iOS gaming continues to advance with more deluxe titles hitting the platform all the time. The latest addition is Square Enix’s Deus Ex: The Fall, which is based on the well known franchise, but made for mobile. The Deus Ex series has main components that appear across all of the games, and that includes an emphasis on stealth ops with an option for intense action firing sequences. The iOS version in particular has a brand new storyline revolving around the year 2027 with science taking a leading role to introduce human augmentations, and you play as Ben Saxon, a former British mercenary who has his own augmentations. The storyline revolves around a short supply of the augmentation serum, an experimental alternative, and a major corporation trying to cover up their involvement.
Square Enix has put a lot of work into the game, and that’s easy to tell at first glance with an extremely detailed 3D visual design. The graphics are some of the best to date on iOS with so much detail in the environments, and a great flow to the action and backgrounds. Beyond the graphics, the touch controls are another remarkable feature as they’re very smooth for a first person shooter, third person adventure game that Deus Ex is. You simply move your finger on either side of the screen to move, and change perspective with contextual action buttons appearing on the bottom portion of the screen. There’s also intelligent tap to target, camera switch in cover, and other little factors to make the touch action more precise.
The graphics and controls are there to enhance the key component which is the gameplay. Sadly, no matter how good the game design is, it doesn’t matter if the gameplay comes up lacking, which is definitely the case in Deus Ex: The Fall. The entire experience feels so generic to the point that you’re just going through the motions in a game style you’ve probably experienced numerous times before. You simply move from mission to mission taking out bad guys here and there with a majority of the game revolving around walking. The main drawback is that Deus Ex is all about stealth gameplay, but the level set-up doesn’t lend itself towards stealth, and instead you end up just blasting your way through five to ten enemies to progress. Even if you take out one enemy discreetly, the level design doesn’t flow to another cover point, to get the drop on the next enemy.
Another problem is that this is an extremely mindless game to the point that there’s an indicator arrow continuously guiding you forward. You never have to guess at what to do, leaving you to aim and fire time after time. There are some hacking sequences, and side missions from time to time, but they come across just as bland. The entire game just feels so similar to itself, and others, and then it’s surprisingly basic despite the advanced game engine and game pedigree. The enemy AI may be the most disappointing aspect, as enemies can walk right past you or simply run right at you instead of getting into cover. It’s like shooting lame ducks, and the only intensity arises when they have overpowered weapons or great numbers. To round out the run of the mill experience, the storyline is just as bland as the gameplay, and it offers no intrigue to make you care to keep battling your way forward.
Deus Ex: The Fall ($6.99, Universal) isn’t bad, it’s just not great with the main takeaway being disappointment based on the promise the game showed. There’s no doubt there’s an advanced game engine at work that looks outstanding on iOS, it’s just the gameplay that comes up lacking. Square Enix has delivered a good addition to the App Store, but it could have been much better, and it’s just so disheartening to see to the generic nature. Higher expectations make the game tough to recommend, but it’s still quite an experience to be had on iOS for only $7, making it worth picking up for a deluxe adventure.