Deus Ex: The Fall builds its world with colour. That orange hue that's so familiar from Deus Ex: Human Revolution is out in full force here, layered into a world that's far more restrictive than the one you'll find in its console forebear.
It's in the grimy streets of Panama City, in the augmented eyes of protagonist Ben Saxon, and in almost every other corner of the game as well. It makes for a familiar experience, those off-gold lights lulling you back into the gritty cyberpunk world Eidos-Montréal built for the console original.
And that familiarity extends to the skulking gameplay, the tension of watching guard movements and waiting for your second to strike. But there's a flimsiness here too, and a frustration, which keeps The Fall from reaching the heights of its console brethren.Cyber crimes
Ben Saxon is a man on a mission, although it's not entirely clear what that mission is. There's a lot of exposition at the start of Deus Ex: The Fall and a lot of jargon and references that will go over a lot of heads.
Luckily, that story isn't particularly important once the game begins. You're given a pistol or a stun gun and let loose in a Panama City rife with corruption, drug addicts, and corporations. Waypoints mark the various quests you accept as you try to get out of the megalopolis alive.
The controls are slick but not perfect - this is, after all, an FPS on a touchscreen device. You can double-tap to move around the streets and corridors, but more often than not you're going to be using the floating joystick to move around. There's one for looking around as well.
Various buttons around the sides of the screen let you fire or swap your main weapon, chuck grenades and mines, unleash your augmented abilities, and duck and leap into cover. It's not the most intuitive system, but once you get the hang of them the controls work reasonably well.Aug-some
The game is split into various quests, most of which involve making your way through a series of rooms full of goons, robots, and sensors that want to kill you. There's a lack of variety, but excellent level design tends to mask that pretty well.
Your mistakes are punished swiftly. Get caught sneaking and you're likely to die within a few seconds - especially in the later sections of the game, where the enemies get much, much tougher.
And the shooting falls down a little. The precision you need isn't quite there, and sometimes you'll need to shoot an enemy three or four times in the face before he goes down. It feels clumsy, and reminds you that you're playing an iOS game rather than a console one.
When things work, though, and you silently take down an entire group of enemy combatants without being noticed, the thrill that runs through your fingers is something rather special indeed.
A particular highlight for me was popping out of cover to kill a guard with an un-silenced gun and using the noise to draw in the rest of his patrol, including a mini robotic tank, who all stumbled blindly into a series of perfectly placed proximity mines.Well put together
Deus Ex: The Fall is a solid, hugely entertaining game that sits amongst the very best FPSs you can play on your iPad or iPhone. But it's not without its frustrations, including some ugly difficulty spikes and a linearity that it never quite manages to hide.
It's gorgeous, it sounds amazing, and it translates reasonably well to touchscreen controls. There are annoying bugs here and there, though, like un-pressable buttons, bad guys stuck in walls, and the occasional crash.
Despite these niggles it's still an enjoyable and impressive addition to the Deus Ex canon, and proof that major console companies are starting to take the App Store a little more seriously.
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