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Clip Analysis: “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”

Clip Analysis: “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” (photo)

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Video game teasers tend to stick to a certain formula: dazzle the viewer with awesome graphics, show off some of the games’ abilities and maybe dribble a little story out to tantalize would-be players. But every so often, one piece of video-centric marketing will float above the rest or sink to join the sludge.

In Clip Analysis, I’ll be looking at trailers, teasers and just about any game-related video in an effort to call out what works and what doesn’t in terms of communicating a particular game’s coolness.

This time, I’ll be taking a look at the trailer for “Deus Ex – Human Revolution.”

For the bulk of video games’ first two decades as popular entertainment, the heroes you controlled were, in the main, square-jawed and sure-footed. You never had the chance to think about how Mario felt about all that jumping or being told over and over again that his princess was in another castle. Of course, as the technology used to deliver gaming experiences improved, the personas you controlled and met got more expressive, as did the worlds you played in. Characters got to smirking and grousing but they still generally saved the day in morally upstanding and strictly proscribed ways.

Designed by Warren Spector and Harvey Smith, the 2000 title “Deus Ex” changed all of that. Controlling UN anti-terrorist agent JC Denton, players uncovered a vast and centuries-old conspiracy. In the 2052 of “Deus Ex,” a global health crisis causes riots when only the elites have access to a vaccine. The player’s conversations and decisions at key points would affect the way your story unfolded. The third-person action also integrated RPG elements to let players craft a playstyle that could be stealthy or more weapons-focused, while providing a multiplicity of routes to meet an objective. In the decade since it came out, fans and critics have elevated “Deus Ex” to a hallowed status for the flexibility it allowed and its dystopian futureshock vision. A sequel-“Deus Ex: Invisible War” came out in 2003 but didn’t earn as a similar spot in gamers’ hearts as the first game.

Now, ten years after resetting expectations about video game experiences, the series returns to PCs and consoles with a prequel to show how the world became the fractious mess that JC Denton inherited.

  • “Deus Ex” is a series known for multi-path progression and moral ambiguity. Unfortunately, for the directors of this video, those attributes are really hard to put across in a non-interactive way. There are hints, though. The angst in main character Adam Jensen’s voice as he opines about the current state of the world suggests that he may go to extremes
  • “Human Revolution” appears to suffer from the Technologically Advanced Prequel Problem, where the milieus in earlier chapters look more high-tech than the one that are chronologically further along in the canon. (“Halo: Reach” suffered a bit from this, too, with its swappable Armor Abilities that never show up in Master Chief’s adventures.) Still, the Blade Runner-style aesthetic on display in the trailer does make you want to jump right into the playground the game promises to you.
  • GIGW Alert! (That’s Guilt-Inducing Ghost Wife, for those of you who haven’t read Alison Willmore’s trope-defining piece of excellence.) Adam joins the countless ranks of protagonists who’ve suffered the Heart-Breaking Loss of a Loved One as a catalyst on the heroic journey. Now it’s a safe bet that this HBLLO will be the reason that Adam comes to an existential crossroads. Hopefully, the gameplay will make the most of this well-worn
  • The new thematic wrinkle “DE:HR” adds is the blurring between man and machine. Adam’s experienced a near-death and a cyborg resurrection. JC Denton had augmented abilities, too, but those came from nanomachines that still let him look human. Adam’s enemies seem similarly cybernetic but more robotic than he does. An educated guess says that Adam’s struggle to hold on to his humanity will inform the moral greyness of the game.

“Deus Ex: Human Revolution” comes out from Square Enix next year.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

Uncle-Buck

Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…