Deus Ex: The Fall is a really odd game. It’s the first in a series that never eventuated. It’s part adaptation, part sequel to a spin-off prequel novel (see my review of that book, Deus Ex: Icarus Effect, here). It’s a mobile game running off an engine intended for PC/360/PS3, later adapted to PC. It introduces characters that don’t gain a shred of relevancy until 2016’s Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (review here). It’s not unfair to call the game a mess. Is it worth all the messiness? Not particularly, unless you’re like me and a big enough fan of the franchise to experience every part of it, but it’s far from a travesty, and there’s still a fair bit to like here – it’s just not really a worthy entry into the Deus Ex series.
Something I really enjoyed about the game is the sort of uncanniness that comes with adapting characters from a novel into a game. Ben Saxon and Anna Kelso were the protagonists of the Icarus Effect novel, and here are portrayed with proper visual appearances, voice actors, the lot – they come to life in the game. It’s a neat thing, seeing the interplay between the transmedia offerings of the series. The talents of the vocal cast are notably below that of Human Revolution‘s, but Saxon’s English accent isn’t horrible, and the Tyrants reprise their roles, so it’s all fairly cohesive.
The Australian Civil War plot point didn’t originate here (it’s from the original Deus Ex game’s backstory actually), but it’s discussed here more than any other entry in the series. As an Australian…it’s kind of an awkward plot point. I love that my country is getting discussed to such an extent in a video game at all, because that’s really rare, and it’s neat to see places beyond Sydney discussed, but a civil war is so utterly unfeasible, even with the backstory Deus Ex adds for it, that it’s somewhat hard to take seriously. Perhaps Americans and Europeans often feel similarly with media depicting odd events in their nations? It’s not something I’d know, as Australia seldom features in such media.
You can imagine my disappointment that the game ends on a cliffhanger indicating the next entry would be in Australia…and then we never got that sequel. The later entries in the series never expand upon what happened to Saxon and Kelso, so maybe we’ll get to hear that story in some form, one day, but it’s such a disappointment to me. I’d heard rumours (that I shouldn’t have paid mind to because they were so slight) that Sydney would be a city hub in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (review here), but that didn’t happen either. I dearly hope one day the Deus Ex series will properly visit Australia, and expand upon the backstory they’ve made for my country.
As for the story and gameplay itself, basically every facet of the game is just a slightly worse reproduction of Human Revolution. The story retreads the same themes and points, and the gameplay is the exact same except scaled down to work on the much less powerful processors of phones. If you deeply enjoyed Human Revolution, you’ll like this, maybe, or perhaps you’ll just be frustrated by the slightly-worse facsimiles.
I don’t think it’s an awful game, but it’s nothing notable or particularly worth playing. There was potential here, perhaps even plenty of it, but it didn’t quite get realised. I give it two betrayed mercenaries, and a dose of riezene.