Pritchard is back! But that is not the only good news about Deus Ex: Mankind Divided‘s first DLC, System Rift.
I am not sure what it is exactly that Adam Jensen thinks of hackers, but, fact is, he and they don’t get along. There’s some bad vibes there. Baaad vibes.
The very first example is Adam’s encounter with Francis “Frank” Pritchard on the lift in the Sarif Industries headquarters back in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. It is obvious that the Chief of Security, Jensen, and the Chief of Cyber Security, Pritchard, don’t get along at all. Pritchard makes it clear that he disdains Jensen’s rather unsophisticated methods (“Stick to kicking down doors”), although the way I play Jensen, that is totally unjustified (The silver tongue rules!).
Throughout the course of the game, though, they are forced to work together. And by the time the end credits roll they may have come to something like grudging respect for one another. To me, the tense bickering between these two men remains a highlight of the game.
Then there is Arie van Bruggen, better known as Windmill. He is the hacker Adam needs to track down in Hengsha. When they meet, Jensen is maybe a little less diplomatic than called for, prompting Windmill to counter with a pretty off-hand “Down, boy.”
I was reminded of that scene when, in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Jensen tries to intimidate Chang, another hacker and cyber security specialist for TF29, who calls him out with a good-natured “Easy, Tiger”. Obviously, there’s something about hackers that prevents them from taking a heavily augmented ex-SWAT serious. And Jensen? Luckily for them he suffers it all with his typically stoic calm.
In the beginning of the System Rift DLC, Jensen does something refreshingly normal: he is watching baseball. Of course, Pritchard spoils the moment by giving him a call mid-game.
Apparently, he needs Jensen’s aid tracking down an associate who was to help him break into the Palisade Blades. Of course, Jensen ends up having to help Pritchard himself, and what ensues are some hilariously awkward dialogues with even more hackers and a very tense infiltration mission into the heavily guarded data vault.
As in Desperate Measures, the bonus mission from the Day One-edition of the game, Adam Jensen’s augmentations are set back, so you’ll need to decide which augs to go for. Naturally, since this was about infiltrating a data vault, I chose augmentations helping me with hacking and stealth.
If you’ve played Breach, the, if you will, multiplayer arena of Deus Ex:Mankind Divided, you’ll already be acquainted with System Rift’s supporting character, a hacker named ShadowChild. Actually, ShadowChild calls herself a ripper, which is a hacker with a cause, that cause being to expose the truth about corrupt companies and people. She has an ally inside the Palisade Blades, the recepcionist, to be precise, who is a fellow ripper. I think this is the first time Jensen encounters a hacker who does not immediately dislike him. Actually, this guy seems to be very impressed by Jensen’s ‘handle’, which, Adam, not knowing what else to say, claims is ‘classified’. You can literally see Adam cringe on the inside!
So, once Adam is past the first security door, things get really tough. At least as tough as infiltrating the Palisade Bank’s data vaults, that is for sure. But, worse is to come. To get at the information Pritchard aka NuklearSnake is after, Adam needs to sneak into an area with automated, heat-sensitive defenses. I swear, by the time I managed to shut down these defenses effectively, I was past jittery!
A few more puzzles later Jensen is forced to step inside the Palisade Blades’ NSN (Neural Sub Net), in order to find Pritchard’s avatar, which has become trapped inside and, unless released, will reveal Pritchard’s location and that would cause all kinds of trouble.
Inside the NSN, Jensen’s avatar has to go find Pritchard, which is more easily said than done. See, I enjoy playing Breach very much, but the puzzles inside the Palisade Blade’s NSN are very different from those I have played in Breach so far. And once Pritchard is clear, it is Adam’s turn at finding a way out of the NSN… Hint: If you’ve got trouble finding the exit, check your Augs!
System Rift is a highly enjoyable DLC and, thanks to the familiar bickering between Pritchard and Jensen and the hilarious dialogue between Adam and ShadowChild, a welcome addition to the rather dark scenario of the main game. I was never bored and always entertained. Which is, I think, all you can ask for of any game.
BTW: I only noticed during my second playthrough just who the figurine ShadowChild asks Adam to put on someone’s desk depicts: none other than the master thief Garret himself! Loved it!