Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link Preview (Xbox360)

If you're familiar with Adam Jenson's world, you'll know it's one full of corruption, loneliness and risk. Although many players will still be finishing off Human Revolution's main quest, there's plenty who are ready to plunge into some further mystery. The trusty guys at Square Enix provided me with some hands on time with the first batch of downloadable content, and it's extremely interesting indeed. Have you got used to easily sneaking through buildings undetected? Time for that to change.

After spending a couple of hours with this much-anticipated add-on, I can honestly say I relied on my guns more here than the entire main game. Putting minor spoilers aside, Jenson wakes up on a boat that's crammed with a hostile crew. Taking place after a major plot point is complete, there's plenty of people who want to find Jenson, interrogate him, and then send him plunging towards the sea floor. Stripped of any augmentations earned in the main campaign, the opening half an hour or so will be spent hunting Jenson's gear. Breaking out of the initial room is simple, and won't trouble those who have worked their way through tougher situations before.

Compared to locations such as Detroit and China, the confines of the boat make for an important change. Although in essence it plays the same role as a building or facility, there's nowhere to escape here. A little way into the mission and Jenson enters the deck, witnessing a monstrous storm. A helicopter flies overhead and lightning angrily strikes in the distance. It's a dramatic contrast to the gold-tinted universe that Square Enix threw us into before, and for a short while, Jenson will need to scavenge for success. Without weapons or armour, guards become the main target. There's little point trying to bypass them unnoticed, as at some point it's likely a gun will be needed.

Luckily, there's ample opportunity to get the upper hand. A familiar vent provides the chance to grab the first guard, but again, things here are more intense. Crew members have only been assigned to small corridors, so their line of vision turns quickly. Because of this, it's easier to lure them towards a position with a corpse, as getting their peer into a vent or decent hiding spot isn't as straightforward as it has been. As the mission progresses and Jenson finds his gear, a number of praxis points become available. This levels the playing field somewhat, providing the gruff-voiced hero with a boost to his dwindling abilities.

In the sections I experienced, Jenson is helped through the boat by an unknown guide. His presence is minimal, but does provide various objectives. Although the setting is linear, there's still room for secondary objectives. Entering the ship's cargo hold, the first of these tasks Jenson with fixing a stasis pod. It's simple work, and alongside the continual hacking of computers, ensures that it fits in with the rest of the game. The linearity should not deter players, as it seems to place an emphasis on action that works much better than any of the boss battles. The shotgun in particular was a godsend in my time with this expansion, regularly blowing bodies out of my way when things got hot. Of course, you can still slither your way through, it's just incredibly difficult.

Right now, this is looking to be a pretty impressive expansion. It's little surprise that Square Enix have kept to what they know, opting to condense the formula into tighter skirmishes. The linearity isn't a problem at all, as it's backed up by a narrative that intrigues massively. I can't wait to jump into the final thing, as it seems Adam Jenson isn't done just yet.

Top Gaming Moment: The setting forces players to change their approach.

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