Deus Ex: The Fall Review

Deus Ex: The Fall is like a reflection of Human Revolution in a shattered mirror; you can make out what it's supposed to be, but it's clearly not all there.

I don’t know how Deus Ex: The Fall ended. I don’t know because yet another crash happened right after the final boss fight, preventing me from watching the ending. Upon reloading the app after the umpteenth crash, I was greeted by a "New Game" option instead of “Resume” or “Choose Chapter,” which meant I’d have to play through the entire game again in order to see the ending--if it didn’t crash again. I proceeded to hurdle my iPod into the sun as I pondered my life.

Deus Ex: The Fall is not necessarily a bad game—it’s one of the deepest mobile games I’ve played, with augmentations, upgrades, alternate paths, different weapons, and decisions to help vary each gameplay style. There’s no good ending or bad ending, but that works for The Fall. The art style is spot on with Deus Ex: Human Revolution, and the music and general mood of the game both feel like this game is full part of the Deus Ex universe. That said, a lot is off.

There are only two viable play styles, and neither are fun.

There are only two viable styles of play in The Fall, and neither are really that fun: you can sneak around and kills enemies, or you can who sneak around and knock out enemies. Open combat is simply not viable in the way it is in Human Revolution. It’s easy to avoid detection because the enemies are half blind, and lose interest in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, aside from a Game Center achievement, which may matter to literally tens of people, there really is no benefit to ghosting your way through a mission—in fact, it may be to your disadvantage, since you lose out on experience that helps you level up to upgrade augmentations.

There are far less augmentations in The Fall than in Human Revolution. Players can still turn invisible, see through walls, and break through them to kill a nearby enemy, but those are the only augmentations really worth mentioning. There’s no Typhoon, no throwing dumpsters at enemies, no true sprint command, no aim-down-sights button, no jump button, and there’s only one animation for each takedown—one lethal animation, and one nonlethal animation.

The Fall certainly feels like it’s from the Deus Ex universe, but it’s like it’s had its wings clipped. It’s as if The Fall is desperately trying copy down notes from a video of Human Revolution that’s playing too fast—it gets some features right, such as dialogue trees and the beautiful art style, but it falls short on most of the little things that make Deus Ex great.

I ran into crashes maybe every 15 minutes or so, which became increasingly frustrating when they forced me to replay portions again and again.

I played on my 5th Generation iPod Touch, and the game’s UI was frustratingly tiny at times, causing me to miss the keys for door codes and the like. The shooting controls are also rather atrocious in comparison to other mobile shooters like N.O.V.A 3 or Modern Combat 4. Where the game excels, however, is in the graphics and in the size of the world. The game looks stunning, even on a tiny iPod Touch screen. The world looks like it’s alive (or decaying, depending where you are), and the sound design is phenomenal.

Sadly, the game’s story itself is weak, especially compared to Human Revolution.

Compared to other iOS games of similar nature, like Mass Effect: Infiltrator and Modern Combat 3, the story is passable, but it felt bland and empty—nowhere near as well written as games such as Infinity Blade II or even N.O.V.A. 3. I met a lot of characters in Deus Ex: The Fall, but I’m not sure I could tell you about more than two of them, one of whom is the protagonist, a British not-Adam Jensen, named Ben Saxon. I would love to know what the cliffhanger ending is that will lead into the second episode (thanks to the crash that cause me to miss the ending), but I’m not so sure I want more of this game.

If The Fall were a $5 downloadable title on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, I could maybe justify its existence, but the decision to make it on iOS is truly puzzling. Dead Space, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, and Real Racing 3 were successful mobile games because the developers didn’t pretend the games were something they weren’t. The Fall is a fun enough ride for those who don’t have access to a real Deus Ex game, but it just isn’t as fun as it should be. An update was later released that fixed most of the problems, such as making the enemy AI not borderline blind, making aiming less painful, and making credits and experience easier to attain, but I’m just not that invested in the game, which is where the game falls short.

Deus Ex: The Fall had true promise.

It showed glimmers of brilliance where it was genuinely fun and engaging, but in the end, the game fulfilled the subtitle a little too well as it tripped and collapsed onto its own, very pretty looking, orange-and-brown-color-schemed face. Sneaking around and taking out enemies one by one is good fun, but only when I choose to, not when I need to because the shooting isn’t fun.

The Fall was a decent, if not half-hearted, attempt at bringing Deus Ex to mobile devices, and in some ways, it succeeded—the graphics and feel of the game were phenomenal game-changers for the platform—but I can’t recommend buying this game unless it’s seriously discounted. While I got seven solid hours of gameplay out of this game (which is somewhat surprising for a mobile title), few of those seven hours were fun, especially compared to seven hours of Human Revolution. If you want a full Deus Ex game, play Human Revolution. If you want half a Deus Ex game on your iPad, check out The Fall.

Our Rating
Deus Ex: The Fall is like a reflection of Human Revolution in a shattered mirror; you can make out what it's supposed to be, but it's clearly not all there.

Featured Correspondent

Brian transcribes for a tech company in Bellevue, WA. His favorite games are Max Payne 3, Dragon Age II, Life Is Strange, Tomb Raider, and anything involving Batman. All his reviews are spoiler-free. His brow is perpetually furrowed.

Published Dec. 7th 2013
  • Abobo_2968
    assuming this is unpaid work ;)
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    Ha, not exactly, though I never did get paid. I really wanted to like it, but I got this right before I got a laptop that was capable of most games on max settings, while my old computer could barely do games eight years old. I just left the review sitting around for a while and decided to finish it. The game is.... ehhhh.
  • Coatedpolecat
    Featured Correspondent
    Great review. Don't forget you can link more than one word at a time like "modern combat 4" could all be highlighted in green for the link instead of just "combat."

    Again solid read, looking forward to more.
  • Brian S
    Featured Correspondent
    The links were definitely not my doing at all. I'm not sure why they showed.
  • Rothalack
    Master O' Bugs
    We have our game database auto link landing pages to the games. It has some weird kinks that we have been trying to work out, but this is an example of where it works but doesn't really work :(. I disabled 'Combat' from being linked so it won't happen again. Sorry for that!

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