Quick Look: Deus Ex GO

Deus Ex GO is the latest in Square Enix’ series of puzzle games on their hit console properties. Like Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO, this Deux Ex port does a very good job of optimizing its controls and gameplay for a pickup-and-play mobile experience. It’s a satisfying enough experience to sit down on the couch and run through, but still bite-sized enough that you can finish a few rounds on your way to work.

All of the games in this GO series actually play very similarly, with a tick-tock style of turn-based gameplay. You move your avatar around the map one node at a time (tick), and any active enemies will always move in sequence with you (tock). It’s all about positioning yourself to move directly into an opponent, and keep yourself from walking into an oncoming patrol. There’s never any rush to the missions because you’re free to look at the board for as long as you like before moving. You can observe how each guard is going to patrol, and plan a path to pick them all off and get to your objective.

However, there’s still a great sense of tension because later levels require you to keep a number of factors in mind. Earlier levels make you feel like a badass because you can clear out all enemies on the board, but once you start getting to level 15 onward, the game starts to up the ante. Guards are flanked by turrets and binary checkpoints that need to be activated. It’s at this point that Deus Ex GO starts to embrace the in-game concept of hacking over stealthy combat. If you’re familiar with the main series, this gameplay trend fits right in.

What you won’t find here are multiple paths to pick from. One of the best things about main Deus Ex games are the options they provide you on each level. You can talk your way out of combat, shoot your way into a base, or creep through vents to get to where you need to go. Deus Ex GO embraces the concepts like stealth combat and remote hacking from the main game, but spreads them out over the 50 story missions, instead of letting you choose which method works best for you.

That’s all right by me because I don’t expect the developers to shoehorn open-world gameplay into a puzzle game. What they’ve accomplished with Deus Ex GO has been enough for me. The animations for movement and combat are so much smoother than what I remember from Hitman GO, and although each level is clearly based on a puzzle board, they’ve added a lot of little cutscenes to make the experience more immersive. Conversations play out over your headset, and story elements (that have no effect on gameplay) are animated on the board as well.

I also like that this mobile experience has an effect on the main Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game that I’m playing on my Windows PC. I’ll get two upgrade points just for finishing the story mode, and I can win an additional three upgrade points for getting gold on each level and finishing the weekly puzzles they’ve released. This doesn’t feel like a “pay to win” strategy here, but rather a cool extra way for you to connect the Deus Ex games across the platforms.

I’m about 39 levels into the 50 levels in Deus Ex GO, and I’ve spent about two hours playing the game so far. That’s a fine value for $5 because there is a surprising amount of care baked into this mobile experience that keeps it from feeling like a cash-in. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is a triple-A title, and this GO version is a genuine adaptation of the stealth-action experience I’m enjoying on the PC

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