Ex: Invisible War. It relied on the same cyberpunk plot style and "shooter meets RPG" gameplay mashup, but unlike its predecessor, it was a catastrophic failure. Buggy, unfinished, and poorly planned, the game was a failure on every level, and the series went into hibernation.
Last week, Deus Ex: Human Revolution hit shelves—and the series' resurrection is both glorious and timely. Again, the developers have tapped that same cyberpunk-noir subgenre to craft a tale that feels like a more topical William Gibson novel: Here, the current economic strife continues for decades, and you play the part of a cybernetically enhanced agent tasked with protecting the city from terrorists. As you could probably guess, things are far more complex than they seem.
Intriguing plot aside, the gameplay is where Human Revolution truly delivers. Every obstacle offers multiple solutions, the game's roleplaying game-esque elements offer wildly different skills and completely customizable ways to play through the videogame, and, for sheer visceral appeal, the gunplay rivals action favorites like Gears of War and Halo. The game includes a now-standard duck-for-cover option, but its unique implementation—in which you can move, hug corners, and dive to nearby obstacles—is the most useful system I've yet seen.
The only real flaw I can find in the game is that it isn't quite as amazing as its original predecessor. That's not at all a slight against Human Revolution, though. If it weren't for the release of Portal 2 in April, Deus Ex: Human Revolution would be a lock for Game of the Year.