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Deus Ex: Mankind Divided Refines Stealth and Action

LOS ANGELES -- If I had to pick one word to sum up most Square Enix games on display at E3 2015, I'd go with "consistent." The company is out to polish its properties, not redefine them, and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a perfect example. In this sequel to 2011's Deus Ex: Human Revolution, players can expect finely honed action, stealth and character interaction, although it doesn't look drastically different from the Deus Ex games that preceded it.

I attended a behind-closed-doors demo for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at E3 2015, and the game looks like a promising choice for anyone who enjoyed Human Revolution. In this game, protagonist Adam Jensen returns and once again finds himself caught between humans who augment themselves with cybertechnology and those who want to keep humanity "pure."

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Representatives from developer Eidos Montreal actually spent most of the time discussing new story beats for Mankind Divided. A few years after Human Revolution, most augmented individuals have been forced to live as second-class citizens in lawless neighborhoods. Adam joins an Interpol group dedicated to hunting down augmented terrorists. However, he is secretly working as a double agent, as he suspects the group has connections to the menacing Illuminati organization.

The game itself is a first-person action/role-playing title, like the previous three games in the series. Adam can upgrade his skills to be more stealthy, more deadly in combat or more persuasive in character interactions. Each level has multiple paths, and each mission has multiple solutions. Players will be able to dictate how the story advances, and even how the game ends.

Square Enix showed us a mission in which Adam must take down the leader of a terrorist cell. Although he could have gone in with guns blazing, he made use of a personal cloaking device and sneaked in via the air vents (in traditional Deus Ex fashion) instead. A representative showed us how Adam could take down enemies via lethal and nonlethal means, using stealth, melee and gun combat.

A new feature for Mankind Divided is the ability to switch bullets on the fly. Each bullet corresponds with a different type of situation, and Adam can switch ammo types even in the middle of combat. An EMP bullet was ideal for disabling a security camera, for example, while armor-piercing rounds made short work of a turret.

When Adam reached the terrorist leader, the representative showed us the conversation system, and how talking with enemies affects the game at least as much as fighting them does. Naturally, the terrorist leader was not quite as guilty as he appeared to be, appealing to Adam's sense of justice for augmented individuals.

Adam countered his argument by calling the terrorist's supposed pacifism into question, but the leader wasn't buying it. The terrorist leader called the guards immediately, and Adam had to escape the building (he could have jumped through a window or taken the front door; he opted to smash in a wall instead). Had negotiations gone better, the outcome might have been drastically different.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided looks like a continuation of Human Revolution, both in terms of gameplay and story, but expanding on a solid game is usually a recipe for another successful installment. The game will launch next year on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Marshall Honorof is a senior writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.