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Praise pours in for Deus Ex: Human Revolution

Plugged In

It's spiking in search, trending on Twitter and captivating critics.

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Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Square Enix)

But there's still a pretty good chance you've never heard of Deus Ex. That's about to change.

Cyberpunk thriller Deus Ex: Human Revolution released for the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3 on Tuesday, and it's on track to become one of the year's biggest critical hits. It's a prequel to the original Deus Ex, which debuted back in 2000 to widespread acclaim. A sequel followed in 2003, but it didn't have quite the impact of the original.

Looks like the third time's the charm. With all three versions averaging in the neighborhood of a 90 on Metacritic, it's quickly turned into the must-have first-person game of the summer.

Set in a dystopian future that recalls the dark, dangerous mood of Blade Runner, Human Revolution stars gamers as security specialist Adam Jensen, who finds himself at the center of a global conspiracy surrounding "augmentations" — hardwired tech upgrades that essentially give the wealthier among us potent, superhuman abilities. The game's calling card is its customizable, open-ended gameplay, which rewards a multitude of play styles as opposed to the one-note, run-and-gun action of better known fragfests like Halo and Call of Duty.

And to critics, bucking the trend is a very good thing.

"Newcomer Eidos Montreal flippantly barges onto the scene and hushes the crowd of streamlined, focus-tested roller coaster games," gushes Joystiq's Ludwig Keitzmann in a 4.5/5 review. "Human Revolution is an imperfect, complex and ambitious reminder of what a game can be when it's unafraid."

PC Gamer's Tom Francis agrees, giving the game a 9.4/10 while labeling it "the best game I've played in four years."

"It's also a game built with a respect for its players," he continues. "At every stage, Eidos Montreal have asked 'What if the player wants to do this?' And instead of answering with 'Put an invisible wall there to make sure they can't,' they've kept working on it until you can."

In other words, you don't have to Rambo your way through the game like a trigger-happy jerk. Stealth is encouraged and rewarded, and should you upgrade your computer hacking skills, you can actually let the enemy's own security system do the dirty work for you. There's even an Achievement for not killing anyone.

"I never felt like the game punished me for particular choices in augmentation, or in my play style," says IGN's Arthur Gies in a 9/10 review. "There were advantages and disadvantages to my selections, but I was always given avenues to success ...Eidos Montral brilliantly coaxes players into a space where experimentation is comfortable."

To Gamespot's Kevin Van Ord, that makes it a rare bird indeed.

"The longer you play, the more the story grabs you and the more you appreciate the customizability of the game," he says in a measured 8.5/10 review. "Hybrid games like this are uncommon. Even more uncommon are games with Human Revolution's power to eclipse its quirks with such enthralling atmosphere and exciting adaptability."

So is the future perfect? Not quite. Most critics agree that the game hits a few snags technically — the loading times are pretty rough — and some take issue with the abrupt change of pace that comes during the game's shooter-heavy boss fights.

But don't let that dissuade you from joining this particular revolution. It sounds divine.

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