Deus Ex: The Fall for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch review

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Deus Ex: The Fall

The most encouraging statement I heard during my demo of Deus Ex: The Fall at E3 2013 was that Square Enix doesn’t expect The Fall to be their only Deus Ex title for tablets. Now that I’ve played the game, I hope Square Enix keeps their word. Deus Ex: The Fall is one of the most satisfying iPad gaming experiences I’ve had, and you’d have to be extremely stubborn to not love this game for what it is.

It’s an iOS game. It’s built to be an iOS game. Its controls are tailored to touchscreen gameplay. It’s not terribly long, and although the graphics are great for a tablet, you’ve seen better. And yet, it’s also 100% Deus Ex. This is my third game in the series—the first where I’m not sitting in front of my Macintosh—but everything about Deus Ex: The Fall felt and played exactly as it should.

Deus Ex: The Fall

Do you want the story? Square Enix describes it thus:

Deus Ex: The Fall is set in 2027– a golden era for science, technology and human augmentation, but also a time of great social divide and global conspiracy. Powerful corporations have seized control from governments and command the drug supply needed by augmented humans to survive. In this chaos Ben Saxon, a former British SAS Mercenary who underwent physical augmentation, is desperate for the truth behind the drug conspiracy. Betrayed by his private military employers, the Tyrants, not only is his own life at risk, but for all augmented humans, time is running out.

What this really means is that you’ll be spending a lot of time creeping around back alleys and ventilation shafts in buildings on the questionable side of town.

Deus Ex: The Fall

As with all Deus Ex games, you’re given the option to battle enemies head on or to take a stealthier approach. The latter makes more sense; it’s easier, and it’s more fun. The controls of the game are less about running and shooting and more about crouching, hiding, sliding and vaulting to sneak around enemies.

Of course, there’s still plenty of combat to be had, and the developers at Eidos Montreal provide three ways to handle this. General movement is handled with the left thumb, viewing with the right. For combat, the easiest method provides the ability to just tap on your target and fire away. The most difficult is full control as if you were using WASD+mouse on your computer. If you can be successful at this, you’re a better gamer than I. And you’ll get more headshots. No matter which way you go, the larger iPad screen will be preferable over that of the iPhone.

Deus Ex: The Fall

Because I played it stealth, tapping to roll from cover to cover and sneaking up on enemies for silent takedowns was intuitive and fun…although the multiple button options were still difficult to manage in the game’s more frantic moments. Thankfully, the need to dispose of incapacitated bodies has been removed from The Fall, as has the weapons limitation. Less realistic, yes, but much easier to deal with on a touchscreen.

Of course, a Deus Ex game wouldn’t be right without weapon and body augmentations, so The Fall provides many options, including a dash ability specific to this entry. Configuring Ben to your gameplay style still provides a fun sense of individuality, but the overall impact is dampened a bit by the short duration of the game; those familiar with the series will finish this up in about five or six hours.

Deus Ex: The Fall

And that’s pretty much the only issue with Deus Ex: The Fall. Whereas those new to the franchise are sure to find it visually stunning and thematically engrossing, those who have played the more robust console and computer entries may feel a bit let down by this scaled down experience. What they’d be neglecting is the fact that it’s expertly scaled down. Trying to shove a PC experience onto the iPad would’ve been a terrible mistake. Rather, Eidos Montreal picked the core elements that could work on a touchsreen, and built a game around them. The result is a perfect Deus Ex expansion. It’s appropriately priced DLC, if you will, provided you already have an iOS device on which to play it, of course (and provided you don’t need to load up on the in-app purchases to keep Ben alive).

In other words, The Fall lives up to the Deus Ex name, and elevates the name of iOS gaming. It’s exactly what I expected.

Appletell Rating:

Buy Deus Ex: The Fall

Category: Games
Seller: Square-Enix
Requirements: iOS 5.0 or later
Compatibility: iPhone 4S/iPhone 5, iPod touch (5th generation), iPad (3rd/4th generation), iPad mini
File Size: 808MB
Version Reviewed: 1.0.3
Price: $6.99
Age Rating: 17+

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