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- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
“Once more, unto the breach, dear friends, once more…”
Square Enix has revealed a surprising new mode for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided that's sure to generate excitement. It's called Breach Mode, and unlike most alternate modes in games, it's much more than a minor distraction or novel idea, from what I played at a private pre-E3 Square Enix event in Santa Monica. In fact, I've seen entire games that don't even come close to offering the depth and complexity of Breach Mode. Not only is it fun to play, but it's also extremely challenging!
Breach Mode takes place in the virtual world of Deux Ex: Mankind Divided, so it runs parallel to the storyline that focuses on Adam Jensen. Even though it's separated from the single-player adventure, successful missions in Breach Mode can transcend cyberspace and affect the “real world.” The goal of Breach Mode is to hack into large corporations and retrieve data, and this gives players an unexpected angle of attack against these mighty entities in the main adventure. Exposing secrets to the public can be detrimental to corporations and eventually lead to their downfall.
Since this mode takes place in the virtual realm, everything has a heavy polygonal look to it, including the virtual version of Adam, as well as enemies, weapons, and the background. Unlike The Matrix, this isn't a simulation of reality, so everything has a blocky look with sharp edges and very few round surfaces. Think of a modern version of the computer world in the original movie, Tron, and you get the idea. This unusual look gives Breach Mode a cool distinct style that makes it very different from the “real world” in Deux Ex.
I would be happy if this mode was just an extension of the main game, but it has its own system for leveling up the character, obtaining a wide array of weapons, and even gaining and upgrading virtual augmentations. Completing levels rewards players with credits that can be used to purchase weapons, and they can be customized with scopes, grips, and other upgrades. In addition, various augmentations can be obtained that offer a substantial bonus to players. These include the ability to double-jump, go into stealth mode, hack turrets, and much more!
These augs come in really handy since all stages require players to find various data centers, download the data from each one, and then escape without being eliminated. In the early stages of Breach Mode, players only have access to a pistol, so hiding from enemies is encouraged. It's much easier to download data when enemies aren't searching for or shooting at players, but more options will become available as more powerful weapons are obtained. Of course, enemies will also become tougher to defeat and levels will become more complex.
For example, early stages require players to traverse simple levels with only one or two enemies. Later levels offer the ability to sneak through ducts, climb stairs, hack turrets, and climb boxes for alternate routes. Enemies start off as basic humanoids, but eventually players will encounter drones, robots, turrets, giant enemies, and even humanoids with augs of their own.
These enemies can become really challenging, especially when the alarm sounds and a timer appears as soon as players download the final bit of data on each level. With every remaining enemy searching for the player and a timer that's counting down, players must take advantage of the level design and use their weapons and augs to escape without being detected or killed.
With the motto of “extract the data, escape the server, expose the truth,” Breach Mode is definitely a new take on the Deus Ex universe. I love how it's completely optional, that it has its own systems for obtaining weapons, augs, and upgrades, and that it also offers incentives to climb leaderboards by competing for the fastest completion time on each level. Look for Breach Mode when Deus Ex: Mankind Divided releases on August 23, 2016 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.