Going into PAX East, I was pretty excited to get some hands-on time with was Square Enix was touting as an "unannounced Wii U title." That excitement was short lived, as Amazon once again chose to post the preorder page for a AAA title well before its official announcement, but that didn't stop me from happily grasping a Wii U GamePad. As a fan of the Deus Ex series and an owner of the beleaguered Nintendo platform, I was excited to see what changes were in store for this cyberpunk adventure.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was an excellent title, but it wasn't without its flaws — flaws that could be easily rectified with this Director's Cut. With the original release, Square Enix had outsourced the development of the infamous boss fights to GRIP Entertainment. This ultimately ended up being one of the game's bigger points of contention, as these sequences felt incongruous with the overall experience. This was something Eidos Montreal picked up on and has since sought to rectify. "We're perfectionists," Game Designer Emile Pedneault for the Wii U Director's Cut told me at PAX East. "We rebuilt the boss sequences to be as they should have been. We kept [the boss'] character models the same and the fact that they need to be killed by Jensen, for the rest of the story to make sense, but the level layout had been changed and the AI tweaked to make the experience better fit the game." It shows — boss fights now appear to be more in-tune with Human Revolution's tone and more adaptable in approach (you can now use stealth or hacking instead of initiating a gun fight). That's not to say that this was the only change made though.
The obvious advantage of having the Wii U GamePad in-play is a second screen. Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut uses this hardware more efficiently than any game before it. Everything typically visible in the screen-clogging menu can now be seen at all times in the palm of your hands. At any point in time you can easily change equipment, upgrade augmentations, see your placement on the map, and much more. The hacking interface is now located on the GamePad screen, allowing you to fluidly tackle puzzles and use the controller's gyroscope to look around and see if threats are approaching as you take down encrypted systems. That GamePad gyroscope is also used in a new "smart vision" augmentation that acts as an enhanced AR vision to provide more details on enemies, their health and armour, and what they might be carrying. Finally, the touchscreen allows you to flick away thrown enemy grenades — balancing one of the more frustrating elements of firefights.
Also included in the Director's Cut is over eight hours of dynamic AR developer commentary from Eidos Montreal and a built-in strategy guide that tabs the appropriate guide page based on your in-game position. There's a Miiverse social implementation too with a screenshot and note capture device that leave AR tags in the game world for your friends to find. Emile indicated that this could be a great way to show your friends cool discoveries, but I still contend that it could be used to troll. Finally, as this is a Directors Cut, The Missing Link and Tong's Rescue DLC packs have been included in the game and tweaked to ensure that continuity makes sense.
All of this makes Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut seem like a really excellent purchase, but there was one thing that raised my eyebrow. Square Enix is currently touting this version of the game as having the best looking graphics. Specifically, the words "crisper than the PC version" were heard. While I could see an interesting change to the environmental lighting, the Wii U version of Human Revolution is undoubtedly the least attractive. Environments seemed, at least to me, to have a noticeably lower resolution and character models looked a little more jagged — as though they were formed from plastic. Granted, this isn't the final product and there's no reason why the Wii U version can't become the best looking. That said, we currently have no official release date for this Wii U rerelease.