iPad Game Review: Deus Ex: The Fall (iPad 2 or better) Review
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Deus Ex: The Fall is a highly-polished, console-quality first-person shooter/stealth/roleplaying/adventure game for iPad that manages to match or exceed the original classic, despite being a mobile-only title.
Thirteen years ago, the PC gaming world was turned on its ear by the release of Deus Ex. It featured not only fantastically original gameplay but also an atmosphere and storyline so rich you felt you were playing through a sci-fi novel. Now, in 2013, I once again have the chance to experience the same immersive atmosphere, but with far better graphics, and the ability to play it literally anywhere I can bring my iPad.
If you never played the original Deus Ex, don't worry; this is absolutely a stand-alone title, and no experience is necessary. You begin the game as a human operative that has been augmented with various cyborg-like enhancements. Although the storyline can sometimes be confusing, just go with it and it will all become clear as you play. As I previously mentioned, Deus Ex: The Fall is a creative mix of several different genres. First and foremost, however, it is a first-person shooter. Depending on your choices, your abilities will begin to skew toward your particular play style. Like to blast your way through these types of games? Choose the proper upgrades and you will get your wish. Prefer instead to use stealth and subtlety? Those choices are there as well. These options will take not only the form of in-game decisions, but also physical enhancements and weapons upgrades. This is the part of the game that really feels like an RPG, and it is nicely implemented.
As with all games of this type, the controls can make or break the experience, and I'm pleased to report that Deus Ex: The Fall is as good or better than any other mobile title I've played. You can double-tap (or single-tap if you prefer) to move, and tap to target. You can also use the virtual joysticks to move, strafe, look, and pivot. What is especially nice, though, is that you can switch back and forth on a whim because both of these control schemes are active all of the time. You are also given the option of auto-targeting, which is a great way to start the game as you will have a lot to think about until the controls become second nature.
Since Deus Ex: The Fall was released in early July, I have sat down to review it several times, only to have the game patched with major changes each time. I'm glad I waited because each update significantly improved the game, and vaporized some major concerns. Kudos to Square Enix for responding so quickly to the needs of the gaming community. It's rare to see a publisher of this size pivot so quickly.
Deus Ex: The Fall is a beautiful game to play; possibly the most visually stunning FPS currently on the App Store. On my iPad 3, the colors and texture pop nicely, and the framerate is silky smooth. Even the game menus are stylish, and do a great job of taking care of business without unnecessarily breaking that third wall.
The sound effects and voice acting are both top notch, which further enhances the immersion factor. Footsteps, gunfire, the sounds of muffled combat, distant conversations, etc.; All of these are superb. The soundtrack is also excellent, but not in an in your face kind of way. In fact, when I started writing about it, I had to launch the game again because I didn't recall any music. Of course it's there, but it's subtle. Its default volume is much lower than the sound effects, and its purpose seems to be to set the mood of each scene. For me, that is a plus.
Deus Ex: The Fall is the best FPS I've ever played on my iPad; possibly because it's so much more than a first-person shooter. The clever branching storyline, coupled with creative upgrade options makes this feel more like a first-person role-playing game than a traditional shooter. FPS fans should not worry, however, there's still plenty to shoot at.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 5 - A stylish visual feast. Sound: - 5 - The new gold standard for audio in a FPS. Controls: - 5 - Plenty of options for everyone, and all of them well-implemented. If you can't find one that suits you, you're probably not wired for mobile gaming. Gameplay: - 5 - shooter/cover-based shooter/stealth/RPG. This game has it all.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Move slowly at first, and give yourself some time to learn the interface. Try selecting "auto-targeting" in the options menu until you get used to the controls. Take some extra time to explore every nook and cranny. You will sometimes be rewarded for your effort.