The long-awaited sequel to 2011’s Deus Ex: Human Evolution has finally arrived, bringing loads of improvements to the basic formula with it. In the next chapter of Adam Jensen’s journey, players have access to a new suite of hidden augmentations to play around with, weapon customization on par with the Crysis franchise, and a handful of other changes — but the most significant improvement is Mankind Divided’s hacking.
Much like Human Revolution, Mankind Divided is filled with computers, lockers, doors, and other technology locked behind firewalls. Each of these can be used to further the player’s goals or obtain new information, with certain terminals allowing the player to control the gun emplacements and cameras around them. In order to tap into these though, you’ll have to find the password hidden in the world or hack through the firewall yourself.
Back in Human Revolution, each piece of tech you could hack had a security rating you had to match with you hacking augmentation. If you had the adequate level, you would breach into the security system and a screen with data nodes would pop up on your screen. Each of these featured an individual security rating and a detection chance reflecting your stealth hacking ability.
In order to crack the system, players had to work their way through the interconnected nodes and reach the green colored spheres or red towers. While hacking nodes, players could be detected by system security (marked in red) that would then attempt to lock them out of the system for good. Once secured, nodes could be fortified in order to slow down this attempt — although it took a fair amount of time to accomplish.
To capture a node during this hacking sequence, players would have to first select the node with their mouse (on PC) or thumb stick (on controllers) and then hold down the selection while picking the action they wished to perform, whether it was hacking, fortifying, or using a program. The problem here was that too often Human Revolution wouldn’t register the players input, resulting in a difficult system hack completely locking you out within a matter of seconds following detection.
It was a frustrating endeavor to face, especially early in the game without access to a boatload of hacking augmentations to help you face firewalls. Many players, such as myself, found ourselves locked out of terminals containing valuable information or lore, leading to mixed feelings about Human Revolution’s favorite little mini game. But thankfully, developer Eidos Montreal have reworked the mechanics in Mankind Divided to make it a little more player friendly.
Much like Human Revolution, Mankind Divided allows players to hack all sorts of stuff. Hacking now takes place in a larger, more focused 3D area, allowing the player to access the situation easier and plan their next move. What’s great is that each node can be selected by hovering over it instead of holding a selection toggle too, while the various actions (fortification, capture, nuke, etc.) are mapped to specific buttons on the keyboard and controller — making for much more precise hacking control while limiting easy mistakes because of an input error.
Mankind Divided also introduces the remote hacking augmentation, which allows players to wirelessly hack electronic devices from a sizable distance. Instead of opening up a detailed hacking mini game, remote hacking pulls up a small window with multiple frequencies that players must hit during a small window in order to gain control of the device. While it doesn’t allow you quite as much control compared to hacking a device physically, it’s still a great addition that feels super slick in practice.
By both reworking the original hacking system to be more user-friendly and adding the ability for players to remotely hack devices from across the map, Eidos Montreal’s improved leaps and bounds upon the frustrating hacking controls behind Human Revolution. If you’re going to include a hacking mini game, it should at least be a slick little diversion over something immediately frustrating.