Sunday 23 October 2016

Games: New implants give stealth a lift

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (PS4/XO/PC), 5 Stars, Age: 18+

Published 04/09/2016 | 02:30

Adam Jensen in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
Adam Jensen in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

Discrimination fills the headlines every day - whether it's by gender, race or sexual orientation. But in Mankind Divided's setting of 2029, it's the electronically augmented on the receiving end - victims of prejudice for being mere mortals who "had a bit of work done", a new eye or a replacement arm, say.

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This promising narrative backdrop often goes to waste, though, sometimes proving no more than window-dressing to the familiar Deus Ex blueprint of stealth, hacking and electronic wizardry.

Mankind Divided drops series protagonist Adam Jensen (inset)into a futuristic Prague on the trail of a band of 'Illuminati'. It's a wonderful place to explore, liberally constructed with tunnels, air vents, nooks and crannies that enable Jensen to sneak, blast or hack his way to his goals, depending on your mood.

Jensen's electronic augmentations are more diverse than ever - swords that shoot from your wrists! Invisibility! - it's up to you to find a pleasing combination that suits your style of play.

Narrative shortcomings aside, Mankind Divided's knotty missions, superlative city design and tactical flexibility provide the ingredients for a stealth-action potboiler that's hard to resist.

Day of the Tentacle Remastered

(iOS) 5 stars Age: 12+

A classic (perhaps THE classic) point'n'click adventure rebuilt two decades on, DOTT melds a time-bending (mind-bending) plot with the trademark warped humour of genre kings Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert.

Refreshed visuals can't mask its inherent anachronisms (the puzzles occasionally stray into frustratingly obscure territory) but a mere fiver buys you many hours of chuckles, head-scratching and aha-moments.


(PS4) 4 Stars Age: 7+

Nobody asks whether the Mona Lisa is interactive as well as beautiful. Bound hovers the right side of that fine line where its artwork and themes alone justify its existence.

It's no Mona Lisa, of course, but its allegorical riffs on a family life remembered lead to a series of striking tableaux. A pirouetting dancer, rippling abstract landscapes and a child's bogeyman intertwine for a memorable two to three-hour experience. Yes, the gameplay amounts to limited inert interaction but just enjoy the journey to a heart of darkness.

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