Can Deus Ex: The Missing Link add to the conspiracy?
Warning: There are (minor) spoilers about Deus Ex in this preview, so proceed with caution if you've yet to finish the main game.
If you've played Deus Ex: Human Revolution already, you'll probably know where The Missing Link fits into things. After stowing away on a ship bound for Singapore at Belltower docks, Jensen puts himself in stasis, and a period of several days goes unaccounted for before he arrives. It's only here, in The Missing Link DLC - for a yet-to-be-confirmed quantity of Microsoft points or cash - that you'll find out what happened.
The DLC, which can be selected from the main menu regardless of your position in the game, opens with Jensen strapped to an EMP chair, rendering his augmentations useless. He's been stripped of all his weapons and armour (revealing a set of abs the ladies will be pleased to see), and his face is a collage of bruises and blood. After suffering several more fists to the face, we get a glimpse of his captors: Netanya Keitner and Pieter Burke, two members of the ruthless Belltower security firm, who have discovered Jensen on their ship and aren't best pleased about it.
After a brief exchange with Netanya - which wasn't anywhere near as fun as I'd imagined an Deus Ex interrogation would be - Jensen is left alone for some time to reflect. Classic mistake there, Miss Keitner. Have you never seen an action film? The hero always escapes. Always. What were you thinking!? True to form, seconds after leaving the room, the chair holding Jensen in place is deactivated. Step One of the escape plan? Ventilation shaft. Obviously.
With all of your augs disabled, the slate is wiped clean for the new missions. All that work you've put into upgrading Jensen no longer matters. After recovering your gear, you're given seven Praxis kits to tailor Jensen to your style of play. The idea for the DLC, then, is to try out different options to what you might have in the main game - although by this point, you've probably tried them all anyway. Having played through the campaign twice now - once without killing anybody or setting off a single alarm, and once doing whatever the hell I wanted - this didn't really matter much to me. I stuck to the shadows for the most part, busting a cap in a few asses every now and again when my attention waned.
While there are plenty of weapons on offer to support players of a violent disposition (mainly shotguns and pistols, so far - where are the new firearms?), the narrative driving things along certainly tries to sway you down a stealthier path. Without giving too much away, shortly after making your escape you're contacted by a voice (think Deepthroat from Metal Gear Solid) who starts issuing objectives. Who this man is and how he's involved in the bigger picture appears to be at the heart of the DLC's plot.
I managed to squeeze in an hour and a half of play before the preview code came to an end, although the expansion as a whole is reported to last around five hours. The original announcement promised "sprawling new environments" and a "new layer to the conspiracy", but neither of these things have made themselves evident so far. It plays out much like any of the other missions in the game, which is fine, but I'm hoping for more conversational set-pieces, more choice, more consequence, and perhaps a new aug, given the slate has been wiped clean and all. You can bet your ass the mission will end in a face-off with Burke, too, so prepare yourself for another one of those really popular boss fights that everybody loved so much.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution - The Missing Link will be released in October.