I thought the first DLC Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, System Rift, was excellent, but A Criminal Past upped the ante (even without Faridah Malik, who I secretly had hoped to see again). It also leaves some interesting question marks.
Now, you really shouldn’t play this DLC whithout having finished the main game, but that’s been out for quite a while now, so, if you still haven’t played it through to the end, beware of major spoilers!
See, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided‘s grand finale takes place in London and later, back in Prague, leaves yout to choose whether Adam continues his investigation into TF29 or not. Since it’s the end of the game, there are no consequences, right? Imagine my surprise when the DLC finds Adam talking to Dr. Auzenne AFTER these events to clarify some things concerning his first undercover mission for TF29, which happened nine months before and took place in the desert of Arizona. Now, with Auzenne being who she is, I could really feel Adam’s distrust of her, although I’m pretty sure he is not yet fully aware of her identity. But then, theirs has been a tense relationsship from the start, hasn`t it?
In this mission, Adam Jensen went undercover as an inmate of an Aug-only maximum security prison in Arizona. The reason for his being there was one Agent Hector Guerrero (what a name!) who’s undercover and may have gone a little too far into dark waters.
It’s difficult, but manageable
Once Adam arrives he’s injected with a chip that suppresses his Augs, which is very painful, especially since he really has a lot of them. But a guy called The Fixer can remedy that thanks to some pills. You take that, you are able to use your Augs again and even get to choose whether you want to stick to Adam’s original setup from Deus Ex: Human Revolution or upgrade to the Deus Ex: Mankind Divided experimental set. I chose the classic setup for my first playthrough. My second, though, I played without Augs (by accident). Which was, actually, even more fun to play.
Adam soon finds out that there is an illegal harvesting operation underway in the prison and that Guerrero, undercover as part of the criminal organization Junkyard, is at the center of it. Since the agent could shed light on suspected planned attacks on Pro-Aug demonstrations, Adam has to get to him and get him out before he, too, ends up a slab of cold meat in the morgue.
The prison is divided into Cell Block A, Adam’s residence, and Cell Block B, Guerrero’s home. Block A wears red, Block B wears yellow. Being a spot of red in a sea of yellow is therefore a dead giveaway for the guards that you don’t belong and they’ll shoot Adam on sight. Luckily, you can remedy that if you find yourself a yellow Block B-overall. Which, incidentally, suits Adam better than the red one.
Take it down
There are numerous ways of getting into Block B, but here’s the easiest one, which has you moving through the complex mostly unseen. I found it hours after I had missed the Fixer and had to play without augmentations. If you go into the showers you’ll notice that the stalls are roofed in. Move to the outer left corner and hop onto the lockers. Wait until the patrolling guard can no longer see you, then hop onto the shower stalls’ roof. There’s a traversal and an air-duct up there. Hop onto it and climb up. Once you’re in the vent you’ll find yourself in a shaft with two giant ventilation fans. One’s moving, the other is idle but under electric current. Hop onto and across the electric one and quickly make your way to the breaker box beyond to shut the current down. Go back and find another shaft to your left beyond the (previously) moving fan. Now, at the end of the next ventilation shaft you’ll find lockers and one features a yellow suit as worn by the inmates of Block B. Once you’re dressed, move on through the yard, don’t get spotted as you sneak up the stairs and into yet another ventilation shaft, cross the traversals and then get down into the security room on the opposite side and through the window to your left and drop into Cell Block B. Beware the camera.
Who to trust?
While exploring the prison and talking to inmates you will find out about the murder of Wilburg in Block B, and investigating that murder really is a must. Why was he killed and by whom? That’s the big question. It all has to do with the harvesting operation run by head-guard Thomas Stenger and his little monkey, the Fixer, a mentally instable inmate with medical training who may or may not be more than he seems. The Fixer also hands out those pills you’ll need to activate your Augs. Turns out if you missed him the first time you can get the pill later, or, if you’ve already taken the pill in the beginning, take another and gain praxis (plus blurred vision when actually using the Augs).
And then there is Flossy, a charismatic resident of cell Block A, who would just love to rise to the position Wilburg previously occupied: king of the castle, or, in this case, king of the rock. Which is why, with the Fixer’s help, he stages a riot (I thought I could prevent the riot from happening by not helping Flossy, but, unfortunately, it just toned it down a little, leaving more guards to circumvent or stun for me).
