Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Missing Link DLC PreviewBy Stephen Johnson - Posted Sep 23, 2011
Let me get this out right at the jump. I love Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The game is impossibly slick, and its stylized vibe, dialed-in controls and super-human main character actually make me feel cool when I play it. And I’m definitely not a cool person. So when I say the Deus Ex "Missing Link" DLC is more of the same, it’s a full-on compliment. I want more of the same.
Deus Ex’s "Missing Link" DLC takes place about three-quarters of the way through the game’s main plot. Remember the bit where Deus Ex’s story has a lapse where we don’t see what happens to protagonist Adam Jensen? This is what transpired during those missing days. I’ll try to keep this preview spoiler-free for you, but if you’re a purist, you might want to put it aside until you’ve actually finished the game.
You begin Missing Link in a sad state: A prisoner aboard a Belltower cargo ship, in a dank, guarded cell. Your weapons, armor and robotic augmentations have been stripped from you. Waking-with-nothing-in-a-cell is a classic video game trope, and, like most video game prison cells, Jensen’s is equipped with an easy-to-discover escape hatch. I’ll bet you can already guess how his exit is achieved: Move a box and there’s a heating duct to crawl in! Surprise!
Your first mission: Find your missing equipment and augmentations. This was cool, because the absence of augs really forces you to get down to the basics of the game – hiding and murdering. It quickly becomes apparent that the ship, like most Deus Ex locations, provides players with a number of paths to complete objectives. Stealthy Jensens will find plenty of heating ducts to cower in, and shoot-em-up Jensens will be able to acquire guns, ammo and dudes to shoot without much trouble.
Once you get your equipment back, you are given the chance to outfit Jensen with a different set of augmentations than you used in the game proper. Pro Tip: I wouldn't pick conversational skills in the DLC. Talking isn’t really the point here, at least in the portion of the DLC I played. You’ll do much better to focus on murder or sneaking.
The opportunity to build a new Jensen with no effect on the rest of the game (and the trophies and achievements you might be going for) was one of the highlights of the DLC for me. Because I played the main game as a stealthy, non-killing Jensen, I chose all combat augmentations and heavy fire-power for the DLC.
Not worrying about setting off alarms and being spotted was incredibly liberating, and I was practically ecstatic to just blast guards in the face with a shotgun instead of spending hours crouching behind crates, waiting for them to stop their dumb conversations. Although, listening a bit is a good idea. A lot of the story is told through enemies' reactions to you. It’s cool to hear what innocent, unsuspecting sailors think of impossibly auged-out madman Jensen.
Once you’re all geared and augmented, it’s time to escape the ship. The DLC really shines when you step out onto the deck of the boat itself. Work was obviously done on the game’s lighting and environmental effects. The deck of the Belltower ship feels wet and cold, like an actual ship at night, and is a nice change from the main game’s slick, techno, Blade Runner landscapes. I especially enjoyed the water effects of the sea sloshing onto the deck. It was very atmospheric and effective.
The cramped ship is an interesting, vertically centered level, with a ton of guards, some terminals and doors to hack, and security systems to dismantle, avoid or just bust through, depending on your play style.
As you progress toward the end of the level, curious players and hackers will discover some really cool ancillary material that sheds light on the game’s main plot and wider world.
Along with the hallways, heating ducts and rooms, there are a few puzzle sections involving repairing a computer and working the elevator that sailors use to move shipping crates around. It was an interesting change of pace.
The Missing Link will be available for download sometime in October for Windows PCs, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3.