Deus Ex HR: The Missing Link: Well tied-together

October 31, 2011

Deus Ex: Human Revolution was far from a perfect game, but what it did well it did really well. The first piece of DLC, The Missing Link, attempts to bridge the gap between events near the end of the main game’s story. It also manages to focus on what made the game great in the first place: satisfying mechanics, an intriguing plot and plenty of areas to explore.

The story takes place just as Adam Jensen boards a ship in Singapore to try and find Megan Reed, a researcher who plays a larger role in the main story. The Missing Link shows the events of what happened on the ship and how a lot of it connects to the bigger picture in Human Revolution, with lots of little references to the story that only those who played through it in its entirety would get. It doesn’t offer any amazing revelations, but there’s enough to keep any Deus Ex fan engrossed.

The core mechanics remain practically the same, although here the emphasis put on stealth seems even stronger than it was in the main game. If you were accustomed to the game’s stealth mechanics before, you’ll be fine here. If not, just expect to find even more resistance than usual if you plan on running and gunning, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself stumbling even more than usual.

When you start the DLC, you start fresh: Adam’s upgrades and equipment are gone, making you earn everything you worked for again. This was actually refreshing, as it allows players to try out different augmentations they might have passed on in Human Revolution. You earn Piraxis points much more quickly this time, so it won’t be long before Mr. Jensen is the super soldier you remember him being.

The entire 4-to-6 hour DLC takes place in a much smaller area than any of the cities in the main game, but there are still plenty of areas to explore and NPCs to talk to. The biggest problem is the backtracking. Get used to running through the same sections of the game at least three times, as you’ll have to get certain things required to progress to the next area. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it seems to pad out the DLC a bit more than necessary instead of offering a tighter, more concise experience.

The AI continues to be hopelessly idiotic as well, still managing to have super Adam-Jensen-sensing abilities until you run up a flight of stairs they were not programmed to go up. It’s even more apparent this time around, as you will be traversing through the same areas, encountering the same guards. Eventually you’ll learn their pattern so well you can just run past them all without a care in the world. Sure, it makes some of the tedious backtracking go by faster, but it removes the challenge entirely.

That being said, the final encounter is amazing. Unlike the boss battles in the main story, the one real “boss” here is entirely tactical. Instead of throwing you into a fight you’re unprepared for, you’ll be facing an adversary that lets you use the abilities you’ve built up and the skills you’ve learned up to that point to win. It’s not a traditional boss battle, but this is Deus Ex. Traditional boss battles don’t belong here. Once you win, you feel rewarded: you managed to take everything you learned up to that point and apply it to this one last encounter, proving you have earned your victory.

While The Missing Link does expose even more flaws in Human Revolution’s design, it manages to remedy them by offering a short, but detailed story and allowing players to start fresh and experiment with their custom Adam Jensen. Combine that with a more than satisfying final battle, and you have a DLC that any Deus Ex fan should generally enjoy.

Pros: A chance for players to start fresh, intriguing story that expands upon the main plot, engrossing final boss
Cons: A.I. is still lacking intelligence, constant backtracking is a pain

Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.