Last but not least Agent Guerrero isn’t really keen on cooperation and actually questions the existence of any planned terror attacks. Also, he doesn’t want to jeopardize his hard-won standing within the ranks of Junkyard. Head-guard Stenger chooses that moment to arrest him for the murder of Wilburg and schedules him for execution under the Terminal Violation Policy . While Guerrero, now transferred into Solitary Confinement, has only 24 hours left to live, Adam is given a chance to save him. But he has to move through the prison riot to get to him.
Now, in my second playthrough I really wanted to get to the bottom of Wilburg’s murder and paid attention to every detail and dialogue. Which is how I found out that hole six (cell six) in Solitary Confinement has a hidden shaft you can drop down into (to the bottom, see?) and, after discovering Wilburg’s missing (augmented) heart in a makeshift operating theatre hidden down there, move back to the Infirmary without having to sneak or fight your way back through the Tower.
A little earlier I had released Guerrero from his cell in Solitary, not without confronting him about hacking the sentry to kill Wilburg. But he claimed he’s not augmented to do that, and Adam had to take his word for it. Question: Who then hacked the sentry? Well, whoever killed Wilburg sure doesn’t leave witnesses behind. Which is why Stenger winds up dead in the Infirmary soon after. And now there’s the chance to solve this mystery, by grabbing Stenger’s card, going back to Administration and the Management floor and opening Stenger’s safe.
After that, all you have to do is shut down the aerial defenses on the Roof (assuming you used your previous trip to Administration to disable the tracking system) and meet Guerrero on the Landing Pad. Which sounds easier than it actually is, especially when playing without Augs (how I missed my trusted Cloaking-Aug!) and running low on multi-tools. But, there is actully a vey easy solution to that problem. First, though, you need to shoot all four drones out of the sky. To do that, best alert them then seek cover inside the elevator and pick them off one after the other. Once that’s done, sneak back onto the roof, cirvumvent the first missile launcher on the right, and make your way to the middle of the roof, where there’s a turret turning on its own axis. Stay in cover until it is pointed the other way, drop down unseen and sneak past the laser grid on the right. You’ll see a ladder leading DOWN in front of the turret. There are lasers that will set off the alarm when you enter the shaft, but don’t worry about them. Now, get down that ladder and into the security room beyond. There’s a breaker box behind a reddish breakable vent. Break the vent, activate the breaker box and voila, behold a security hub laptop! Activate the button on the left to unlock it and use the laptop to set the cameras and buttons you need to de- and activate to disable the missile launchers. Problem solved. Happy sneaking afterwards, but it IS manageable.
The holy grail of the Roof! There’s an air duct behind you through which you could get down there totally unseen, but you need augmented strength to move the crate blocking it.
The Ending (Spoilers!)
Okay, major spoilers for the ending ahead.
So, it was Guerrero’s show all along. In order to protect his cover and the harvesting operation he’s killed both Wilburg and Stenger and now threatens to kill the Fixer too, since he is the last witness left. I smooth-talked Guerrero out of killing the little guy but left the Fixer behind during my first playthrough and sided with Guerrero and let him kill the Fixer on my second. You’ll have to deal with Guerrero the hard way, if you don’t. But, that is not the catch. Back in the here and now Dr. Auzenne asks Adam what he did when he found Guerrero on the Landing Pad and he has three (!) possible answers to choose from: Killed him, Cut him Loose or Brought him back in. Only then did I realise that this was what Auzenne was after all the time: the fate of Agent Guerrero was that little detail Adam left out of the report. I had Adam lie and tell her he killed him, which really pleased her (Find out what happens when you tell her you brought him back in). Apparently, that was the real reason why Adam was sent into the Pent House: to kill Guerrero, who is a witness. A witness to what I am still not sure of. I mean, who really backs Junkyard and the harvesting operation? Is it the Illuminati? Probably, judging by one guard’s reference to the Big Brother up North (Alaska?), where newest inmate Derrick George Walthers, aka Adam Jensen is supposed to be transferred to after his short stint in Arizona. And we all know what happened in Alaska, right?
While I thought System Rift great fun, A Criminal Past has the more meaningful choices for Adam to make. Also, daylight! I am sure I missed something, so I’ll try it once more. At least.