Previously intended as a Wii U exclusive to be released back in May, Deus Ex Human Revolution: Augmented Edition evolved into being a multi-platform Director's Cut, with the Wii U version being $20 more at retail than the other versions. But for those who had yet to play the game or want a compelling way to play that no other version offers, the Director's Cut on Wii U is an excellent addition to one's collection.
Available at the eShop as a 14GB download or on disc, the Director's Cut of one of 2011's best games, and arguably one of the best games this generation, finds itself very well represented on the Wii U. Technically, the Wii U is more than capable, and with the Gamepad, it's a much more "closer to home" experience than you're able to get on other platforms, including PC. When we first reviewed the game as it released back in August 2011, it was lauded for its superb story and freedom of gameplay. I'll let Nathan's review speak for itself, but the important takeaway is that with the Director's Cut, those critical elements have only improved, not diminished. Furthermore, the Tong's Rescue and Missing Link expansion content is seamlessly integrated now, and the game has received a a variety of tweaks and enhancements, including completely redesigned boss battles that allow you to succeed without firing a single shot.
A complete list of Director's Cut changes includes improved AI to make encounters more consistent and realistic, a complaint that Nathan had back in 2011. The boss fight revamps include improved AI as well as subtle alterations to the damage and health stats, and more obvious changes apparent in the map layout of the boss fights. The energy system, one of the key metrics for balancing augmentation use, has been re-worked to essentially allow greater accessibility and more rapid augmentation use. Visually, the graphics have received some improvements I'm told, but I'm not familiar enough with the original game to really notice a big difference.
Wii U specific features are actually fairly numerous and impressive. First, once your augmentation come online after the first twenty minutes or so of play, the Gamepad becomes your Neural Hub. It's like being inside Adam Jensen's brain; the primary view is a live 2D map of your surroundings, with friendly, enemy, and objectives marked. There are also six buttons, three on the left and three on the right. These are for Inventory, Augmentations, and Media Logs from top to bottom on the left side, and 2D Map, Mission Log, and Infolog on the right. Everything is obviously touch controlled and works well. Hacking mini-games are done with the touchscreen too, which gives a sensible boost to the sense of immersion as your view on the main screen holds true while the Gamepad acts as your hacking interface. Using a scope on any of your weapons is also tied into the Gamepad. Jensen can throw grenades back at the enemy too by swiping their icon quickly, too. There's even a new augmentation called Tactical Pattern Recognition System whereby Jensen's first-person view appears on the Gamepad and changes as you move the Gamepad around in space; you can use this aug while moving. Furthermore, menus and sub-menus are simplified thanks to the Gamepad being able to show you details on items and inventory without cluttering up the main screen.
The interactive 2D map can be used to create notes and draw paths. It integrates with the Infolog feature that allows you to take a screenshot of Jensen's view, record your own voice memo, and draw paths or make notes. All of this can be packaged up as an Infolog and shared to the Miiverse. Only your Friends can hear the voice memo, but anyone else can see the rest of the Infolog you created in-game. Miiverse integration is optional, and you are prompted to enable it.
Several other unexpected but welcomed features include the integration of some eight hours of developer commentary that include the lead writer, game director, sound engineer, and art director. I liked that the commentary tracks have to be activated by pressing the - button after receiving the on-screen cue in the upper right corner of the HUD. When activated, the game's audio still plays, but at a reduced volume, allowing the developers to speak. They're all present for the track, making the commentary more interesting as they chime in with their unique views on a particular scene. This was actually the first game I have played with commentary and I have to say, it was really cool; I appreciated the candidness of the developers and their acknowledging ideas that were really difficult to pull off, or personal mistakes, or various ideas that just didn't get implemented. It was refreshing and humanizing to hear them talk about the challenges, the triumphs, and be able to laugh about certain things and disclose inside jokes (like all of the empty gold paint bucket cans).
In the same vein as the commentary is the Making Of video which you can view from the main menu. This runs about forty-five minutes and is well worth watching, whether you have played through the game yet or not. It has lots of footage taken in 2008-2010 of the development team both in studio, at E3, at Gamescom, and so on. Many developers offer their perspective and share their goals for the game and it's all done in a very matter-of-fact type of way. You know with movies, you often get 'making of' features where everyone pats each other on the back and the whole thing is just a promo ad. For this making of though, it's literally much more what a real making of documentary should be, and I found it interesting.
A full game guide is built in too that can be accessed in-game. Complete with a table of contents and lots of pictures, the game guide covers everything from movement to weapons to the augmentations, boss fights, the DLC, and all of the Achievements, which includes those Achievements created from the Missing Link DLC. The main menu also has a Tutorials section that covers everything from moving objects to toolkits, stealth and hacking.
At the end of the day, the Director's Cut is precisely what it should be: the most complete, definitive version of what was already a great game. With that, let's get to the summary...