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Deus Ex Go turns the stealthy shooter into a sharp mobile puzzler

Andrew Hayward | Aug. 19, 2016
Square Enix's third Go game follows the strong blueprint of Lara Croft and Hitman.

The history of mobile gaming is littered with middling-to-awful attempts to turn beloved, big-budget console and PC game franchises into touchscreen experiences, but Hitman Go was the rare example to the contrary—and Lara Croft Go was even better. 

Both titles came out of Square Enix’s Montreal studio, and showed the mega-publisher learning to build new experiences that captured the essence of the original franchise in novel and compelling ways, rather than cram an existing experience onto phones and tablets. Hitman Go turned the methodical assassination simulator into turn-based puzzle affair with board game-like charm, while Lara Croft Go evolved the premise even further and gave us a brilliant adventure starring the Tomb Raider heroine. 

And no, it has nothing to do with Pokémon Go, but Square Enix is back with another clever mobile take on one of its enduring game franchises: Deus Ex. Released on the App Store on Wednesday, Deus Ex Go builds upon the two previous games while bringing in the long-running series’ cybernetic flavor in the form of hacking and newly-added story elements.

Ready to Go 

What made Deus Ex such an ideal candidate for a Go transformation, besides being another popular action game underneath the Square Enix umbrella, was how methodical the game already was in its original form. It’s a first-person shooter, sure, but it’s also a stealth-action game that demands precision and planning to make it through shootouts unscathed. That sort of tactical design made a smooth transition possible.

deusex go gameplay

You’ll need to use the cloaking power-up at times to get around turrets or tiptoe past enemies.

“The Deus Ex universe is a really good fit for the Go games because of how close to a puzzle its gameplay already was. We really love that feeling when reaching a new area and figuring out how to get through with a multitude of different tools, like combat, hacking, stealth, etc,” explains Etienne Giroux, game designer at Square Enix Montreal. “Distilling these mechanics and turning them into a turn-based game was really interesting. With the Go games, we bring a whole new interpretation of the same concepts.”

And the timing is perfect: On August 23, Square Enix will release Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, delivering the long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s Human Revolution. In Mankind Divided, you play as Adam Jensen, a technologically-augmented agent who works with Interpol and can deliver a load of hurt to bad guys with his myriad robotic enhancements.

You’ll do much the same in Deus Ex Go, but rather than manage a game controller or bevy of keys amidst frantic first-person battles, nearly everything is handled with a tap at your own pace. You’ll tap the next spot on the screen to move, tap an enemy from behind to smash it into digital bits, and hack terminals by tapping and drawing a path on the screen. It’s a slower and simpler take, for sure, but there’s still a lot of strategy involved in figuring out the right path and chain of actions to get through the enemy drones and around hazards.


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