Deus Ex: The Fall Review: Mobile Mishap

When Deus Ex: The Fall made its way onto mobile platforms, it was the recipient of critical acclaim and popularity. It seemed that Square Enix had successfully made a fun mobile version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, one that captured the ability of players to choose their way through the game while also maximizing it for touchscreens.

Then Square Enix ported The Fall to PC, upping the charge for it by three bucks to $9.99 and adding WASD controls. What was a pretty good title with a decent-enough story on mobile, however, is just a mess on PC. The port is terrible, the controls are generally unresponsive, and The Fall is full of bugs. This is a poster child for why people get mad about overpriced mobile ports popping up on Steam.

Deus Ex: The Fall has some other issues, too — it’s obviously a thinner version of Deus Ex, with a story that’s pretty opaque and that’s not particularly well-presented — but the most glaring are drops in audio when characters are speaking and shooting mechanics that flat-out don’t work. This is a dropped ball of a port, and you should avoid it at all costs.

Deus Ex: The Fall
Platform: PC (Reviewed), iPhone, iPad, Android
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Release Date: March 18, 2014
MSRP: $9.99
Available: Steam

Deus Ex: Human Revolution introduced a lot of elements in its revitalization of the Deus Ex franchise. It’s marked by a stylistic gold tint and a nighttime techno future look, which Deus Ex: The Fall mirrors throughout. Visually, the game is impressive, and there’s a very natural feel of “Hey, more DXHR!” to come out of the game. All that would play in its favor if it were functional.

But even in the opening moments, it’s clear that it’s not. Like DXHR and other Deus Ex titles, The Fall is about a conspiracy, and it builds from elements of DXHR by focusing on the need for mechanically augmented people — you know, the folks with special limbs or organs or any combination of cyborg enhancements — to regularly take a drug called neuropozyne. That drug, which helps people avoid having their bodies reject their augmentations, which is dangerous and even deadly, is in short supply.

Enter Ben Saxon, the protagonist character of The Fall as well as the prequel novel Deus Ex: Icarus Effect. The Fall takes place after the events of the book, and seems to expect you to have read it; the game drops you in with Saxon and pal Anna Kelso (another Icarus Effect character) with little explanation as to what’s going on.

That’s okay, though, because the story remains pretty thin throughout. Saxon was formerly with the Tyrants, that augmented black ops team that serve as major antagonists in Human Revolution, before defecting. Now he’s on the run with Kelso, and slowly a conspiracy about drugs and augmented people begins to develop.

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