Welcome to 2017 and welcome to another of my favorite missions! For starters, Deus Ex: Human Revolution remains one of my most favorite games to date and just playing this mission again felt so awesome!
Now, why this game?
As previously mentioned it is one of my favorites. What I like most are the beautifully designed, atmospheric settings, the brilliant storytelling, the gameplay, the awesome musical score and, of course, the impact of the choices hero Adam Jensen makes throughout the game, which directly affect the missions as well as dialogue and endings.
This is one gaming experience I am happy repeating over and over again. Actually, I can’t tell anymore how many times I have sent Adam Jensen from Detroit to Hengsha, to Montréal and the Antarctic. Let’s just say that, at some point, I knew about roughly a third of all the passwords and codes by heart.
Why this mission?
That question is not easy to answer. I’ll try anyway. See, I love open world games. I love to explore, to discover, to get to know new places, new characters. Yet, over the past two years, I found that there is a huge drawback to these kind of games: there is so much to do and there are so many things to see that the story itself gets kind of buried in a thicket of distractions. Also, main missions are often partitioned into a number of quests, which means you have plenty of time for getting yourself distracted inbetween tackling those.
Studios are aware of that, of course, and I’ve come across a few games that tried to bring players back into the story with one game-changing event that was also the point of no return in terms of involvement. Meaning that, once you passed that threshold, you really just wanted to play the story to the end, no matter what side quests you left behind unfinished. At least that’s how I felt with both The Witcher III- The Wild Hunt and WATCH_DOGS 2. Still, it always feels a little off when that happens, like, “Oh, yeah, the story, right. Almost forgot about what we’re fighting for here…”.
In Deus Ex: Human Revolution (as well as in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided) the story always comes first. There are side quests, yes, and they are great fun to play, but once you start one of the main missions, you generally let yourself become dragged into the mood and want, no, need to play it through to the end.
Of course, at one point the main mission will drop you into a certain place that you cannot leave until you have finished the quest. As mentioned, open world games leave you the choice of whether to continue the quest (which usually has you travelling to some other place, where more distractions await) or simply leave it for the time being and do something else.
Especially with WATCH_DOGS 2 I never felt the urge to continue a main mission quest immediately. In The Witcher III there would be always that inner conflict of wanting to continue the main mission and the lure of something I had discovered previously and was eager to try out. Actually, it were mostly the side quests that I tended to play from beginning to end in one go.
Somehow, I find it much more satisfying to play the main missions without even the choice of being distracted by something else. Of course, Deus Ex: Human Revolution leaves plenty of room for discovery within the main missions and I am perfectly happy with that.
Set in Hengsha, China, this mission has super-soldier Adam Jensen infiltrate the Tai Young Medical facility, which is so huge that it actually spans the lower and the upper city, which makes for some really stunning views as Adam works his way up through the various levels.
The key to getting inside are an employee card and hacker Arie van Brueggen aka Windmill, the same hacker who infiltrated the Sarif Industries plant in Detroit to get at insider information.
The employee card can be found in one of the rooms of the Hung Hua brothel and Arie van Brueggen in Alice Gardens, a cheap hotel, where local crimelord Tong has hidden him. So to start this main mission you need to get both the card and convince Tong to tell you where Windmill is hiding. Neither task is actually engaging, but things heaten up once Adam confronts van Brueggen in Alice Gardens, for he is not the only one looking for the hacker.
Belltower soldiers storm the place and Adam is now left with the choice of whether or not to give Windmill a weapon to defend himself and get out. I usually give him the weapon, even though it always is my favorite: a silenced and rate-of-fire-wise monstered-up pistol. Which leaves me with no weapon at all. So Adam has to get out the silent way.
In this playthrough I was on Game+, so I was already almost fully augmented at this point in the game, but I’ll drop hints of how to play without all these Augs. What’s favorable for this mission, though, are the Icarus landing system and glass shield cloaking.
Part One – The Manufacturing Plant and the Lab
Outfitted with the modified employee card Adam is able to take the employee train to the manufacturing plant in the lower city. That’s the easy part. Once he enters it, an explosion rocks the facility and he finds an employee in dire need of help. If you are into hacking, you will be able to save him. If not, tough luck. For if you do save him, he’ll help you get past the guard stationed around the corner, who owes the man a favor. Once you call upon that favor he’ll let you pass, no questions asked.
You’ll find yourself in a control room with two scientists and, again, if you are into hacking, you can hack the maintenance walkway and circumvent a ton of guards and security systems such as cameras, laser grids and robots. If you do that, you’ll definitely need Icarus and the cloaking ability. If you opt for the super stealthy challenge instead and take the path down and through security, be sure to bring a little patience, since the cameras are pretty tough to evade. On the bright side, you’ll be picking up a lot of hacking tools.
I took the way across the maintenance walkway and dropped down through a ventilation shaft, landing right next to the security control room. Then I used cloaking to invisibly get past and into the next section, then made my way up through maintenance.
