Deus Ex: Ho-hum Revelations

This post contains a mild spoiler for Deus Ex: Human Revolution. If you care about this sort of thing, don’t read below the cut. I’ll try to keep things as devoid of detail as possible anyway, so you might want to risk it.

So… in Hengsha, you go to this night club, where you can talk to this guy behind the bar. Your objective is to find said night club’s owner. As you talk to the guy, your first line is hardcoded to include “do you work here?”, to which the guy sardonically replies “you could say that”.

Seriously? You’re forced to ask someone who is behind the bar that line? He’s giving that clichéd a response? If that hasn’t tipped you off to what’s going to happen soon, maybe you’ll note that this guy has received a lot of character design attention, more so than anyone else you’ll see hanging around.

When you finally get him to reveal the owner’s whereabouts and go there — surprise, surprise — it turns out the guy you were talking to was the guy you were trying to find. That is, I wasn’t surprised. But the game forced me to react in a surprised manner.

Two bits here bother me:

  1. Do game designers/writers seriously think that the sledgehammer method of hinting is the only type of hint gamers understand?
  2. For a game that’s supposedly very much about choices you, the player, can make — why the fuck can’t I choose not to be surprised, when this little plot twist was entirely obvious to me from the outset?

It’s frustrating. This appears to be a really good game, and very immersive, but there are bits and pieces in it that don’t seem to fit the whole very well, like the above.