In developing Human Revolution
, Eidos Montreal emphasized what they call the four pillars of gameplay: combat, stealth, social, and hacking. The player is allowed the freedom to decide which of these paths to take through any situation, a convention that has the potential to support vastly different experiences every time you play. The most obvious solution to most of the gameís problems is to just blast your way through, killing any aggressors you meet or even breaking doors down with gunfire or explosives. Thatís fun and all, but you can take a more refined approach via extensive use of hacking in opening doors, accessing computers, or disabling security systems. Either way, there is a robust third-person cover system akin to Rainbow 6: Vegas
or Splinter Cell
that works very well in complementing both combat and stealth.
If you lack the patience for minigames or just plain dislike them, youíll be happy to know that you can bypass most of the hacking by finding alternate paths (e.g. stacking boxes, crawling through vents) or obtaining information related to passcodes and computer login details. Social interaction may be the least prominent of the gameplay pillars, at least as far as your active participation in it goes. Most NPCs will respond with a sentence or two if you approach them, otherwise theyíll converse with each other and may divulge something useful if you listen in. A handful of major characters will engage you with meaningful dialogue that is shaped by the attitude you take in speaking with them, such as empathetic, criticizing, flirty, intimidating, etc. Thereís also a specific augmentation that will analyze their behavior and enable you to use pheromones to influence them. The goal is to appeal to the characterís personality and convince them to do what you want, usually helping you complete an objective.
The very first question youíre asked in the game is whether you want to carry out that particular mission using lethal or non-lethal force. Itís not a binding decision, by any means, but it does help determine which starter weapon youíre given and hint at the primary ethical consideration in the game. With the exception of major boss fights, you are always
given the option to avoid confrontation with enemies, or else knock them unconscious rather than kill them. Youíre actually rewarded for taking this more challenging route with loads of bonus experience, as well as the ĎPacifistí achievement if you keep it up for an entire playthrough. There are several weapons that will help you to that end, including the tranquilizer rifle, stun gun, and gas grenade.
Thatís not to say the bloodthirsty player is left out in the cold; in fact, you have even more ways to satisfy your murderous rage, with traditional weaponry like pistols, rifles, and rocket launchers, meter-long blades in your arms, and that explosive area-of-effect attack called the Typhoon. Those with a penchant for stealth will also greatly enjoy hacking turrets and sentry bots and turning them on their previous owners. Most guns can be upgraded to increase damage, clip size, and reload speed, or add special abilities like armor piercing, computer-assisted target leading, and self-guided bullets that will curve around obstacles! The classic grid-based inventory is back, so you wonít be able to carry everything, but it is possible to upgrade it and nearly double its size. Plus, thereís an option to auto-manage the positioning of items, so you donít have to play Tetris if you donít want to.
Unlike previous games in the series that involve finding and installing new augmentations as you play, Human Revolution
begins with your character being transformed against his will into a cybernetically-enhanced superhuman. All of the various abilities youíll use throughout the game are in your possession at the start, including things like regenerating health, radar, and tactical display, which are some basic gameplay mechanics very easily explained in the context of the story. However, most of your powers begin in a state of dormancy, which they say is needed to aid in your bodyís recovery and mindís adaptation to the trauma of being so heavily augmented. In theory, they will be activated naturally over time, but that would take much too long for the relatively short span of time in which the gameís story is contained.
Instead, you will be using special software called Praxis Kits to jump-start the process, enabling you to bring a new ability online or upgrade the capabilities of an existing one. You have the freedom to choose whichever powers you want, but they should be ones that complement your play style, whether you want to cloak and run silently, resist damage and minimize weapon recoil, or become more effective at hacking and controlling machines. You gain experience for dispatching enemies, exploring, completing objectives, etc., and when you ďlevel upĒ you are given a Praxis point to spend. A handful of them are also hidden around the game world, or if you have a lot of credits to spare, you can buy a limited amount of extra ones at medical clinics.