Deus Ex: The Fall Review
Deus Ex: The Fall is an original game from the makers of Human Revolution that brings console-quality graphics and gameplay to iPhone, iPad and Android
For some time now, games have been trying to close the gap on their console cousins in terms of looks and gameplay – no mean feat it’s fair to say. Still, there has been some success in the tribute-style games like Modern Combat, which takes its inspiration from Call Of Duty and has gotten progressively better with each instalment.
The developers at Square Enix have decided to push one of their famed console titles onto the mobile platform in quite a big way – not with a port or homage to Deus Ex, but with an original game. Deus Ex: The Fall is set within the same universe as the three previous console titles, but in a different part, with its own characters and story. For die-hard fans of the series this story takes place after the events of the tie-in novel, The Icarus Effect, in the year 2027.
Everything about this game sticks true to the console origins of the franchise, and you might be forgiven for thinking that your device is trying to install a fully fledged gaming title given the amount of space needed (1.6GB). Having said that, a few seconds into the opening cut-scene and you will begin to understand just what all that space is being used for, because make no mistake, The Fall is a fantastic-looking mobile game. The golden tint to the world that we saw in the most recent console game, Human Revolution, has been transported here with some stunning lighting effects throughout the various environments.
On the subject of environment, the Deus Ex open-world experience is here too, with items and objects to help you along the way, and with every action having a consequence. On this level, The Fall is one of the deepest games on iOS in terms of just about everything. There is a massive array of weapons and items to purchase and upgrade to, and then there is the huge augmentation aspect that forms such a central part of the Deus Ex gameplay – the upgrades to your abilities that enable players to complete missions. These themselves take you from mafia hideouts in Moscow to slums in Panama and beyond.
The biggest challenge for this game was, as is always the case when it comes to shooters on mobile, how the controls are translated to the touchscreen. In terms of movement, things are quite elegant with invisible controls; the left side of the screen deals with your actual movement, while the right controls your field of vision, as is traditional with first-person shooters. There is also the option to double tap somewhere and move to that point, a nice alternative to aid your movement.
Things take a less positive turn when it comes to the more frenetic gameplay – for example, when you find yourself in a close-quarters firefight, something that can be a regular occurrence. The issue is the number of buttons on-screen to some extent, where if you get flanked by an enemy you’ll need to tap the exit cover button, locate your target and then tap fire, all of which will take a couple of seconds. This is enough time to see you take some hits and get frustrated. It is at this point that the screen feels too full and busy for the first time. Square Enix has worked hard to make everything you need in Deus Ex accessible, and any veterans of the series will tell you this is a fair amount. But in trying to do so, things become cluttered and at times chaotic as you search for the controls.
However, an interesting development of the game’s migration to the touchscreen has been the improved functionality of the hacking mini-game when trying to open doors. Being able to simply tap each node to complete the hack is a much smoother process than on controller – a happy discovery.
There is no doubting the fantastic looks and depth to The Fall, and this is definitely another step forward for mobile gaming. The statement of making this an original title, not streamlined, adds to the idea that iOS and Android could one day rival consoles. But Deus Ex has been unable to solve the issue that mobile shooters have always had, and that is a smooth mix of pointing and shooting. This is progress, but not quite the epiphany.
An enjoyable instalment that takes mobile gaming forward, without entirely conquering the genre.
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