Again, there is a chance to make things a little easier, if you know where to find it. For while the first passage you’ll enter next is public, the laboratories you’ll need to bypass to get to the Data Core, which is your ultimate objective, are restricted to authorized personnel only.
Fortunately, one of the lab rats has taken a deadly fall down a ventilation shaft in maintenance and you can nick his card, if you’ve got the Icarus. Which is what I did.
Now, if you don’t have the card, it’s again time to sneak and hack your way across the lab, which has a number of guards and robots plus cameras to avoid. I still find this part one of the hardest to play stealthily and I usually get spotted if I try to infiltrate that section unseen.
Once you’re past and made it up to the next level, you’ll find that you are still way below the Data Core. To get there, you need to slip through a well protected security area that is off-limits even for personnel cleared for the lab. So from here on it’s stealth all the way.
From this point on you have to rely on stealth alone.
Part Two – Administrative Section and Data Core
Adam may or may not be able to get some information out of the guard stationed in front of the security section. He can either stealthily take him out once he’s doing his round or else persuade him to tell him more of the security area’s setup.
Turns out there is a maintenance room at the back which allows Adam to slip into the control center, disable the cameras and open the doors. To do that, you’ll have to sneak past all the guards plus one robot. I usually perform silent and non-lethal takedowns on the patrolling guards at the back.
Once you’re in the locker room at the back of the control room, silently take down the one guard roaming the room and hack the hub. The other guard won’t turn around as long as you remain silent and manage the hack on the first go.
So, once that obstacle is out of the way, you can slip into the next room. This one is full of moving lasers and requires some patience and good timing. I opted for using glass shield cloaking to get to the elevator but ran out of juice and was spotted, which set off the alarms. Sue me.
If you want to play it super stealthy you will want to crawl into the ventilation shaft in that small section on the right and either sneak past or take down the guards in the room at the end of the shaft before you make your way to the elevator.
The elevator finally brings you up to the Data Core, but the mission does not end there. For the information Windmill has stored in the core changes everything and Adam’s new objective is now finding and confronting Tai Young Medical’s CEO and make her talk.
Part Three – Confront Zhao and then GET OUT!
Getting to Zhao is no walk in the park since you’ll have to bypass a fairly open office space to get to the elevator that will take you to her.
There are two guards patrolling the area and not many places you can hide for a longer period of time. Open space, remember? And there are more glass partitions instead of proper walls than I’d care for.
You may find the password for the security hub stationed in the one locked office in one of the drawers up front, but that means sneaking past both guards and remaining hidden. I opted for hacking the door and the hub and taking out both guards in this playthrough.
So, once you’re past, you’ll find yourself in a corridor that is being patrolled by a robot. Since I hacked the hub, I had nothing to fear from it. But there is another security area with two guards who can spot you. You can get behind their backs by slipping through a ventilation shaft in the server room to the right. Once they are taken care of you can go and confront one of Zhao’s Belltower minions who is in one of the two offices (the other one is empty) and hack his workstation for more intel.
Then make your way to the elevator (either hack it or find the code), if possible without being spotted by the camera in that room. On your way up to Zhao you’ll get a call from Windmill, if you chose to give him the weapon, and he will reward you. Which is a nice touch.
Zhao’s office is one of the most beautiful I can imagine and, luckily, her staff isn’t very tidy. Which is why you can find a pocket secretary underneath a sofa to the left and on it the code to Zhao’s safe.
Go up from the reception area, hack Zhao’s workstation, if you are able, loot the safe then confront Madam Zhao herself. Zhao tries (unsucessfully) to convince Adam of her innocence then locks herself inside her safe room. All alarms go off and Sarif calls to tell Adam he’d better get out (Thanks for the tip, boss!).
As guards storm the atrium downstairs, make your way to the right and down the ventilation shaft, then sneak past the guards or fight them off, get to the elevator and down to the hangar bay.
The hangar is being guarded by two huge sentry robots and they are hard to sneak past. I took one out using two EMP grenades (one won’t do the trick) then made it up to the control room and hacked the hub to shut down the security systems and allow my pilot Faridah Malik to land her baby and get me out.
The fun doesn’t end there, though, since the information Adam’s gathered sends the two of them straight on to Montréal and another harrowing infiltration mission that culminates in the second boss fight of the game.
Regarding Tai Young Medical, though, you’re done. Congrats!
So, why this mission? It is never boring and it offers some reveleations that will have you want to continue right away. Perfect!
Regarding the next favorite mission I’m leaving the Deus Ex-universe and will instead hop back to the Assassin’s Creed franchise. Because one of my gifts for Christmas actually was The Ezio Collection and I am very much looking forward to assassinating the Doge in Venice with brandnew overhauled graphics on my PS4 instead on my sluggish PS3… Yeah!
Until then… Play on!