Praxis makes perfect?
It's fair to say that after the enthusiastic reception for Deus Ex: Human Revolution on PC and consoles, gamers were clamoring for more tales told in this classic technological dystopia. Less certain is how many of those fans would have wanted a touchscreen tale set within that universe, and for pure mobile gamers what draw is there for a new installment priced at $6.99?
Well, the good news is that Deus Ex: The Fall is about as complete a recreation of this beloved universe as you could hope for on your mobile - the orange hues of a grimly lit neon world, hacking games, augmentations, sneaky and not-so-sneaky gameplay, and everything else you'd expect from the series. In look and feel it's a remarkable achievement.
The Fall's story is, on the other hand, a bit of a dreary and temptingly skippable experience when the narrative interludes arrive - interludes that are delivered with some pretty uninspiring voice-acting. The basic premise is that you assume the role of an ex-SAS mercenary by the name of Ben Saxon, a man on a global mission to uncover a conspiracy threatening his life - a journey that's full of the sidequests, missions and exploration that have become Deus Ex trademarks.
To navigate this world you've got a couple of choices. You can either tap on the floor ahead to move towards the location, or use left and right swipes to look around and move manually. Cover options, so essential to taking a sneaky route around a mission, are clearly marked, and in managing to capture some of the glorious freedom of the previous games, N-Fusion are to be applauded - even if that freedom feels a little limited here.
If the movement and cover systems work adequately enough for the platform, the shooting mechanics of the game do leave a little to be desired - partly a result of targeting issues, partly due to the often peculiar behavior of NPCs. You can tap on an enemy to assign them as your target, or manually go in for the kill. That odd enemy behavior can leave you in a frustrating firefight though, as you wait for them to pop back out from cover, or rely on their pathing to avoid the fight altogether.
More impressive is the method of bringing all the complex systems of the game to a touchscreen. Weapons are assigned to swipe-down boxes, allowing you to switch between them easily. The augmentation system is easy to use, if a little limited compared to the full Deus Ex experience you might be accustomed to. All in all, the developers have done an astonishing job of making these systems work on a control interface that's so often derided by mainstream gamers.
Despite the game's stumbles, there's an awful lot to like about this mobile Deus Ex. It's an impressive adventure, one that sets a few new standards when it comes to navigating mobile 3D worlds, and squeezing mechanics onto touchscreens. It's an inescapable conclusion, however, that the game's undeniable accomplishments also serve to highlight its rougher edges.
What's Hot:A legitimate slice of the established Deus Ex universe, delivered impressively well on touchscreens.
What's Not:It's simply too ambitious for its own good, and the firefight mechanics and enemy behavior need more polish.